MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia hosted a two-day session of virtual dialogue this week, aimed at “stimulating creativity and innovation in the field of Hajj and Umrah.”
The discussions addressed the challenges faced by the Hajj and Umrah sector, pioneering ideas in this field, and ways of promoting innovation within the sector.
Hisham Saeed, spokesman and undersecretary for Hajj and Umrah services at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, stressed that creativity and innovation are key pillars of Saudi Vision 2030.
“We aspire to impress the pilgrim throughout his journey, thanks to a creative and innovative work system in the field of Hajj and Umrah,” he said.
“If we want to innovate, we must have an ambitious vision founded on excellence and quality,” said Mohammed Saati, spokesman for the Hajj Smart Card Project. “The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah hopes to make the Hajj smart card a key tool in all pilgrims’ journey in the Kingdom.”
Dr. Naeem Al-Bihani, associate professor of entrepreneurship and head of business administration at Umm Al-Qura University, said the best ideas are generated in a stimulating culture and environment. “Innovation is not just about techniques and systems, it’s a way of life for individuals and institutions in all disciplines,” he noted.
Sami Sarhan, head of industrial partnerships at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, said it is vital to develop services provided to pilgrims from their arrival in the Kingdom until their safe return home.
Dr. Ammar Attar, CEO of Manaafi Consulting, stressed that a culture of innovation is essential for the Hajj and Umrah system.
Saudi Arabia focused on ‘real empowerment of women,’ says UN envoy
Al-Ateeq pointed out that the Kingdom has conducted extensive human rights reforms, with women’s rights receiving “the largest share” of these changes
Updated 12 min 41 sec ago
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is moving “with all determination and firmness” to secure the “effective and real empowerment of women” so they can live without facing any discrimination, according to Mohammed Al-Ateeq, chargé d’affaires of the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN.
During the recent annual meeting of the executive board of the UN Commission for Women and Gender Equality, Al-Ateeq emphasized Saudi Arabia’s interest in the strategy for gender equality and women’s empowerment, which ran from 2018 to 2021.
Al-Ateeq pointed out that the Kingdom has conducted extensive human rights reforms, with women’s rights receiving “the largest share” of these changes.
He said that several laws, regulations and legal bases had been issued or amended to ensure that women enjoy their rights on an equal basis with men.
Gender equality has been advanced most notably in the laws surrounding traffic, travel documentation, civil status, labor and social insurance.
Al-Ateeq said that the Kingdom has taken special measures to “accelerate equality in various fields,” noting that the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched the women empowerment initiative, as well as a national platform for Saudi women leaders in collaboration with Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University.
Al-Ateeq also pointed to the “support for self-employment” program, which broadens opportunities for women to increase their income, especially through the “part-time work” and “remote work” programs. These enable women to strike a balance between work and family while also allowing women in rural and remote areas to participate in the labor market.
He said that the rate of Saudi female economic participation increased by 94 percent between 2017 and 2020, and the rate of women in senior and middle management positions increased from 28.6 percent in 2017 to 41.4 percent in the first quarter of 2021.
Al-Ateeq said Saudi women have held senior international positions and participated in international and regional organizations such as the UN.
He noted the cases of Thuraya Ahmed Obaid, the executive director of the UN Population Fund and assistant secretary-general of the UN, and Lubna Al-Ansari, who was the World Health Organization’s assistant director general for international health service measurement, evaluation and development.
“Saudi women enjoy a prominent position, especially in the labor market, where the competent authorities have worked to raise the percentage of women’s empowerment in the labor market and their participation in leadership positions alongside the man,” said Arafat Al-Majed, a former member of Qatif Municipal Council.
She told the commission that the Saudi leadership has directed authorities to develop women’s empowerment as one of the most prominent sections of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plans, “so it was remarkable that large numbers of Saudi women were able to work in the public and private sectors, thanks to new legislation, regulations and reforms.”
Al-Majed, who is also a broadcaster on Saudi Radio, said: “Today, Saudi women hold leadership positions in the government apparatus, starting with deputy minister, undersecretary, and there are two Saudi ambassadors abroad, along with many leading women."
She added: “In our media field, Israa Asiri was the CEO of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media. She is a leading woman who manages the authority with full aptitude.
“What I would like to summarize is that Saudi women have become a major partner in social development and an active element.”
Shuaa Al-Duhailan, a member of the committee on the labor market in the Federation of Saudi Chambers, affirmed that empowering women is not new to Saudi Arabia.
Al-Duhailan, who is also chairperson of the committee on women’s centers and saloons in Asharqia Chamber, added that women are still progressing in the Kingdom, enjoying many opportunities without facing obstacles, pointing to the adopted national strategies for this success.
Maryam H. Alshammari, a human resources officer at Bawabat Al-Mahtawi Agency for Advertising, praised sustainable development in Saudi Arabia “based on well-studied action plans through which all resources can be utilized available.”
She added that the Kingdom realizes that its people are the real wealth of the country, noting that there are well-studied work plans through which citizens can benefit from the resources available in the country, noting that these plans have taken into account the economic, social and human dimensions of work.
Alshammari confirmed that work environments in Saudi Arabia are now more efficient and transparent, thanks to the major national reforms, noting that this has contributed significantly to achieving sustainable development and “the economic empowerment of women in multiple business sectors.”
Saudi industry minister meets UK mining companies, investors
Bandar Ibrahim Alkhorayef on official visit to Britain to highlight opportunities
Kingdom’s mineral wealth estimated at $1.3 trillion, including phosphates, gold, copper, zinc
Updated 25 June 2022
LONDON: The Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Ibrahim Alkhorayef has held a meeting with mining companies and investors in Britain, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
He highlighted investment opportunities in the Kingdom’s mining and industrial sectors during his official visit to the UK, which was organized by his ministry under the theme “Invest in Saudi Arabia.”
Alkhorayef and his team reviewed the most important elements that attract exploration and mining in the Kingdom. Several British mining companies outlined their successes in investing in Saudi Arabia.
The ministry detailed the huge potential and strong infrastructure that make the Kingdom one of the best investment environments in the global mining sector.
The ministry’s delegation also invited attendees to the international mining conference that Saudi Arabia holds annually in Riyadh.
Throughout his visit, Alkhorayef stressed the Kingdom’s great interest in enhancing investments as it aims to exploit mineral wealth estimated at $1.3 trillion.
This sum includes stores of phosphates that are valued at $321 billion, gold at $229 billion, copper at $222 billion and zinc at $138 billion.
Hajj pilgrims praise receiving ‘finest services’ at Saudi Arabia’s Halat Ammar crossing
Pilgrims expressed their appreciation for the great efforts made by hosts Saudi Arabia to make their pilgrimage safe, comfortable and meaningful
Updated 25 June 2022
JEDDAH: Officials at the Halat Ammar border crossing are continuing their efforts to welcome pilgrims from abroad through an integrated system of services provided by civil, military, and government agencies.
The services aim to better help pilgrims and improve the quality of services provided by the Saudi government, from the moment pilgrims arrive in the Kingdom, on their way to the holy sites, and until they return to their home countries.
Under the direct supervision and follow-up of Tabuk Gov. Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the region’s Hajj work committee at Halat Ammar’s Pilgrims’ City also provides medical services and religious awareness programs.
Pilgrims expressed their satisfaction with the services provided, saying that King Salman had spared no effort to help his Muslim brothers and sisters wherever they were.
Palestinian pilgrim Widad Ibrahim expressed her great pleasure in being among this year’s pilgrims. She also thanked the Saudi authorities for the services they were providing.
“The pilgrims are receiving the finest services, and for that, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for the services and hospitality we found. In fact, they reflect the Saudi government and people's interest in serving the guests of Allah who come from all corners of the world to perform their Hajj rituals,” Ibrahim said.
Pilgrims also expressed their appreciation for the great efforts made by Saudi Arabia in utilizing its capabilities and services to aid pilgrims coming through the Halat Ammar border point so they could perform their rituals in an atmosphere of security, safety, comfort, stability, and tranquillity.
Another Palestinian, Wael Al-Humaidat, said he was happy for the opportunity to perform his first Hajj. He commented on the excellent services provided by the Saudi government and the warm welcome pilgrims had received.
Al-Humaidat prayed for Saudi Arabia and its people to be protected from evil. He also called for Allah to perpetuate his blessings of security and safety upon Saudi Arabia.
Boulevard Riyadh’s mixed bag of summer activities to keep enthusiasts busy
Karting, online gaming, rock climbing and arts all available
Wide array of restaurants, areas to relax and enjoy karaoke
Updated 25 June 2022
RIYADH: Now that summer has arrived and the school year ended, Boulevard Riyadh City is the place to be with activities for everyone. It’s best to go early because entry is free and the place will be packed.
For adrenaline junkies, Doos Karting is the perfect place for you to show off your driving skills and win podiums against family and friends.
The pre-Formula 1 stage race lasts anywhere between five and eight laps on two tracks. The first is 435 meters and has three challenging turns. The second is more streamlined, at 465 meters, with only two turns.
You can have a great time and experience an adrenaline rush while traveling at a top speed of 80 km/h.
Up to 10 karters can race concurrently on the multi-level tracks.
If you like physical activities, the indoor adventure park is for you.
The place allows you to scale 10 different walls inspired by real locations in the Kingdom, including the mountains of Tuwaiq, Shammar, Hijaz, Al-Lawz, Faisal’s Finger, Al-Qara and Souda. There are also other walls mimicking climbing areas in Wadi Lajab, Harrat Rahat and Ain Heet Cave.
Children can also play in the monkey cage or on trampolines.
In the future, the company will open halls in Baha and other regions of Saudi Arabia.
Let’s not forget the world’s tallest fun slide in the Avalanche attraction for those daring enough. In the same area, a special section has been set up for those wanting to paint, draw or make pottery.
Bahrain to be first to connect with Saudi Arabia’s Seha Virtual Hospital
Saudi, Bahraini ministers discuss deal to join digital network
Updated 25 June 2022
RIYADH: Bahrain is set to become the first country to sign up with Saudi Arabia’s Seha Virtual Hospital, the largest network of its kind in the world.
Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel recently met his Bahraini counterpart Dr. Jalila Al-Sayed, who is on a visit to the Kingdom, for talks on an agreement that will link Bahrain with the virtual hospital.
• The ministers discussed strengthening cooperation between the two countries in a range of health fields, such as medical research, emerging diseases and monitoring post- vaccine complications.
• The two sides also reviewed joint efforts in the field of health insurance, as well as the mobile health care experience in Bahrain.
The hospital was launched in February this year as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to digitalize its healthcare sector.
Al-Jalajel outlined the functions of the Seha Virtual Hospital and its command and control center, and welcomed the prospect of Bahrain becoming the first country to be linked with the facility.
The ministers also discussed strengthening cooperation between the two countries in a range of health fields, such as medical research, emerging diseases and monitoring post-vaccine complications.
Al-Sayed highlighted the importance of cooperation in the fields of genetic diseases and genes, telemedicine and clinical trials.
The two sides also reviewed joint efforts in the field of health insurance, as well as the mobile health care experience in Bahrain.
Later, the Bahraini minister toured the Seha Virtual Hospital and was given a detailed explanation of the facility’s services. She also visited the command and control center.
With a growing live network of 130 connected hospitals, Seha Virtual Hospital is the largest of its kind in the world. The only other virtual hospital to rival it is in the US, with 43 connected hospitals.
Patients of the virtual hospital will no longer need to travel to different parts of the Kingdom to be seen by specialized physicians, nor will they be limited by 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. clinic hours.
Earlier, an official told Arab News that patients can now receive second and third medical opinions from the same consulting room.
Unlike simple video calls with doctors, the virtual hospital allows patients to visit their local hospital and attend a real-time live video clinical session with top specialists from across the Kingdom. During the session, vitals signs can be shared, while tests and X-rays can also be taken and shared with the network of specialists.
Emergency interventions can be provided round the clock, and real-time consultations with top specialists will guide local junior staff in dealing with complex cases.
Seha Virtual Hospital covers 12 main specialties and more than 35 subspecialties, including hospital-at-home follow-ups, where chronically ill patients, from the comfort of their homes, can stay connected with doctors.