King Abdul Aziz University launches Gulf Theater Festival

The festival takes place at the King Faisal Conference Center, with the participation of 12 GCC universities. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 February 2020

King Abdul Aziz University launches Gulf Theater Festival

  • The festival takes place at the King Faisal Conference Center, with the participation of 12 GCC universities

JEDDAH: The fifth Gulf Theater Festival for universities and higher education institutions in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states was launched at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) on Sunday, in collaboration with the GCC General Secretariat.

The festival takes place at the King Faisal Conference Center, with the participation of 12 GCC universities and more than 100 students.

The opening ceremony was held under the patronage of Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed and Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh, in the presence of Jeddah Deputy Gov.  Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi and KAU Rector Prof. Abdulrahman bin Obaid Al-Youbi.

Guests of honor and the audience watched a theater show and a documentary highlighting various plays by the participating universities.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Al-Youbi said it is an honor for KAU to host the festival.

“We’re pleased to welcome all guests from GCC counties, and it’s an opportunity for students to practice their theatrical skills and creativity,” he added. “This festival is considered a cultural interaction.”

He said the festival aims to instil confidence in students, showcase their abilities and talents, and contribute to social integration through the arts, especially theatrical art.

KAU has allocated five theaters to host the festival’s activities. The theaters’ total capacity exceeds 4,000 seats. The closing and awards ceremony will be on Feb. 7.

The participating universities are KAU, the University of Bahrain, Kuwait University, Sultan Qaboos University, Taif University, Umm Al-Qura University, King Saud University, Jazan University, Northern Borders University, Jouf University, Taibah University and King Khalid University.



French engineer returns ancient coins to AlUla

Updated 4 min 42 sec ago

French engineer returns ancient coins to AlUla

  • Jean-Claude Lefevre said he got the coins from a child when he visited AlUla in 1966
  • Archaeologists at the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) are looking into the coins' origins

RIYADH/PARIS: When French geological engineer Jean-Claude Lefevre visited AlUla in 1966, a young child gave him five old bronze coins, which he took back to France with him. Last Friday, Lefevre donated those coins to the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU).

Lefevre said he was inspired to return the items after visiting the “AlUla — Wonder of Arabia” exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris.

Lefevre was working with the Saudi Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources when he visited AlUla more than 60 years ago. At the time, there were no laws protecting heritage sites in Saudi Arabia, so there is no suggestion that the French engineer did anything illegal. Today, however, the removal of artifacts from such sites is forbidden.

Lefevre contacted the RCU and met Abdulrahman Alsuhaibaini, the commission’s acting museum and exhibitions director, at the IMA on Feb. 14, when he handed over the coins. They will now be studied by RCU archaeologists to determine their origin and hopefully reveal new details of the ancient commercial crossroads at Hegra.

“We are very grateful to M. Lefevre for his contribution to the protection and preservation of our heritage,” Alshuhaibaini said. “It’s wonderful to know that the IMA exhibition — where we launched our cultural manifesto last October — has inspired such positive behavior and a growing recognition of the Royal Commission’s commitment to preserving and protecting heritage. The coins will now be cleaned and conserved before they can be read and studied.”

Hegra became Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Archaeological excavations at Hegra have discovered evidence of daily Nabataean life and rituals since regular excavations by a Saudi-French mission began in 2008. The excavations have also demonstrated that the Romans built an outpost at Hegra — the most southerly Roman settlement yet discovered.

“Most of the finds are pieces of pottery and sandstone sculptures. Even the smallest find can yield valuable information that sheds new light on ancient life,” said Alsuhaibaini. “Since these coins have been removed from their original context at Hegra, their scientific value (has been diminished), but once cleaned up they may yield important information about the Nabateans or the Romans.”

Saad Al-Matrafi, a spokesperson for the RCU, denied recent rumors about the discovery of gold in AlUla. “The video that has been circulating on social media is an old video that misrepresents the finding of small fragmented Lihyanite pottery statues in Um Al-Daraj, AlUla,” he said. “There is no gold in AlUla.”

The “AlUla — Wonders of Arabia” exhibition at the IMA runs until March 7.