Saudi students learn art of Swiss hospitality

Saudi students learn art of Swiss hospitality
Caux Palace Hotel is the seat of the Swiss Hotel Management School, which uses the premises during school semesters while Initiatives of Change organizes summer conferences there each year. (Supplied)
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Updated 22 August 2020

Saudi students learn art of Swiss hospitality

Saudi students learn art of Swiss hospitality
  • Several scholarships have been created in KSA to equip them with the right tools so they can cater to growing fields

JEDDAH: The tourism and hospitality industries are relatively new to the Kingdom, and many Saudi students have entered the field, with opportunities made possible by the government to join scholarship programs.

Salman Gasim, CEO of the Swiss Hospitality Company, said that many government bodies have created scholarships to cater to growing fields in the Kingdom and equip Saudi students with the right tools to help boost such sectors, which include entertainment, culture, hospitality and tourism.
Gasim said that Al-Qiddiya, a megaproject under the auspices of the Public Investment Fund, launched its own scholarship program in 2019 with the support of the General Entertainment Authority, sending around 60 students to the US to pursue bachelor’s degrees in tourism and entertainment management.
He highlighted that this is one of the many prime examples of the Kingdom’s efforts in encouraging growing industries.
“The Ministry of Culture launched a scholarship that targets culture-related majors, including hospitality, tourism, and the culinary arts. We foresee a trend in which other ministries and government organizations, even semi-government organizations, will have their own scholarship programs,” he told Arab News.
Gasim added that, based on historical data on what the Ministry of Culture and NEOM did, he believes there will be more such scholarship programs on the way.
“The scholarship program will bring tremendous benefit to the candidates. It’s not only high-quality education that they are receiving, but also exposure to diversity, which helps them to develop a more globalized mentality. This is very beneficial for Saudi Arabia, a country working to open up more to tourists from the global community and showcase what it has to offer.”


“Having local talents with such mindsets is crucial. Scholarships are one of the main ways to adopt that,” added Gasim.
Florent Rondez, vice president of government relations at Swiss Education Group, said that Swiss hospitality has a historical story to it, dating back over a 100 years, when Switzerland greatly benefited from tourism during the Belle Époque.
Why is Switzerland well-known for hospitality education?
“When the rich began travelling within Europe, they had to cross the Alps to cross Switzerland. As these travelers had horse-drawn carriages, they had to stop occasionally so that the animals could rest. Switzerland thus had to build alpine stops to cater to the needs of those travelers, passing from one place to another,” Rondez told Arab News.
He said that Switzerland has always been known for its educational system, which is similar to that of Germany: A practice of blending practical with academic, unlike the US, where it is purely academic and theoretical.

FASTFACT

• Al-Qiddiya megaproject launched its own scholarship program in 2019, with the support of the General Entertainment Authority.

• It has sent around 60 students to the US to pursue bachelor’s degrees in tourism and entertainment management.

• École hôtelière de Lausanne was established in 1893 by Jacques Tschumi, influential member of the Society of Swiss Hoteliers.

“Switzerland is very hands-on in all its fields, from the watch industry and beyond,” he said, highlighting that the field of hospitality did not stem from academia but from hotel owners themselves, who established the area of study. Rondez said that Switzerland was a pioneer in understanding the need for training professionals in the industries of hospitality and tourism. “It was the hotel owners who decided that we should establish a school to train people so that they could hire those trainees.”


Such was the reason behind establishing the first hospitality school ever in the world in Switzerland, 127 years ago. The École hôtelière de Lausanne was established by professionals from within the industry. Rondez explained that Saudi students would be learning a more international approach to hospitality, adding that Saudi culture is already very hospitable.

The scholarship program will bring tremendous benefit to the candidates. It’s not only high-quality education that they are receiving, but also exposure to diversity, which helps them to develop a more globalized mentality.

Salman Gasim, CEO of the Swiss, Hospitality Company

“What is very important to understand is we (Switzerland) should not say ‘We need to train the Saudis and teach them hospitality.’ That’s wrong. Saudis are a very hospitable people. Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, even Asia, have their own way of demonstrating hospitality. I have been to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. They know how to welcome people and look after them,” said Rondez.

He added that Saudi students will be immersed in diversity. “We won’t teach them Swiss culture,” he said. “We will teach them international culture.”

What we learned here was not limited to the curriculum, which anyone can print from online and read back home. In our first term in service class, for example, we learned manners, professionalism, precision, attention to details.

Mohammed Basyouni, Saudi student at Cesar, Ritz Colleges, Switzerland

Saudi student at Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland, Mohammed Basyouni, is in his final semester. He shared his learning experiences, merging practical with theoretical.
“What we learned here was not limited to the curriculum, which anyone can print from online and read back home. In our first term in service class, for example, we learned manners, professionalism, precision, attention to details,” he told Arab News.
He added: “We also learned patience. That way, when we embark on the practical internship, we will have the ability to work under pressure. We started from zero and climbed our way up; we wiped tables and polished glasses and cutlery.”
Basyouni highlighted that hospitality internships allow students to apply this sort of practical knowledge shortly after acquiring theoretical knowledge.
“I also enjoyed the theoretical part that we learned in school. In less than six months since taking those courses, we have applied that knowledge in real life through our internships,” he said.


Coalition takes out 5 ballistic missiles, 4 drones in Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia

Coalition takes out 5 ballistic missiles, 4 drones in Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia
Updated 15 April 2021

Coalition takes out 5 ballistic missiles, 4 drones in Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia

Coalition takes out 5 ballistic missiles, 4 drones in Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Arab coalition destroyed five ballistic missiles and four explosive-laden drones launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia, Al-Ekhbariya reported on Thursday.
The attacks targeting Jazan are the latest in a long line of hostile actions against the Kingdom by the Iran-back Houthi militia. 
Jazan University was one of the targets as well as other civilian sites protected under international humanitarian law, coalition spokesman Turki Al-Malki said in a statement on the Saudi Press Agency, adding that the actions amount to war crimes.
The attacks originated from Sa’dah governorate in Yemen, Al-Malki added.
The coalition said the attack is a continuation of the Houthis’ systematic and intentional hostile attempts to target civilians. 
The Houthis, who took over the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, in 2014, have been condemned for their actions against the Kingdom. 
The Saudi government has said the Houthi attacks are not only against the  Kingdom and its economic facilities, but rather the center of the global economy, the security of its exports and its oil supplies, while also affecting maritime navigation.

Saudi Arabia has consistently backed efforts to resolved the war in Yemen peacefully.
Last week, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman held talks with Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, and reiterated that the Kingdom supports “all efforts to end the conflict, implement a cease-fire, alleviate the humanitarian crisis, and reach a political resolution that guarantees peace and prosperity for the brotherly people of Yemen.”
In March, Saudi Arabia announce a peace initiative to help end a war that has ravaged Yemen for the last six years. The initiative, which has received wide support, includes a cease-fire supervised by the UN, the reopening of Sanaa airport, and new talks to reach a political resolution to the conflict. Restrictions on the Red Sea port of Hodeidah would also be eased, allowing access for ships and cargo.
The UN’s chief, Antonio Guterres, backed the deal and urged all sides to take this opportunity to pursue peace and work with his special envoy, Martin Griffiths, on ways to proceed “in good faith and without preconditions.”


Yemen’s information minister, Moammar Al-Eryani, said members of the international community with open channels to the Houthis must use their leverage to encourage it to sever ties with Iran and commit to the Saudi-led peace initiative.
“These countries must put pressure on the Houthis to stop their daily crimes and violations against civilians in their areas of control, which are considered war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Al-Eryani told Arab News in an interview last week.
A Yemeni news agency reported last month that the Houthis had “provisionally” accepted the Saudi initiative to end the war in Yemen, but were demanding unchecked flights from Sanaa airport to unlimited destinations before giving the peace plan their final approval.
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Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief opens prosthetic limbs clinic in Aden

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief opens prosthetic limbs clinic in Aden
Updated 15 April 2021

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief opens prosthetic limbs clinic in Aden

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief opens prosthetic limbs clinic in Aden
  • In addition to providing artificial limbs, the facility will also offer maintenance of prosthetics, rehabilitation services and physiotherapy

LONDON: The Saudi-based King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has officially opened an artificial limbs clinic in the Yemeni city of Aden, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

Qasim Buhaibeh, the Yemeni minister of public health and population, thanked KSrelief for its work to help the Yemeni people. He also praised the achievement of establishing the prosthetic limb facility, which he said “will contribute to providing medical services and alleviating the suffering of those who are injured and the victims of mines.”

Saleh Al-Dibani, the director of KSrelief in Aden, said the organization has provided the prosthetic limb center with the resources it needs to help 1,434 beneficiaries, including 300 new prosthetic limbs.

A KSrelief worker is seen with young patients at the new prosthetic limb center in Aden. (SPA)

He added that KSrelief is also providing resources for maintenance of prosthetics, rehabilitation services, physiotherapy, and to hire medical staff in coordination with the Yemeni Ministry of Health.

“The project of equipping and preparing artificial limbs is one of the most important projects funded by KSrelief in the governorates of Aden, Taiz, Seiyun and Marib, with the aim of supporting the Yemeni health sector,” said Al-Dibani.

The center is part of the framework of humanitarian and relief efforts being provided by Saudi Arabia, through KSrelief, to the Yemeni people.


Saudi scientific organization launches first observatory to monitor and anticipate future development in Kingdom

Saudi scientific organization launches first observatory to monitor and anticipate future development in Kingdom
Updated 15 April 2021

Saudi scientific organization launches first observatory to monitor and anticipate future development in Kingdom

Saudi scientific organization launches first observatory to monitor and anticipate future development in Kingdom

RIYADH: The Asbar Center for Studies, Research and Communications announced the launch of the Asbar Observatory on Development, the first of its kind in monitoring and anticipating future development in the Kingdom.
Established in 1994, the Asbar Center is a scientific organization dedicated to conducting studies and research on development and policies.
Dr. Fahad Al-Orabi Al-Harthi, president of the Asbar Center, said the new observatory is one of the center’s initiatives. 
“The idea of launching the observatory comes within the framework of the center’s efforts to keep pace with developments witnessed in various fields in the Kingdom, in order to achieve its ambitious Vision 2030,” he said.
Through the observatory, Al-Harthi noted, the Asbar Center seeks to build a national system that contributes, in cooperation with the responsible authorities, to monitoring development needs and providing information to authorities.
Al-Harthi also said the observatory will assist decision-makers in shaping life in Saudi Arabia and anticipating its future through foresight tools. In preparation for a pioneering developmental journey that supports changes, the observatory will also anticipate future opportunities and challenges by analyzing their effects and developing innovative solutions to them.
“The mechanism of the Asbar Observatory project relies on the work of local and international development indicators,” Al-Harthi said.
“The observatory will focus on monitoring development and issuing reports to the competent authorities on progress, social innovation, sustainable development and social responsibility. It will also issue future forward-looking studies.”
Al-Harthi said he hopes the Asbar Observatory will enhance the Kingdom’s presence in various global fields while maintaining its distinguished international position.


Prince Mishaal bin Majed appointed adviser to the king

Prince Mishaal bin Majed appointed adviser to the king
Updated 15 April 2021

Prince Mishaal bin Majed appointed adviser to the king

Prince Mishaal bin Majed appointed adviser to the king

RIYADH: King Salman on Thursday appointed Prince Mishaal bin Majed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as adviser to the king, with the rank of minister, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Prince Mishaal has been governor of Jeddah since 1997 and a member of the Allegiance Council since 2007. 

He is president of the governing council of the assembly and president of the Social Development Forum and chairman of the board of the Society of Majid bin Abdul Aziz for Development and Social Services.


Beggars exploit charitable sentiment during Ramadan

Beggars exploit charitable sentiment during Ramadan
Updated 15 April 2021

Beggars exploit charitable sentiment during Ramadan

Beggars exploit charitable sentiment during Ramadan
  • Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry has warned citizens to be wary and recommends using the proper channels to give to charity

JEDDAH: A surge in beggars has been witnessed across Saudi Arabia, taking advantage of the holy month and the acts of charity obligatory upon Muslims.

The scene is not new to residents of the Kingdom. For years, beggars who have arrived illegally through various means such as smuggling, originally from areas such as Africa, Afghanistan and Yemen — and even local citizens — have roamed the streets asking for money.

Migrant smuggling, the irregular movement of people through international borders, is one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities and has been an issue in the Kingdom for years. The situation dramatically worsened after the Houthis, the Iran-backed militia group, gained power in Yemen, and thousands of people have tried to escape into the Kingdom from the improvised nation.

On the rugged mountain terrain of the Saudi-Yemen border, criminals are smuggled into the Kingdom, more often than not finding their way into major cities and using various ploys to grab people’s attention and money. 

The spirit of giving is prevalent during Ramadan, when Muslims undertake acts of kindness. Giving money is the simplest form of charity but many beggars have been found to be part of an organized gang, mobilizing children, infants and old men and women to do their work.

HIGHLIGHT

Illegal immigrants also poses a security challenge. Some illegal immigrants have been implicated in criminal activities such as smuggling weapons and narcotics, and have committed crimes such as theft, espionage or subversive acts that threaten national security. This is a global issue that many countries have been struggling with. 

All-too familiar scenes — of disheveled-looking young men in torn dirty clothes, barefoot children standing under the scorching sun and walking on unbearably hot pavements, babies passed out in their prams with heavily covered women pushing them between cars or idly waiting at traffic stops without concern for the harm exhaust smoke can do to their health — seem to double during Ramadan.

Such sights may grab people’s attention, prompting them to give a few riyals intended to satisfy the beggars and encourage them to get off the streets — only to find them returned to the same spot the next day.

“These scenes are all too familiar,” one resident, Afaf Al-Ghamdi, said. “I pass by the same streets going to and from work, and everyday I see the same woman with different babies just walking between the cars. It’s heartbreaking to see, but we’re heeding the warnings and we need to stop encouraging them. Organized crime is real and it’s no excuse nowadays not to perform an act of charity safely.”

Though the act itself might seem harmless to some, Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry has warned citizens to be wary and recommends using the proper channels to give to charity, with many applications and platforms now available to do so.

As Saudi Arabia continues to make positive improvements toward its digital transformation goals by increasing the efficiency of e-services, the General Authority for Zakat and Tax’s (GAZT) application, “Zakaty,” had made giving easier and safer. In its fourth year, GAZT has made Zakaty available through a website and a call center. More than SR40 million ($10.6 million) was collected last Ramadan, which social security beneficiaries registered at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development benefited from.

Illegal immigrants also poses a security challenge. Some illegal immigrants have been implicated in criminal activities such as smuggling weapons and narcotics, and have committed crimes such as theft, espionage or subversive acts that threaten national security. This is a global issue that many countries have been struggling with. 

Last month, Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujib said that smuggling was a form of organized crime run by networks that could have grave security, health, economic and social implications for society.

The penalty for smugglers, or those involved in facilitating the illegal entry or movement of illegal migrants, will be a sentence of no less than 15 years in jail, a fine of up to SR1 million ($266,000) and confiscation of vehicles or property intended to transport or house them.