New Zealand showcases culture at Expo 2020

New Zealand showcases culture at Expo 2020
A special performance by one of New Zealand’s top-selling live bands, Six60, is also part of a lineup of music, dance and culinary events to celebrate the country’s National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai.
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Updated 17 January 2022

New Zealand showcases culture at Expo 2020

New Zealand showcases culture at Expo 2020

The New Zealand Pavilion is set to celebrate its biggest month yet at Expo 2020 Dubai, revealing a stellar lineup of music, dance and culinary events throughout January. The action-packed cultural calendar, running from Jan. 13, culminates with New Zealand’s National Day celebrations on Jan. 31, including a special performance by one of the nation’s top-selling live bands, Six60.

Guided by its Expo theme “Care for People and Place,” New Zealand’s January cultural showcase celebrates the breadth and variety of the country’s creative talent. Throughout the month, Expo visitors can join culinary events hosted by leading New Zealand chefs and enjoy a diverse range of performances by some of its most celebrated singers, dancers, and artists, as well as a specially curated production from the future of New Zealand’s performing arts.

Clayton Kimpton, New Zealand’s commissioner-general to Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “This month’s calendar of cultural happenings at Expo 2020 Dubai is a prime opportunity for Aotearoa New Zealand to demonstrate our creativity and innovative spirit on a global stage. We look forward to welcoming visitors to join us in marking our National Day on Jan. 31 and celebrate our country’s creativity, showing how care and hospitality are part of New Zealand’s rich culture.

“The diverse lineup of events planned for our National Day celebration will give Expo 2020 visitors a deeper understanding of who we are and put the spotlight on our arts and creative sector, which contributes $10.98 billion to our gross domestic product,” he added.

Taste New Zealand, a culinary showcase of the nation’s food and beverage offering, is a three-week event being led by visiting chefs Sid Sahrawat, and Kārena and Kasey Bird, as well as New Zealander Jesse Blake, head chef at homegrown restaurant LOWE.

From Jan. 23-31, New Zealand will host a modern, urban and youth-focused lineup of performances. Curated by Parris Goebel, creative director of the entertainment and cultural program for New Zealand at Expo 2020, and one of New Zealand’s most internationally successful entertainers, the program will appeal to entertainment seekers of all ages.

Goebel, a New Zealand Samoan choreographer, has become a renowned figure in pop culture around the world, having worked with the likes of Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, Janet Jackson, and Nicki Minaj. As part of New Zealand’s January showcase, she has created, directed and produced a show, exclusively for Expo 2020 Dubai, called “Wonderland” that will amplify the voices of young New Zealanders.

“It has been such a privilege to be part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Expo journey and to showcase our unique entertainment and culture to the world through our amazing talent,” Goebel said.


Effat University’s student film festival ends on a high note

‘The 9th Showreel — Effat Student Film Festival’ took place in Jeddah. (Supplied)
‘The 9th Showreel — Effat Student Film Festival’ took place in Jeddah. (Supplied)
Updated 29 May 2022

Effat University’s student film festival ends on a high note

‘The 9th Showreel — Effat Student Film Festival’ took place in Jeddah. (Supplied)

With a dazzling closing ceremony, Effat University in Jeddah concluded the activities of three rich and fruitful days of “The 9th Showreel — Effat Student Film Festival.” The event took place in the presence of a number of Saudi and international filmmakers. The closing ceremony was held under the patronage of Princess Lolowah Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the board of trustees and general supervisor of the university, and in the presence of Abdullah Al-Ayaf, president of the Saudi Film Commission, and Dr. Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, president of Effat University.
The guests on the red carpet were welcomed for an exhibition of film posters, photographs, and animation character designs produced by Effat’s School of Cinematic Arts students.
The grand show was hosted by the brilliant Bahraini presenter Nada Al-Shaibani. The festival was opened with a musical performance presented by the university students, on the soundtrack melodies of some Arab and international films, under the supervision of composer Amer Tashkandi. Japanese artist Nahomi Koyasu, also known as “Japanese Fairuz,” sang “Al-Bent Al-Shalabya,” winning the audience’s admiration.

BACKGROUND

The School of Cinematic Arts at Effat University was established in 2013 in collaboration with the University of Southern California. So far, it is the first and only film school in Saudi Arabia providing a bachelor’s degree in film production, direction, and animation.

A graduate of the School of Cinematic Arts, Sarah Mesfer, gave a speech about her journey of studying and learning at Effat University and how that experience helped her films to travel around the world. Al-Ayaf also gave an important speech on the role of the Ministry of Culture and the Saudi Film Commission in supporting young filmmakers and on the Kingdom’s ambitions to reach globally with their creative productions.
Princess Lolowah then presented honors to a number of art and cinema figures in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab world, including artist Ibrahim Al-Hasawi, animation artist Malik Nejer, producer Abbas bin Al-Abbas, Bahraini critic Mansoora Al-Jamri, Intishal Al-Tamimi, president of the El-Gouna Film Festival, and Mouhamed Kablawi, president of the Malmö Arab Film Festival in Sweden.
A notable moment was when Abdel Fattah Al-Gabali, president of the Media Production City in Cairo, and Effat University President Haifa Jamal Al-Lail renewed a protocol to provide training opportunities for students in the Media Production City.
Effat University also honored a number of its graduates who achieved success inside and outside the Kingdom, including Sarah Mesfer, Jawaher Al-Amri, Ragheed Al-Nahdi, Ruba Khafgy, Fatima Al-Hazmi, and Nora Al-Moaled.
During the festival, many student films were shown, including short films, animation, and documentaries, besides the exhibition of photography and posters.
A seminar titled “The Future of the Animation Industry in Saudi Arabia,” was attended by a number of Saudi animation specialists, including Malik Nejer, Abbas Al-Abbas, Walaa Sindi, and Abdulaziz Othman. The symposium was presented by Lama Al-Sharhan and Joanna Al-Fattani from the Saudi Animation Society, both graduates of Effat University.
According to Dr. Mohamed Ghazala, the chair of the School of Cinematic Arts and the festival director, this is the first symposium in the Kingdom that brought together animation artists to discuss the future of this creative industry.
The School of Cinematic Arts at Effat University was established in 2013 in collaboration with the University of Southern California. So far, it is the first and only film school in Saudi Arabia providing a bachelor’s degree in film production, direction, and animation.


LuLu festival brings the best of British food to Kingdom

The festival was inaugurated by Ambassador Neil Crompton. (Supplied)
The festival was inaugurated by Ambassador Neil Crompton. (Supplied)
Updated 29 May 2022

LuLu festival brings the best of British food to Kingdom

The festival was inaugurated by Ambassador Neil Crompton. (Supplied)

LuLu, the largest hypermarket chain in the Gulf region, launched its annual British food festival titled “Proud to support — Great Britain and Northern Ireland” in Saudi Arabia on May 26. The week-long festival, which runs until June 4, offers a wide variety of food products imported from the UK, across LuLu stores and online at www.luluhypermarket.com.
The festival was inaugurated by Neil Crompton, the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Speaking at the launch ceremony, he said: “I am pleased to inaugurate this year’s ‘Food is Great Britain’ festival today. Over the last few years, this event has been very successful and gives people in Saudi Arabia the opportunity to enjoy the extraordinary variety and high quality of British food produce and brands. I am particularly pleased that this event is being held with active support from LuLu’s British subsidiary, the logistics and packaging center in Birmingham, a vital part of the Lulu Group’s strong partnership with the UK.”
The event is aimed at providing customers with popular and authentic British products, which are flown in straight from the UK. It gives both Saudi and expatriate communities the experience of savoring a variety of British products with ease and the convenience of shopping under one roof.
Shehim Mohammed, director of Lulu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia, said: “For over two decades of serving a multiethnic customer base, LuLu has managed the lifestyle needs of both the local and expat community. From food offerings to fashion, home essentials, electronics, and much more, it is a one-stop shop that showcases global flavors and culture. ‘Food is Great Britain’ is one such event that puts a spotlight on the traditional flavors, culture, and quality produce of the UK. Our British sourcing offices and food processing units have helped us become successful in guaranteeing nonstop supply at the most competitive prices all year round.”
With more than 230 stores operating worldwide, LuLu strives to provide the community with exclusive products at affordable prices. With the combination of high-quality offerings and an organized logistics system, LuLu remains  the favorite shopping destination in the Kingdom when it comes to a broader selection of international products.


Zoho sheds light on importance of AI to businesses at AI Cloud Expo in Riyadh

Izzeddin Al-Mozayen, Zoho’s regional manager in Saudi Arabia.
Izzeddin Al-Mozayen, Zoho’s regional manager in Saudi Arabia.
Updated 29 May 2022

Zoho sheds light on importance of AI to businesses at AI Cloud Expo in Riyadh

Izzeddin Al-Mozayen, Zoho’s regional manager in Saudi Arabia.

Global technology company Zoho Corp. participated in the AI Cloud Expo 2022 to showcase its innovative AI-powered applications and shed light on the importance of adopting these advanced technologies to propel businesses forward. The event took place in Riyadh from May 22-24.
Focused around artificial intelligence, data and cloud computing, the event brought together industry experts and leaders from global organizations in the technology field to share knowledge and exchange insights. As part of a presentation titled, “Supercharging businesses with AI,” Zoho highlighted the value AI-enabled apps can bring to businesses and ways they help in improving efficiency and saving resources. During the presentation, Zoho showcased some of its products’ features that boast AI capabilities including Ask Zia.
“With more than a decade of continuous innovation and adoption of AI into its systems, Zoho went above and beyond to excel its R&D. We have established an in-house division, the Zoho Labs, dedicated to developing and deploying emerging technologies that help businesses improve efficiency, and reduce operational costs as well as enhance overall user experience,” said Izzeddin Al-Mozayen, Zoho’s regional manager in Saudi Arabia.

FASTFACT

Zoho deploys advanced technologies in its 50-plus applications, and combines more than 23 AI-enabled capabilities across the product offerings such as voice assistant, facial recognition, and others.

Zoho deploys advanced technologies in its 50-plus applications, and combines more than 23 AI-enabled capabilities across the product offerings such as voice assistant, facial recognition, natural language processing, optical character recognition, predictive analysis, root cause analysis and more.
“Over the years, Zoho has developed its own technological stack from the ground up, and continues to vertically integrate the technology stack as well as operate on every level, including running its own data centers. This ensured that our customers received an unparalleled customer experience,” Al-Mozayen added.
Zoho also revealed that as part of the forthcoming development, applications will further integrate OCR, object recognition and video processing capabilities that will take its CX to new heights.

Zoho witnessed a remarkable growth over the past years in the region, with Saudi Arabia ranking as the second biggest market in the Middle East and North Africa. Last year, Zoho opened its first Saudi office in Riyadh; the company continues to invest in hiring local talents in line with its “transnational localism” strategy. As part of the strategy, Zoho plans to collaborate with local entities and organizations to help enable a digital economy and contribute to Saudi Vision 2030.


LuLu celebrates ‘king of fruits’ with mango festival

LuLu celebrates ‘king of fruits’ with mango festival
Updated 25 May 2022

LuLu celebrates ‘king of fruits’ with mango festival

LuLu celebrates ‘king of fruits’ with mango festival

As temperatures soar in the Kingdom, the region’s largest hypermarket chain, LuLu, has launched the “Kingdom of Mangoes 2022” festival to celebrate the much loved summer fruit, also known as the “king of fruits.”


The festival, which runs until May 31, is being taken up a notch this year, with more than 80 different varieties of mangoes from all over the world, including 25 local varieties. The event features a grand display and several interactive activities that shoppers can be a part of. A diverse range of mangoes, including totapuri, neelam, gudadath, badami, sindura, thoomi, samak and many more, is available at great prices in the stores as well as online. Apart from India and Saudi Arabia, mangoes have been sourced from Kenya and Thailand.


The festival was inaugurated on May 24 by Ram Prasad, charge d’affaires at the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, at the Riyadh Avenue Mall branch. Speaking at the launch, Prasad highlighted the growing trade ties between India and Saudi Arabia across all sectors in the backdrop of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral relations between the two countries. He also highlighted the pride of place that the Indian mango enjoys in the country’s global export basket, as India accounts for 45 percent of global mango production.


“LuLu has always been vibrant in its approach to showcase the freshest and most authentic range of mangoes and we’ve remained consistent with the quality we provide. Mangoes and summers are almost synonymous and this promotion will put forth an interesting showcase for the public. Everyone loves a good mango and we aim to raise the bar this year and put forward our best efforts to give the best shopping experience,” Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia, said.


For the “Kingdom of Mangoes” festival, LuLu has put up sampling booths where shoppers can get a taste of the different delicacies — a unique selection of mango-based items. The festival also offers various processed and packaged mango products, ranging from jams to pickles, pulps, chutneys and cakes.


LuLu Group has a reputation of being a one-stop shop for the multiethnic community of the region, with an international assortment of products catering to the tastes and preferences of every customer.


Spain’s IE Business School to provide leadership training to stc employees

Spain’s IE Business School to provide leadership training to stc employees
Updated 25 May 2022

Spain’s IE Business School to provide leadership training to stc employees

Spain’s IE Business School to provide leadership training to stc employees

In line with its strategy to invest in national talents and prepare future leaders, stc has signed a three-year agreement with IE Business School, a top-ranked international business school located in Madrid, Spain. The agreement reflects stc’s commitment to the continuous development of its professionals and to ensure that its group of middle managers, specifically men and women who are pre-section managers, section managers and directors, are prepared for leadership positions.

The agreement’s signing ceremony was held at the stc Academy in Riyadh, in the presence of Ambassador of Spain Jorge Hevia Sierra; Dr. Moudhi Al-Jamea, vice president of stc and dean of stc Academy; and Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, president of IE University.

Commenting on the agreement, Al-Jamea said: “The stc Academy’s vision is to be the learning and innovation hub in the Kingdom and beyond, with the objective of enabling the stc Group to drive digital and cultural transformation. Our aim is to develop future leaders with strategic capabilities through innovative learning solutions and experiences.”

De Onzoño said: “This agreement between IE Business School and stc is expected to benefit more than 2,000 individuals. Furthermore, the impact will be highly personalized, with each leadership program of the agreement focused on the specific needs of stc middle management employees and based on the company’s leadership and core competencies.”