ALULA: The former director general at UNESCO, Irina Bokova, called AlUla the “perfect expression” for a journey through time while speaking at the Hegra Conference of Nobel Laureates and Friends 2022 on Saturday.
Participating in the discussion panel “Kairos vs. Chronos: Decisive Moments in History” Bokova said: “AlUla is indeed the journey through time; we’re speaking about time, and AlUla is the perfect expression of a journey through time when we see this vast civilization.”
Bokova, appearing alongside Kailash Satyarthi, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Prof. Dr. Kurt Wüthrich, the 2002 Nobel laureate in chemistry from the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at ETH Zürich, told Arab News that two events had come to define AlUla’s place in the world in recent years.
“The first is the description of Hegra on the World Heritage list in 2008, when the world started to discover this fantastic place, and the second is of course Vision 2030 for the future of Saudi Arabia,” she said.
“The decision to develop AlUla is one of the outstanding projects of tourism, of sustainable development, protection of the environment (and) community engagement — I would say this is where the new Saudi Arabia is being born,” she added.
“(Vision 2030) goes back to its roots because (it) is about modernity, new development, social inclusion, engaging young people, education, but also about heritage protection.
“For Saudis to know where their roots are … this is where I see the huge potential of AlUla, and on top of that, this is about the common history of humanity,” she added.
Bokova said Hegra is known to have more than 7,000 years of history, featuring different civilizations, as well as playing host to the movement of trade caravans.
“When they were trading, there were also ideas that were developed; there were human encounters and I think this is exactly what the Vision 2030 means,” she said.
“It’s about modernity, but it’s also about identity and heritage protection.”
Satyarthi talked about children’s safety and protection, and issues such as child trafficking at the panel — adding that the conference is significant for those concerned about humanity.
“People who care for humanity, people who care for the planet, there could be several ways like science and technology, literature, economics, social and humanitarian work, when they come together — they will definitely create some momentum of thoughts and of actions,” he told Arab News.
He added that there are hundreds of issues which divide humanity, but that the issue of children’s well being can unite the world.
“If all of us come together and resolve and take action, that we have to protect one generation — this generation of children — then the rest of the generations would be able to protect themselves,” he said.
“If we are able to educate every child now, then their future generations would definitely be educated; if we ensure freedom and dignity for those children today, then their children and all the generations to come will automatically learn, and they will be a free and happy generation.”