Riyadh Season: Concept stores spreading cultural heritage through local products

Siwara, one of the local concept stores in Boulevard Riyadh City. (Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
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Siwara, one of the local concept stores in Boulevard Riyadh City. (Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
Riyadh Season: Concept stores spreading cultural heritage through local products
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(Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
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(Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
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Lit, one of the local concept stores in Boulevard Riyadh City. (Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
Siwara, one of the local concept stores in Boulevard Riyadh City. (Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
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Siwara, one of the local concept stores in Boulevard Riyadh City. (Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
Riyadh Season: Concept stores spreading cultural heritage through local products
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(Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
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(Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
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Updated 23 November 2021

Riyadh Season: Concept stores spreading cultural heritage through local products

Siwara, one of the local concept stores in Boulevard Riyadh City. (Photo: Rahaf Jambi)
  • A concept store is a shop that sells a range of items from many vendors, with most of the items carefully handmade by local craftsmen and small businesses

RIYADH: Al-bisht, abaya and farwa are some of the cultural products popular among visitors during Riyadh Season. They are sold through local concept stores, with the Riyadh Season helping to create trends and give businesses an opportunity to make profits.
Because the Riyadh Season was a huge success in 2019, a number of businesses are coming back to claim a spot this year. In Boulevard Riyadh city, seven local concept stores are showcasing Saudi culture to the world. Among them are Siwara, Espace, We Cre8, Lit, Zamakan, IT, and Crate.
Nawaf Yar, owner of the concept store Siwara, said that this was his second participation, and that his shop was one of the concept stores that were present in the last Riyadh Season in 2019.
“My first experience in 2019 was very successful but it was unfortunate that it had to close in 2020 due to the pandemic and that is what made me participate again this season,” Yar told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

Because the Riyadh Season was a huge success in 2019, a number of businesses are coming back to claim a spot this year. In Boulevard Riyadh city, seven local concept stores are showcasing Saudi culture to the world. Among them are Siwara, Espace, We Cre8, Lit, Zamakan, IT, and Crate.

“A lot of foreigners come and ask if our products are imported or local and they are really interested in local items,” Yar added.
He said that Siwara contains 15 small businesses, six of which are owned by women and have been in the market since 2017. Their aim is to support women’s empowerment and give them an opportunity to sell their products through his store.
A concept store is a shop that sells a range of items from many vendors, with most of the items carefully handmade by local craftsmen and small businesses. These concept stores are considered a new trend in the Kingdom and are becoming popular among the youth, who want unique pieces.


Obai Al-Sahaf, operation manager for Crate concept store, told Arab News that many local businesses had the quality and potential to compete with international brands and they only needed a place to showcase their products.
“We switched our business model to give the designers 80 percent of the store and we are trying to help the designers be successful, both in Boulevard and online. A number of tourists will be visiting Boulevard and they are looking for pieces representative of our culture and that is why we decided to open a store here in the middle of Riyadh Season,” Al-Sahaf said.
Crate has been a concept store since it started in 2017. The business is based on helping designers penetrate the market and grow, and has also developed its own brands.




It one of the local concept stores in Boulevard Riyadh City. (Photo: Rahaf Jambi)

“We have many brands that showcase our culture, such as the bisht-style beach towel and bisht abayas. We also have our own jewelry line using diamonds and silver on prayer beads. That could be a gift representing our culture,” Al-Sahaf added.
The emergence of social media in the Kingdom has helped to foster the growing concept store culture. Many of them were initially online sites which became successful and then moved into a physical store. Some of the stores do not rely only on their products but have branched out to create a fuller experience by selling food or drink in order to attract customers.
Duaa Jawdat, the business department officer of Lit, told Arab News that she started the store this year.
“It is not your typical concept store. It not only offers items for sale but also serves coffee and our signature tiramisu,” she said.
“All our vendors are local and there is a high demand for the unique pieces that we have. The visitors, whether foreigners or locals, are keen to collect unusual and unique items,” Jawdat added.
Jawdat said that people were buying and supporting all kinds of items such as jewelry, perfumes, clothes, and accessories.
She added that she had decided to open her store in Boulevard during Riyadh Season as a marketing ploy for a startup concept store that
will open in December in a different location.
“All categories are now directed to Riyadh Season, so it is a good opportunity to market our store and get a good reputation,” Jawdat added.
She said that her startup store will have a bowling alley and a coffee shop alongside the concept store. Visitors can enjoy themselves by playing games, eating, drinking, and shopping all in the same place at the same time.
Because of the huge success of sales and interactions, these businesses are planning to continue their business in Boulevard even after Riyadh Season is over.


Film Commission launches its strategy to develop Saudi film, cinema sector

The Film Commission launched its strategy at a ceremony in Riyadh, held under the patronage of Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan. (SPA)
The Film Commission launched its strategy at a ceremony in Riyadh, held under the patronage of Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan. (SPA)
Updated 28 November 2021

Film Commission launches its strategy to develop Saudi film, cinema sector

The Film Commission launched its strategy at a ceremony in Riyadh, held under the patronage of Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan. (SPA)
  • The strategy aims to increase direct GDP contribution, increase job opportunities, and increase the number of locally produced feature films

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Film Commission on Sunday launched its strategy to develop the Kingdom’s film and cinema sector at a ceremony in the capital, Riyadh.
The ceremony was held under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, the minister of culture and chairman of the commission.
Hamed Fayez, the deputy minister of culture and vice chairman of the commission’s board of directors, said that the strategy, with its diverse and comprehensive programs and initiatives, represents a first step toward developing the sector and supporting and empowering Saudi filmmakers.
Fayez said the Kingdom has great potential in the industry due to creative Saudi talent winning awards at regional and international film festivals, Saudi films that have achieved remarkable recognition locally and internationally, and the growth of the production movement in recent years.
The Film Commission’s CEO Abdullah Al-Ayyaf said the strategy contributes to achieving the goals of the Ministry of Culture and the Kingdom’s Vision 2020 National Culture Strategy, by achieving growth in the Saudi film production sector and transforming it into a competitive industry.
It includes producing local cinematic content to attract Saudi and international audiences, and presenting the Kingdom as a leading global center for film production in the Middle East, he added.
The strategy was based on a benchmark comparison with the 20 most important countries in the film industry.
It includes six strategic pillars, including talent development, infrastructure, local production in the Kingdom, international production in the Kingdom, regulatory framework, film distribution and screening.
According to the strategy, the Film Commission will work on 19 strategic initiatives aimed at creating a large movement in the Saudi film sector, providing an infrastructure for film production, and empowering Saudi talents and capabilities.
The commission said its strategy was designed to increase direct contribution to the gross domestic product, increase the number of job opportunities in the film sector, and increase the number of locally produced feature films. 
The Film Commission is one of 11 cultural bodies affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and was established in February last year.


Kaspersky, Saudi Technology Control to combat cyberattack

Dr. Bandar Al-Haqbani, Dr. Abdulaziz Alhussain, Engineer Mohammad Alwashmi and Mohammad Hashem at the conference. (Supplied)
Dr. Bandar Al-Haqbani, Dr. Abdulaziz Alhussain, Engineer Mohammad Alwashmi and Mohammad Hashem at the conference. (AN photo by Rahaf Jambi)
Updated 28 November 2021

Kaspersky, Saudi Technology Control to combat cyberattack

Dr. Bandar Al-Haqbani, Dr. Abdulaziz Alhussain, Engineer Mohammad Alwashmi and Mohammad Hashem at the conference. (Supplied)
  • Saudi Arabia is currently developing digitization and advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, fintech and 5G across its public and private sector

RIYADH: Global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has signed a strategic agreement with Technology Control Company, a security services, digital services and big data company in Saudi Arabia, at the @Hack Infosec Conference 2021.
The managed security service provider agreement was marked at the conference, one of Saudi Arabia’s most anticipated information-security events of the year.
The move is in line with Technology Control Company’s commitment to providing its customers in Saudi Arabia with enhanced managed security services.
Mohamad Hashem, country manager at Kaspersky, told Arab News how new technologies increased the risk and exposure to cyberattacks by opening new avenues of attack.
“Taking this into account, Kaspersky is delighted to expand and strengthen Technology Control Company’s portfolio and offer customers in Saudi Arabia the most effective prevention, detection and response capabilities to the market,”  he said.

Dr. Abdulaziz Alhussain from TCC and Mohammad Hashem singing the agreement in @hack conference. (AN photo by Rahaf Jambi)

“Our innovative solutions and extensive expertise will ensure that our customers in the region receive the best data protection possible via a trusted local technology and service provider,”  he said.
Technology Control Company will be offering Kaspersky’s resources and services such as Security Operations Center consulting, security assessment, awareness and training.
The Kingdom is currently developing digitization and advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, fintech and 5G across its public and private sector.

Taking this into account, Kaspersky is delighted to expand and strengthen Technology Control Company’s portfolio and offer customers in Saudi Arabia the most effective prevention, detection and response capabilities to the market.

Mohamad Hashem, Country manager at Kaspersky

As the country continues its road to digitization and adoption of these technologies, Kaspersky expects a steady rise in cyberattacks.
The partnership will play a key role in navigating these risks by helping Technology Control Company deliver security monitoring, incident response, threat hunting, threat intelligence, managed detection and response, security assessment and security awareness services in a cost-efficient, scalable and flexible way.
Technology Control Company’s customers in Saudi Arabia will be able to subscribe to next-generation SOC services based on solutions in line with global industry standards. Providing training such as incident response, malware analysis and digital forensics is another essential element of the alliance.
Hashem expressed his excitement about participation at @hack event and said that this was the first time the event was being held outside the US.
“Of course, we had to be a part of this great event because Kaspersky is one of the leading companies in the cybersecurity realm, and we are glad to be here,”  Hashem said.
He said that the company had signed an initiative with Cyberkids to help promote a better understanding of cybersecurity.
Muhammad Alwashmi, security services director at Technology Control Company, said that they were glad to partner with an international company with worldwide exposure and intelligence specific to the region.
“This agreement will support and provide our customers with premium protection to their businesses through the best solutions available in the market. Having Kaspersky on board will contribute to our success, and we are looking forward to a prosperous collaboration,”  Alwashmi said.


Saudi Arabia to chair anti-human trafficking forum

Awwad Al-Awwad. (Supplied)
Awwad Al-Awwad. (Supplied)
Updated 29 November 2021

Saudi Arabia to chair anti-human trafficking forum

Awwad Al-Awwad. (Supplied)
  • The forum will discuss the challenges and developments in the field in order to enable national committees to develop joint action plans to address crime

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday will chair the third government forum to discuss the challenges of combating human trafficking in the Middle East.

The two-day forum will be held virtually under the theme “National and international coordination on combating trafficking in persons in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.”

The forum will involve the heads of anti-human trafficking committees of Gulf Cooperation Council countries, a number of Arab states and international representatives.

It will be inaugurated by the president of the Human Rights Commission and chairman of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Awwad Al-Awwad.

The forum will discuss the challenges and developments in the field in order to enable national committees to develop joint action plans to address crime.

Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the forum affirms the important role of the Kingdom in tackling human trafficking and supporting victims. It comes as the Kingdom marks continued progress in the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report.


Who’s Who: Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin, chair of the UNESCO Executive Board Program and External Relations Commission

Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin. (SPA)
Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin. (SPA)
Updated 29 November 2021

Who’s Who: Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin, chair of the UNESCO Executive Board Program and External Relations Commission

Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin. (SPA)

Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin was recently elected to chair the UNESCO Executive Board Program and External Relations Commission for two years.
During the 213th session of the UNESCO executive board in Paris, the executive council named Princess Haifa, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to UNESCO, for the position.
The Kingdom’s presidency of UNESCO’s programs and external relations committee reflects its pivotal role in UNESCO to support the decision-making process in a systematic and fair way.
Commenting on the election, Princess Haifa posted on Twitter: “Glad to announce that Saudi Arabia will continue its pursuits to ensure a better future for all as chair of the Executive Board Program and External Relations Commission.”
Princess Haifa received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Riyadh-based King Saud University in 2000 and a master’s degree in science in economics with reference to the Middle East from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 2007.
In 2009, she briefly took up a part-time role lecturing at King Saud University, before starting work with the UN Development Programme. In 2013, she was promoted to the role of program analyst there, covering social development and human rights.
She joined the Ministry of Economy and Planning as head of the sustainable development goals sector in 2016 and was appointed assistant deputy minister for sustainable development affairs in 2017.
She also served as the assistant deputy minister for G20 affairs under the Ministry of Economy and Planning from 2018. That same year, she was a speaker at the Second Urban Planning Forum — a testament to her expertise in the empowerment of youth and human rights advocacy.


Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh

Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 28 November 2021

Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh

Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • The festival holds a competition to select the most beautiful falcons in seven rounds, two are allocated for the Farkh category and five are for the Qirnas category

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival 2021 started on Sunday in Malham, north of Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It runs until Dec. 16 and is being organized by the Saudi Falcons Club, which has allocated more than SR25 million ($6.66 million) for winners.

The festival, the largest of its kind in the world, opened with the qualifying runs for Saudi falconers. These started with the Shaheen Farkh category of Saudi owners, with strong competition for a place in the final rounds for the King Abdulaziz Cup.

There will be runs for international falconers in the categories of owners and professionals.

The festival also holds a competition to select the most beautiful falcons in seven rounds, two are allocated for the Farkh category and five are for the Qirnas category.

Through these events, the festival aims to preserve Saudi heritage, pass on the hobby of falconry to future generations, educate children about their history and values, and enhance the spirit of competition among falconers.

The festival continues to register falcons in some categories until Dec. 9 to accommodate the largest number of falconers wishing to participate.