King Fahd National Library gifted 2,000 books by China’s Sinopec

King Fahd National Library gifted 2,000 books by China’s Sinopec
1 / 5
Ambassador Chen Weiqing inaugurated a Chinese books corner in the presence of Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, secretary of King Fahd National Library, in Riyadh. (Supplied)
King Fahd National Library gifted 2,000 books by China’s Sinopec
2 / 5
Li Xihong, former Chief Representative of Sinopec Middle East Office, hopes to promote cross-cultural exchanges and cooperation, and build a bridge to promote the cultural exchanges between China and Saudi Arabia. (AN photo/Meshaal Al-Qadeer)
King Fahd National Library gifted 2,000 books by China’s Sinopec
3 / 5
Chen Weiqing, Chinese ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia speaking highly of the historical bilateral relations between both countries and ways to enhance further promotion of cultural exchange. (AN photo/Meshaal Al-Qadeer)
King Fahd National Library gifted 2,000 books by China’s Sinopec
4 / 5
Chen Weiqing Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Li Xihong (Left) and Mansour Al-Zamil, General Secretary of King Fahd National Library (Right) unveil the Chinese Books Corner at the King Fahd Public Library. (AN photo/Meshaal Al-Qadeer)
King Fahd National Library gifted 2,000 books by China’s Sinopec
5 / 5
A group photo taken after revealing Wedenesday the Chinese books given to King Fahd National Library in Riyadh. (AN photo/Meshaal Al-Qadeer)
Short Url
Updated 21 July 2022

King Fahd National Library gifted 2,000 books by China’s Sinopec

King Fahd National Library gifted 2,000 books by China’s Sinopec
  • China’s Sinopec donated the books to King Fahd National Library in Riyadh as part of its mission to enhance cultural exchange

RIYADH: China’s Sinopec, one of the largest energy and chemical companies in the world, has gifted 2,000 books on Chinese culture to King Fahd National Library in Riyadh.

The donation was marked in a ceremony on Wednesday attended by senior officials from both countries, including the Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Chen Weiqing, the Chinese envoy, inaugurated a Chinese books corner at the library in the presence of Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, the library’s secretary.

The section was established by Sinopec as part of its mission “to offer a window on China for Saudi citizens, provide reference books for students, beneficiaries, and graduates, and provide support for teaching Chinese in the Kingdom,” according to a press release.

The Chinese envoy praised “historical” bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and China, as well as the promotion of cultural exchange between the two countries.

Al-Zamil said that the opening of the Chinese books corner in the library is a “positive gesture” for further Saudi-Chinese cultural collaboration.

He added that the Chinese books received by the library “are of scientific value that will benefit the beneficiaries and researchers, and help enrich the library with reference books,” noting that the library’s technical departments have finished cataloging and classifying the books, which are ready for researchers. 




Fahad Alarjani, the Executive Board Member and Head of the Entrepreneurship Committee at Saudi Chinese Business Council. (Supplied)

“We want to enhance cultural interchange, transfer, and cultural exchange between the two countries,” he said.

The rest of the Chinese books will be released in installments, with the first batch featuring books in Arabic, English and Chinese addressing economic, geographical and humanitarian topics. A series of books in Arabic and English by Chinese President Xi Jinping will also be provided.

In a speech, Weiqing praised the heritage of King Fahd Library and its “cultural, cognitive, and scientific achievements,” applauding the late Saudi King Fahd bin Abdulaziz’s efforts to support relations between the “two great countries.”

The effort by Sinopec follows “what the Kingdom initiated in this regard” by opening a branch of the King Abdulaziz National Library in China as its first branch in Asia, Weiqing added.

King Abdulaziz Library opened a branch at Peking University in Beijing, China to “expose the Chinese people to Saudi culture.”

The library is housed in a six-story building located near the university’s main entrance on an area of 13,000 square meters. 




Li Xihong, former Chief Representative of Sinopec Middle East Office. (Supplied)

King Salman attended the opening ceremony of the branch in March 2017.

“We consider the Chinese books corner to be a cultural collaboration that includes various books of scientific value that will benefit beneficiaries and researchers, as well as help enrich the National Library with reference books, as the technical departments involved with the library have cataloged, classified and made them suitable for researchers,” Al-Zamil said.

“We want to encourage cultural interaction, transfer and exchange of culture between the two countries,” he added, commending China’s cultural legacy, which “has a head start over the civilizations of the entire world.”

Li Xihong, former chief representative of Sinopec’s Middle East office, said that the company has always attached great importance to cross-cultural exchange within Chinese foreign cooperation projects, and has actively fulfilled its overseas social responsibilities.

“Through cooperation with King Fahd National Library, we hope to promote cross-cultural exchange and cooperation, and build a bridge to promote cultural exchanges between China and Saudi Arabia, and enhance the friendship between the two peoples,” he said.

Over the past 22 years of operation and development in Saudi Arabia, Sinopec has formed an integrated industry chain service system of oil and gas exploration, as well as development and technology research.

Fahad Alarjani, executive board member and head of the entrepreneurship committee at the Saudi Chinese Business Council, said that cultural activities foster community development and create vital markets for investors as well as entrepreneurs.

Events also facilitates an understanding of markets and improve skills in an economic development ecosystem, he added. “This is what unique exchange requires in the development of distinguished Saudi-Chinese business relationships.”

Alarjani, a Ph.D. scholar in sustainable entrepreneurship at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, said that the cultural sector is “one of the most important” in the future of knowledge-based economic exchange between Saudi Arabia and China.

“This is evidenced by the launch of several unique initiatives by the two countries over the last five years, focusing on the knowledge-based economic aspect to motivate young entrepreneurs to engage in innovative cultural and art experiences,” he added.

“Such initiatives will form integrations with other sectors including tourism, and will enhance the diversity of bilateral economic exchange,” he added.


Saudi Arabia reports 132 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 132 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths
Updated 28 September 2022

Saudi Arabia reports 132 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 132 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health. As a result, the total number of cases in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic grew to 816,262.

The authorities also confirmed three new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total number of fatalities to 9,350.

Of the new infections, 48 were recorded in Riyadh and 21 in Jeddah. Several other cities recorded fewer than 10 new cases each.

The ministry also announced that 100 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic to 803,452.

It said that 3,460 COVID-19 cases were still active, adding that 7,302 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to more than 44.3 million.

The ministry said that of the current cases, 33 were in critical condition.

More than 68.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign began, with over 25.4 million people fully vaccinated.


OIC, China sign health deal for some African member states 

OIC, China sign health deal for some African member states 
Updated 28 September 2022

OIC, China sign health deal for some African member states 

OIC, China sign health deal for some African member states 

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation signed a health deal on Wednesday with China to help some of its African member states.

The OIC’s Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha was present at the ceremony that saw the pact inked on behalf of the organization by Askar Mussinov, assistant secretary-general for science and technology, and China’s Ambassador to Riyadh Chen Weiqing. 

Mussinov praised China for the grant and said it was an example of the excellent relations the organization has with Beijing.

The deal was part of several efforts undertaken by the OIC to help some of its African members in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mussinov.

He added that it was Taha who had approached China for the assistance.


Stretch for success with yoga, Saudi students urged

Stretch for success with yoga, Saudi students urged
Updated 28 September 2022

Stretch for success with yoga, Saudi students urged

Stretch for success with yoga, Saudi students urged
  • Practice can improve academic performance, online lecture tells university reps

JEDDAH: Saudi university students wondering how to gain a mental edge and improve their academic performance have been offered an age-old answer — yoga.

The Saudi Yoga Committee has delivered an online lecture for university representatives highlighting the physical and mental advantages yoga can offer people of all ages, but especially students.

Nouf Al-Marwaai, the committee’s president, said that the benefits of practicing yoga for young men and women are clear, with studies showing that it improves academic achievement, and can play a significant role in reducing stress and anxiety.

The virtual lecture was organized in cooperation with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation under the theme “Yoga for University Students of Both Genders,” and set out to spread awareness and encourage the practice of yoga among all segments of society.

It coincides with the arrival in the Kingdom of a delegation from the Asian Yogasana Sports Federation to train Saudi yoga referees through a qualification course hosted by the Ministry of Sports in cooperation with the Saudi Yoga Committee.

The virtual lecture outlined options available to students on campus who wish to practice yoga simply for mental and physical health, or those who plan to take it to an advanced level with professional yogasana sports training, as well as local and international competition.

Al-Marwaai said that the committee set out to cooperate with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation in order to “build a generation of yoga-lovers, especially among young people, who want to enjoy physical and mental health.”

The committee is seeking to increase the number of practitioners, and build yoga teams to take part in local and regional yoga championships.

The Kingdom excels at the Arab level in yoga, she added.

Al-Marwaai said that asanas and postures used in yoga can improve balance, increase physical flexibility and deliver a wide range of health benefits.


Arab publishers turn the page with audiobooks, Riyadh forum told

Arab publishers turn the page with audiobooks, Riyadh forum told
Updated 28 September 2022

Arab publishers turn the page with audiobooks, Riyadh forum told

Arab publishers turn the page with audiobooks, Riyadh forum told
  • Kingdom’s key role in regional publishing outlined on conference final day

RIYADH: The second edition of the International Publishers Conference held in Riyadh ended on Wednesday with sessions focusing on the growing demand for audiobooks, the impact of technology and data services, and the search for ways to innovate and renew education.

The event, which was organized by the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission, introduced a session themed “Stages of the Global Book Publishing Industry.”

Abdul Karim Al-Aqeel, president of the Saudi Publishing Association, told the session that the Kingdom plays an important role in the growth of the regional publishing business.

Saudi Arabia “has 300 publishing houses, 1,000 individual writers, and reading is popular among 31 percent of the population,” he said.

The two-day conference was attended by Secretary-General of the Indonesian Publishers Association, Mohammed Radwan. 

The event held eight interactive sessions and five workshops to discuss key aspects of the book and publishing industry, review future prospects and read current market trends.

Mohammed Zatara, founder of Wajeez for Audiobooks, said that the format helped to expand public knowledge “because an audiobook can be accessed any time and any place, whether one is going to work or working out at the gym.”

Sebastian Bond, head of the Middle East and Northern Africa at Storytel, said improving the audiobook business requires collaboration between traditional publishers and their audio counterparts to ensure enriching and enlightening content.

Ibraheem Al-Sinan, head of editorial at Raff Publishing, told Arab News that the standard of authorship is “extremely high in the domains of creative books, as well as professional and educational books.” 

Ibraheem Al Sinan, head of editorial at Raff Publishing. (Supplied)

However, he believes that “this trend does not exist in the market due to the difficulty of publishing houses to absorb it and because readers are not attracted by the new authors.”

Al-Sinan said that authors have become part of the so-called content industry, particularly in the film-writing, series and marketing content sectors, “because of high financial return” in these fields.

Publishing has expanded recently with the inclusion of audiobooks and electronic books, “because of the society’s interest in new audio media such as podcasts,” he added.

Audiobooks are recognized as the fastest-growing and most acceptable format, but “are still not as popular as paper books,” Al-Sinan said.

Mohammed Alsalem, a member of the Arab Publishers Association, believes that the presence of “podcasts” as a content channel has had an impact on the widespread and acceptance of audiobooks. 

Mohammed Alsalem, a member of the Arab Publishers Association. (Supplied)

Alsalem predicted a bright future for publishing in the region, particularly in translation and better reader access via traditional and digital channels, indicating “A promising future for publication.”

Mohammed Kandil, CEO and founder of Dar Molhimon Publishing and Distribution, said that artificial intelligence is “inevitably coming,” and that it will help publishers to upgrade their profession and professional development. 

Mohammed Kandil, CEO and founder of Dar Molhimon Publishing and Distribution. (Supplied)

He believes that while audiobooks are now expensive to produce, “one day they will be the basic material on which the writer relies.”

Mesfer Alsubaie, general director of the Arabic Literature Center for Publishing and Distribution, said that the publishing future is thriving locally and regionally because of local and international book fairs, which have helped considerably in the evolution of the publishing sector. 

Mesfer Alsubaie, general director of the Arabic Literature Center for Publishing and Distribution. (Supplied)

Salih Al-Hammad, founder of Rashm House for Publishing and Distribution, said that although audiobooks are having a growing impact, “paper books have kept their shine and quality.”

He said: “When we talk about audiobooks today, we talk about a few categories of readers associated with the concept of a detained reader, any reader who is in a hospital, on a train, or on an airplane. Book authorship has gone through phases, and books will remain and won’t disappear, just like radios remained when TVs were invented.”


British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia

British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia
Updated 28 September 2022

British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia

British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia
  • Explorer’s 1,300 km journey a century ago led to lifelong friendship with Ibn Saud, Kingdom’s first ruler
  • The expedition was launched by the UK’s Princess Anne, and the team includes Philby’s granddaughter

LONDON: An Arabian desert expedition aims to retrace the steps of a famous journey by a British explorer who served as an adviser to the first ruler of Saudi Arabia.

The planned 1,300-km Heart of Arabia coast-to-coast trek across the peninsula was launched by Anne, Princess Royal of the UK, on Wednesday. It was her first public engagement since the death this month of her mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The expedition will honor the undertaking and achievement of adventurer, Arabist and intelligence officer Harry St. John Philby, who traveled from the Gulf coast village of Al-Uqair to Jeddah, on the Red Sea coast, on a mission in support of Ibn Saud, the Kingdom’s first ruler.

The Heart of Arabia journey will set off in November, a century after Philby’s crossing. It is led by veteran British explorer Mark Evans and the team, which will travel by foot and on camels, includes Philby’s Saudi granddaughter, Reem.

After reaching Riyadh they will travel west on the final stage to Jeddah, which is likely to present the greatest challenge because of harsh winds and rough terrain, including sand and loose rock.

Philby was sent to Arabia during the First World War to assist T. E. Lawrence as part of the British efforts to foment an Arab uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which at the time stretched across the Red Sea side of the Arabian Peninsula all the way to Yemen.

His journey led to groundbreaking cartographic and natural discoveries, and resulted in significant changes to the political landscape of the Middle East.

Philby, who would later reside in Riyadh, developed a close relationship with Ibn Saud, who at the time was a significant tribal leader. Philby adopted local dress and customs, and converted to Islam, which helped him play a key role in the events that led to the Arab Revolt and the creation of Saudi Arabia.

Evans said of Philby: “He is considered by many as one of the greatest early explorers of Arabia. He not only set out across uncharted land but took time to record everything he saw.”

Reem Philby said that she is drawn to “the stillness and constant movement of the desert at the same time.”

She added: “Just observing how nature controls everything in harmony and how we are the ones that have to adapt, makes one very humble.”

Princess Anne said: “How did people live in the environment that he crossed? What was different about it? And actually, what’s perhaps even more important in modern terms, is to understand how much has changed compared to what existed before.”

The Arabian landscape has long attracted interested intrepid Britons, including explorer and writer Wilfred Thesiger, who commended the tribes he encountered during his crossing of the Kingdom’s Empty Quarter for their loyalty and generosity.