UN delegation briefed on Saudi agency’s reconstruction work in Yemen

SDRYP chief Mohammed Al-Jaber (right) meeting with the UN International Organization for Migration delegation on  Tuesday. (SPA)
SDRYP chief Mohammed Al-Jaber (right) meeting with the UN International Organization for Migration delegation on  Tuesday. (SPA)
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Updated 20 October 2021

UN delegation briefed on Saudi agency’s reconstruction work in Yemen

UN delegation briefed on Saudi agency’s reconstruction work in Yemen
  • SDRPY has undertaken more than 204 projects and initiatives in numerous Yemeni governorates

RIYADH: Mohammed Al-Jaber, general supervisor of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY), met a high-profile delegation from the UN International Organization for Migration.

The IOM team included Christa Rottensteiner, chief of the organization’s mission for Yemen; Firas Budeiri, the mission’s senior coordinator in Yemen; and Fawzi Al-Zyoud, director of the IOM’s office in Saudi Arabia.

The meeting took place at the SDRPY’s headquarters in Riyadh and began with a presentation on the program which to date has undertaken more than 204 projects and initiatives in numerous Yemeni governorates.

The schemes have been concentrated in the health, education, water, agriculture, fisheries, and transportation sectors, helping to build the capacities of government institutions and development programs.


Saudi artist paints elderly back into the social picture

In a latest collection, titled ‘See In My Eyes,’ the beauty of a group of elderly subjects. (Supplied)
In a latest collection, titled ‘See In My Eyes,’ the beauty of a group of elderly subjects. (Supplied)
Updated 26 min 27 sec ago

Saudi artist paints elderly back into the social picture

In a latest collection, titled ‘See In My Eyes,’ the beauty of a group of elderly subjects. (Supplied)
  • Fawaz Binkolaib says remaining integrated in society is vital to the well-being of older people

JEDDAH: Art presents us with an opportunity to fight social stigmas and promote inclusion through the positive representation and empowerment of marginalized groups.

In a world where younger generations are celebrated and adulated, the elderly can sometimes feel like they have lost their place and succumb to loneliness due to social exclusion and ageist stigma. But according to a local artist, one way in which older people can remain full and active members of society is through art.
Ageism is a global phenomenon that affects senior citizens across all cultures. In the Saudi context, culture plays a vital role in socially including the elderly, where family solidarity equates to ensuring the well-being of senior members.

FASTFACT

In a world where younger generations are celebrated and adulated, the elderly can sometimes feel like they have lost their place and succumb to loneliness due to social exclusion and ageist stigma. But according to a local artist, one way in which older people can remain full and active members of society is through art.

Fawaz Binkolaib, a Jeddah-based artist with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Art Institute of Houston in Texas, said older members of society were all too often left on the sidelines.
“As we grow older, time leaves its marks on our skin, the stages of our lives telling stories of pain and laughter,” the 29-year-old told Arab News.
“We sometimes unintentionally exclude our seniors from daily social activities, treating them as unfit to take part.”
It was while studying in the US that Binkolaib realized how art could be used as a medium for conversation.
“My passion for art was sparked in a general education class I had to take in my first year called art appreciation,” he said. “My mind was woken by the subjective and various art forms and how that can provide different ways of communicating for us as a species.”
In his latest collection, titled “See In My Eyes,” Binkolaib showcases the beauty of a group of elderly subjects through the intricacies of every fold and wrinkle on their faces.
He said that creating the digital images, which he did using an electronic pen and pad, enabled him to really connect with his subjects.
“Speaking to the elderly was peaceful and easy,” he said. “They were excited to be voiced and heard. As we were speaking, other people passed by and joined the conversation, helping them to get across their stories.
“After talking with my senior muses, I became aware that a sense of community can enhance their overall psychological and emotional well-being,” he added.
“For that, I believe that promoting community-engaged art programs can empower and uplift senior citizens. I also think that their absence from social media has made it difficult for them to represent their image and how the younger generation perceives them.”
Binkolaib also said that facilitating and accommodating elderly people’s inclusion in community activities, like art, and familiarizing them with current trends was a good way to reintegrate them into society.
Art serves as a channel of untraditional communication for those unable to find the words to express their feelings, he added. Therefore, creating artistic outlets for senior citizens can help bridge the generation gap and energize their souls, providing solidarity and social cohesion.
Binkolaib says the elderly were us years before our time, leaving their thumbprint on all the places we are yet to experience for ourselves, carrying with them the wisdom of life gained through trials and tribulations.
“Because one day all we are going to have are the marks on our faces that relay our stories better than our words ever can,” he said.
Examples of the artist’s work can be found on his Instagram page, @Fawaz_designs.


STA launches Winter Season on its Visit Saudi platform

Visitors take photos of a musician playing an Arabic traditional instrument at Souq Al Ahsa World Heritage UNESCO Village. (REUTERS file photo)
Visitors take photos of a musician playing an Arabic traditional instrument at Souq Al Ahsa World Heritage UNESCO Village. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 34 sec ago

STA launches Winter Season on its Visit Saudi platform

Visitors take photos of a musician playing an Arabic traditional instrument at Souq Al Ahsa World Heritage UNESCO Village. (REUTERS file photo)
  • Options include city experiences and outdoor excursions tailored to colder months

RIYADH: The Saudi Tourism Authority has launched events and seasons through its Visit Saudi platform for the winter months.

From city experiences to outdoor excursions, the event schedule is filled with activities best experienced during the cold season.

Saudi Arabia is experiencing rapid growth through the interaction of visitors and tourists from inside and outside the Kingdom with all seasons, events, packages, and various destinations that have emerged through the platform, the official identity of Saudi tourism supervised by STA.

Through the Visit Saudi platform, visitors can find suitable packages and trips, and entertainment activities available until March 2022. STA is working with partners from the public and private sectors to promote this economic and social development that contributes to providing investment opportunities for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized companies, and job opportunities for the young men and women of the Kingdom.

After the great successes it has achieved in revitalizing local tourism during the past few years, STA will work during the current winter season to attract tourists from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the wider Middle East.

STA is also collaborating with the Saudi tourism sector to generate one million job opportunities, reaching 100 million annual visits, and raising the tourism sector’s contribution to GDP to 10 percent by 2030.

The Kingdom is witnessing a great tourist revival which reflects the extent of the government’s interest in the sector, one of the fastest-growing in the world, with a promising future as one of the most important pillars in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Last year, STA launched its Saudi Winter season from Dec. 10 until the end of March 2021. Visitors were provided with over 300 experiences and packages offered by more than 200 private sector establishments during the season. The campaign allowed Saudi nationals and non-Saudi residents traveling as families, in groups, or as individuals, and GCC nationals, to discover the Kingdom’s geographical and climate diversity.


Online platform for research chairs hailed as key development for Saudi universities

Saudi universities have made progress at the international level. (AFP/File)
Saudi universities have made progress at the international level. (AFP/File)
Updated 30 November 2021

Online platform for research chairs hailed as key development for Saudi universities

Saudi universities have made progress at the international level. (AFP/File)
  • Remarkable progress has been made in recent years in improving the standards of research in Saudi Arabia

MAKKAH: The recent launch of an online platform for research chairs at universities in Saudi Arabia is an innovative step, experts said, that aims to enhance the management of research and innovation at Saudi universities and encourage the development of innovative solutions, so that the nation can more effectively benefit from the progress they bring.
Research chair positions, reserved by educational institutions for top researchers whose work can advance the frontiers of knowledge, are relatively new in Saudi Arabia. But they are already having a positive effect on the research community in terms of fostering talent, encouraging innovative research and helping to develop the leaders of the future in a number of academic fields. This in turn is benefiting the wider education system and culture in the Kingdom.
Last week, Mohammed Al-Sudairi, the deputy minister of education for universities, research and innovation, officially launched the Research Chairs Forum during an event at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University. Experts and researchers from 40 universities and colleges joined 70 research chairs from Saudi universities and other guests at the launch of the platform.
The participants discussed the development of a model for efficient funding strategies for research chairs at universities and reviewed the role they can play in addressing important national development issues.
“The organization of the Research Chairs Forum comes in the context of the Ministry of Education’s constant interest in maximizing the role of universities and developing their research facilities, through research chairs,” Al-Sudairi said during the launch.

HIGHLIGHT

The participants discussed the development of a model for efficient funding strategies for research chairs at universities and reviewed the role they can play in addressing important national development issues.

“They are a bridge with the community to keep pace with its (the community’s) requirements and meet its developmental needs, thus achieving the aspirations of the leadership, in line with the priorities of Saudi Vision 2030”.
Remarkable progress has been made in recent years in improving the standards of research in Saudi Arabia. This is reflected in the fact that in January, the Kingdom ranked first in the Arab world and 14th globally in terms of publishing research about COVID-19, according to the Web of Science website. More generally, 65 percent of all scientific papers published by universities in Arab countries were from institutions in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, Saudi universities have made progress at the international level in the field of innovation. Three state universities ranked among the top 50 on the list of universities granted patents in 2020, in terms of the number of patents registered in the US, according to annual figures compiled by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals ranked 14th globally last year, according to data released by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which highlights the vital role of patents in university research and innovation.
King Abdulaziz University ranked 33rd, an improvement of 50 positions in just one year. King Saud University was in 45th place.
Ahmed Al-Thobaity, supervisor of the Office of Scientific and Academic Chairs at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam, told Arab News that Saudi universities have made great strides in recent years in the area of scientific research, in keeping with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030, and that the significant progress made by several universities in global rankings is testimony to their successes.
He said the launch of an online platform for research chairs reflects the interest of the country’s leaders in supporting science and scientists. He added that he hopes it will be provide a starting point for enhanced cooperation among researchers from all the country’s universities to help build effective scientific partnerships between institutions to improve the quality of scientific research.
Al-Thobaity said that the platform is particularly important for promoting the sharing of expertise between well-established universities and those founded more recently, thereby reducing gaps in the quality of scientific study that can exist between older and newer institutions.
“This platform is also important in establishing a comprehensive database for research chairs that helps researchers in the country and acts, for media platforms, like a source to promote the Kingdom’s great advances in science, in accordance with numbers, data and accurate statistics,” he added.
“Another benefit is establishing lines of communication between the private sector and universities, to channel financial support to the most modern findings of science in various fields.”
Manal Abdul Aziz Al-Shadde, a former dean of scientific research at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, predicted that the new platform will indeed help to enhance cooperation between researchers and universities.
“Universities take private initiatives to promote scientific research between researchers from different universities,” she told Arab News. “However, this platform is the culmination of these initiatives, with the Ministry of Education’s systematic work, with all its technical and human potential.”
Al-Shadde said the language of science has no boundaries or borders and aims to serve all people.
“We aspire to make this platform a pioneer in enhancing cooperation, sharing expertise and optimizing human and financial resources and equipment,” she added. “We will soon see the great impact of this platform in supporting our research efforts at our universities, institutions and research centers.”


Who’s Who: Dr. Mubarak Al-Suwailem, secretary-general of the International Camel Organization

Dr. Mubarak Al-Suwailem. (Supplied)
Dr. Mubarak Al-Suwailem. (Supplied)
Updated 30 November 2021

Who’s Who: Dr. Mubarak Al-Suwailem, secretary-general of the International Camel Organization

Dr. Mubarak Al-Suwailem. (Supplied)

Dr. Mubarak Al-Suwailem is the secretary-general of the International Camel Organization, a position he has held since March 2019.
Al-Suwailem supervised the establishment of the European Camel Ranch Owners’ Association in Zurich in 2019, and of the North American Camel Ranch Owners’ Association in North Carolina in 2020.
He organized an international symposium titled “The Camel in Ancient Art, History and Culture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the first of its kind. He organized with UNESCO the first ICO International Experts Congress in June 2021.
He is a former officer of the Saudi Armed Forces, where he rose to the rank of brigadier general. He served as an adviser to the governor of Makkah region for 14 years and as an adviser to the governor of Riyadh.
He is an expert on sport, politics, security and administration. He has written two books on parachuting and published academic papers in the field of education.
Al-Suwailem is the president of both the Air Sports Federation of Asia and the Saudi and Arab Federations, and has been the Saudi representative in the International Parachute Commission for 13 years. He is an arbitrator at the Saudi Sports Arbitration Center.
He received a skydiving D license in the US in 1992 and joined several American clubs. He was the first Arab to skydive over the North Pole in 2004 and has participated in international competitions.
He received a Mohammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum Award for Creative Sport.
Al-Suwailem took his bachelor’s degree in Security Sciences at King Fahd Security College. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. in educational management and planning from Umm Al-Qura University.


Saudi Arabia reopens consular section of Kabul embassy

Saudi Arabia reopens consular section of Kabul embassy
Updated 30 November 2021

Saudi Arabia reopens consular section of Kabul embassy

Saudi Arabia reopens consular section of Kabul embassy
  • The decision stems from the Kingdom’s keenness to provide all consular services to the Afghan people

RIYADH:  Saudi Arabia reopened the consular section of its embassy in Kabul on Tuesday.

The decision stems from the Kingdom’s keenness to provide all consular services to the Afghan people, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Kingdom has previously called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to urgently convene an extraordinary ministerial meeting to discuss the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and pathways for a humanitarian response.

Pakistan has offered to host this meeting in Islamabad on Dec. 17.