In Kingdom’s ‘olive basket,’ Saudi festival to give local producers a post-pandemic lift

In Kingdom’s ‘olive basket,’ Saudi festival to give local producers a post-pandemic lift
Saudi Arabia’s northern Jouf region has more than 18 million olive trees across 7,300 hectares. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 02 March 2022

In Kingdom’s ‘olive basket,’ Saudi festival to give local producers a post-pandemic lift

In Kingdom’s ‘olive basket,’ Saudi festival to give local producers a post-pandemic lift

JEDDAH: The 15th Jouf International Olive Festival is to kick off on Thursday, March 3, at the Prince Abdullah Community Center in Skaka and will run for 10 days.

The festival includes the participation of several national and international olive and olive oil companies and is the biggest olive festival in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council region.

It aims to expand marketing opportunities for olive and olive oil producers in Saudi Arabia, introducing the region’s olive products to a wider audience, as well as increasing investments in olive oil. It also aims to activate the role of Saudi businessmen and women in the industry.

The festival will also contribute to revitalizing economic and commercial activity in the region and increase the output of the agricultural sector, within the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia’s northern Jouf region, known as the Kingdom’s “olive basket,” has more than 18 million olive trees across 7,300 hectares. The soil there is particularly fertile and well-suited to growing the trees, which produce thousands of liters of olive oil annually. Prince Faisal bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, governor of Jouf, has supported olive farmers and producers in the region, allowing for higher-quality products and an increase in production volume.

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The festival includes the participation of several national and international olive and olive oil companies and is the biggest olive festival in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council region.

Nasser Al-Hamad, owner of the Million Tree Farm, who is participating in the festival for the second time, told Arab News: “I’ll be displaying pickled olives and olive oil from my farm. I’ll also be showcasing the smart irrigation system that I use there.”

Al-Hamad said that he invited Amenduni Nicola S.p.a, a leading Italian construction company for oil extraction, to participate in the festival.

The final day of the festival will see the announcement of the best five farmers, best olives and best oil.

The evaluation committee consists of a constellation of experts and specialists who will carry out an accurate assessment of the products through on-ground visits and inspections of the participating farms.

A total of SR500,000 ($133,258) in prize money will be distributed among the five winners of different categories.

Organized by Jouf’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Jouf Municipality and the Emirate of Jouf Province, the festival will bring together visitors from across the world and host entertainment such as theater shows, concerts, kids’ activities and more.


KSrelief chief meets UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs

KSrelief chief meets UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs
Updated 01 December 2022

KSrelief chief meets UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs

KSrelief chief meets UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the adviser at the Saudi Royal Court and general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, on Wednesday met with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya, in the capital, Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the meeting, they discussed a number of issues of common interest related to relief and humanitarian affairs.

Msuya praised the Kingdom’s effective and influential international humanitarian role, noting the efforts of KSrelief in alleviating the suffering of refugees and needy groups around the world.


Saudi, Kuwaiti foreign ministers discuss developing joint action

Saudi, Kuwaiti foreign ministers discuss developing joint action
Updated 01 December 2022

Saudi, Kuwaiti foreign ministers discuss developing joint action

Saudi, Kuwaiti foreign ministers discuss developing joint action

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and his accompanying delegation, during his official visit to the capital, Riyadh, the Kingdom’s ministry said on Wednesday.

During the meeting, the two sides stressed the importance of strengthening the joint action process between the two countries, in implementation of the directives of King Salman and Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in a way that translates the strong and well-established relations between both countries, and achieves the aspirations of the two peoples toward further progress and prosperity, the ministry said in a statement.

Prince Faisal held an official dinner banquet in honor of the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister and his delegation.


Saudi Arabia, South Korea discuss cooperation in housing and smart cities

Saudi Arabia, South Korea discuss cooperation in housing and smart cities
Updated 01 December 2022

Saudi Arabia, South Korea discuss cooperation in housing and smart cities

Saudi Arabia, South Korea discuss cooperation in housing and smart cities

Saudi Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail met Korean Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Won Hee-ryong as part of his Asian tour that began in Seoul.

The ministers discussed frameworks for enhancing cooperation in the municipal, housing and smart-city sectors, the importance of activating the executive program, and the exchange of experiences in a way that would serve the two countries.

Al-Hogail lauded the progress of the nations’ relations, the cooperation between them, and the advantages that resulted from the formation of strategic alliances and partnerships.

The ministers also inaugurated the first Saudi-Korean Housing Cooperation Forum.

Al-Hogail said at the event that the focus was on enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the government’s role, in addition to cultivating the spirit of social responsibility.

He also stressed the need for cooperation between countries on a global scale to expand and diversify the economy’s resources, and create job opportunities.

He expressed the hope that the first forum would help both sides develop a common understanding of the national vision, government policies, infrastructure and municipal projects.


First Saudi independent cinema set to open in Jeddah

First Saudi independent cinema set to open in Jeddah
Updated 30 November 2022

First Saudi independent cinema set to open in Jeddah

First Saudi independent cinema set to open in Jeddah
  • Hayy Cinema includes a 168-seat theater, a 30-seat community screening room, a multimedia library, and an educational exhibition space
  • It’s founders said it aims to expand the cinema experience by serving as a meeting point to watch, discover, research and learn about films, and exchange knowledge

JEDDAH: Art Jameel has announced that the first Saudi independent cinema will open on Dec. 6, coinciding with the second Red Sea International Film Festival. It said Hayy Cinema, in Jeddah’s Hayy Jameel, aims to expand the cinema experience by serving as a meeting point to watch, discover, research and learn about films, and exchange knowledge.

Developed in collaboration with RSIFF, it features a 168-seat main theater, a 30-seat community screening room, a multimedia library and an educational exhibition space.

The cinema’s founders said it will celebrate the legends of the golden age of Arab cinema, and early screening highlights include a retrospective of five newly restored versions of groundbreaking films by Egyptian master Youssef Chahine, one of the Arab world’s most internationally acclaimed filmmakers.

It will also present an exhibition highlighting the contribution of renowned photographer Gamal Fahmy to the revolutionary force of filmmaking in the region.

“This is Saudi’s first bespoke independent picture house, developed to nurture the local film scene — not only filmmakers but also the audiences who appreciate them,” said Antonia Carver, the director of Art Jameel.

“Via a year-round program of films from Saudi, the region and the world, as well as talks, exhibitions and film festivals held across its various community spaces, the cinema becomes a convivial site of convening, opening up a whole new world of storytelling and imagination.

“We believe that Hayy Cinema’s focus on presenting and documenting the great breadth of global cinema, and in tracing the history of cinemas and films from the Gulf, complements the blockbusters of Saudi’s fast-growing commercial scene and government-led industry initiatives.”

The founders said that through carefully curated retrospectives and archival exhibitions, the cinema invites audiences to discover important films and learn more about the historical influence the independent film industry has had on social and political trends.

Its opening schedule includes five groundbreaking films by Chahine: “Alexandria… Why?” (“Iskindereya… Leh,” 1978); “Alexandria Again And Forever” (“Iskendereya Kaman we Kaman,” 1989); “Adieu Bonaparte” (“Al-Wedaa Ya Bonaparte,” 1985); “The Sixth Day” (“Al-Yom El-Sades,” 1986); and “Return Of The Prodigal Son” (“Awdet El-Ibn El-Dal,” 1976).

Zohra Ait El-Jamar, senior manager of Hayy Cinema, said: “The opening of Hayy Cinema in Jeddah captures a moment of increasing passion and support for local and global cinema in Saudi.

“The collaboration with RSIFF for the opening program of Hayy Cinema speaks to the ethos of Art Jameel: Our model has long been dynamic and adaptive, working with many partnering institutions to build programming collaborations anchored in the specific context of our creative community’s needs and aspirations.

“I thank the team at RSIFF and look forward to continuing to work with the festival and the Saudi film community to build ever-greater appreciation for cinema across the Kingdom.”

The cinema’s opening day also marks the first anniversary of Hayy Jameel, a dedicated complex for the arts and creativity in Jeddah that is one of two Art Jameel institutions.

Art Jameel works to support artists and nurture creative communities. Founded and supported by the Jameel family philanthropies, it describes its programs, commissions, research, learning initiatives and community buildings as being grounded in a dynamic understanding of the arts as being fundamental to life and accessible to all.

The cinema’s opening program marks the second collaboration between Art Jameel and RSIFF; in December last year, Hayy Jameel hosted “Red Sea: Immersive,” a selection of what it described as significant and era-defining virtual reality projects curated by Liz Rosenthal.

The second RSIFF begins today in Jeddah and continues until Dec. 10. Its program includes 131 feature films and shorts from 61 countries, in 41 languages, including seven features and 24 shorts from Saudi Arabia.


Indian craftsman astonishes Boulevard World visitors

Indian craftsman astonishes Boulevard World visitors
Updated 30 November 2022

Indian craftsman astonishes Boulevard World visitors

Indian craftsman astonishes Boulevard World visitors

RIYADH: An Indian craftsman amazed visitors to Boulevard World, one of the 15 entertainment zones in Riyadh Season, by making ornaments with natural colors and fire.

The craftsman, Shand Mohammed, traveled from India to Boulevard World to present the history of his profession to visitors of Riyadh Season by crafting accessories and prayer beads.

He dazzled visitors to the zone with his skill in mixing natural colors derived from tree resin with fire and preparing them for sale within five minutes.

Mohammed has been practicing his craft, which he learned from his ancestors, for more than 35 years.

His sons also accompanied him to introduce the public to their goods and products, which have been a major attraction for visitors, especially the colorful prayer beads and accessories.

The history behind the art, according to Mohammed, is as old as India itself, as it has constituted one of the most prominent traditions in the country.

As part of the Boulevard World activities, the India subzone, where Mohammed showcased his craft, has attracted much attention from Riyadh Season visitors, with its luxury handmade goods and its buildings and streets modeled after traditional Indian architecture.

Boulevard World receives visitors daily from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. Entry tickets can be booked via the link: https://riyadhseason.sa/event-details-en.html?id=786/en_Boulevard_World.

Visitors to Boulevard World can also learn about different world cultures through subzones inspired by China, Italy, France, Morocco, Spain, America, Japan, Greece and Mexico.

For both families and individuals, Boulevard World is a premier entertainment destination, featuring a host of experiences, including rides in hot air balloons, submarines and boats.

It has the largest man-made lake in the world, where boats can travel between cities through 11 stations. It also offers the Area 15 experience from Las Vegas; The Sphere, the biggest spherical theater in the world; a city for game fans; comic book and anime-themed activities; and plenty of family-friendly entertainment options.

Visitors can enjoy a ride in a Venetian gondola, taste American cuisine, shop for the best Spanish products and watch flamenco shows.