Partnership to develop charitable work at King Abdulaziz University

Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Youbi and Dr. Khaled Abdullah Al-Suraihi sign a collaboration agreement in Jeddah on Monday. (Supplied)
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Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Youbi and Dr. Khaled Abdullah Al-Suraihi sign a collaboration agreement in Jeddah on Monday. (Supplied)
Partnership to develop charitable work at King Abdulaziz University
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King Abdulaziz University and International Center for Research and Studies officials after signing the collaboration agreement in Jeddah. (Supplied)
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Updated 15 June 2022

Partnership to develop charitable work at King Abdulaziz University

Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Youbi and Dr. Khaled Abdullah Al-Suraihi sign a collaboration agreement in Jeddah on Monday. (Supplied)
  • Universities seek to diversify financial resources in line with latest laws by signing new partnerships

RIYADH: Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Youbi, the president of King Abdulaziz University, and Dr. Khaled Al-Suraihi, secretary-general of the International Center for Research and Studies (MEDAD), have signed a collaboration agreement to develop charitable work in the university.

According to a joint statement issued Monday in Jeddah, the agreement seeks to achieve joint collaboration in non-profit consulting, endowments and charitable work.

The collaboration will take a particular focus on scientific research, seminars, conferences, scientific activities, the exchange of publications and cultural programs, as well as workshops and training courses.




Mofarreh H. ALjabri, Former member of the Arab International Center for Training and Consulting. (Supplied)

Al-Youbi emphasized that the university is looking to expand charitable collaboration with government and private bodies, as well as non-profit work and endowments.

“The agreement strengthens local civil society institutions’ roles in the development of various sectors, including academia, particularly King Abdulaziz University,” Dr. Al-Suraihi told Arab News.

He added that this type of agreement will help the non-profit sector grow by increasing the capacity of organizations that work in it.

Al-Suraihi said that MEDAD’s work with the university is currently in the planning stages as it prepares to launch several educational and training programs, field studies, conferences and seminars.

Al-Suraihi emphasized that non-profit sector establishments are a core part of the Kingdom’s development, adding that their involvement has been reflected in the Kingdom’s improvement in quality of life.

Mofarreh H. Aljabri, a former member of the Arab International Center for Training and Consulting, told Arab News that collaboration between universities and other community sectors is critical, noting that the world’s leading universities are racing to reach agreements and exchange benefits with private and non-profit institutions.

He noted that King Abdulaziz University has a long history of community interaction, including partnerships with training facilities in the non-profit and private sectors.

The human development specialist said that the agreement comes in the context of the non-profit sector’s increased importance in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plans and is consistent with the non-profit sector’s development in the Kingdom over the last decade.

Aljabri said the agreement will enhance the partnership between community institutions and the university, furthering national development by enabling non-profit organizations to have a greater impact and shaping the future of the non-profit sector.

The agreement also follows a broader liberalization of the Saudi higher education sector. In 2019, the Saudi Council of Ministers approved a law to give “disciplined independence” to universities, allowing them to develop their own academic, financial and administrative regulations in accordance with state-approved public policies via the Council of Universities’ Affairs.

The council, chaired by Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh, minister of education, is a Saudi government council established under the most recent university law. It organizes university affairs and approves university education policies and strategies in the Kingdom.

The council designated that the universities of King Saud, King Abdulaziz, and Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal would have the law applied to them in the first phase.

The new regulation allows the universities to financially benefit from developing their own revenue streams through various means, including “carrying out scientific research or consulting services for other internal or external bodies.”


Thai citizens share their joy performing Hajj

The second group of Thai pilgrims arrived at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah on June 11.
The second group of Thai pilgrims arrived at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah on June 11.
Updated 03 July 2022

Thai citizens share their joy performing Hajj

The second group of Thai pilgrims arrived at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah on June 11.
  • Arabic teacher Mamu Kayah and businessman Arong Samae praise Saudi and Thai officials for smooth journey

RIYADH: Two Thai pilgrims performing Hajj for the first time have expressed their joy at arriving in Saudi Arabia after not being able to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hajj is the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I could not hold back the tears when I saw the Kaaba for the first time. If I am able to perform Hajj after this time, I intend to perform Umrah every year, God willing. Hajj means everything to me,” Arong Samae told Arab News.

Samae from Narathiwat Province, located in the south of Thailand, is a businessman who is undertaking the pilgrimage with his wife this year.

“I seize this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for its gigantic efforts by which Muslims can visit the city of the Prophet (Madinah) and Makkah once again, and I pray to God Almighty to grant it more prosperity and progress,” said Samae.

The Narathiwat Province native took a plane from southern Thailand to Madinah Airport directly. He arrived in Saudi Arabia on June 11 and left for Makkah on June 17.

“I have never encountered any difficulties; everything is organized and easy. The Thai Hajj Company supplies everything from start to finish, and the Thai government also provides support and facilities at all stages,” Samae said.

“The trip took approximately eight hours by chartered flight, and I did not expect these facilities, because I heard that the pilgrimage journey is tiring and long, starting with car transfers to the capital, then waiting for the flight for two or three days,” he said.

Samae was surprised to see how quick and seamless the process was: “Thank God, everything (was) easy … Less than 12 hours … and I was in Saudi Arabia, I thank God for that,” he said.

“I prayed to God that one day I would arrive in Saudi Arabia. I also thank everyone who serves the pilgrims, whether they are from Thailand or from Saudi Arabia,” he said.

He said that he wanted to perform Hajj two years ago but was unable to because of COVID-19 restrictions. The pandemic had “changed everything” they wanted to do, he said.

Thai native, 58-year-old Mamu Kayah, is performing Hajj with his wife this year. He is a high school Arabic teacher from Yala, a city in the south of the country.

“I am very pleased to have this opportunity, and I thank God day and night for that. And I am absolutely certain that every Muslim who has come to this pure land shares this feeling with me,” Kayah said.

He told Arab News that this was his third time performing Hajj.

“We are very fortunate to have a direct flight from the far south of Thailand, the state of Narathiwat, which is only a hundred kilometers away from my home,” he said.

“The Thai Hajj company and the Thai Hajj mission did their duty well; everything is organized and tidy, especially with the presence of electronic platforms that contribute greatly to facilitating the procedures from the first day until we boarded the plane to Madinah,” he said.

Kayah took a direct eight-hour flight from Narathiwat to Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport. He thanked the Kingdom and Thailand for providing these routes for pilgrims.

“I heard that organizing the chartered plane was not easy, and it can only be done with the tremendous efforts of the two countries, Thailand and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Kayah and his wife arrived in Madinah on June 12, traveled to Makkah on June 18, and will return to their home country on July 20.

“It can be said that Hajj this year is very special and completely different from my previous experience,” he said.

“For example, from when I got off the plane at Madinah Airport to my arrival at the hotel, the process took only one hour. Every step is fast and tidy, starting with the procedures in the passports, taking the luggage, riding the bus,” Kayah added.

He added that Saudi and Thai employees were available everywhere to assist. “Above all, the reception from the competent Saudi authority was very wonderful; we felt like one of the VIPs,” he said.

It was an emotional experience for him. “Indescribable pleasure, especially for a person of my age. I always cry when I stand in front of the Prophet’s Mosque and the Holy Kaaba, crying for joy, of course, and it is all thanks to God Almighty,” he said.

“The only issue that worries me and everyone is the high prices of everything; in any case, we understand very well that this thing is not in our hands, so that not only the costs of Hajj increased but in everything and all over the world. Other than that, there are no difficulties,” he said.

Thailand has a post-pandemic quota of 5,885 pilgrims, according to the Thai Embassy in Jeddah, with 3,738 having registered to do so. Before the COVID-19 restrictions, Thailand had a quota of 13,000. In 2018 and 2019, a total of 7,851 and 8,462 pilgrims respectively performed Hajj.

As of June 20, 1,120 pilgrims had arrived in Madinah on Thai Airways charter flights. Four flights arrived in the Kingdom from June 10 to 13. The other 2,618 pilgrims will travel on eight flights from June 29 to Jeddah, five of which are through Thai airways and three are with Saudi Airlines.

As the first groups of pilgrims arrived in Makkah and Madinah on Sunday, Basri Tatif, the deputy head of the Thai Pilgrims Affairs, praised the Kingdom for its organization, and said that his fellow citizens will be able to perform their rituals safely with all the measures in place.


Jeddah Season receives 6 million visitors

The season created numerous opportunities for partnerships with the private sector. (SPA)
The season created numerous opportunities for partnerships with the private sector. (SPA)
Updated 03 July 2022

Jeddah Season receives 6 million visitors

The season created numerous opportunities for partnerships with the private sector. (SPA)
  • Jeddah Season began in May and ended on Saturday, July 2

JEDDAH: Jeddah Season set a new attendance record over its 60 days of events this year. Organizers said 6 million people had visited the season — the highest number in its short history.

Jeddah Season began in May and ended on Saturday, July 2. The number of visitors it attracted suggests the Kingdom’s drive to boost its tourism and entertainment sectors is a success.

The season created numerous opportunities for partnerships with the private sector, as well as a wide range of employment opportunities for young Saudi men and women in stores, restaurants, cafés, markets, or other organizational or logistical services.

More than 80 percent of all employees involved in Jeddah Season were Saudis.
 

 


Restoring ecosystem for a green Hajj requires good carbon, says forum chief

Al-Mashair covers 119 square kilometers and encompasses the key Hajj sites of Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Mina. (SPA file photo)
Al-Mashair covers 119 square kilometers and encompasses the key Hajj sites of Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Mina. (SPA file photo)
Updated 03 July 2022

Restoring ecosystem for a green Hajj requires good carbon, says forum chief

Al-Mashair covers 119 square kilometers and encompasses the key Hajj sites of Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Mina. (SPA file photo)
  • “Vegetation will help reclaim its eco-capacity to revive itself and accelerate as soil carbon. This will include flora, animals, and how humans can fundamentally use it,” he told Arab News

JEDDAH: Restoring the ecosystem for a green Hajj requires good carbon, the CEO of the Saudi Green Building Forum has said.  

The SGBF, along with the UN Environment Programme, is studying the Al-Mashair area to restore land and look into its boundaries and carbon capacity.

Al-Mashair covers 119 square kilometers and encompasses the key Hajj sites of Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Mina.

SGBF CEO Faisal Al-Fadhl said that helping the environment restore itself meant increasing good carbon (soil carbon), a natural phenomenon that could be achieved through man-made initiatives.

HIGHLIGHT

The Saudi Green Building Forum, along with the UN Environment Programme, is studying the Al-Mashair area to restore land and look into its boundaries and carbon capacity. It covers 119 square kilometers and encompasses the key Hajj sites of Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Mina.

“Vegetation will help reclaim its eco-capacity to revive itself and accelerate as soil carbon. This will include flora, animals, and how humans can fundamentally use it,” he told Arab News. “Seventy million tons of soil carbon is needed to restore the area through trees.”

Areas between Al-Mashair needed restoration for a rich human experience, he explained, “not just Mina, the mountains around it too.”

Al-Fadhl said good carbon canceled out the bad carbon from heat islands, a term referring to objects, elements, and structures such as cement, buildings, and reflective glass.

“These all generate a lot of heat so we want to reduce that through increasing soil carbon. The study is accredited by the United Nations Environment Programme, and this area requires certain care scientifically, zoologically, and botanically,” said Al-Fadhl.

He said Saudi Arabia was aiming to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2060, an announcement from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last October, and that this move was in line with the Kingdom’s development plans.

Al-Fadhl said the forum had begun projects to provide a green Hajj since it was established and now, with more sustainability awareness, the team was stepping up its action plans.

“It is not only a ritual place from the inside, it is a human experience and we have to restore its nature. It is the biggest international host in the world, so restoring the eco-capacity is a must for the human experience to be unique.”

Al-Fadhl said vegetation cover was very poor in Al-Mashair, with less than half of one percent having greenery or any form of vegetation. But he said that vegetation coverage had increased from 122 square meters to 878 square meters between 2000 and 2010.

“That is an 800 percent increase,” he added.

Al-Fadhl referred to US architect William McDonough’s “A New Language For Carbon” in his explanation to identify three strategies for carbon management and climate change.

The first was carbon positive, converting atmospheric carbon to forms that enhanced soil nutrition or to durable forms such as polymers and solid aggregates, also recycling carbon into nutrients from organic materials, food waste, compostable polymers, and sewers.

The second strategy, carbon neutral, referred to actions that transformed or maintained carbon in durable Earth-bound forms and cycles across generations; or renewable energy such as solar, wind, and hydropower that did not release carbon.

The third strategy, carbon negative, referred to actions that polluted the land, water, and atmosphere with various forms of carbon, for example, releasing CO2 and methane into the atmosphere or plastics into the ocean.

 


Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect Arabian Leopard documented by Princess Reema Bint Bandar

Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect Arabian Leopard documented by Princess Reema Bint Bandar
Updated 03 July 2022

Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect Arabian Leopard documented by Princess Reema Bint Bandar

Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect Arabian Leopard documented by Princess Reema Bint Bandar
  • Her book ‘The Arabian Leopard’ documents national efforts through the strategy of the Royal Commission for AlUla to preserve the endangered animal
  • The book contains over 100 works of art and photos

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect the Arabian Leopard is one of the most prominent global models, said Princess Reema bint Bandar, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States.
Princess Reema’s remarks came in the presence of Prince Khalid bin Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the UK, while launching a new book entitled, “The Arabian Leopard”, Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.
The book documents national efforts through the strategy of the Royal Commission for AlUla to preserve the Arabian Leopard and protect it from extinction, within the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Assouline Publishing House in London hosted the book launching ceremony, during which the ambassador emphasized the Kingdom’s efforts to protect the leopard and return it to its natural habitats.

 

 

Prepared and written by a number of experts in the fields of environment and nature conservation, the book contains over 100 works of art and photos. It also contains various reports on the history of the Arabian tiger, which has existed for more than 500,000 years in the Arabian Peninsula.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Arabian Leopard as among the most endangered animals, with only 200 alive today, due to overhunting and other reasons within the animal’s subsistence system.
 


The RCU’s strategy to preserve the animal includes a variety of initiatives, including expanding the breeding program by opening a dedicated center in the Sharaan Nature Reserve, and establishing the Global Fund for the Arabian Leopard, for which the authority has allocated $25 million.
In line with the Saudi Green Initiative, RCU aims to convert 80 percent of AlUla’s area into nature reserves, including wild plants and animals, as initiatives to protect the Arabian leopard have also included the resettlement of wild species such as mountain ibex and gazelles.


Makkah Healthcare Cluster establishes mobile dental clinic to serve pilgrims

Makkah Healthcare Cluster has signed cooperation agreement with a medical firm  specialized in dental services. (Supplied)
Makkah Healthcare Cluster has signed cooperation agreement with a medical firm specialized in dental services. (Supplied)
Updated 02 July 2022

Makkah Healthcare Cluster establishes mobile dental clinic to serve pilgrims

Makkah Healthcare Cluster has signed cooperation agreement with a medical firm  specialized in dental services. (Supplied)
  • The mobile dental clinic includes 32 medical and operational cadres equipped with modern capabilities around the clock for the length of the Hajj season

MAKKAH: Makkah Healthcare Cluster has signed a cooperation agreement with a medical company specializing in providing dental services, to establish a mobile dental clinic stationed at Al-Haram Emergency Hospital area to provide free healthcare to pilgrims during the Hajj.

The mobile dental clinic includes 32 medical and operational cadres equipped with modern capabilities around the clock for the length of the Hajj season.

After the end of the season, Makkah Healthcare Cluster will discuss with the company the feasibility and effectiveness of the mobile clinic and the possibility of expanding the scope of its work and facilitating services to its patients.

The acting CEO of Makkah Healthcare Cluster, Dr. Hatem bin Ahmed Al-Omari, said that Hajj and Umrah rituals represent one of Makkah Healthcare Cluster’s goals by refining health services and safety at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, and enable the cluster to provide quality services to pilgrims by improving cooperation and integration with the private sector, filling gaps in the provision of health services.