Saudi Media Forum set to offer global platform for collaboration

Updated 30 November 2019

Saudi Media Forum set to offer global platform for collaboration

  • More than 1,000 media leaders from around the world are expected to attend the high-profile gathering taking place in Riyadh from Dec. 2-3

RIYADH: The upcoming Saudi Media Forum will provide an important global platform for media professionals to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the industry, according to experts.

More than 1,000 media leaders from around the world are expected to attend the high-profile gathering taking place in Riyadh from Dec. 2 to 3.

Media specialists, intellectuals and diplomats will participate in panels, workshops and meetings to exchange ideas and discuss current developments in the sector, which is facing a difficult period in terms of structuring and media economy challenges.

Former Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri noted that Riyadh’s hosting of the event reflected confidence and pride in the great strides made in the Kingdom in recent years under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Asiri said that the chance for print and digital media professionals from the capital to interact with their Saudi counterparts at the forum would provide professional, cultural and social opportunities, along with exchanges of expertise, that would have positive international repercussions.

Dr. Fahad Al-Orabi Al-Harthi, the president of Asbar Center for Studies, Research and Communications, praised forum organizers for selecting research centers and think tanks as a discussion topic for one of the sessions.

He said such bodies helped decision-makers plan for the future and identify risks and opportunities in working to achieve their goals.

“Today there are research centers and think tanks that are capable of setting their ways and having the required impact in what they produce to ensure more progress in this regard.”

Lebanese journalist Samir Atallah stressed that the Saudi Media Forum was a natural byproduct of a path guided by King Salman. 

He pointed out that the Kingdom’s media had consistently moved forward and planned for the future, achieving a leading position and contributing to the promotion of Arab unity.

“The Saudi media was late in having its own forum, yet we should not forget that the Saudi media began its mission with other Arab newspapers in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon, from modest beginnings and potentials to transcontinental outreach, with steady pace and great future planning, and was the first to establish Arab printed press in Europe and America,” said Atallah.

“In addition, it was also the first to launch the most important Arab television networks from London and via satellites.”


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne madeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Madeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne madeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.