GCC to adopt joint mechanism for women’s issues

The two-day virtual forum aims to shed light on Gulf women’s participation in priority issues and exchange experiences among GCC states to achieve common goals. (Supplied)
The two-day virtual forum aims to shed light on Gulf women’s participation in priority issues and exchange experiences among GCC states to achieve common goals. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 March 2022

GCC to adopt joint mechanism for women’s issues

The two-day virtual forum aims to shed light on Gulf women’s participation in priority issues and exchange experiences among GCC states to achieve common goals. (Supplied)
  • Al-Tuwaijri said that the Kingdom is achieving the highest level of women’s participation and rights in the region, adding that GCC countries are among those economically empowering women at the fastest pace

RIYADH: The GCC is developing a joint mechanism for women’s issues, secretary-general Nayef Al-Hajraf has said.

It comes as Saudi Arabia exceeded its 2030 target for the female labor market participation rate.

Saudi Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi said that the Saudi women’s labor market participation rate has risen to more than 32 percent, exceeding the 30 percent target.

During the inauguration on Sunday of the “Gulf Women: Leadership for a Sustainable Tomorrow” forum, Al-Rajhi said that the Kingdom’s achievements in women’s empowerment resulted from a “comprehensive policy and methodology.”

GCC Secretary-General Nayef Al-Hajraf said that the body was in the process of organizing a virtual roundtable to develop a vision for a joint action mechanism among GCC countries on women’s issues in the region.

The two-day virtual forum aims to shed light on Gulf women’s participation in priority issues and exchange experiences among GCC states to achieve common goals. It also aims to achieve coordination, integration and interdependence in women’s empowerment among GCC states.

The forum features three main sessions, the first of which focused on the role of Gulf women in environmental sustainability.

It and was attended by Hala Al-Tuwaijri, secretary-general of the Family Affairs Council in Saudi Arabia; Dr. Sabah Al-Junaid, professor of geographic information systems at Arabian Gulf University; Dr. Thuraya Said, assistant director-general for Nature Conservation at Oman’s Environment Ministry; and Najat Al-Abdullah, director of the Family Affairs Department at Qatar’s Ministry of Social Development and Family.

The second session is titled “Gulf Women and Economic Empowerment,” while the third will cover the role of Gulf women in security cooperation.

Al-Tuwaijri said that the Kingdom is achieving the highest level of women’s participation and rights in the region, adding that GCC countries are among those economically empowering women at the fastest pace.

Hoda D. Al-Dulaijan, vice dean of Graduate Studies at King Faisal University, told Arab News that sustainable development standards are a framework for agreement among UN member states. She said that gender equality and equal opportunities for men and women in civil societies are important standards to uphold.

“I took the initiative to support and encourage Gulf women in the journey of empowerment in society by preparing a vision of development goals and procedural enablers to be ahead of the competition with men in international competitions to achieve societal achievements,” she added.

She said that the strengthening of the educational system is leading Gulf women to venture into new fields, whether in higher education, scientific research, manufacturing, innovation or finance.

Al-Dulaijan added that Gulf women “managed to participate in the development of the labor market in a short period of time in terms of supply and demand.

“Women have achieved efficiency in the public and private sectors with Gulf capital, practical initiatives and strategic experiences, which helped women play more energetic and pivotal roles in Gulf societies while preserving national identity, traditions and social norms.”


Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh
Updated 5 min 37 sec ago

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh
  • Agreement targets boost to security sector in line with Saudi Vision 2030, CEO says

RIYADH: The Saudi Quality of Life Program and the General Directorate of Public Security signed an agreement on Thursday to open Unified Security Operations Centers in all regions.

Khaled Al-Bakr, CEO of the Center for Quality of Life program, told Arab News: "Soon, we are going to open the Unified Security Operations Center in many regions of the Kingdom in accordance with the best international standards and practices (in Quality of Life sector).”

They opened a Unified Security Operations Centers  in Riyadh in 2020.

The agreement comes within the framework of the two initiatives: “Leading Police Station” and “Security Platform Development.” The schemes aim to achieve the security objectives of Vision 2030.

As part of the agreement, the security field will benefit from aspects of modernization, whether through digitization on the “Amn” platform, the establishment of a leading police station in the capital, or the creation of mobile police stations in line with urban expansion in cities across the Kingdom.

The “Amn” portal is a public security electronic gate that provides a bundle of new IT services for relevant authorities, expediting the work of security services.

The agreement was signed in presence of Khaled Al-Bakr, CEO of the Center for Quality of Life program; Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, director of Public Security; and Sultan Al-Mutairi, head of the Vision Realization Office at the Ministry of Interior.

He praised the ministry’s achievements in security indicators, noting that it reflected positively on quality of life in the Kingdom. Al-Bakr also hailed the success of Unified Security Operations Centers, which he said have led to a “leap in the quality of security services provided to citizens, residents and visitors to the Kingdom.”

Al-Bakr also noted the importance of the Vision Realization Office at the Ministry of Interior in signing a number of contracts related to the General Directorate of Public Security within the initiatives of the Quality of Life program. The contracts include a number of national private sector companies that will connect security to the quality of life sectors.

“The Saudi Vision 2030 initiatives related to the security sector aim to enhance the capabilities of the sector with a vision that keeps pace with the developments witnessed by the Kingdom in all fields. Within the signed contracts, the ‘Amn’ platform will be developed, a leading police station will be established and mobile police stations will be established to increase the effectiveness of the security sectors,” said Al-Bakr.

“The security sector is a vital sector in the Quality of Life System and Saudi Vision 2030. It is not possible to imagine any improvement and upgrading of the quality of life anywhere in the world without security being stable and the security system keeping pace with developments, and being effective.”


Saudi Arabia’s Hanan Al-Anazi tastes sweet success with Al-Hasawiya date cake mix

Photos by Jasmine Bager
Photos by Jasmine Bager
Updated 20 August 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Hanan Al-Anazi tastes sweet success with Al-Hasawiya date cake mix

Photos by Jasmine Bager
  • It’s hardly been a cakewalk for local ‘Betty Crocker’
  • Some merchants thought she was nutty as a fruitcake

AL-AHSA: When Hanan Al-Anazi was 12, she had an insatiable appetite for creative concoctions in the kitchen. Her favorite pastime was to open up the family pantry and whip up tasty treats using whatever was available.

Her desserts combined “modern” recipes with local ingredients, such as Saudi dates. Her mother dreaded these little experiments because she made such a mess and used up all the sugar and baking powder.

Al-Anazi knew, even then, she wanted to eventually turn that passion into a profession, but like all good dough, this took some patience and time.

Last year, the now 35-year-old, took part in a local date exhibition as a vendor. After working in the business of selling dates for years, she decided to try her luck and asked if she could sell a cake mix she had made, but nobody wanted to bite.

The date merchants who had been in the industry for many decades told her to just leave the dates alone, that her little cake mix wouldn’t likely succeed. Who would buy it, they asked her.

Not easily deterred, she decided to prepare something anyway. She had taken a few culinary courses over the years and learned how to incorporate dates in her sweets. It was her secret ingredient. She thought she’d start with a recipe in the Hasawi date cake style.

Always the innovator, she decided to try handing out free samples. She placed the ingredients in a bag that was designed for coffee and put a sticker on top and wrote “Date Cake.” She made 50 bags herself. When people stopped by her booth at the date exhibition, she handed out her samples to customers and hoped for the best.

At the end of the five-day exhibition, many people came back — they had tried making her mix at home and loved it and asked where they could get more. They were willing to buy it.

She was elated. Hanan ‘Crocker’ — a homage to the fictional character Betty Crocker on the well-known brand — was born. She applied for the necessary work permit, had a logo designed, built a website and got to work.

The dates have always been key.

Born in Riyadh, she moved to Sharqiyah (Eastern Province) when she was six. During those formative years, living with fresh Hasawi dates (from Al-Ahsa) ignited her love for the sweet fruit.

Al-Ahsa was named in the 2020 Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest date palm oasis in the world. In 2021, it broke the Guinness World Record for having the largest date farm.

Al-Anazi tried to take that cultural pride and include it in her products.

The cake mix requires only a few simple ingredients, just like the Betty Crocker products. The difference is, Al-Anazi’s version uses dates in every dish. Even her Cinnamon Rolls recipe uses it in the filling.

“A month after the exhibition date, it was evident that there was a market for my product and I had to get serious. So I decided to build my brand and change the basic packaging — couldn’t continue to use those brown coffee bags forever — and applied for the freelance work certificate and got a permit.

“I used to do everything by hand but now, thank God, I have machines and four people on staff to help me. If it gets overwhelming, I will hire freelancers to assist during the busy season, which is coming up in the winter. It’s still all out of my kitchen in Riyadh,” Al-Anazi told Arab News.

Al-Anazi is working on perfecting several new products and is excited to introduce them into the market soon.

“I started almost exactly one year ago — I remember, it was the Saudi National Day. It was also, coincidentally, the anniversary of the start of my journey, too,” she said.

Al-Anazi’s culinary delights are available in select stores across the Kingdom, as well as on her instagram: @Hanan_Secret222, and can be shipped to anywhere in the country.

 


Golf Saudi, La Reserva Club de Sotogrande team up to boost female golf opportunities

Golf Saudi, La Reserva Club de Sotogrande team up to boost female golf opportunities
Updated 19 August 2022

Golf Saudi, La Reserva Club de Sotogrande team up to boost female golf opportunities

Golf Saudi, La Reserva Club de Sotogrande team up to boost female golf opportunities
  • Golf Saudi launched its Ladies First Club in 2020
  • The Ladies First Club International will feature free beginner golf lessons by experts

JEDDAH: Golf Saudi and Spain’s La Reserva Club de Sotogrande joined forces at Aramco Team Series Sotogrande this week to offer 100 women and girls the chance to start a golf journey that could see them playing alongside star players in 2023.

Golf Saudi launched its Ladies First Club in 2020, introducing golf to women in the Kingdom and encouraging them to keep playing the sport.

The initiative at La Reserva Club Sotogrande is international, and women will get the chance to play golf for the first time.

The Ladies First Club International will feature free beginner golf lessons by experts from both Golf Saudi and La Reserva on Friday and Saturday. 

The club’s top practice facilities will prepare the newcomers for expert practice. They will then be invited to continue playing golf by enrolling in a program that will continue through next summer.

Participants who want to join Ladies First Club International at La Reserva Club can sign up in person at the event.

Until the Aramco Team Series Sotogrande returns to La Reserva Club in 2023, the long-term strategy will give participating women and girls access to at least one free lesson each month.

The goal is for women from the program to have the opportunity to play with top Ladies European Tour players in the tournament’s official pro-am.

Majed Al-Sorour, deputy chairman and CEO of Golf Saudi and Saudi Golf Federation, said: “It is exciting that we’re using the success of Golf Saudi’s Ladies First Club in Saudi Arabia to continue driving interest and participation in golf internationally.”

He said: “The central ambition of the initiative is for as many women as possible to take up golf and then continue to play the sport that has the potential to be life-enhancing in so many ways. Kicking off this initiative with La Reserva Club de Sotogrande and the Aramco Team Series is a great platform to raise awareness and inspire more newcomers to the sport — and win an amazing chance to play with the pros next year.”


Saudi aid agency celebrates World Humanitarian Day

KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries. (SPA)
KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries. (SPA)
Updated 20 August 2022

Saudi aid agency celebrates World Humanitarian Day

KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries. (SPA)
  • Projects target a range of vital sectors, including food, education, health, nutrition, water, environmental reforms and accommodation

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center celebrated World Humanitarian Day on Friday.
Since its establishment, the center has aimed to unify government, civil and popular humanitarian and charitable endeavors to help the needy and poor.
In the past seven years, KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries.
Projects target a range of vital sectors, including food, education, health, nutrition, water, environmental reforms and accommodation.
KSrelief has also formed partnerships and strategic ties with 175 UN-sponsored, global, regional and civil society organizations.
One of its major initiatives, the Masam project, focuses on protecting Yemeni territories from land mines planted by Houthi militias. Since its establishment in 2018, the project has defused more than 353,000 mines.
Meanwhile, as part of its relief work, the center signed an agreement to operate the Specialized Hospital for Ophthalmology in Marib governorate, Yemen, for one year, in cooperation with Al-Basar International Foundation.

 


Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show
Updated 19 August 2022

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show
  • Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled join gaming festival’s star-studded line-up
  • The performance on Thursday was Walker’s third in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Week six of Gamers8 kicked off with a sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City.
“I was here for Formula E, that was the first time. After that I was here for the PUBG event, and this time I am here for Gamers8,” Walker told Arab News.
“I love traveling and seeing the world, and last time we had a lot more time to go out and explore Riyadh. We had a lot of fun and felt so warmly welcomed that we did not hesitate to come back,” the Norwegian DJ said.
The performance on Thursday was Walker’s third in the Kingdom, and he played some of his biggest hits, including “Lily” and “Darkside,” as the audience cheered along.
“Since the first time that I have come here I have always been surprised and didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
“When we were here for the first and second time, it was just high energy and great. I just felt the love and passion from the Saudi audience, and I am super happy to be back.”
Walker said that he created a special show for Riyadh. “For today, I have tried to plan more of a different show because I am also preparing for a show I am doing in Norway. I wanted to try out some new stuff and a new way of mixing, keep it high energy.
“I have tried to sneak in some gaming songs and, of course, a lot of my songs are huge within the gaming community, so there are a lot of gaming references.”
Walker highlighted his openness to collaborating with artists from the region to create new music.
“It could be amazing to do a crossover or just, in general, do a collaboration with a Middle Eastern artist because my arms are open to working with anyone and I think it could be incredible,” he said.
Walker ended his interview with some advice for young artists pursuing a career in music.
“What I know and will always say is, find yourself, find what represents you as an artist and not necessarily try to peruse what everybody else is doing. Find your sound, your image and something that will make the fans connect to you,” he said.
Another international artist, Russ, took to the stage in the penultimate performance of the night, singing hits such as “Pull the Trigger,” “What They Want,” and “Entertained.”
Before leaving the stage he thanked the Kingdom for supporting his music.
“Saudi, I just want to say, thank you to all the fans and thank you for all of the love you have shown me.
“You all were really like my first fans seven years ago, you all really changed my life, Saudi Arabia really changed my life, I appreciate all of the love and support.”
He added: “I love you all forever and I am always going to come back to Saudi. Thank you, Riyadh.”
Two 17-year-old friends, Rola Kanafani and Jowelle Al-Salti, attended the concert to see Russ perform.
“We know that he came here before; we want to know why he comes to this country more than other artists,” Al-Salti said.
“I feel like it’s a place of respect,” she added.
This was the first concert the two friends have attended as a part of Gamers8.
“We are here to have fun and, hopefully, it is going to be a great time,” Kanafani told Arab News.
Saudi Arabian rapper Jeed blew away the packed NXT LVL crowd at Gamers8 with favorites including “Everything Different” and “Sweet.” A potential new release, “Private,” ended the powerful set.
The Gamers8 festival is bringing international music artists to Riyadh for the eight-week event. Artists will perform each weekend for fans and participants. The seventh week of Gamers8 will kick off on Aug. 25 with performances from the Engineers, Lebanese singer Myriam Fares, Black Eyed Peas, and DJ Snake.