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.


Saudi Arabia participates in UN Ocean Conference for first time

Saudi Arabia participates in UN Ocean Conference for first time
Updated 16 sec ago

Saudi Arabia participates in UN Ocean Conference for first time

Saudi Arabia participates in UN Ocean Conference for first time
  • ‘Blue Saudi’ pavilion sheds light on Kingdom’s efforts in ocean regeneration

JEDDAH: June 28 marked the opening of the Saudi pavilion at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, which takes place in Lisbon, Portugal, and runs until July 1.

The Saudi pavilion, titled “Blue Saudi,” is aimed at shedding light on the health of the Red Sea and the Kingdom’s leading role in researching its unique habitats and ecosystems, and protecting and regenerating the region.

The 2022 UN Ocean Conference, in its second edition, got underway on June 27 and is co-organized by the governments of Portugal and Kenya.

It aims to inspire a global effort to rebuild marine life, emphasizing the critical role that the oceans play in stabilizing climate systems.

The first edition of the conference was in 2017 and took place at the UN’s headquarters in New York.

This year’s conference theme is “Scaling Up Ocean Action Based on Science and Innovation for the Implementation of Goal 14: Stocktaking, Partnerships, and Solutions.”

According to the UN website, Sustainable Development Goal 14 is about “Life below water” and is one of the 17 SDGs established by the UN in 2015. The official wording is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

In line with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed the importance of international unity to help oceans and marine life survive. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Guterres said in a statement during the opening ceremony of the conference: “The ocean connects us all — sadly we have taken the ocean for granted and today we face what I would call an ocean emergency.”

He added: “We must turn the tide. Global warming is pushing ocean temperatures to record levels, creating fiercer and more frequent storms … Much more needs to be done by all of us together.”

Saudi Arabia has previously announced several key commitments as part of broader ambitions to drive sustainability, including increasing the percentage of marine protected areas to 30 percent of its waters and planting 100 million mangroves by 2030.

Dr. Mohammad Qurban, head of the Saudi delegation to the UN Ocean Conference, said: “Our presence at this globally significant conference demonstrates our commitment to not only taking part in the conversation but sharing the lessons learned about our coastline and oceans.

“The goal is to play a connecting role, bringing together countries who border these waters, to ensure a comprehensive approach to protecting the Red Sea is developed and successfully delivered.”

Qurban, who is also the CEO of the Saudi National Center of Wildlife, said: “Ultimately, the Kingdom hopes to export the scientific learnings discovered and the positive application of innovative solutions, with the rest of the world, as we all unite together to confront some of the biggest challenges facing people and planet today.”

The “Blue Saudi” pavilion showcases many ambitions and ongoing efforts in the field of ocean regeneration.

Since the Red Sea is the world’s warmest and saltiest ocean, and provides a home to extensive coral reef banks and a narrow deep central axis as large in area as the Great Barrier Reef, the Kingdom is highly focused on researching these unique habitats to provide a better understanding of their challenging conditions.

It is also aiming to develop technologies to help expand coral habitats and to enable biodiversity to flourish.

On the opening day, the pavilion hosted an event to facilitate conversations around the role of science and innovation in enabling regenerative development of the Red Sea, and how meaningful partnerships and collaboration, coupled with good governance, are driving positive action in the marine environment.

To register interest and attend the event visit: www.bluesaudi.com


King Salman receives written message from Qatar emir

King Salman receives written message from Qatar emir
Updated 42 min 30 sec ago

King Salman receives written message from Qatar emir

King Salman receives written message from Qatar emir
  • Kingdom’s FM and Qatari ambassador to Saudi Arabia discussed bilateral relations and ways of enhancing them

RIYADH: King Salman received a written message from the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Wednesday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The message touched on “brotherly relations” between the two countries and was received by the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan during a meeting with the Qatari ambassador to Saudi Arabia Bandar bin Muhammad Al-Attiyah.

The two officials discussed bilateral relations between their countries and ways of enhancing them in various fields during the meeting in Riyadh.

They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest.


Diplomatic Quarter: Palestinian ambassador praises KSA generosity over decades

Diplomatic Quarter: Palestinian ambassador praises KSA generosity over decades
Updated 14 min 28 sec ago

Diplomatic Quarter: Palestinian ambassador praises KSA generosity over decades

Diplomatic Quarter: Palestinian ambassador praises KSA generosity over decades

RIYADH: Palestine’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia has praised the Kingdom for its financial assistance and support over several decades.

Basem Abdullah Al-Agha met Ahmed bin Ali Al-Baiz, assistant supervisor general for operations and programs at the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, to discuss issues of common interest related to humanitarian affairs.

Al-Agha told Arab News on Wednesday that the talks followed on from previous meetings with KSrelief, and were “an extension of our gratitude to the Kingdom, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and to the generous Saudi people for their ongoing support and the assistance over decades.”

Support from KSrelief reaches about 80 countries, he said.

The center offered assistance to Palestine’s Ministry of Health during the pandemic, including the provision of vaccines.

“It’s our duty to give our gratitude to the center,” Al-Agha added.

He also expressed hope that further assistance will be provided to meet Palestinians’ health needs, including support for hospitals in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Saudi Arabia remains one of the top providers of financial aid for Palestine.

Between 2000-2018, the Kingdom provided more than $6.4 billion in aid to Palestine, according to the Kingdom’s humanitarian groups.

Khaled Manzlawiy, Saudi Arabia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, said in May 2020 that the Kingdom is proud to be one of the largest donors to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

“Knowing the role the agency serves for more than 5 million Palestinian refugees — and because of its belief in the (importance) of the Palestinian cause — the Kingdom has supported UNRWA with more than $1 billion since 1994, which the humanitarian organization described as clear evidence of the Kingdom’s wish to ensure Palestinian refugees enjoy dignity and well-being,” Manzlawiy said during a virtual briefing on the investigations of the Office of Internal Oversight Services and various UNRWA initiatives.

Saudi Arabia on April 27 this year reaffirmed to the UN its stance over Palestine, calling for end to the Israeli occupation, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as capital, and the guaranteed right of return for refugees.

Mohammed Al-Ateeq, charge d’affaires of the permanent mission of Saudi Arabia to the UN, highlighted the Kingdom’s position during a UN Security Council session on the Middle East and Palestinian situation.


Dul Hijjah crescent moon sighted; Eid Al-Adha to begin on July 9

Dul Hijjah crescent moon sighted; Eid Al-Adha to begin on July 9
Updated 29 June 2022

Dul Hijjah crescent moon sighted; Eid Al-Adha to begin on July 9

Dul Hijjah crescent moon sighted; Eid Al-Adha to begin on July 9
  • Hajj will start on July 6 and end on July 10, with Arafat Day falling on July 8

RIYADH: Following the sighting of the crescent moon on Wednesday evening, it has been announced that the five-day Eid Al-Adha celebration will begin on July 9. This will be the 10th day of Dul Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic Hijri calendar.

The Eid Al-Adha celebrations commemorate the Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah. As a test of Ibrahim’s commitment to obeying his Lord’s command without question, Allah ordered him to sacrifice his son, Ismail. Ibrahim was willing to do what was asked of him but at the last moment Allah replaced Ismail with a ram. Eid Al-Adha is therefore known as the festival of sacrifice.

Dul Hijjah, which begins this year on June 30, is the month during which the Hajj pilgrimage takes place. Hajj will start on the 7th day of Dul Hijjah (July 6), and end on the 11th day of the month (July 10). Arafat Day falls on the 9th day of Dul Hijjah (July 8).

Pilgrims’ tents at Arafat, as well as accommodation in Mina and Muzdalifah, have been inspected and are fully prepared to receive the guests of God for Hajj, authorities said.

On June 4, Saudi Arabia welcomed the first foreign pilgrims to arrive in the country for Hajj since the start of COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

The pilgrims, who flew to Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah from Indonesia, were presented with flowers, dates and Zamzam water.


‘Exciting time’ for renewable energy collaboration between UK and Saudi Arabia, experts tell London forum

‘Exciting time’ for renewable energy collaboration between UK and Saudi Arabia, experts tell London forum
Updated 29 June 2022

‘Exciting time’ for renewable energy collaboration between UK and Saudi Arabia, experts tell London forum

‘Exciting time’ for renewable energy collaboration between UK and Saudi Arabia, experts tell London forum
  • UK-Saudi Renewable Energy Forum on June 28, organized by Saudi British Joint Business Council, brought together Saudi and UK investors and business leaders

LONDON: It is an “exciting time” to be working with Saudi Arabia and “exploring collaboration” in renewable energy, experts said at a joint UK-Saudi panel on Tuesday.

The UK-Saudi Renewable Energy Forum on June 28, organized by the Saudi British Joint Business Council, brought together Saudi and UK investors and business leaders to discuss clean energy programs in both countries and the finance available to support decarbonization and the energy transition.

Attended by a high-level Saudi official delegation, as well as a private sector delegation, the event built on the success of SBJBC’s Sustainable Investment Forum in July last year.

The event followed the recent launch of the Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives and the ongoing commitment from both the Saudi and British governments to invest in carbon capture, hydrogen and clean fuels in order to address climate change and meet net-zero emission targets.

“There’s been a strong regulatory evolution [in this field] across the GCC, so I think it’s a really exciting time to be getting involved in Saudi Arabia,” managing partner at Ashurst Middle East David Charlier said.

Orral Nadjari, founder and CEO at Britishvolt, agreed now was the time to be working closely with the Kingdom in the sector.

“We need to localize manufacturing and reinvent outdated supply chains, so we’re very interested in exploring collaboration with Saudi Arabia,” he said.

UK Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone was a key speaker at the event, and he said the global political will to enact change has been visible in recent years.

“We need to see more partnership between our countries. There’s a real desire for change,” he said.

“From hosting COP26 in Glasgow to welcoming key investors to the Global Investment Summit in London, the UK is deeply committed to tackling climate change at all levels.

“Investment is crucial to this, through nurturing technological developments and propelling our economy towards a cleaner, greener future.

“I’m looking forward to working with Saudi Arabia and countries the world over to commit to increasing cooperation in green technology and clean energy to work towards a more sustainable future for all,” he added.

Ahead of the forum, Lord Mayor of the City of London Vincent Keaveny said: “As we pass the halfway point between COP26 and COP27, this forum will be essential for driving progress towards global net-zero. As the world’s largest oil exporter, it’s vital that Saudi Arabia is part of the solution towards tackling climate change.”