DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia

DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years  of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia
Riyadh Deputy Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman attends the event with Martina Strong, charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Riyadh. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 May 2022

DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia

DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years  of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia
  • The US Legation opened in Jeddah in 1942. Full diplomatic relations began in 1940 and the US Mission, located in a traditional house in the old city center, was upgraded to the status of an embassy in 1949

RIYADH: The US Embassy in Riyadh has marked the 80th anniversary of the establishment of its first diplomatic presence in Saudi Arabia, highlighting what it described as “eight decades of shared history, strong partnership and united vision” with the Kingdom.

The US Legation opened in Jeddah in 1942. Full diplomatic relations began in 1940 and the US Mission, located in a traditional house in the old city center, was upgraded to the status of an embassy in 1949.

In 1952, the embassy moved to the current consulate general location, which at the time was an isolated, beachfront property to the north of the city.

Along with all other foreign missions, the US Embassy was transferred to Riyadh in 1984. The former embassy compound in Jeddah is now a consulate general in the heart of one of the Middle East’s most dynamic cities.

The theme of this year’s celebration was “Shared History, Strong Partnership and United Vision,” highlighting the enduring foundation of the strategic ties and friendship between the US and Saudi Arabia.

“From the very early days of modern Saudi Arabia, the US, its leaders, its companies and its people supported their Saudi friends on their remarkable journey toward success and prosperity,” the US Embassy in Riyadh said in a statement to Arab News.

“The US-Saudi relationship has naturally evolved over the years. It has grown to encompass trade, culture, education, security, and especially the close ties between the Saudi and American people. What has not changed during the past 80 years is the shared vision that has always guided the cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia in these and many other areas,” it added.

“As Saudi Arabia pursues the ambitious goals of Vision 2030, the US is supporting the Kingdom’s efforts in the same spirit of partnership that has been one of the key pillars of US–Saudi ties. Today, in every field, in every sector, Americans and Saudis are working together, learning together, conducting research together and, more recently, performing together in concerts, films and athletic competitions.”

This engagement translates into $54 billion annually in US-Saudi trade and investment.

American companies have been an integral part of the Vision 2030 economic transformation of Saudi Arabia, while the US and Saudi Arabia also enjoy robust cultural and educational ties.


Women participating in Makkah’s General Cars Syndicate for the first time

Women participating in Makkah’s General Cars Syndicate for the first time
Updated 11 sec ago

Women participating in Makkah’s General Cars Syndicate for the first time

Women participating in Makkah’s General Cars Syndicate for the first time
  • ‘Our leadership has made it possible for women to work, especially in all government sectors’

MAKKAH: Women will be part of the General Cars Syndicate in Makkah for the first time since it was set up nine decades ago.

The syndicate is an executive body that arranges and organizes pilgrim transportation through affiliated companies.

Khadijah Fida, a journalist and content creator at the syndicate, said: “A lot of women have been assisting with work for Hajj in the Kingdom for decades. I saw my father’s work in this sector, along with my brother and husband, and today I have also participated in it. Our leadership has made it possible for women to work, especially in all government sectors, and play an active role in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Today, I represent the General Cars Syndicate in the media, public relations, creating quality material, and monitoring the successes of the transport information center during Hajj. I am proud and honored to be a woman from Makkah who works in the syndicate that greatly and actively contributes to the success of Hajj and the safe transport of pilgrims.

“We experience Makkah’s Hajj and Umrah seasons, and the syndicate is always working on creating and establishing an institutional framework for this association that has made a dramatic difference in transport in Makkah to bring comfort to pilgrims who (earlier) struggled on dirt roads to reach Makkah.”

Mervat Habhab, a customer service specialist at the syndicate’s information center, said that women’s roles had become more noticeable and significant.

“It is my mission to interact and address the situation of every beneficiary, based on their needs, and transport them to the relevant departments for a quick response and intervention. It is an honorable and wonderful mission to contribute to the service of pilgrims when those services were limited to men. In this prosperous era and these blessed days, I have the opportunity to play an important and active part as a woman from Makkah who loves God and her homeland.”

Habhab added that government support motivated them to improve their work performance every year.

Binan Basnan, another customer service specialist at the syndicate, said: “I am proud and honored to work in a great institution such as the General Cars Syndicate that serves pilgrims on their Hajj journey through receiving their inquiries and complaints. I am grateful that women now have more professional opportunities to participate and serve during Hajj. I hope to be rewarded (by God) and thank our government, which gave us these great opportunities.”


King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman congratulate President Biden on July 4th celebrations

King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman congratulate President Biden on July 4th celebrations
Updated 17 min 57 sec ago

King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman congratulate President Biden on July 4th celebrations

King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman congratulate President Biden on July 4th celebrations
  • President Biden is expected to make a trip to Saudi Arabia later this month

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have congratulated US President Joseph Biden on the upcoming July 4th Independence Day, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The King and crown prince expressed their heartfelt wishes for the President's health and happiness, as well as continued prosperity for the US.

The King also praised the countries' bilateral relations and the progress they are making in all fields.

President Biden is expected to make a trip to the Kingdom later this month.


Campaign to welcome Hajj pilgrims in their language launched

Campaign to welcome Hajj pilgrims in their language launched
Updated 03 July 2022

Campaign to welcome Hajj pilgrims in their language launched

Campaign to welcome Hajj pilgrims in their language launched
  • 100 guides across the mosque are available to communicate fluently with pilgrims in 23 languages

RIYADH: The President of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais launched the “We welcome you on the ground in your languages” campaign for Hajj pilgrims on Sunday.

The campaign aims to guide pilgrims at the Grand Mosque in Makkah in their own languages so that they can communicate effectively and without hassle. 

100 guides across the mosque are available 24 hours a day to communicate fluently with pilgrims in 23 different languages. 


New lake park in Historic Jeddah highlights cultural destination

The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals of cultivating environmental projects. (Supplied)
The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals of cultivating environmental projects. (Supplied)
Updated 44 min 2 sec ago

New lake park in Historic Jeddah highlights cultural destination

The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals of cultivating environmental projects. (Supplied)
  • Jeddah’s historical district was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, presenting a vivid recreation of life in the past

JEDDAH: The Jeddah historic district program has launched a new lake park — “Lake Al-Arbaeen” — launched in the historical district of Jeddah as an exclusive cultural destination.

The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals of cultivating environmental projects and improving the quality of life within the city’s historical area.

Several artistic sculptures from throughout the world are placed within the park. Visitors can stroll through historical architecture, natural scenes, cultural events, sports tracks, local restaurants and souqs that highlight the city’s heritage.

Jeddah’s historical district was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, presenting a vivid recreation of life in the past.

Founded in the 7th century C.E., Al-Balad once served as a center of trade and commerce for Jeddah. But most of the ancient walls that surrounded the town, and the souq within it, became weathered and were eventually torn down as centuries passed.

As wealth from oil began to flow into the Saudi economy and the country began a march toward modernity, many people moved out of the cramped spaces of Al-Balad, leaving its more palatial homes and buildings to slow dilapidation.

There are more than 450 buildings within the historical walls of the city, 56 of which are in urgent need of repair.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged SR50 million ($13.33 million) to support the restoration of these buildings as they represent a major part of the Kingdom’s ancient heritage and are a significant tourist site.


Gamers8 esports event brings global musical artists to Riyadh

Axwell will be performing for the opening weekend on July 21. (Supplied)
Axwell will be performing for the opening weekend on July 21. (Supplied)
Updated 03 July 2022

Gamers8 esports event brings global musical artists to Riyadh

Axwell will be performing for the opening weekend on July 21. (Supplied)
  • The musical performances and children’s activities open the event up to a wider audience, with around 1,000 activities and attractions at Boulevard Riyadh City during the festival

JEDDAH: An esports festival is bringing international musical artists to Riyadh for the eight-week event.

The lineup for Gamers8 features DJs, rappers, and singers from the Arab world, Europe, and the US, including Lil Pump, Nancy Ajram, Hamaki, Disco Misr, Alan Walker, Russ, DJ Snake, and Balqees.

Artists will perform each weekend for fans and participants.

Gamers8, which is the biggest gaming and esports event worldwide, is being brought to the city by the Saudi Esports Federation.

Its goal is to blur borders, the ones between countries and the ones between the real world and the virtual one, and to bring gamers together. It is also a step forward in finding gamers, strengthening the gaming community in Saudi Arabia, and introducing them to the rest of the world.

A prize purse of up to $15 million is up for grabs.

The big-name games at the festival are PUBG, Dota 2, Rocket League, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and Fortnite.

The musical performances and children’s activities open the event up to a wider audience, with around 1,000 activities and attractions at Boulevard Riyadh City during the festival.

SEF COO Ahmed Al-Bishri said: “The goal of Gamers8 is to bring the virtual world of esports gaming out into the physical realm of Riyadh while merging a plethora of entertainment such as music, festivals, shows, and the latest experiences for children.

“We are delighted to be bringing some of the biggest names in music to Riyadh this summer and know they will significantly contribute to a season of incredible moments and memories.”

Full details about the performers and festival can be found on gamers8.gg.