Who’s Who: Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing 

Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad
Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad
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Updated 02 August 2021

Who’s Who: Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing 

Who’s Who: Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing 

Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad has been the deputy minister for land and survey at the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing since June 2021.

He has been a board member of the Real Estate General Authority, the Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers and the Off-Plan Sales and Rent Committee (Wafi) since November 2020. He has also been a supervisor of the Idle Lands Program since September 2019.

Prior to that, Al-Hammad was assistant to the deputy minister for land at the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing from September 2019 to June 2021.

He served in several positions at the ministry, working as assistant to the deputy minister for technical affairs from December 2018 to September 2019 and as director of the project management office from January 2018 to December 2018.

From January 2017 to January 2018, Al-Hammad was program manager at the ministry, serving as director of the Eastern Province projects and Alkhobar housing project and as an architectural engineer.

Al-Hammad is passionate about architecture, which is his specialty, and is currently a member of the advisory board of the department of architecture and building sciences at the College of Architecture and Planning at King Saud University.

His areas of interest include digital transformation, and he contributed to transforming the customer experience for one of the products of the Sakani Program into an integrated electronic journey that reduces the process from six months to five minutes. He aspires to transfer the experience to the municipal sector.

Al-Hammad received a bachelor’s degree in architecture and building science from King Saud University in August 2010 and completed the executive leadership development program from Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning in November 2020.


Saudi deputy defense minister and US envoy to Yemen discuss peace initiative

Saudi deputy defense minister and US envoy to Yemen discuss peace initiative
Updated 39 min 16 sec ago

Saudi deputy defense minister and US envoy to Yemen discuss peace initiative

Saudi deputy defense minister and US envoy to Yemen discuss peace initiative
  • They also reviewed the latest developments in Yemen

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the Kingdom’s peace initiative for Yemen with US envoy Tim Lenderking on Wednesday.
During his visit to Riyadh, Lenderking also met with Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir and Yemeni Parliament Speaker Sultan Al-Barakani on Tuesday.
Prince Khalid said: “Met with US envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking to review the latest developments in Yemen, and discuss mutual efforts to support the Saudi peace initiative and UN efforts to reach a political resolution that achieves security and stability for the Yemeni people and the region.”

 


Saudi Arabia backs international initiatives on COVID-19 vaccines access rights

Saudi Arabia backs international initiatives on COVID-19 vaccines access rights
Updated 22 September 2021

Saudi Arabia backs international initiatives on COVID-19 vaccines access rights

Saudi Arabia backs international initiatives on COVID-19 vaccines access rights
  • Saudi Arabia has allocated $500 million toward the global development and distribution of vaccines and treatments

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has thrown its weight behind efforts led by the World Trade Organization to give global access to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in compliance with intellectual property rights and relevant international treaties.

The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property will continue to provide joint international support as part of the Kingdom’s drive to help combat the pandemic.

The SAIP affirmed the country’s commitment to international treaties related to intellectual property, particularly the Agreement on Trade Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights administered by the WTO, a body that Saudi Arabia joined in 2005.

It also pledged to publish and implement rules for the compulsory licensing of patents while backing the World Health Organization-launched COVID-19 Technology Access Pool program to encourage countries to share know-how on the development of virus-related medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics.

At a property rights meeting held in Geneva in April, the authority called on the international community to make COVID-19 vaccines available at reasonable prices while ensuring that the issue of intellectual property rights did not become an obstacle to equal access and the prompt production of vaccines for non-commercial purposes.

The Kingdom urged a quick negotiation of a waiver on intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and for vaccine manufacturing countries to enable smooth technology transfer to nations wishing to make their own.

Saudi Arabia has allocated $500 million toward the global development and distribution of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tools related to COVID-19. It has contributed $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, $150 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and $200 million to organizations and other international and regional health programs.


At-Turaif: A look into the jewel of the Kingdom’s museums

At-Turaif in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh is home to the largest open-air museum in the world. (Abdullah AlJabr/Faisal AlDakheel)
At-Turaif in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh is home to the largest open-air museum in the world. (Abdullah AlJabr/Faisal AlDakheel)
Updated 30 min 53 sec ago

At-Turaif: A look into the jewel of the Kingdom’s museums

At-Turaif in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh is home to the largest open-air museum in the world. (Abdullah AlJabr/Faisal AlDakheel)
  • Arab News visited five galleries in the district that take visitors back in time through the birth of the Kingdom

RIYADH: At-Turaif is home to the largest open-air museum in the world. Arab News visited five galleries in the district that take visitors back in time through the birth of the Kingdom, detailing every important aspect, including lifestyle, trade, territory disputes and architecture of the Saudi states.

1 - Diriyah Museum:

Diriyah Museum is known for taking individuals step by step into a sequence of historical events dating back to the formation of the Saudi states.

The museum begins in A.D. 400, displaying maps and documents pertaining to the Banu Hanifah tribe migration from the west Arabian Peninsula to the center of Al-Yamama.

It explains how Diriyah was established in 1446 when Manaa’ Al-Muraide shared the region’s leadership with his cousin Ibn Dera’.

The Diriyah Museum holds replicas of some of the most important documents that contributed to the growth of the first and second Saudi states. (Abdullah AlJabr)  

On display are swords, coins, stamps and copies of important documents that contributed to the growth of the first and second Saudi states.

Housed in the Diriyah Museum is a replica of the Al-Ajrab Sword owned by the founder of the second Saudi state, Imam Turki ibn Abdullah. (Faisal AlDakheel) 

The museum also showcases the progression of the Al-Saud royal family tree throughout each century. A digital and interactive activity allows visitors and their families to swipe through the royal tree and learn about unity, stability and the reform of the region dating back to the establishment of the first Saudi state by Imam Mohammed ibn Saud in 1744.

The tree explains the royal lineage, further detailing Imam Turki ibn Abdullah’s eviction of the Ottoman garrisons from Najd, the founding of the second Saudi state and the return of King Abdulaziz ibn Abdulrahman Al-Faisal to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Al-Saud family tree can be seen in the Diriyah Museum detailing the names of the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of King Abdulaziz. (Supplied)

One of the most prominent features of the museum is a replica of the Al-Ajrab Sword owned by the founder of the second Saudi state, Imam Turki ibn Abdullah. The sword is named after the rusting on the edges of the blade.

2 - The Arabian Horse Museum:

The Arabian Horse Museum gives an in-depth look into the vital roles horses played in the Kingdom’s unification in 1932, including in warfare, trade and transportation.

The museum houses many replicas of important documents that detail the names of thousands of horses owned by the Al-Saud family at that time.

The Arabian Horse Museum displays replicas of the different types of saddles, clothing, and important documents relating to the  Kingdom’s unification in 1932. (Abdullah AlJabr)

The nobleman and sheiks of the era divided their horses into five categories:

Kehilan- Named for the black rings around its eyes resembling (Kohl) eyeliner.

Al-Hamdani- Named by its owners to distinguish it from the Kehilan horse.

Al-Saqlawi- Named for its glossy coat, the horse is known for its long neck and sparkling eyes.

Abayan- According to a legend, the rider’s coat, an abaya, slipped down to the horse’s tail during the race. Throughout the race the horse’s tail was raised, preventing the cloak from falling.

Hadban- One of the strongest and fastest horses, its name means “long forelock” (the top of the horse’s mane).

The Arabian Horse Museum also houses a life size bronze sculpture of a horse named Tarfah, a beloved horse King Abdulaziz gifted to King George VI of England. (Abdullah AlJabr)

Within the museum is a life-size bronze sculpture of Tarfah, King Abdulaziz’s horse which he gifted to King George VI of the United Kingdom.

The museum shows how domestication and taming of the horses was used as a vital part of eventual transportation and battle. On display are replicas of different types of saddles and clothing, based on the individual’s social status or occasion, such as weddings.

Copies of detailed travel documents for the horses are on display, including horses visas and passports in French and English.

The museum reflects how connected Saudi rulers were to their horses, treating them as loyal companions rather than just animals.

3 - Museum of Traditional Architecture:

The museum focuses on the first Saudi state’s architectural development and the present-day role of preserving the local UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The museum displays replicas of the buildings and techniques used to build structures, from foundations, plastering to decoration.

Visitors can read about the construction process of the walls of Saad Palace. The interior walls were usually 40 centimeters to 60 centimeters thick and the exterior walls were 120 centimeters thick. Once the walls reached the ceiling height, then doorways, stairways and ceilings began to be built.

The Museum of Traditional Architecture  takes visitors step by step into the construction process of the walls of Saad Palace.  (Abdullah AlJabr)  

This is where visitors can notice the building detailing, such as entryways that were equipped with small sight holes for surveillance, or crenelations to provide aim and shelter during battle.

On display are audio-visuals displays and images that show the original process of creating each of the mud bricks and mud layers to form the foundation of the structures.

The museum also has many interactive features and games that allow visitors to test their knowledge in creating a traditional Najdi door. Once the doors are created, they are projected on a large screen to be displayed.

4 - Military Museum:

Diriyah was home to one of the largest firearms markets in the region. The military museum displays authentic replicas of all the weapons used during the second and the first Saudi state, including arrows, guns, cannons and ships.

It also shows foreign armors and shields, and the different types of ships that carried weapons cargoes at the time, including British and Saudi war ships.

Some of the rifle models on display include muzzle-loading muskets, breech-loading single-shot rifles, chassepots, Mausers and Martini-Henry rifles.

The military museum is home to replicas of all the weapons used during the second and the first Saudi state. (Supplied)

The museum also details the Battle of Diriyah, in which Ibrahim Pasha and the Ottoman army reached the city in 1818.

It also displays the Diriyah fortifications which were overseen by Imam Abdullah ibn Saud.

5 - Lifestyle Museum:

Village homes were simple and linked to the local environment. The Lifestyle Museum is a walk-through gallery that displays courtyards, bedrooms, kitchens, majlis and guest rooms in At-Turaif.

The Lifestyle Museum begins with the majlis, which feature motion sensors that cue audio of men socializing, tea being poured and items being cooked over a traditional fire oven.

Then visitors will see a traditional kitchen with a digital gallery of recipes used at the time.

The bedrooms in the homes were austere, but the detailing on fixtures indicated a resident’s status or wealth.

To avoid the heat, families would often sleep on the cool open roof and retreat to their bedrooms after sunrise, depending on the season.

The museum ends in the children’s room, where simple toys made of wood and straw are spread across the ground, while audio of children laughing and singing plays over the speakers.

The Lifestyle Museum perfectly captures the living style at the time in At-Turaif. It allows visitors to place themselves in the shoes of those before them, gaining a better understanding of how the Kingdom was born.

Diriyah, past, present and future
On Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day, the birthplace of the Kingdom continues to make history
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Princess Nourah: The woman who had ‘the brain of 40 men’

One of Princess Nourah's famous dresses, decorated with a circular geometric shape and filled with colored sequins. (Supplied/“Nourah bint Abdulrahman bin Faisal bin Turki Al-Saud an Illustrated Biography”)
One of Princess Nourah's famous dresses, decorated with a circular geometric shape and filled with colored sequins. (Supplied/“Nourah bint Abdulrahman bin Faisal bin Turki Al-Saud an Illustrated Biography”)
Updated 32 min 29 sec ago

Princess Nourah: The woman who had ‘the brain of 40 men’

One of Princess Nourah's famous dresses, decorated with a circular geometric shape and filled with colored sequins. (Supplied/“Nourah bint Abdulrahman bin Faisal bin Turki Al-Saud an Illustrated Biography”)
  • Born in Riyadh in 1875, Princess Nourah was close to her brother growing up and shared his trials during the family’s exile

RIYADH: The tale of the heroism of the small band of brothers who fought alongside Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman, the founder of Saudi Arabia, in his epic battle to recapture Riyadh in 1902 is a key part of the story of the creation of the Kingdom.

But what should also not be forgotten on National Day is the role played in those turbulent times by the future king’s older sister, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman Al-Saud.

One year his senior, Princess Nourah was Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman’s playmate throughout his childhood and was by his side throughout the family’s exile in Riyadh after the defeat of their father’s forces by the rival Rashidi dynasty at the battle of Al-Mulaida in 1891.

When destiny beckoned, wrote the Saudi historian Dr. Dalal Mukhlid Al-Harbi in her 2008 book “Prominent Women from Central Arabia,” Nourah was “a great inspiration behind Abdulaziz’s quest to regain his forefathers’ seat of authority in Riyadh.” 

The Princess “nourished his will to recapture Riyadh after his first failed attempt. When he completed his preparations for his second attempt to regain the city, his mother cried long and hard and tried to dissuade him, but Nourah encouraged him to complete the mission, which he did successfully. This was part of her supportive role for her brother while the family was in Kuwait.”

That role became still more important to her brother after the recapture of Riyadh and the return of the Al-Saud family to their heartland, as Abdulaziz set out on the long and difficult road that would eventually lead to the unification of the Hijaz and Nejd and the foundation in 1932 of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Born in Riyadh in 1875, Princess Nourah was close to her brother growing up and shared his trials during the family’s exile.

Their bond only grew stronger as the future King took on the burdens of statehood, wrote Al-Harbi, going on to highlight “the close relationship Nourah had with her brother, a relationship in which the natural bonds of family were mixed with friendship and all that entails: consultation, asking for opinions and giving advice.”

Such was the depth of the lifelong connection between the two that, as King, “Abdulaziz would visit her every day, keen that a day should not pass without seeing her.”

When the telephone was introduced to Riyadh in the 1930s, the first line to be laid ran between the palaces of the King and his sister.

The Princess was a confidante upon whom the King could always depend for a straight answer and sound advice. She was “frank with King Abdulaziz, telling him what was on her mind without fear or hesitation,” Al-Harbi wrote.

In his biography of his father — King Abdulaziz’s half-brother, Prince Mohammed ibn Abdulrahman Al-Saud — the late Prince Bandar Ibn Mohammed Ibn Abdulrahman Al-Saud wrote that Princess Nourah was “one of the few women of her time who mastered reading and writing.”

As a result, she was “a woman of the deepest understanding, proper judgment.” Possessing the “best of character,” she was “adored by all members of Al-Saud family” and “also very close to people’s hearts and minds.”

Prince Bandar, who passed away in January 2020 at the age of 95, added that Nourah became a popular girl’s name among parents throughout the Kingdom, who “named their daughter after her in recognition of her noble character, right judgment, good faith, generosity, proper tongue, and humbleness.”

Aside from all of these characteristics, he added, Princess Nourah “had an amazing ability for solving the problems of those around her, Al-Saud and others alike ...  using her clear and enlightened judgment (and) was also able to connect with others, Saudis and non-Saudis.”

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, writing as a columnist in Arab News in 2012, said the princess was “the most popular, charismatic and influential woman, not only in the Kingdom, but also in the Gulf area. Some of her advice had a very big impact on the history of the area.”

Western scholars considered her “the first lady in a country ruled by kings,” Al-Mulhim said, while many older Saudis referred to her as “the woman who has the brain of 40 men.”

Without doubt, he added, in addition to being a “very charming lady and a woman of wisdom,” she was also “a top-class political and strategic thinker.”

In her book, Al-Harbi recalled the impact the Princess had on foreign visitors to Saudi Arabia during the early years of the Kingdom. 

Violet Dickson, the wife of Lt. Col. Harold Richard Patrick Dickson, who until 1936 was Britain’s political agent in Kuwait, met Nourah in 1937. She later described her as not only “one of the most attractive and joyful women I have ever met ... one of the most beautiful, great and famous girls of all times,” but also “one of the most important personalities in the Arabian Peninsula.” 

For Harry St. John Philby, a British colonial officer who converted to Islam in 1930 after becoming an advisor to King Abdulaziz, Nourah was nothing less than “the First Lady of her country.”

The Princess, wrote Al-Harbi, “played an influential role in many aspects of political and social life,” and perhaps never more so than in the critical healing of a breach in the Al-Saud family.

Her marriage in the early 1900s to Saud ibn Abdulaziz ibn Saud ibn Faisal ibn Turki, from a branch of the family that had fallen out with her brother, was the “outward symbol of the process of reconciliation between Abdulaziz and his cousins.” Although the dispute continued for some time, “by 1912 the matter was settled and Saud became one of Abdulaziz’s staunchest supporters.”

Al-Harbi adds: “I would suggest that some credit for this change of heart must be given to Nourah, for Saud loved her dearly. This action shows her wisdom, soundness of mind and eagerness to heal the rift between him and her brother.”

Right up to her death in July 1950 at the age of 75, Princess Nourah remained a source of advice and inspiration for her brother, who died three years later. Many sources recall that, whenever faced with challenging situations that demanded boldness, wisdom, and quick thinking, King Abdulaziz would reach a decision with the declaration “I am the brother of Nourah!”

Today, Princess Nourah’s name and spirit lives on in a fitting tribute to this pioneering woman.

In 2006, the first university for women was established in Riyadh, bringing under one roof half a dozen colleges, the first of which had been established by the General Presidency for Girls’ Education in 1970. On October 29, 2008, while laying a foundation stone at the campus, King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al-Saud renamed what has become the world’s largest all-female educational institution the Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University — known today as simply PNU.

“Women carry a responsibility that is more than a duty, to maintain the stability of society and contribute to building the economy of the nation, and to represent the community and the nation to the highest standards, outside and inside the country,” the King said at the ceremony.

In a speech that might have been addressed directly to Nourah, his father’s beloved sister and confidante, he added: “To be the caring mother, exemplary citizen and productive employee. Outside the nation, to be the ambassador of her country and community, and to represent well her religion, faith and our values.”

Diriyah, past, present and future
On Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day, the birthplace of the Kingdom continues to make history
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Masmak Fortress: an important historical symbol of Saudi unification

Masmak Fortress: an important historical symbol of Saudi unification
Updated 32 min 54 sec ago

Masmak Fortress: an important historical symbol of Saudi unification

Masmak Fortress: an important historical symbol of Saudi unification
  • Masmak Fortress is a symbol of the unification of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: It is easy to overlook the historical importance of Masmak Fortress and the role it played in the unification of the provinces that became the nation of Saudi Arabia in 1932. But three decades earlier, the recapture of the towering citadel in Riyadh by the future King Abdulaziz and 63 men was integral to the evolution of the Kingdom.

“King Abdulaziz almost died in this battle, but he won and when he won he started the unification,” Saleh S. Binsaif, the director of Al-Masmak Museum, told Arab News.

“If he had been captured and killed in that battle there would be no Saudi Arabia, or at least there would not be a Saudi Arabia in the form it is today. I think it would be a completely different form.”

Known as the symbol of unification, Masmak Fortress is home to site of the battle that restored the ruling power to the Al-Saud family. (Supplied)

A symbol of the unification of Saudi Arabia, Masmak Fortress was the site of the historic battle that turned the tide of the struggle for control in favor of the House of Saud and paved the way for modern-day Saudi Arabia.

Built in 1865 during the Second Saudi State, the fortress was given the name Masmak, the Arabic word for a tall, strong building with thick walls. It was the main base for the defense of Riyadh, housing the garrisons that protected the city and their ammunition stores.

The House of Saud’s rule over the Second Saudi State lasted only 16 years. When it collapsed in 1881, and the Al-Rasheed family took control, the former ruling family was forced to flee into exile in Kuwait.

Located on the western side of the Fortress the 3.60 m. high the gate is made of palm trunks and rush plant. (Supplied)

There they remained until, in the early hours of Jan. 15, 1902, Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud arrived in Riyadh accompanied by 63 men. He told 23 of them to wait at the border in case the mission failed, then entered the capital with the rest in an attempt to recapture the fortress — and with it the city.

Their chance came when the Rasheedi governor Ajlan, who occupied the fortress at the time, left the safety of its walls to check on his horses outside. As Abdulaziz launched his attack, Ajlan’s guards emerged and attempted to get him back inside.

During the fighting Fahad ibn Jalawi ibn Turki, cousin of Abdulaziz, threw a spear at Ajlan but it missed and became embedded in the gate of the fortress. The tip of the spear remains there to this day and is a famous symbol of the battle.

(Khokha) was the location where Ajlan was being pulled into the window by his men and King Abdulaziz was attempting to pull him out. (Left) Prince Fahad ibn Jalawi’s spearhead can be seen still embedded into the fortress gate today. (Right)

As the fighting continued, Abdulaziz’s men breached the gate and the battle moved inside the fortress. Ajlan was killed and his men surrendered.

While the battle itself could be considered brutal and bloody, Abdulaziz knew many of the soldiers guarding the fortress as they had previously served his family. It was simply their duty to serve Ajlan after his family took control, but once Abdulaziz recaptured the fortress they immediately surrendered and returned to serving the House of Saud.

One of Abdulaziz’s men then climbed to the top of the fortress and announced to the people of Riyadh that Abdulaziz had returned and was now Emir of Riyadh.

It marked that start of his unification movement in the Arabian peninsula which, 30 years later, resulted in the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.