Locals look forward to return of shows and events, with launch of Riyadh Season 2

Women attend the Colour Run event during Riyadh season festival, in Saudi Arabia, in this file photo taken on October 26, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Women attend the Colour Run event during Riyadh season festival, in Saudi Arabia, in this file photo taken on October 26, 2019. (REUTERS)
Locals look forward to return of shows and events, with launch of Riyadh Season 2
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Public entertainment will return to the capital before the end of the year, after an 18-month break when it was largely absent because of the pandemic. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 August 2021

Locals look forward to return of shows and events, with launch of Riyadh Season 2

Women attend the Colour Run event during Riyadh season festival, in Saudi Arabia, in this file photo taken on October 26, 2019. (REUTERS)
  • The program include theater shows, Arabic and international concerts, plays, international exhibitions, wrestling, and international soccer
  • Public entertainment will return to the capital before the end of the year, after an 18-month break when it was largely absent because of the pandemic

JEDDAH: After an 18-month break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, public entertainment and events are about to return to the capital in style, following the launch of Riyadh Season 2.

In 2019, authorities in the Kingdom introduced special seasonal programs of events, each focusing on a different part of the country. They included Sharqiyah Season in March, Jeddah Season in June, and Riyadh Season in October.

Plans for the second round of these annual seasons had to be abandoned early last year when the pandemic began. But with life in the Kingdom starting to return to normal as vaccination efforts continue, it has been announced that that the most significant event of the year will begin in the capital in the coming months.

Full details, including dates, are yet to be revealed but Riyadh Season 2 is expected to be bigger and better than the inaugural edition. Residents that Arab News spoke to were delighted and looking forward to the return of public entertainment following a year and a half in which it has mostly been absent.

Announcing the plans for Riyadh Season 2 on Sunday, Turki Al-Shaikh, president of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), said that the city will be divided into 14 sections covering an area of 5.4 million square meters. The program will include 350 theater shows, 70 Arabic concerts, six international musical events, 18 Arabic and six international plays, 10 international exhibitions, a freestyle wrestling match, an international soccer match, 100 interactive experiences, and 7,500 other activities. In addition, 200 restaurants and 70 cafes will take part.

After more than a year with few entertainment options, residents said they cannot wait for the chance to attend a show or take part in an activity.

Abdulrahman Salah, 24, who is studying cybersecurity at university, said he is most looking forward to the concerts and other musical events.

“I am so happy that the events are back,” he said. “I’m so excited to see them, visit the pop-up restaurants only found in Riyadh and visit the activities, as they are of very high standards, satisfying all tastes and even all ages.”

He added that for people who cannot travel abroad because of the pandemic, or choose not to, Riyadh Season will offer a packed program of fun events and activities in the heart of the Kingdom.

“Yes, traveling is an unmatched experience, especially to enjoy the cooler weather,” he said. “But the list of activities will provide you with more things to do than if you were planning a trip abroad — and would anyone want to miss out on all these events? I don’t think so.”

Noura Al-Ajmi, a 22-year-old marketing student, plan to attend Riyadh Season with her friends.

“I’m so excited for the music concerts, hopefully Winter Wonderland, and games that give you an adrenaline rush, such as zip lines and the theme park,” she told Arab News. “I love the colors and festive details in Saudi Seasons; it gets you excited to attend just by looking at the posters alone.”

Sulaiman Mukhtar, a 30-year-old English-language lecturer, said that Riyadh Season 2 will help people to feel as if things are getting back to normal after more than a year of woe as a result of COVID-19.

“I’m beyond excited that life is easing back to normal and that there are outdoor activities that we can enjoy, as long as they are held safely per Ministry of Health guidelines,” he told Arab News.

Mansour Mohammed, 32, noted that the entertainment sector in the Kingdom had been growing rapidly before the interruption caused by the pandemic.

“It feels great to see the return of the Saudi Seasons because that also means the return of joy and smiles,” he said. “In 2019, Riyadh Season lit up the whole Kingdom with the events.”

He added that he is particularly excited to see what lies in store in Riyadh Boulevard and the Winter Wonderland.

The inaugural Riyadh Season in 2019 generated more than SR1 billion ($270 million), attracted 10.3 million visitors to the capital and surrounding areas, and created 34,700 jobs and 17,300 indirect employment opportunities.

 


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group
Updated 22 October 2021

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group

Abdulrahman Al-Nimari has been the chief information security officer at Rock Solid Group since August.

A cybersecurity expert and regular conference speaker, he has more than 25 years of experience in the information technology and cybersecurity sectors.

At RSG, he is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic, long-term information security strategy and roadmap to ensure that data assets are adequately protected.

He has been an independent cybersecurity architect and consultant since 2019.

From September 2017 to June 2019, he was lead cybersecurity systems architect for ManTech International Corp. where he was in charge of developing security strategies and utilizing new technologies to enhance security capabilities and implement improvements.

Between March and August 2017, he held the position of chief enterprise security architect at Security Matterz.

Al-Nimari was technical manager and senior security consultant at Riyadh Business Machines from August 2013 to February 2017, and an IT manager at the Ministry of Education between January 2008 and July 2013.

During his time with the ministry, he also worked as cybersecurity team leader on a major education system project and was a network and system administrator and supervisor.

He gained a bachelor’s degree in English from Umm Al-Qura University.

Al-Nimari has headed numerous cybersecurity initiatives and projects for government and private-sector bodies.

He pointed out that all members of society had a duty to be aware about cybersecurity. “It is our role to participate in protecting the cyberspace of our beloved Saudi Arabia,” he said.


Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement

Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement
Updated 22 October 2021

Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement

Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement

CAIRO: Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud discussed the Iran nuclear talks with the European Union envoy coordinating talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, Enrique Mora, the Saudi Foreign ministry said on Thursday.
“They discussed developments regarding the Iranian nuclear program talks, and international efforts to ensure that Iran does not violate international agreements and treaties in this regard,” it added in a statement.


‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions
Updated 22 October 2021

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

ALULA: Imagine stepping back into a time before cell phones, emails, or even paper. During this era, documenting important moments was simplified to sketching on rocks.
This is Ikmah mountain, or the “open library” as it is referred to by AlUla’s locals. AlUla was a highlight on the trading route many took through the Arabian Peninsula. Travelers stopped at the mountain to document their stories or carve their names for those who came after them.
“We call Ikmah the ‘open library.’ If you want to know why it has this name, have a look around for a few seconds and you will see inscriptions all over the mountain,” Amal Aljahani, an expert Rawi storyteller, told Arab News.

Ikmah has over 500 inscriptions from the Dadan and Lihyan civilization. The earliest texts from the mountain have been studied and translated by historians and archeologists and have been dated back to the ninth and 10th century B.C. 
The languages in the mountain include Aramaic, Thamudic, Dadanitic, Minaen, Nabatean, Greek, Latin, and Arabic. An important area for historians, Arabic linguistics experts, and archaeologists, the mountain offers a look back into the pre-Arabic era.
Tourists from the Kingdom and international visitors gather for hours to sit in front of the high peaks and observe the delicate techniques of the ancient language that turned into the modern Arabic letters we know today.

Some inscriptions were written by the region’s professional scribes while others were merely sketches by travellers and locals passing by years ago.
Many of these messages differed in meaning, some surviving inscriptions are names written in the ancient Arabic text, but many involve tales of the ongoing events of the local community.
These inscriptions described the kings who ruled the land, the religious beliefs of the people, and sometimes notes for other visitors.
Ikmah held a high place in the hearts of the locals and travelers. It was a sacred ground for pagan worship and sacrifice along with documentation.  One of the inscriptions on the mountains was written by a woman named “Mirwa,” who carved her name into the rocks and detailed an offering she made to her deity.

“The woman used to come here and give her deity offerings to bless her and her children. The inscription says the deity blessed her and her children. Those are the kinds of things the people wrote here on this beautiful mountain,” Aljahani said.
Mirwa returned to add another inscription that her prayers were answered and her sons were blessed.
Some of these inscriptions are personal, while others are names or drawings of animals and musical instruments.
The oldest inscription in the Islamic era — known as the Naqsh Zuhayr — and the earliest glimpses into the Arabic language are documented on the east side. The inscriptions date back to 644 A.D.
The mountain hosts different inscription methods, Aljahani said, such as “carving inside the alphabet to be clearer.”
He added: “The second way is what we call the 3D way. It is the hardest method. They beautifully carved in between the alphabet letters using sand stones for the message to be clearer.”
In 2017, the Royal Commission of AlUla closed the mountain to begin preparation for the public to visit. Ikmah is now prepared and open to the public under the commission’s supervision.

 

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world
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Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation

Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation
Updated 21 October 2021

Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation

Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Education Minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh met with the Egyptian Ambassador to the Kingdom, Ahmed Farouk Tawfiq, to enhance joint cooperation between the two countries in the education field.
The two sides also discussed the development of scientific and research partnerships between the countries’ universities along with the exchange of expertise and experiences in educational technologies.
The talks focused on joint cooperation between the Kingdom and Egypt in educational programs and ways to benefit from the development plans and programs implemented by educational institutions in both countries.
Saudi Ministry of Education’s undersecretary for international cooperation, Saleh Al-Qassumi, undersecretary for public education, Mohammed Al-Muqbil, undersecretary for university education, Mohammed Al-Adib, general supervisor of the general administration of media and communication, Ahmed Al-Jumaiyah, and supervisor of the public relations department, Saleh Al-Thubaiti, also attended the meeting.


Pilgrim services in the spotlight at GITEX Dubai

Pilgrim services in the spotlight at GITEX Dubai
Updated 21 October 2021

Pilgrim services in the spotlight at GITEX Dubai

Pilgrim services in the spotlight at GITEX Dubai

DUBAI: As part of the Saudi Ministry of Interior’s pavilion at GITEX Technology Week 2021 in Dubai this week, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah showcased the state-of-the-art technologies it employs to deliver the services the Kingdom provides to pilgrims and other visitors.
They include artificial intelligence technologies that are used as part of the ministry’s digital platform to help pilgrims.
They access the platform using smart cards that contain key information, including the details of their visit and medical data. This is used to organize their journeys.
The ministry’s aim in adopting the latest technology is to provide upgraded services and develop the work of the pilgrim-services system as a whole.