Who’s Who: Dr. Abdulrahman Ali Al-Amri, assistant deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Education

Who’s Who: Dr. Abdulrahman Ali Al-Amri, assistant deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Education
Dr. Abdulrahman Ali Al-Amri
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Updated 09 May 2021

Who’s Who: Dr. Abdulrahman Ali Al-Amri, assistant deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Education

Who’s Who: Dr. Abdulrahman Ali Al-Amri, assistant deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Education

Dr. Abdulrahman Ali Al-Amri has been the assistant deputy minister for international cooperation at the Ministry of Education since April.
Prior to his new position, Al-Amri served as a full-time consultant for international cooperation at the ministry from November 2019 to March 2021.
In 1999, Al-Amri received a bachelor’s degree in English from King Saud University (KSU), where he also attained a master’s degree in applied linguistics eight years later for his thesis on evaluating the sixth-grade English language textbook for Saudi boys’ schools.
In 2011, he received another master’s degree in linguistics from the University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, after he successfully defended his thesis on neighborhood density in spoken word recognition in Arabic. Six years later, Al-Amri obtained a doctorate in linguistics from the same university. His doctoral thesis was titled “Phonological, Semantic and Root Activation in Spoken Word Recognition in Arabic: Evidence from Eye Movements.”
From 1999 to 2008, Al-Amri was an English language teacher at a public school. For two years, he also served as an English instructor at a Royal Saudi Air Force school.
From August 2008 to November 2017, he worked as an instructor at the department of English language and literature at KSU, also serving there as assistant professor of psycholinguistics in the department of linguistics beginning in September 2017. Moreover, he chaired the statistics and information unit of the university’s College of Arts. He has also been the director of the English language program for Al-Farabi Colleges since September 2018.
With an interest in language testing and assessment, Al-Amri was a part-time consultant at the National Center for Assessment (Qiyas) from 2018 to 2019. He is also interested in statistical analyses, international exams, standardized tests, large-scale surveys and quality management.


Misguided advice on diet, gym workouts ‘doing more harm than good’, say fitness specialists

Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms. (Shutterstock)
Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms. (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 min 20 sec ago

Misguided advice on diet, gym workouts ‘doing more harm than good’, say fitness specialists

Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms. (Shutterstock)
  • "I have heard a lot of wrong facts and tips about sports. A lot of people on social media don’t have a certificate in fitness, and I see them advising people based on their personal experience and not studies"
  • Fitness myth-busters come out fighting

JEDDAH: With interest in sport surging in the Kingdom, Saudis embarking on gym and exercise regimes have been warned to beware of self-appointed “experts” peddling fitness myths that can ruin workouts and even damage health.

Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms.

Extreme diets and exercise programs can cause more harm than good, they warn.

Yumna Khalid, a 23-year-old university student, told Arab News that she has had many such experiences at her gym but has finally learned how to deal with them.

Extreme diets and exercise programs can cause more harm than good, experts warn

“Someone once told me that the more she sweats, the more fat she will lose, and that if she is not sweating heavily, her workout will not work. I said nothing but sympathized with the woman since she was working out wearing a hoodie in the scorching heat of Jeddah.”

Khalid said that people “should just listen to their bodies” to judge if a workout or diet is right for them.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Yumna Khalid, a 23-year-old university student, said that people ‘should just listen to their bodies’ to judge if a workout or diet is right for them.

• Nouf Hamdallah, a fitness trainer with nine years’ experience, said ‘the problem with these people is that they think what they are doing is the only right way. ‘They should just focus on themselves and not spread information that they aren’t sure about.’

• Suliman Abduljawad, a Guinness world record holder in fitness, said ‘one of the mistaken things that people are trading is that the female body is harder to train — that’s not true, it’s a simple science.’

“The body has a way of telling you. Do the workout that makes you feel good during and afterwards. If a workout or a diet feels wrong then just don’t do it. Listen to your body and you will be set.”

She added: “But listen to it when it is being reasonable and not at 3 a.m. when you want to eat eight donuts and a tub of ice cream.”

Casey Ho, a YouTuber who has been uploading home workout videos since 2009, was subjected to a wave of hate after announcing that she wanted to lose weight and get in the best shape of her life.

In her video, titled “How I lost 17.5 pounds in 12 weeks — My 90-Day Journey,” she said: “No, I don’t have an eating disorder. No, I don’t have a body image disorder. No, I don’t hate myself and, no, this journey wasn’t for you — it was for me.”

In a podcast called Off the Pills, Ho said that the body positive movement has grown so much over the years that now if someone wants to lose weight and look a certain way, they are labeled “anti-body positive” and kicked out of the community.

Returning to unhealthy habits is not the answer, she said. “It is a commitment of a lifetime.”

The trainer urged gym-goers to avoid training others if they are unqualified, adding that there was a big chance the advice might be harmful. (Shutterstock)

Nouf Hamdallah, a fitness trainer with nine years’ experience, said: “The problem with these people is that they think what they are doing is the only right way. They should just focus on themselves and not spread information that they aren’t sure about.”

According to Hamdallah, the best way to deal with such people is to ask: “What is the source of the information?”

She added: “They will think back on what they have said and if they do have a genuine source, you can take their advice.”

The trainer also urged gym-goers to avoid training others if they are unqualified, adding that there was a big chance the advice might be harmful.

Hamdallah said that a healthy lifestyle is about changing habits little by little, and is not about following a particular diet. “People tend to get the two mixed.

For a healthy life, it’s just a caloric deficit, physical activity and enough sleep. It’s very simple.”

The trainer defined her personal experience as a series of trial and error, and said that still tries new approaches and methods in her diet and during her workouts.

She also said that her schedules are flexible, and she will not force herself to do something that does not feel right.

Depending on body type, results can take up to a year to show, while sometimes it is just three months, Hamdallah added.

I believe that a lot of Saudis can break a lot of records. I’ve seen the potential they have, but I think they just don’t know how to do it. I am more than happy to guide and help them.

Suliman Abduljawad, Guinness world record holder in fitness

However, according to Khalid, adopting a healthier lifestyle is not as tricky as it sometimes appears.

“I promise you, a healthy lifestyle isn’t just boiled chicken breast and white rice or a sad piece of bread. Now, more than ever, you can find delicious foods on the internet that is so good that you won’t even miss the sugar-filled or fried foods that you crave.”

Khalid said that she was discouraged because people kept telling her that she was eating, drinking and exercising the wrong way, and she was not seeing results in fitness. She later discovered that it takes time to change.

“That is OK. I have my own pace and I am happy with that,” she said.

Adding to the warnings, a Saudi champ has joined the fight against fitness myths

Suliman Abduljawad, a Guinness world record holder in fitness, joined social media to campaign for better messaging around fitness and exercise.

“I have heard a lot of wrong facts and tips about sports. A lot of people on social media don’t have a certificate in fitness, and I see them advising people based on their personal experience and not studies,” he told Arab News.

Abduljawad said that he decided to step in and educate people about the “rights and wrongs” of training.

The fitness champ said that he receives messages every day from followers asking him about information they read online.

Female personal trainers in Saudi Arabia are expensive compared with other countries because of the myths, he said.

“One of the mistaken things that people are trading is that the female body is harder to train — that’s not true, it’s a simple science,” Abduljawad said.

He also rejects the claim that training is bad for children. “I have a son, I cannot wait until he is 3 years old to train him. People say that children should not train, which is wrong. Their training is fun and they will enjoy it.”

Abduljawad said that he read Guinness World Records books as a child and wondered why there were no Saudi record-holders. It was then that he decided to work hard on himself.

He eventually broke two world records after a long journey — one in side jump push-up and one in archer push-up in 2020.

“I believe that a lot of Saudis can break a lot of records. I’ve seen the potential they have, but I think they just don’t know how to do it. I am more than happy to guide and help them.”

Abduljawad offers online training and dreams of having his own gym one day. “I’m aiming break 10 more world records.”


Saudi air force chief visits defense exhibit in London

Al-Amro attended the lunch banquet hosted by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, in the presence of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace. (SPA)
Al-Amro attended the lunch banquet hosted by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, in the presence of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace. (SPA)
Updated 21 sec ago

Saudi air force chief visits defense exhibit in London

Al-Amro attended the lunch banquet hosted by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, in the presence of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace. (SPA)
  • Al-Amro visited the pavilion of the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries and the Saudi Arabian Military Industries

LONDON: Lt. Gen. Mazyad bin Sulaiman Al-Amro, commander of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, led the Ministry of Defense delegation to the recently concluded Defense and Security Equipment International trade fair at the ExCel Center in London.
Al-Amro toured the facility and its various pavilions. He also visited the pavilion of the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries and the Saudi Arabian Military Industries. He also reviewed opportunities to transfer and localize military technologies as a part of the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans.
Al-Amro attended the lunch banquet hosted by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, in the presence of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace. The party was attended by several officials of the British Ministry of Defense.
Wallace and a number of official delegations also inspected the Saudi pavilion, learning about the key targets of the military industry sector in the Kingdom, its promising investment opportunities and the pursuit of GAMI to support plans to reach Saudization of more than 50 percent of spending on military equipment and services by 2030.


24 outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches in Jeddah

Authorities closed 24 commercial outlets for breaching protocols. (SPA)
Authorities closed 24 commercial outlets for breaching protocols. (SPA)
Updated 7 min 10 sec ago

24 outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches in Jeddah

Authorities closed 24 commercial outlets for breaching protocols. (SPA)
  • Municipalities urged all commercial facilities to abide by regulations to ensure public safety and prevent the spread of the disease

JEDDAH: Saudi municipalities have ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease.
The municipality of Jeddah carried out 9,909 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities in three days, identifying 41 violations.
Authorities closed 24 commercial outlets for breaching protocols.
The violations included noncompliance with social distancing and mask-wearing, leniency in measuring the temperature of customers, overcrowding issues, and a failure to effectively use the Tawakkalna app.
The app was launched last year to track COVID-19 cases and has been updated to show vaccination information, including an individual’s status, such as vaccinated or infected. It now functions as a COVID-19 “passport.”
Municipalities urged all commercial facilities to abide by regulations to ensure public safety and prevent the spread of the disease.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.


Saudi commission plans to transform museum sector

The plan sets out significant expansion plans for museums across the country by 2024. (SPA)
The plan sets out significant expansion plans for museums across the country by 2024. (SPA)
Updated 10 min 59 sec ago

Saudi commission plans to transform museum sector

The plan sets out significant expansion plans for museums across the country by 2024. (SPA)
  • The Black Gold Museum in Riyadh, a permanent museum dedicated to artists’ interpretations of the history of oil, will open soon

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Museums Commission has announced its strategy for the transformation of the sector. It includes ambitious plans to increase the number and types of museums across the Kingdom and boost visitor numbers. The focus on the nation’s cultural identity will be enhanced through the creation of a series of tangible assets across the country.
Existing museums in Riyadh will be revised and remodeled, including the National Museum of Saudi Arabia in the city’s historical center, and the Masmak Fort Museum, which showcases a key site and events in the birth of the Kingdom. The plan also sets out significant expansion plans for museums across the country by 2024, including a number of flagship locations and some smaller venues.
The first new museum to open will be a smaller version of the Saudi Arabian Museum of Contemporary Art in the new JAX development in Diriyah. The Black Gold Museum in Riyadh, a permanent museum dedicated to artists’ interpretations of the history of oil, will open soon.
The strategy also aims to create, expand, curate and preserve collections and to build educational programs across the sector.


Afghan Taliban on the agenda as India, Saudi foreign ministers hold talks

Afghan Taliban on the agenda as India, Saudi foreign ministers hold talks
Updated 19 September 2021

Afghan Taliban on the agenda as India, Saudi foreign ministers hold talks

Afghan Taliban on the agenda as India, Saudi foreign ministers hold talks
  • Expert says Prince Faisal’s visit “very significant” amid political changes in the region
  • New Delhi urges Riyadh to resume flights as two officials discuss COVID-19 challenges, trade and bilateral ties

NEW DELHI: India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar held talks with his Saudi counterpart on Sunday that included measures to bolster bilateral and trade ties, cope with COVID-19 challenges, and a “very useful” exchange on political developments in Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah Al-Saud arrived in New Delhi for a two-day visit on Saturday and is expected to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

It marks the first high-level ministerial visit by a Saudi official to India since the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent travel curbs early last year.

“(It) was a cordial and productive meeting with (the) Saudi foreign minister,” Jaishankar said in a Twitter post on Sunday after the meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

Prince Faisal’s visit comes amid the recent political changes in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s return to power last month, marking the first official interaction between the two allies.

“Very useful exchange of views on Afghanistan, the Gulf and the Indo-Pacific,” Jaishankar said.

Saudi FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan and India’s FM Subrahmanyam Jaishankar meet in New Delhi. (@DrSJaishankar)

No further details were available, but experts termed the timing of the meeting and Prince Faisal’s visit as “a very significant one.”

As the Taliban surrounded the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Aug. 15, President Ashraf Ghani, with whom New Delhi had cultivated a close relationship, fled Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, the Taliban announced an interim government, weeks after taking over Afghanistan in a stunning military sweep, as US-led foreign forces withdrew after 20 years — ending the country’s longest conflict.

“Saudi Arabia and India have shared concerns as to whether Afghanistan will become the sanctuary for extremists because then it would become extremely dangerous for the neighborhood as a whole,” Talmiz Ahmad, former Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News.

“It’s natural that both the close partners would discuss Afghanistan. It reflects very close relations that India and Saudi Arabia have established with each other.”

Ahmad cited the “strategic partnership” formed after signing the Riyadh Declaration of 2010 and taken forward “very vigorously” by Prime Minister Modi as the first step toward bringing the two countries closer.

“We now have a strategic council at the apex level. Therefore, the relationship that began with cooperation on counter-terrorism has now become a very strong and deep strategic partnership,” he said.

The two officials also reviewed progress in implementing the Strategic Partnership Council Agreement, signed during PM Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia in October 2019, and bilateral cooperation at multilateral forums such as the UN, the G20 and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Jaishankar congratulated Prince Faisal for Saudi Arabia’s successful presidency of the G20 last year, at the pandemic’s peak, a statement by India’s Foreign Ministry said.

“Both sides discussed further steps to strengthen their partnership in trade, investment, energy, defense, security, culture, consular issues, health care and human resources,” it added.

The foreign ministers also agreed to “work closely” to deal with pandemic-related challenges, with Jaishankar thanking Saudi “for the support provided to the Indian community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” urging the Kingdom to relax travel restrictions for visitors from India further.

In July, Riyadh imposed a travel ban on 13 countries, including India, to curb the spread of the coronavirus and its new variants, but removed the UAE, Argentina and South Africa from the list and re-allowed citizens to travel to the three countries starting Sept. 8.

According to Indian foreign ministry data, more than 2 million Indians are living and working in the Kingdom, employed in various sectors of the Gulf state. However, the COVID-19 pandemic rendered thousands jobless, with a majority unable to return to work due to travel curbs.

Jaishankar urged an early resumption of direct flights to Saudi Arabia while both nations “agreed to work closely on all COVID-19 related challenges.”

In April and May, Saudi supplied more than 140 tons of medical oxygen to Indian to help the South Asian nation tide over a health crisis amid a deadly second wave of the coronavirus that claimed the lives of more than 400,000 in a country of 1.36 billion people.