Cabinet minister surprised, inspired by Saudi trainee waiter serving him in Geneva

Cabinet minister surprised, inspired by Saudi trainee waiter serving him in Geneva
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Abdul Rahman Basra, who is from Madinah, works at Lou One, a Chinese restaurant, as part of his training in Switzerland. (Supplied)
Cabinet minister surprised, inspired by Saudi trainee waiter serving him in Geneva
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Abdul Rahman Basra, who is from Madinah, works at Lou One, a Chinese restaurant, as part of his training in Switzerland. (Supplied)
Cabinet minister surprised, inspired by Saudi trainee waiter serving him in Geneva
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Abdul Rahman Basra, who is from Madinah, works at Lou One, a Chinese restaurant, as part of his training in Switzerland. (Supplied)
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Updated 14 June 2022

Cabinet minister surprised, inspired by Saudi trainee waiter serving him in Geneva

Cabinet minister surprised, inspired by Saudi trainee waiter serving him in Geneva
  • Majid Al-Qasabi took to Twitter to praise Abdul Rahman Basra for his dedication
  • Young man from Madinah wants to help build the Kingdom’s tourism industry

MAKKAH: Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi was having a meal at a top restaurant in Geneva last Saturday when he was pleasantly surprised to have a Saudi tourism student working as a waiter serving him, prompting him to post a message on Twitter praising the young man for his initiative and dedication.

Al-Qasabi wrote on his Twitter account: “We are proud of our Saudi youth and (the way they are) excelling everywhere. I have met our son Abdul Rahman Basra, who was sent on a scholarship to study tourism and hospitality in Switzerland, and who is spending his field training in one of the fanciest restaurants in Geneva … The determination of our youth is high to build our dear country.”

Basra, who is from Madinah, told Arab News he was working at Lou One, a Chinese restaurant, as part of his training in Switzerland.

“After I finished my high school in Madinah in 2016, I headed to Canada to study English. Afterwards, I came back to Saudi Arabia and (waited) for a scholarship in tourism which I was always passionate about ...”

He said that because he grew up in Madinah, he had become accustomed to meeting people from around the world. This had inspired him to seek work in the tourism industry. “This passion increased when I was studying in Canada.”

During his time in Canada, Basra said he was constantly meeting people from all corners of the globe. “(E)verybody was enthusiastic about … places they visited except for Saudi Arabia, which made me wish (for) Saudi Arabia (to be considered) an international tourist attraction.”

He said the Kingdom was unique in several ways, including the hospitality of its people, and its rich history. In addition, the country is considered the center of Islam.




Saudi Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, left, with Abdul Rahman Basra, who is studying tourism in Geneva. (Supplied)

When he returned to Saudi Arabia from Canada, he spent nine months waiting for a Tourism Excellence Scholarship from the Ministry of Education. He praised the government for creating these types of opportunities for young people.

Studying tourism in Switzerland has always been Basra’s dream: “It’s where the best and most prestigious universities are located.”

He said he studies at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, the third most prestigious university in the world in the field of tourism and hospitality. It is part of the institution’s requirements to have students work as waiters, he said.

It has been difficult studying in Switzerland because the hotels require French proficiency. However, he was fortunate that waiters, unlike chefs, were not required to speak the language.

He said that Qasabi had been quite pleased to hear that he was a Saudi undergoing training in Geneva.

“The Chinese restaurant Lou One is one of the best … in Geneva … When he asked me about my nationality, I saw a smile, and he began to motivate and advise me. He appreciated and admired my work.”

Basra said he plans to return to Saudi Arabia to help build the tourism industry.


Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy

Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy
Updated 30 September 2022

Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy

Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host a conference in Riyadh that will explore the convergence of  science and philosophy.

The meeting, in its second edition, is being organized by the Kingdm’s Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission and will take place from Dec. 1-3 at King Fahd National Library in the Saudi capital.

The theme of "Knowledge and Exploration: Space, Time, and Humanity" has been chosen to enable a convergence of science and philosophy, organizers said on Thursday.

Philosophers, scientists,  and artists will be in attendance to discuss the topics such as the modern spaces of existence, the status of contemporary science, and justice and ethics in exploration. Intellectuals are also expected to discuss the complexities of space diplomacy and climate change and environmental crises, assessing how these issues will shape the future of humanity.

The three-day conference will feature lectures, panel discussions, seminars and workshops. There will be a children’s philosophical space and two parallel activations at the event.

Organizers have also issued a Call for Papers encouraging academics around the world to contribute papers on these and other sub-themes.

Mohamed Hassan Alwan, CEO of the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission said: “Last year’s ground-breaking conference succeeded in putting Saudi Arabia on the global philosophical map and established the Kingdom as a regional centre for philosophical dialogue.

I am delighted to announce the second Riyadh Philosophy Conference, which will bring together a geographically diverse range of leading philosophers, educational institutions, and others, to debate the important issues of our time, and help stimulate inter-cultural, international and inter-disciplinary dialogue.”

Speakers for the event will be announced nearer the date of the conference.


Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands

Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands

Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands
  • Up to 70% off on fashion, home accessories, cosmetics
  • 3m items from 1,500 firms on display until Oct. 14

JEDDAH: The Saudi General Entertainment Authority on Wednesday announced the launch of “Outlet 2022” shopping festival, the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

According to the organizers, the two-week outdoor festival, which will kick off on Saturday, will offer exclusive discounts of up to 70 percent on fashion, home accessories, and cosmetic products designed by international experts. The event’s galleries will have a Greek-inspired design.

On his Twitter account, Turki Al-Sheikh, GEA chairman, said the event in Riyadh is a pioneering initiative.

“We’ll soon have the ‘Outlet Festival,’ the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. The festival will bring together the most famous brands in the world to be sold at reduced prices and discounts. A different thing in Riyadh,” Al-Sheikh said in his tweet.

The festival will be held in Al-Rehab neighborhood, west of the Saudi capital, and will include places to eat and events for children.

Farah Ahmed, who lives in the neighborhood, told Arab News that she has been observing the construction of the outlet. “It’s impressive how quickly the GEA built the space. They are working day and night to make it happen.” 

Entry to the festival is free, and will include more than three million discounted items of 1,500 international brands.

“I’m so excited about the festival, especially (since) I haven’t been able to travel or shop this summer, yet I feel that two weeks is not enough. I hope the GEA extends it further,” she added. 

Doors will be open daily from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets can be booked through the Ticket MX App and website, and VIP and VVIP tickets can be booked through the Parky App and website.


MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres

MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres
Updated 30 September 2022

MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres

MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres

RIYADH: President of the Board of Grievances, and of the Administrative Judiciary Council, Sheikh Khaled Al-Youssef, recently signed a memorandum of understanding between the board and the US Case Western Reserve University in research and training.

The terms of the memorandum included training and development of judicial and administrative cadres and exchanging experiences and research in the administrative and organizational fields, to benefit from the CWRU’s expertise as one of the most prestigious international universities in the field of law and administration.

A seminar, “Synergies between the Board of Grievances in Saudi Arabia and CWRU School of Law in the US,” was also held, during which Al-Youssef presented a working paper, highlighting the Board of Grievances’ achievements in completing the digital transformation of all litigation procedures.

The working paper focused on highlighting aspects of cooperation between the two sides under the signed MoU.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Saudi Chamber recently hosted a meeting between Saudi businesspeople and a delegation from the World Affairs Councils of America to discuss cooperation between the two sides to support Saudi-US relations.

The Saudi side acquainted the US delegation with the top programs and initiatives of the Saudi Vision 2030, in addition to the mega projects that are being developed in Qiddiya and the Red Sea, among others, and the developments witnessed in the educational, tourism, technological, digital, artificial intelligence, women, youth and SMEs sectors.


Saudi Arabia participates in UNESCO cultural conference

Saudi Arabia participates in UNESCO cultural conference
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi Arabia participates in UNESCO cultural conference

Saudi Arabia participates in UNESCO cultural conference

MEXICO: Unequal access to new technologies, illicit trafficking and threats to cultural heritage were among the issues on the agenda for international culture ministers who met Wednesday in Mexico City for the World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, or MONDIACULT.

Representatives of around 160 UNESCO member states are participating in the three-day conference, which seeks to reaffirm the global commitment to contemporary challenges facing multicultural societies and to formulate a forward-looking vision for cultural policies.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation to MONDIACULT 2022.

The Saudi minister also headed the regional consultations for the Arab region, representing Saudi Arabia.

The consultations focused on four main objectives: identifying national and regional trends of cultural policies in countries, identifying and analyzing challenges and opportunities for cultural policies throughout the region, supporting the listing of culture in the regional trends agenda, and identifying priorities that can contribute to the final statement of MONDIACULT 2022.

The goals of the final declaration to be adopted on Friday include guaranteeing artists’ rights and regulating distribution platforms, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said.

Another objective is to ensure culture is included in international discussions on climate change, notably through traditional and Indigenous knowledge systems.

“Our cultural heritage is threatened very directly by global warming,” Azoulay said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that culture is vital for public health, according to conference coordinator Pablo Raphael.

“No one would have been able to survive the confinement and stress…without books, music and cinema,” he said.

The health crisis also laid bare technological inequalities between different communities, Mexican Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto said.

One of the meeting’s objectives is to find ways to guarantee that artists have access to technologies to share their work.

The final declaration is expected to include a call to recognize culture as a “global public good” that benefits all of the world’s citizens.


Saudi Arabia offers new educational visas serving students from 160 countries

Saudi Arabia offers new educational visas serving students from 160 countries
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi Arabia offers new educational visas serving students from 160 countries

Saudi Arabia offers new educational visas serving students from 160 countries

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia announced it had recently relaxed rules for foreign students, introducing long and short-term educational visas.

The educational visas target male and female students, researchers, and academics for higher education to attract distinguished talents and raise the quality of the education and sector, presenting the Kingdom as an attractive educational destination.

The Ministry of Education pointed out that this scheme is divided into short-term visas for educational programs of up to a year and long-term visas for programs of more than a year.

It also noted that the advantages of the visa scheme are to serve students from 160 countries, register data in nine languages, link applications with the relevant authorities, and facilitate the procedures for enrolling in universities in the Kingdom.

The holders of long and short-term educational visas are exempt from the statutory requirement related to providing a sponsor in the Kingdom.

Shoura Council member Dr. Sultana Al-Badawi told Arab News that the educational visa is one of the myriads of achievements of the Kingdom.

“It achieves one of the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 … to be an open country for everyone, whether for work, tourism or performing religious rituals,” said Al-Badawi.

She noted that any student in the world meeting the conditions for an educational visa can now apply for an one to benefit from the Kingdom’s numerous advantages.

“We will have short and long-term visas for educational purposes, dealing with various academic and research aspects, innovation, training, teaching, study, and others, enabling students to benefit from studying in universities and advanced Saudi educational institutions,” she added.

“I am certain that the coming period will witness large (numbers of) applications for educational visas from different countries given the Kingdom’s great global stature, reflected in its economy and the flexibility of its systems to achieve the requirements of a good life, on top of which are security and safety.”