Crowds flock to opening of the inaugural Madinah Book Fair

Crowds flock to opening of the inaugural Madinah Book Fair
The book fair, held under the patronage of Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, includes workshops, cultural programs and events for children. (Twitter: @imarat_almadina)
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Updated 22 June 2022

Crowds flock to opening of the inaugural Madinah Book Fair

Crowds flock to opening of the inaugural Madinah Book Fair
  • The 10-day event, which began on Thursday and continues until June 25, includes more than 200 publishers and other related organizations from 11 countries

MADINAH: More than 200 publishers and other related organizations are taking part in the inaugural Madinah Book Fair, which began on Thursday at the King Salman bin Abdelaziz Center for Exhibitions and Conferences.

During the opening ceremony, Mohammed Hassan Alwan, the CEO of event organizer the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission, said: “The commission is seeking to build its role in the book fair industry based on partnership and integration foundations, and we also aim to provide the people of the city with a renewed cultural scene, and we hope to offer the publishing industry beneficial, culturally and economically viable book fairs.

“We are keen that the city book fair will be an annual exhibition with a distinctive position on the map of Arab book fairs.”

The 10-day event, held under the patronage of Madinah’s governor, Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, continues until June 25. It includes workshops, cultural and theatrical programs and events for children that offer a window into the creation of literature and the publishing industry.




More than 200 publishers and related organizations are taking part in the 10-day book fair. (Twitter: @SaudiBookFair)

In a message posted on June 6 on Twitter, the official account of Saudi Book Fairs wrote: “In the heart of Medina the cultural program activities of the #Madinah_Book_Fair_2022 are launched to provide an integrated knowledge journey that promises visitors a unique cultural experience.”

Organizers said the event aims to enhance the cultural status of Madinah, boost the Saudi publishing sector, encourage cultural exchanges between countries, provide an integrated journey for readers, and highlight the role of reading in raising awareness and improving quality of life.

Eleven nations are participating in the fair: 10 Arab countries — Kuwait, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, UAE, Oman, Mauritania, Jordan, Egypt and Sudan — and the UK.

Among the more than 200 publishers and related organizations taking part, more than 80 are from the Kingdom, including universities, research centers, foundations, commissions, bookstores and libraries. The event attracted huge crowds on day one.

Amir Alsaiegh, a 46-year-old literature lecturer and self-professed bibliophile, told Arab News: “I came today with two suitcases to fill them with book selections which I came to pick from the fair.

“I have a long list for today and I am glad about the huge number of publishing houses available here. The fair exceeded my expectations.”

Ibtihal Al-Jabri, 17, visited the fair with her three sisters who, like her, are all book lovers.

“I was so excited for the book fair when they first announced it two weeks ago,” she said.

Her sister Nouf, 22, added: “This event is the first of its kind in Madinah; I have been waiting for it for so many years. I love it and am willing to come here every day.”

The attractions included immersive offerings in Arabic and English for children, including educational theatrical shows and workshops on topics such as storytelling, handicrafts, drawing, writing, interactive reading, heritage arts, Arabic calligraphy and philosophy.

Six-year-old Samia Al-Nahdi said: “I love reading. I came today with my parents because they like reading, like me.”

Madinah Book Fair is part of the Book Fair Initiatives, one of the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission’s strategic initiatives that aims to stage fairs across the Kingdom to give Saudi readers a chance to explore works published by local, Arab and international publishers and learn about the latest developments in the publishing industry.




More than 200 publishers and related organizations are taking part in the 10-day book fair. (Twitter: @SaudiBookFair)

To accompany the start of the book fair, two other events took place on Thursday. The first was the opening of a new museum at King Abdul Aziz Complex for Waqf Libraries, which was inaugurated by Prince Faisal.

Fahad Al-Wahbi, the organization’s secretary-general, told Arab News: “Today, the complex is participating in this museum, which aims to shed light on a group of important archaeological and historical collectibles, which vary from ancient manuscripts, some of which date back thousands of years, to rare precious Qur’ans that represent different historical periods, and collectibles from the Prophet’s Mosque.”

The other event involved the King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism, an organization that celebrates the essence of Salmani Architecture, which has organized an exhibition that was first staged in Riyadh before touring Jeddah, Abha and Dhahran, and has now arrived in Madinah.

Sumaya Al-Sulaiman, CEO of the Architecture and Design Commission at the Ministry of Culture, told Arab News: “We have also taken it to Expo Dubai 2021, and we are taking it internationally because this is an international methodology that we think is applicable anywhere.

“It is one of 33 initiatives that we have in the Architecture and Design Commission. It is one of the earliest and most important, given the extent and impact that we anticipate.”

She said the exhibition aims to reflect the fact that “the experience we have had in Riyadh city through the patronage of King Salman has been so influential that there has been a development of identity within the city of Riyadh through multiple projects that we have seen.

“From an architectural point of view, the charter displayed a masterpiece that has gained international recognition. There are six values within the charter that are guiding principles, including continuity and authenticity, … the individual and community (and) the last values are related to innovation and sustainability.”


Saudi Arabia’s DGDA announces its official opening to the public on Dec. 4

Saudi Arabia’s DGDA announces its official opening to the public on Dec. 4
Updated 21 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s DGDA announces its official opening to the public on Dec. 4

Saudi Arabia’s DGDA announces its official opening to the public on Dec. 4
  • DGDA Group CEO Jerry Inzerillo told Arab News: “Three hundred years ago, the birthplace of the Kingdom was Turaif

RIYADH: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority has announced the official opening of the UNESCO World Heritage site Turaif and the Bujairi Terrace to the public on Dec. 4.

The DGDA on Monday held a special gala dinner at Bujairi Terrace for a number of World Travel and Tourism Council delegates who were present in Riyadh for the 22nd WTTC Global Summit.

The summit is taking place for the first time in the Kingdom in Riyadh from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center.

Uniting a wide range of key industry players, this year’s edition of the WTTC Summit showcased Saudi Arabia’s pioneering efforts to reshape the world’s tourism map in a still-recovering, post-COVID world. As one of the industry’s largest events, the annual forum aspires to implement travel sustainability on a global scale.

The At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace opening gala dinner was attended by Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Chair of WTTC Arnold Donald, President and CEO of WTTC Julia Simpson, Group Chief Executive Officer of DGDA Jerry Inzerillo, and a broad list of other high profile industry leaders.

In the upcoming week, visitors will have the opportunity to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Turaif, the home of the first Saudi State, and dine at some of the world’s finest Michelin-star restaurants at the Bujairi Terrace.

Visitors will take a step back in time as they walk through the mudbrick palaces and pathways of Turaif that perfectly highlight the traditional Najdi architecture.

As a part of its opening, Turaif will offer 75-minute guided walking tours in both Arabic and English that will take visitors through the original seat of power, built in the 1700s, of the Kingdom’s Al-Saud family.

Upon its opening, visitors will be able to explore Turaif’s Salwa Palace, a 10,000-square-meter complex whose first phases were built by Mohammed ibn Saud, the first ruler of the First Saudi State.

Turaif’s palaces, pathways and detailed carvings in the Najdi architecture provide a glimpse into the past and a reminder of the origin of Saudi Arabia.

Along with the announcement of Turaif’s opening, the DGDA will also host a variety of activities for the public, including theatrical performances, an Arabian horse show, calligraphy sessions, mudbrick-making shows and Saudi coffee experiences.

On Al-Nuzul Street, 13 buildings will host daily immersive theatrical performances that will take visitors back in time to experience life in Turaif during the First Saudi State.

Following the opening At-Turaif, Diriyah is also set to host a calendar full of events and activities for the public during the winter 2022 season.

Bujairi Terrace is also set to open its doors to the public on Dec. 4 with the aim of becoming the foremost luxury dining destination in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Located in Wadi Hanifah, Bujairi Terrace will offer 20 restaurants and coffee shops, several of which are Michelin-star restaurants, including Chez Bruno, Hakkasan, Long Chim and Tatel, overlooking Turaif.

Some of the international brands located in Bujairi Terrace include Angelina, Brunch & Cake, Café De Lésplanade, Cova / Cova Pasticceria, Flamingo Room, Joe & the Juice, Sarabeth’s and Villa Mamas.

Some of the local brands include TAKYA, Altopiano, Somewhere / Somewhere Dessert Bae, Sum + Things, and Hi.

Built from the same mud, water and straw used to construct Turaif, Bujairi Terrace will merge culture, history and luxury through live shows, historical programs, interactive entertainment and traditional performances from Saudi artists and musicians.

Earlier this week, some 1,500 employees at the DGDA put their signatures on mud bricks to be used to restore Turaif, the original home of the Saudi royal family and the country’s first capital.

DGDA Group CEO Jerry Inzerillo told Arab News: “Three hundred years ago, the birthplace of the Kingdom was Turaif. We give all our love and praise to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, to restore Turaif, which was built by Saudis brick by brick, but no one knows their names.

“Now we are building the new Diriyah, transforming it, using the same material, same mud, same straw, same palm trees, but now we know everybody’s name.

“So the next 300 years of this will be built by all these people and will remain very emotional and very special to them.”

The DGDA aims to develop the birthplace of the Kingdom into a world-class tourism, entertainment and cultural destination. Upon its completion, Diriyah will be a $50 billion giga-project featuring some of the world’s most luxurious restaurants and hotels built in the traditional Najdi architectural style.

This is merely the first phase of Diryah’s opening. Once complete, Diriyah will offer more than 150 fine-dining restaurants and premium cafes, 28 luxury hotels and resorts, and 400 luxury and lifestyle brands.

 


Saudi Fashion Commission discusses sustainability with industry leaders

Saudi Fashion Commission discusses sustainability with industry leaders
Updated 28 November 2022

Saudi Fashion Commission discusses sustainability with industry leaders

Saudi Fashion Commission discusses sustainability with industry leaders
  • Commission announces launch of new center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology focused on sustainability in textile science

RIYADH: The Saudi Fashion Commission hosted a virtual meeting on Thursday with experts and entrepreneurs to discuss sustainability in fashion.

The public was invited to attend the event, which examined the concept of sustainability and its role in the sector, as well as sustainability strategies and initiatives. 

During the meeting, the commission expressed its aim to support and stimulate the fashion community while also improving all stages of production involved in the industry, from design to product sustainability. 

It also said that it is working on several sustainability initiatives such as the second edition of its “GFX Swap Shop Riyadh” and the launch of a new center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to innovate sustainable solutions and technologies in textile science. 

The virtual meeting is part of a series of meetings organized by the commission to establish the best standards and practices to promote the Kingdom’s fashion sector.

 


Austrian Embassy in Riyadh hosts concert promoting cultural diplomacy 

Austrian Embassy in Riyadh hosts concert promoting cultural diplomacy 
Updated 28 November 2022

Austrian Embassy in Riyadh hosts concert promoting cultural diplomacy 

Austrian Embassy in Riyadh hosts concert promoting cultural diplomacy 
  • The concert featured performances by violinist Daniel Auner, his mother Irina Auner, who played the piano, and Ehab Abdin, who played the oud
  • The guest list comprised a diverse group of figures from music lovers to professionals in the cultural sectors of Saudi Arabia, from ambassadors to influencers

RIYADH: Austrian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Georg Postinger hosted the concert “Orient meets Occident,” blending Saudi and Austrian influences in a night of music and cultural celebration, on Sunday in Riyadh.

The concert featured performances by violinist Daniel Auner, his mother Irina Auner, who played the piano, and Ehab Abdin, who played the oud. 

“We are witnessing something that is a little bit of an attempt at something new,” Austrian Ambassador Georg Postinger told Arab News of the concert, which he described as a “merger” between East and West. 

The ambassador stressed the importance of holding events that promote cultural understanding and cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Austria. 

“You can kind of describe it as cultural dialogue,” Postinger said.

The concert began with classical Austrian music, which was followed by traditional Arabic sounds with oud player Abdin.

The guest list comprised a diverse group of figures from music lovers to professionals in the cultural sectors of Saudi Arabia, from ambassadors to influencers.  

The Auner mother-son duo played music from Fritz Kreisler and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with each performance followed by an explanation of the history and inspiration behind the music.

Following the Austrian set, Abdin performed traditional Saudi oud music, playing Farid Al-Atrash’s “Albi wa Muftahu” and Salim Al-Masri’s “Lamma Bada Yatathana,” among other pieces. The performance was met with a standing ovation from the audience.

“It’s a very wonderful feeling performing here, especially with the beautiful response from the audience,” Abdin said. 

Postinger said that the Austrian Embassy aims to continuously host events that promote cultural exchange and cooperation.


Saudi Arabia sponsors $1bn economic reform in Yemen

Saudi Arabia sponsors $1bn economic reform in Yemen
Updated 28 November 2022

Saudi Arabia sponsors $1bn economic reform in Yemen

Saudi Arabia sponsors $1bn economic reform in Yemen
  • AMF program to improve transparency in banking, financial and private sectors
  • Saudi Arabia has been lead donor to Yemen since 2001

RIYADH: Under the sponsorship of Saudi Arabia, the Arab Monetary Fund has signed a $1 billion agreement with the Yemeni government to revitalize its flagging economy.

The deal, signed in Riyadh, seeks to establish a comprehensive economic, financial and monetary reform program to improve governance and transparency, expand and diversify production and lower unemployment and poverty.

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said that the program will develop Yemen’s financial and banking sector, strengthen the role of the private sector and promote long-term economic development. 

The reform priorities for the government include developing public resources, controlling and rationalizing government spending, improving efficiency, and rehabilitating critical infrastructure in electricity, water and transport services. 

Priorities for the financial and banking sectors include developing a supervision system to improve transparency and accountability and bolstering services for small and medium businesses and youths and women in rural areas. It will also seek to boost digitalization and payment method flexibility.

The program says the private sector is a primary driver of sustainable economic growth, and key in paving the way for greater integration into the global economy, the flow of foreign investment, and the strengthening of international partnerships. 

The Yemeni government expressed interest in exploring opportunities for regional and international institutions to collaborate to support Yemeni economic reform. 

The agreement’s sponsorship by Saudi Arabia is an extension of the country's economic support for Yemen. The Kingdom gave the Central Bank of Yemen $1 billion in 2012 and $2 billion in 2018 to cover the import of basic food commodities. 

From 2001 to 2022, Saudi Arabia has led the list of donor countries to Yemen, providing 30 percent of total support.

 


Saudi, Egyptian interior ministers hold talks in Riyadh

Saudi, Egyptian interior ministers hold talks in Riyadh
Updated 27 November 2022

Saudi, Egyptian interior ministers hold talks in Riyadh

Saudi, Egyptian interior ministers hold talks in Riyadh
  • Cooperation agreement signed to combat crime

RIYADH: Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Mahmoud Tawfiq in Riyadh on Sunday, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

They discussed ways to improve security cooperation between their ministries. The talks also saw the signing of a cooperation agreement to combat crime.

Saudi attendees included Deputy Interior Minister Dr. Nasser bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dawood, Interior Ministry Undersecretary Dr. Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al-Faleh, Interior Ministry Undersecretary for Security Affairs Mohammed bin Muhanna Al-Muhanna, and Public Security Director Mohammed Al-Bassami.

Egyptian attendees included Adel Al-Sayed Abdulaziz Jaafar, head of the National Security Agency, and officials from the Interior Ministry.