King Abdullah interfaith centre moves its headquarters to Lisbon

King Abdullah interfaith centre moves its headquarters to Lisbon
KAICIID chief Faisal bin Abdul Rahman bin Muammar and Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva sign the agreement. (Supplied)
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Updated 29 October 2021

King Abdullah interfaith centre moves its headquarters to Lisbon

King Abdullah interfaith centre moves its headquarters to Lisbon

JEDDAH: The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue announced that it has moved its headquarters from the Austrian capital, Vienna, to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon
KAICIID’s Council of Parties, consisting of Saudi Arabia, Austria, Spain, the Vatican and officials from the Portuguese government had held diplomatic talks over the proposal, leading to an agreement signed between the center and the government on Friday.
The center’s secretary-general, Faisal bin Abdul Rahman bin Muammar, signed the agreement on behalf of KAICIID, alongside Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva, on behalf of the Portuguese government.
KAICIID now joins nine international organizations headquartered in Lisbon.
After signing the agreement, Bin Muammar expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Portuguese government for hosting the center’s new headquarters in order for it to fulfil its vision to encourage global, humane, meaningful and responsible dialogue, based on strengthening ties between followers of different religions and cultures.
He stressed that the center will continue to connect religious and cultural leaders and institutions and facilitate support policy makers, enhance the role of religious and human values, achieve peaceful coexistence and common citizenship and combat all forms of hatred and extremism.
Bin Muammar underlined the great historical role that the center has played since its inauguration in Vienna in 2012. He alluded to its significant impact on global interfaith and intercultural dialogue, and its relationship with other religious institutions in terms of policymaking to achieve coexistence, cooperation, security, peace and to combat hate speech and extremism.
On the occasion of the signing of the agreement, Bin Muammar reviewed the center’s efforts in the field of global dialogue. The center has established a wide network of religious leaders working in more than 60 countries, training other leaders and educators from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds to facilitate dialogue and communication and enhance social cohesion, launching the KAICIID International Fellowship Program as a contribution to building a cohesive society, with a network of 364 alumni representing 9 major religions.
KAICIID also cooperated with the World Organization of the Scout Movement in establishing relations between young people through the Dialogue for Peace Program, whose affiliates have reached more than 9,000 young people. Bin Muammar referred to the launch of the social media program as a space for dialogue for the Arab region, and praised its success in training more than 700 young leaders from 12 countries to fight hate speech and extremism on the internet.
Bin Muammar said: “When the world faced the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Center for Dialogue contributed to directing its activities and programs to activate the efforts of religious organizations and leaders, and launched 210 initiatives in 50 countries to address its social and economic repercussions, fight hate speech, enhance cohesion and social solidarity, and help the needy.”
He added that KAICIID had the honor of organizing the seventh G20 Interfaith Forum, hosted by the Kingdom in October 2020 — an opportunity to unite the two main drivers behind KAICIID’s mission: Opening and strengthening dialogue between religious leaders and policy makers,  and bringing together the views and practices of different global religious, humanitarian and cultural leaders and institutions.
Bin Muammar expressed his gratitude and appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the care, support, follow-up and attention they provided to the center to achieve its goals and aspirations.
He also extended his sincere gratitude and appreciation to Prince Faisal bin Farhan, minister of foreign affairs, for his follow-up and support to the center, and praised the efforts of Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff who contributed to facilitating KAICIID’s work and activities. 
He also thanked the founding partners in Austria, Spain and the Vatican, the members of the board of Ddirectors including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and other followers of various religions and cultures, members of the advisory board, the center’s 84 employees from 30 countries, and partners and friends all over the world, who have spared no effort in aiding the center reach its current position.
Bin Muammar concluded his statement by expressing his gratitude for being able serving KAICIID and its values, adding he was honored to be responsible for its establishment as an international institution after assuming its general secretariat in 2012.


French-Saudi agreements signal ‘beginning of new era of cooperation,’ says French ambassador

French-Saudi agreements signal ‘beginning of new era of cooperation,’ says French ambassador
Updated 01 October 2022

French-Saudi agreements signal ‘beginning of new era of cooperation,’ says French ambassador

French-Saudi agreements signal ‘beginning of new era of cooperation,’ says French ambassador
  • Saudi Arabia hosts 150,000 French speakers and 500 teachers of the French language in various institutions
  • French presence in the Kingdom is marked by a network of schools in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar

DUBAI: On the occasion of the launch of the new French Cultural Season in Saudi Arabia, French Ambassador to the Kingdom Ludovic Pouille hosted an evening celebrating French-Saudi cultural dialogue at the French Embassy in Riyadh.

“You make French culture present in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Pouille, addressing an audience of artists, entrepreneurs and officials.

The ambassador hailed the joint effort by France and Saudi Arabia to enable the success of cultural events in the Kingdom. “I want to thank our Saudi partners and friends, artists, professors, entrepreneurs and officials from the Saudi government for their contribution in strengthening on a daily basis our cultural relationship,” he added.

Among the participants were partners from the EU, Francophone countries, the Alliance Franҫaise d’Arabie Saoudite led by Zaher Al-Munajjed and the French Embassy’s team led by Catherine le Thomas.

Saudi Arabia hosts 150,000 French speakers and 500 teachers of the French language in various institutions. The French presence in the Kingdom is marked by a network of schools in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar, making education one of the primary elements on which the two nations collaborate.

 

 

As part of its Vision 2030, the Kingdom has initiated large-scale events enabling its development as a culture, education, tourism and sports hub on an international level. These events include Riyadh Season, Jeddah Season, AlUla Season, the Red Sea International Film Festival, the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale and the upcoming Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah.

“We are all very lucky to live in a thrilling context in which Saudi Arabia is rapidly opening up and exploring new directions for its future. The Kingdom is now witnessing what President (Emmanuel) Macron called a ‘cultural revolution’ during his visit to Jeddah,” said the ambassador.

The new French Cultural Season in Saudi Arabia is a promising one, with events starting in October with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of French-Saudi cooperation in the field of archaeology. The event is a two-day symposium that will see the participation of the 15 French archaeological missions collaborating with Saudi archaeologists across the Kingdom in the Farasan Islands, Hegra and AlUla, among other locations.

The second event in the pipeline is “Digital November,” which is aimed at bringing art and technology together. A series of tournaments, workshops and other activities centered on esports and e-games will be featured.

Other cultural cooperation projects will involve music, cinema, fashion, design and poetry, with the annual Night of Poetry to be held in December.

Franco-Saudi cooperation is also evident through the Kingdom’s giga-projects — such as the development of AlUla — that will shape the country for decades to follow.

AfAlula, the French Agency for the Development of AlUla, is collaborating with the Royal Commission for AlUla to develop the region “based on an intergovernmental agreement signed in April 2018 during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Paris,” Pouille said.

The AlUla project is the first of a series of initiatives that aim to reinforce the ties between the two countries.

Since the French president’s visit to Jeddah in December 2021, several agreements have been signed, including one for Villa Hegra, an ambitious institution of contemporary art that will enable the Kingdom to build a creative and artistic hub, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

The agreements signal the “beginning of a new era of cooperation between France and Saudi Arabia,” according to the ambassador.

This story originally appeared on Arab News en Français.


Saudi Border Guards seize 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish in Jazan 

Saudi Border Guards seize 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish in Jazan 
Updated 01 October 2022

Saudi Border Guards seize 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish in Jazan 

Saudi Border Guards seize 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish in Jazan 

RIYADH: Border guards in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region have thwarted an attempt to smuggle 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish. 
Initial legal procedures have been completed and the drugs were seized and handed over to the relevant authority, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Saudi Arabia has been cracking down on attempts to smuggle drugs into and out of the Kingdom, with authorities saying they would continue to stop all attempts to put the public at harm.


Saudi ministry wins 2 communication awards in UAE

Saudi ministry wins 2 communication awards in UAE
Updated 01 October 2022

Saudi ministry wins 2 communication awards in UAE

Saudi ministry wins 2 communication awards in UAE
  • 53 candidates were shortlisted in 19 award classes

SHARJAH, UAE: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development won two accolades at the 9th Sharjah Government Communication Awards in the UAE.

The ministry scooped awards in the categories for best systems in government communication in the Arab world, and best government communication initiative to empower women globally.

Fifty-three candidates were shortlisted in 19 award classes, with the Saudi ministry recognized for the methodology used in the implementation of its projects, the impact and results achieved, the effective use of technology and media to reach target audiences, and its innovative and proactive visions.

The ministry’s assistant minister for shared services, Mohammed bin Nasser Al-Jasser, said the awards success was down to the hard work of employees.

He added that the ministry sought to create an effective communication media system capable of keeping pace with the rapid changes taking place in the sectors it supervised while responding to the digital transformation that had seen a transformation in government media over recent years.

 

 


Diriya Gate Development Authority launches project to encode Diriyah history in Braille

Diriya Gate Development Authority launches project to encode Diriyah history in Braille
Updated 01 October 2022

Diriya Gate Development Authority launches project to encode Diriyah history in Braille

Diriya Gate Development Authority launches project to encode Diriyah history in Braille
  • The project will help visually impaired people gain a deeper understanding of the history of Diriyah, the original home of the Saudi royal family

RIYADH:  The Diriyah Gate Development Authority has teamed up with the National Association of the Blind “Kafeef” to launch an initiative for the translation of Diriyah’s history into Braille.

The project will help visually impaired people gain a deeper understanding of Diriyah’s history.

Paper copies of the content printed in Braille will help strengthen participants’ emotional connection to their rich Saudi history and heritage.

The project reflects DGDA’s commitment to the visually impaired, and is aligned with the authority’s mandate to preserve and celebrate its culture and heritage.

The first part of the initiative runs until Oct. 15, and includes a course on Diriyah’s history for young men and women from “Kafeef.”

Supporting course materials were translated into paper and digital formats, including content on the year 850 — the year that Diriyah was established — as well as the At-Turaif district and the history of the First Saudi State.

Participants with the highest scores have since been selected to teach within the program itself, based on the level of their interest in Saudi history and their Braille skills.

DGDA is committed to working with “Kafeef” to provide support to participants, including paper and digital training materials, as well as lessons for registered participants, with an official certificate available on completion of the course.

The course is expected to foster a competitive, knowledge-based atmosphere that will help bolster the connection visually impaired individuals have to their heritage; strengthen their sense of belonging to their country’s past, present, and future; and instil a sense of community and collective investment in the country’s progress.

 

 


Saudi culture minister meets Jordanian, Iraqi counterparts at UNESCO meeting in Mexico

Saudi culture minister meets Jordanian, Iraqi counterparts at UNESCO meeting in Mexico
Updated 01 October 2022

Saudi culture minister meets Jordanian, Iraqi counterparts at UNESCO meeting in Mexico

Saudi culture minister meets Jordanian, Iraqi counterparts at UNESCO meeting in Mexico

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan on Friday held talks with his Jordanian counterpart, Haifa Najjar, on the sidelines of the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development — Mondiacult 2022 in Mexico.
At the beginning of the meeting, Prince Badr congratulated Najjar on the Jordanian city of Irbid being chosen as the Arab Capital of Culture in 2022.
He also praised the success of the Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts, and thanked Najjar for the support in organizing the “Saudi Cultural Week” in Jordan from Spet. 12-15, stressing the depth of the relations that bind the two kingdoms, their governments and people.
During the meeting, they discussed ways to intensify and deepen cultural cooperation between their two countries in various cultural and artistic fields, exchange visits and establish cultural activities, and enhancing joint cooperation in preserving their antiquities and historical sites.
Prince Badr also met with Iraqi Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Hassan Nazim, where they praised the depth of the relations and stressed the importance of strengthening joint cultural cooperation.
The Saudi minister also praised the joint efforts between the Saudi-Iraqi work teams specialized in heritage, under the umbrella of the growing cooperation between the Kingdom’s Heritage Commission and the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, calling for more cooperation in all cultural fields.
During his meeting Malaysian Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Nancy Shukri, the two sides reviewed bilateral cultural relations and ways to develop cooperation and cultural exchange.
The Saudi minister also met Burkina Faso Minister of Communication, Culture, Arts and Tourism Valerie Kabore, where they discussed opportunities for cultural cooperation in the fields of crafts and folklore, artistic residency programs, seminars and events aimed at building capacities and introducing the cultures of the two countries.
He also held similar talks with his Chadian counterpart of the sidelines of the conference.