Saudi Arabia designates 2022 as ‘Year of Saudi Coffee’

Drinking Arabic coffee is a common social habit and an integral part of Saudi culture, symbolizes generosity and hospitality. (Supplied)
Drinking Arabic coffee is a common social habit and an integral part of Saudi culture, symbolizes generosity and hospitality. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 December 2021

Saudi Arabia designates 2022 as ‘Year of Saudi Coffee’

Drinking Arabic coffee is a common social habit and an integral part of Saudi culture, symbolizes generosity and hospitality. (Supplied)
  • ‘Saudi Coffee Initiative’ welcomed by owners of coffee bean farms, beacon for those interested in the industry

MAKKAH: The Kingdom’s Ministry of Culture has designated 2022 as “The Year of Saudi Coffee,” celebrating the authentic taste of a local household staple.

Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said that the “Saudi Coffee Initiative” would be the umbrella under which all celebrations would gather as an essential component of the Kingdom’s culture.
In the past few years, coffee bean farms in Jazan have been given special attention as support for farmers has increased, and special care has been given to the Khawlani bean.
Gibran Al-Maliki, the owner of a coffee bean farm in Al-Dayer in Jazan, famous for its abundance of coffee bean farms, said that the announcement was a great honor and would be a beacon for those interested in the coffee industry.
He told Arab News that the coffee bean was once considered essential to the ancient Khawlani coffee drink and had been revived in recent years.
Al-Maliki said that the region went through a period of drought and low rainfalls last year, which affected many coffee bean farms as the crop requires a lot of watering. He said that most farmers could not irrigate using water tanks due to the difficult topography of the region. The farms were located in a rugged mountainous area, making it difficult to establish a stable irrigation system.
Khaled Hashem Nagro, general manager of Renad Arabia for Events Management, said that each region was distinguished from other regions in producing Arabian coffee — whether through the taste, the composition of flavors or through roasting.
During the collection process, coffee beans are given special care; they differ in color depending on type — they are found in yellow, black and brown shades. Farmers cultivating the beans discard very dark or black beans or those in direct sunlight, which can affect the taste. Flavors are also dependent on the topography and nature of the regions.

BACKGROUND

• The coffee bean tree is grown in 70 countries worldwide and is an important source of income. However, in Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia, the coffee produced is considered one of the most delicate types of coffee.

• Yemen witnessed centuries-old commercial deals with the Dutch and the British to export coffee beans.

The beans are roasted over a light fire, with the exception of the Bahri, which requires intense fire.
There’s the Khawlani, Berri, Harari, and Bahri (imported from Brazil or Turkey) bean.
The finest type of coffee is the Khawlani, which is divided into two categories. The first is the “Qatma” (with small coffee beans), which is organic and only found in the high mountains of Khawlan of Yemen. It is rare, in high demand, and expensive. The second category is the long grain of Khawlani, cultivated in most Yemeni regions.
After the roasting process, the coarse powder, mixed with crushed cardamom, is boiled in water, and no sugar is added. Condiments can be also be added to the mix, such as cardamom or saffron, sometimes even mastic and amber, depending on personal preference.
For as long as anyone can remember, drinking Arabic coffee has been a common social habit and an integral part of Saudi culture.
“Choosing the source of the coffee is very essential and gets reflected in its quality and taste whether being Khawlani, Harari, Brazilian, etc.,”  Nagro told Arab News. “These types are now available in every Saudi household and people prepare it in their own way. Every region serves coffee in its traditional way that distinguishes it from others, and this contributes to a diversity of tastes.”
The researcher and former head of the Culture and Arts Association, Abdullah bin Abdullah Al-Saad, said that Arabian coffee symbolizes authentic Arab celebration and generosity.
“It’s a delicious and common drink presented to their guests as an expression of generous hospitality and of honoring,” Al-Saad said.
“Some coffee beans are considered ordinary, and others are regarded as luxurious and extravagant in taste.”
The coffee tree is grown in 70 countries worldwide and is an important source of income. However, in Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia, the coffee produced is considered one of the most delicate types of coffee. It is world-renowned, as Yemen witnessed centuries-old commercial deals with the Dutch and the British to export coffee beans.
Throughout the year, we have heard many success stories coming from the southern region of Jazan, specifically about coffee bean farms and farming. We’ve seen small family businesses boom into fully fledged large companies exporting their beans across the nation, festivals, workshops, as well as youth training in the processes of coffee farming, cultivating, packaging, and even barista training.
Last month, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture signed an agreement to establish a coffee development city in the Al-Baha region’s Mashuqa and Al-Qara governorates.
The city will be built in an area totaling 1,600,000 sqm and will have the operational capacity to provide 1,000 job opportunities and plant 300,000 coffee trees.


Saudi girl, 6, wins five medals in rhythmic gymnastics

Saudi girl, 6, wins five medals in rhythmic gymnastics
Updated 8 sec ago

Saudi girl, 6, wins five medals in rhythmic gymnastics

Saudi girl, 6, wins five medals in rhythmic gymnastics

RIYADH: Six-year-old Saudi girl Elena Habhab has hopes of becoming a Olympic rhythmic gymnast after winning five medals in her first year of competition in Moscow.

Elena discovered her love of the sport while visiting her Russian grandmother and enrolling in one of the city’s sports clubs.

Her mother, Rima Wannous, said: “Elena was impressed to watch girls play and make attractive movements, so she decided to join this fun sport.”

Within three months of joining the beginners’ class, Elena’s skills were noticed by the trainers and she was promoted to a higher class.

She took part in an open club championship in Moscow and won first place.

“With her skills, she managed to win the competition, and then she participated in three championships with a group and took second place,” Wannous said.

“After that we decided that she should stay in Moscow to pursue her dreams since the sport isn’t available in the Kingdom yet.”

Elena’s father, Luaie Habhab, said that his daughter loves the sport “and even does the splits while watching TV.”

Rhythmic gymnastics is a competition for women only, in which the player performs graceful movements to music while holding objects, such as a ribbon or ball.

Referees evaluate the performance and award points to each competitor.

Rhythmic gymnasts are judged on their agility and difficulty of the movements they make, including the skill of launching and capturing the instrument.

Elena trains eight hours a day in Moscow, but says she enjoys the demanding schedule.

Her mother said: “I thought that she would not want to go to Moscow again because of the tough exercises, but she surprised me. When we returned to Saudi Arabia, she insisted that we go back to Russia to train. So I had to leave all my work here and take her to Moscow because this sport doesn’t exist in Saudi Arabia right now.”

Elena’s dream is to represent the Kingdom abroad and compete in the Olympics.

She also speaks three languages: English, Arabic and Russian, and is learning Chinese.

“I love gymnastics because it makes me strong, flexible and patient. I also love competition, and I am happy when I am taking first place,” Elena said.

 


Misk Foundation launches Qimah graduate development program

Misk Foundation launches Qimah graduate development program
Updated 59 min 47 sec ago

Misk Foundation launches Qimah graduate development program

Misk Foundation launches Qimah graduate development program
  • Registration for the program began on Aug. 13 and will continue until Aug. 20

JEDDAH: The Mohammed bin Salman Foundation Misk launched the Qimah graduate development program to help talented Saudi youth and recent university graduates to launch their careers by providing them with professional opportunities.

Registration for the program began on Aug. 13 and will continue until Aug. 20.

The one-year program will take place in Riyadh and requires students to attend in person. It will begin on Sept. 25, targeting outstanding recent graduates.

Applications will be limited to Saudi nationals or new graduates of bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the class of 2021 and 2022 from both genders.

Undergraduates of relatedly close majors, such as project management, management, management information systems, public relations, human resources, computer science, and industrial and systems engineering, will be more likely to be accepted.

Application requirements include a GPA of no less than 3.75 out of 5 or 3 out of 4, an English language certificate of TOEFL IBT with a score of 90 or above, or IELTS with a score of 6 or above.

Applications will be limited to Saudi nationals or new graduates of bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the class of 2021 and 2022. (Screenshot/ Twitter Video)

Qimah provides an intensive on-the-job training curriculum for promising graduates and integrates their skills with appropriate development departments.

The first cycle of the Misk graduate development program aims to develop the technical skills of graduates and give them opportunities to advance in an integrated practical environment.

The program also provides a competitive package that includes salary, training courses, annual leave, gym membership, and VIP medical insurance that includes family and parents.

Each trainee must be fully committed to the program and demonstrate an interest in being an active member of Misk.

Qimah provides an intensive on-the-job training curriculum for promising graduates and integrates their skills with appropriate development departments. (Screenshot/ Twitter Video)

The program will be implemented in rotation and rolled out across different projects and focus areas such as project management, marketing, and communications, legal, strategy, finance, risk management, human resources, digital transformation, and procurement management.

Enrolled students will acquire leadership, problem-solving, communication, and data analysis skills.

The mission of the Misk foundation is to discover the talents of Saudi youth and help them to develop by empowering them to become an effective participant in the economy of the country.

It also aims to create opportunities to develop the youth community which will support them in unleashing their potential.


KSrelief distributes more than 101 tons of food in Marib

KSrelief distributes more than 101 tons of food in Marib
Updated 15 August 2022

KSrelief distributes more than 101 tons of food in Marib

KSrelief distributes more than 101 tons of food in Marib

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) distributed more than  101 tons of food to the neediest families in the Yemeni governorate of Marib, benefiting 5,682 individuals.

According to state-run Saudi Press Agency, the food distribution falls within the project by KSrelief to support food security in Yemen for the year 2022. 

KSrelief in Yemen aims to distribute more than 192,000 food baskets weighing more than 20,000 tons to needy and affected families in 15 Yemeni governorates.

On Saturday, KSrelief distributed aid to the Yemeni province of Al-Mahra which was hit floods and torrential rains. 

The center distributed 100 food baskets containing basic materials, benefiting 1,092 people.

KSrelief’s immediate intervention comes as part of its continuous efforts to aid and support Yemeni people in different crises.


Perception at odds with reality of generous Saudi humanitarian support for Ukraine

Perception at odds with reality of generous Saudi humanitarian support for Ukraine
Updated 15 August 2022

Perception at odds with reality of generous Saudi humanitarian support for Ukraine

Perception at odds with reality of generous Saudi humanitarian support for Ukraine
  • Kingdom’s track record belies lack of recognition of its donations for displaced Ukrainian refugees
  • A $10 million aid package has just been signed off by the UNHCR, WHO and Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief 

JEDDAH: The perception that Saudi Arabia is not helping Ukrainians affected by the war with Russia is completely at odds with the reality. 

The firmness of the Kingdom’s commitment to supporting refugees and resolving the conflict has been evident since the outbreak of hostilities. Aid pledges have been matched by donations that are already making a big difference.

A $10 million Saudi humanitarian package for war-displaced Ukrainians has just been signed off by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Health Organization and Saudi Arabia’s leading humanitarian aid agency.

 

 

About half of the $10 million grant has been allocated for distribution through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief).

In April, King Salman directed KSrelief to provide this amount of support for immediate assistance and give “urgent medical and shelter aid” to Ukrainian refugees, giving priority to those arriving in Poland.

KSrelief chief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah visiting Poland’s Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, which is supporting refugees in Warsaw. (Supplied)

Delivering on the Kingdom’s promise during his ongoing visit to Poland, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, adviser at the Royal Court and supervisor general of KSrelief, also discussed the humanitarian situation with Polish, UNHCR and WHO officials, according to a Saudi Press Agency report.

It said Al-Rabeeah visited several health establishments and facilities, taking time to speak to some Ukrainian refugees who had fled to Warsaw from their war-torn country.

 

 

“Thank you very much, and thanks to the center for helping us. The situation is as you can see,” a Ukrainian resident of a refugee center told Al-Arabiya news channel.

“All of us came from Ukraine, and we were in a very bad way. Thanks to you, our situation has improved. Thanks a lot, and we wish peace to the whole world.”  

At the Poland-Ukraine border, Al-Rabeeah lauded the collaboration between the WHO, KSrelief, and the Polish government. “We highly appreciate the partnership with the WHO. Our work together has made great support to refugees and those in need here and elsewhere,” he said in a video released by WHO Poland.

 

KSrelief has donated funds to support the critical response efforts for Ukrainians in Poland, with the delivery of emergency medical supplies and equipment benefiting more than 1 million people in need.

The Kingdom’s support for Ukrainian refugees is an extension of its well-known humanitarian efforts in more than 85 countries, yet several reports have hinted that Saudi Arabia has picked sides in the conflict because of its ties to Russia as a fellow OEPC+ member.

Despite the political and humanitarian initiatives taken by the Kingdom, urging all parties to come to the negotiating table to resolve the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy, the Kingdom’s efforts have been viewed with skepticism in some quarters.

A March report by the Wilson Center, a US government-linked public policy think tank, claimed that Saudi Arabia “has decided to side with Russia” and “chose Putin over Biden,” accusing the Kingdom of playing political games to keep oil prices high.

The remarks came despite the Kingdom’s repeated offers to both mediate between the warring parties and increase oil production along with neighboring Gulf countries.

Millions of Ukrainian refugees suddenly left their country in February after Russian troops invaded. (AFP)

The differences between the Western and Arab positions on the question of how to end the war have not stopped either side from addressing the humanitarian emergency.

For its part, Saudi Arabia has reiterated that though ending the ongoing war in Ukraine is no easy feat, the Kingdom has treated the issue just as any ongoing crisis in the region, stressing that human suffering is the same in all conflicts and that violence is not the solution.

In March, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Kingdom was ready to exert all efforts to mediate between the two nations.

Saudi Arabia has sent millions of dollars in humanitarian aid for Ukrainians forced to stay in evacuation centers in Poland. (AFP photo)

In May, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the crisis.

Less than a week later, Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov during the latter’s visit to Riyadh, where he underscored the importance of reaching a political solution to achieve security and stability for all involved.

Though scant details on Lavrov’s visit and meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council ministers were released, the trip was still misinterpreted as evidence of Saudi Arabia’s support for Russia, even though the Kingdom and other Gulf states had opted to stay neutral, treating the war in Ukraine in “a fair context” and providing aid to the needy.

In June, Prince Faisal bin Farhan clarified the Kingdom’s position further: “Our stance as Gulf countries regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis is unified,” he said on June 1 during a speech at the opening of the 152nd session of the Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Millions of Ukrainians were forced to leave their country since February after Russian troops invaded. (AFP photo)

“Today we had two fruitful meetings with the Russian and Ukrainian ministers, during which we stated our unified stance regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and its negative consequences, namely the food security of the affected countries and the world.”

Saudi Arabia’s decision to remain neutral and prioritize humanitarian engagement during the war also ought to be viewed in the context of public opinion. In a recent Arab News-YouGov poll, of the more than 1,000 Saudis who were asked for their opinion, 14 percent blamed US President Joe Biden for the conflict while 21 percent blamed NATO.

While a high number of Saudi respondents expressed skepticism about NATO’s involvement with the conflict, 41 percent of Saudis said they did not know or were not sure who was to blame.

Throughout the conflict, more than 40 countries, organizations, and individual donors have made pledges and commitments, some of which have made their way to the 6.3 million refugees fleeing Ukraine as well as those who remained. But there is a striking gap between pledged and delivered support.

In this April 9, 2022, photo, Ukrainian refugees fleeing war stay at a gymnasium in Tijuana, Mexico as they await permission to enter the US. (AFP)

Thus far, most Western governments have given priority to military assistance over humanitarian aid.

According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the US has pledged $23.8 billion in military aid, the highest number to date, but has only allocated $8.9 billion in humanitarian assistance.

According to the center, that number has since increased but by a relatively small percentage. Similarly, the EU pledged $12.3 billion in military aid but just $1.4 billion has been siphoned for humanitarian response and aid packages.

Since the outbreak of the conflict, Western and Arab governments have been under no illusion that the need for a resolution of the conflict is no less pressing than addressing the humanitarian emergency.

Last month, President Biden visited Jeddah and met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two sides discussed several topics of concern, including energy, security and the crisis in Ukraine.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz meets with US President Joe Biden, witnessed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US State Secretary Antony Blinken at al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on July 15, 2022. (SPA)

Soon after Biden left the Kingdom, Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke to CNBC to set the record straight. “We have said from the very beginning, we supported the UN General Assembly Resolution and the inadmissibility abuse of force, about the sovereignty of nations and respect for that,” he said.

“We have called for a peaceful resolution to this; stop the fighting and get to the negotiating table and work out your differences peacefully.

“The concern that we have is that escalation on one side leads to escalation on the other side and before you know it, things are more likely to spin out of control and we all pay the price.”

For good measure, Al-Jubeir said: “We’ve reached out to both Russia and Ukraine. We’ve urged them to move towards a ceasefire settlement and their conflict peacefully. We continue to be engaged with them as are a number of other countries, and our hope is that they will be able to recognize that it’s better to argue across the table from each other than fight across the battlefield, because of the unintended consequences of war and conflict.”

 

 

Meanwhile, when it comes to humanitarian giving, Saudi Arabia’s pledges continue to be matched by its actions.

On Friday, accompanied by Saad Al-Saleh, the Saudi ambassador to Poland, KSrelief’s Al-Rabeeah visited the UNHCR’s warehouse facilities in Rzeszow in Poland. They jointly inspected the aid already provided as part of the Kingdom’s $10 million grant to support Ukrainian refugees.

 

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Saudi Crown Prince receives call from Pakistani PM

Saudi Crown Prince receives call from Pakistani PM
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi Crown Prince receives call from Pakistani PM

Saudi Crown Prince receives call from Pakistani PM

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call on Sunday from Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, prime minister of Pakistan, Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the call, they reviewed the brotherly and historical relations between the Kingdom and Pakistan, in addition to discussing opportunities for cooperation between the two countries and ways to enhance them in various fields.

Also on Sunday, King Salman and the crown prince congratulated Pakistani President Arif Alvi on Saturday on the occasion of Pakistan’s 76th Independence Day.

“The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a cable of congratulations to President Dr. Arif Alvi, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, on the anniversary of his country’s Independence Day,” SPA said. 

In his message, Prince Mohammed “wished the President constant good health and happiness and the government and friendly people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan steady progress and prosperity.”