New Saudi ambassador Abdulaziz Al-Wasil presents credentials to UN chief

Ambassador Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Wasil presents his credentials to Secretary-General António Guterres at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday. (KSA MOFA)
Ambassador Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Wasil presents his credentials to Secretary-General António Guterres at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday. (KSA MOFA)
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Updated 03 August 2022

New Saudi ambassador Abdulaziz Al-Wasil presents credentials to UN chief

New Saudi ambassador Abdulaziz Al-Wasil presents credentials to UN chief
  • Envoy has 23 years’ experience in the diplomatic field and was Kingdom's permanent representative to UN mission in Geneva
  • Before joining the diplomatic corps, Al-Wasil had been a university lecturer in the Kingdom and US

UN, NEW YORK CITY: Saudi Arabia’s new permanent representative to the UN, Abdulaziz Al-Wasil, has presented his credentials to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Al-Wasil replaces former ambassador Abdullah Al-Mouallimi, who completed an 11-year tenure as the Kingdom’s top envoy.

During Al-Wasil’s meeting with Guterres, the ambassador wished the UN chief continued success during his second term in office. They discussed the close partnership between the Kingdom and the UN, and ways to enhance the relationship.

Al-Wasil joined the diplomatic corps in 1999, and served in the international organizations department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh. Two years later, he moved to the Kingdom’s embassy in Canberra, Australia, where he assumed the role of charge d’affaires.

He returned to the Kingdom in 2007 to engage in multilateral work, focusing on human rights at the ministry’s office for multilateral relations, before moving to the Kingdom’s permanent mission in Geneva, where he also took on the human rights file for about five years. He has published many articles in multiple languages, mainly tackling human rights issues.

In 2013, he moved to London, UK, where he became deputy chief of mission at the Saudi embassy, before being appointed three years later as the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva.

Before joining the diplomatic corps, Al-Wasil held multiple positions in both the public and private sectors, including as a lecturer at King Abdulaziz Military College in Riyadh, and as an assistant lecturer in the political science department at Marshall University in the US.


Tawqeer initiative launched for elderly pilgrims

Tawqeer initiative launched for elderly pilgrims
Updated 10 sec ago

Tawqeer initiative launched for elderly pilgrims

Tawqeer initiative launched for elderly pilgrims

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, represented by the social, voluntary and humanitarian services, has launched the “Tawqeer” (elderly care) initiative, through which several programs and services are provided for elderly people to enable them to perform rituals in ease and comfort, enriching their experience.

Two Holy Mosques chief Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais affirmed the presidency’s keenness to provide the best social, voluntary and humanitarian services to pilgrims while applying preventive measures, following health instructions and providing visitors with a safe and healthy environment in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.


Saudi Arabia’s children now have holistic sports program for skills development

Saudi Arabia’s children now have holistic sports program for skills development
Updated 13 min 9 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s children now have holistic sports program for skills development

Saudi Arabia’s children now have holistic sports program for skills development
  • Focus on play and not competition, says agency designing programs
  • Multiple sports for ages 4-10 including dance, yoga, gymnastics

RIYADH: A local organization, Sports Hub KSA, is designing tailor-made sports programs for children that emphasizes play and skills development rather than competition, and which encourages the involvement of parents.

Simon Muller, CEO and co-founder of Sports Hub KSA, said of the approach to programs: “We want to give children a chance to do sports differently than in a school environment. There’s no pressure, it’s not in 45 minutes the teacher doesn’t have to teach something specific … the children can play in the time frame that they are with us.”

Sports Hub KSA is a Saudi Arabia-based agency that specializes in creating and delivering sports programs for stakeholders such as Inspire Sports, schools, families, and individual children aged between four and 10.

This year, for example, Inspire Sports organized a summer camp program, one of the first in the Kingdom after COVID-19, allowing children to interact with others their age.

Unlike other sports programs, Inspire does not urge competition or being the best, it rather sets a foundation for children to develop their skills while enjoying multiple activities and sports in one session.

Sports Hub KSA is a Saudi Arabia-based agency that specializes in creating and delivering sports programs for stakeholders such as Inspire Sports, schools, families, and individual children aged between four and 10. (Supplied)

“It’s a mix of sports, multi-sport is the core of our concept, it isn’t one single sport, children always need to explore different things and one sport can get boring after four or five sessions,” Muller said.

Muller believes that it is important to play with children especially “those aged between four and 10, as it is way more important than specializing in one sport.”

There can be five to eight sports or games in a session such as athletics, dodgeball, basketball, football, gymnastics, dance and yoga. “We are more focused on the game rather than the sport. “It’s very interesting that the children are interested in many different things.”

Muller said that yoga, which was done at least once a week, was quite popular in the program.

The three-hour summer program only offered apples, bananas, and water. “We just want to set examples and offer something healthy during our sessions to influence other parents and see what we are offering. We are also using social media channels to promote healthy eating,” he said.

Muller said that inclusivity is a major aspect of their programs, so the role of parents is important and coaches encourage them to be involved and present during sessions.

“Inclusion is a very important aspect of what we are doing, we don’t want to exclude anyone. We try to have games for children of different levels and age and development stages to have fun together,” Muller said.

“We are totally aware that what we are doing is something new and we as a company are new and we also know that trust is the most important thing for parents when they decide to send their children to programs, especially when the children are so young,” he said.

“Inclusion is a very important aspect of what we are doing, we don’t want to exclude anyone. We try to have games for children of different levels and age and development stages to have fun together,” CEO and co-founder of Sports Hub KSA said. (Supplied)

“So, we have open days where families can come with their children and just try it and see what we are doing but we also invite the parents all the time. The doors are completely open so parents can come in and see what we are doing at any time of the program,” he said.

“Everything is important at a young age, between three and six it’s very clear in the scientific world that this is the most important age in developing certain behaviors and having a positive association with certain things,” Muller said.

“The ultimate goal is that the children are with us, especially in the age group of four to nine, are with us for two to three years, and not just summer. When they spend couple of hours with us every week, their fundamentals are way more developed than other children that don’t have that opportunity,” he said.

Muller believes it is important for children in their early years to try different things. After the initial first few years enrolled in the sports program, children will then be able to choose the sports that they love.


Photographer Faisal bin Zarah’s exhibition is a love letter to the Kingdom 

Photographer Faisal bin Zarah’s exhibition is a love letter to the Kingdom 
Updated 26 min 53 sec ago

Photographer Faisal bin Zarah’s exhibition is a love letter to the Kingdom 

Photographer Faisal bin Zarah’s exhibition is a love letter to the Kingdom 

 

RIYADH: Photographer Faisal bin Zarah’s first three-day solo exhibition, “Raw Kingdom,” transformed Lakum Art Space in Riyadh into a vivid love letter to Saudi Arabia — a result of 15 years of hard work.  

The exhibition, which took place from Sept. 27 to Oct. 2, showcased photos of the vast spaces of the northern region to AlUla in the west, and the beautiful landscapes of Riyadh in the central region. 

“Every Saudi knows his work, but they don’t realize it’s Faisal,” Dana Qabbani, the exhibition’s curator, told Arab News. “His photos are in the passport sector, in the Absher app, all the ministries that you think of. His commercial work is very known.” 

Spending a large part of his life photographing for commercial purposes, Bin Zarah found that the copious amounts of time and effort spent on his unique shots made them more valuable than a mere business transaction.

He views his work as something to be contemplated and reflected upon. In a single exhibition, he rerouted his path from corporate to creative. 

“A photo that took me two years in the making should not be posted on a website or used for commercial or advertisement purposes. A better use of it is to consider it as a piece of fine art,” Bin Zarah told Arab News. 

But how does one transform a commercial photographer’s work into an art piece? For the exhibition’s curator, the challenge was not within the content, but the presentation.

“We chose the best materials to showcase his work and we chose a certain sequence for these (photographs), we sort of gave his work a timeline. We took you on a trip,” Qabbani said. 

“I did this art gallery because everything you see is our limited edition prints exclusively for collectors and art enthusiasts,” he added.

Photographer Faisal Bin Zarah, for only three days in his first solo exhibition “.RAW KINGDOM,” has transformed Lakum Art Space into a vivid love letter to Saudi Arabia, a result 15 years in the making. (Lakum Art Space/Mohammad Fattal)

Bin Zarah believes that the widespread use of his images for social media or commercial advertising purposes will degrade the value of his work.  

“To me, a photo is much deeper than a click of a shutter and you’re able to see it. It’s a message. It’s an idea. It’s a story. I am a storyteller,” Bin Zarah said. 

The story of this long-awaited love letter springs from love itself: Bin Zarah began his journey with photography when his wife gifted him his first camera in 2007 and taught him the basics, which he proudly proclaims. 

He began to visually feed his eye through photo-sharing websites like Flickr until he found his style, gravitating towards land and cityscape photography.

His work is two-fold: One aspect of it focuses on the growing civilization and the other industrialization in Riyadh.

He describes his shot of the full moon rising over Faisaliyah Tower in his work titled “Lift Off” as a “moment of joy.” 

For someone working in the telecommunications field during the day and taking caring for four children, he sees his photography escapades as a getaway from all the stress and negativity.

“This time is enjoyment to me. This is what drives me … When you create something, anything— even Lego or puzzles — once you finish, there’s a reward, you get the sense of achievement and completion. This is what I get when I complete a project,” Bin Zarah said. 

The exhibition, which took place from Sept. 27 to Oct. 2, showcased photos of the vast spaces of the northern region to AlUla in the west, and the beautiful landscapes of Riyadh in the central region. 
(Lakum Art Space/Mohammad Fattal)

His unique angles even impressed the owner of the Kingdom Tower,  Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who has the photo of it hanging in his office. 

At Lakum Art Space, it was showcased as part of Bin Zarah’s “Dawn to Dusk” photo series, which takes you on a trip to various sites in Riyadh through the turning of the sun. 

His dedication is apparent in his work. Bin Zarah spent two years awaiting the full moon every month to capture the perfect moment as it grazed both the Faisaliah and Kingdom towers in his moon series.

“His work ethics really made this a piece of cake to curate, to install, so what I loved is that it wasn’t just a photography exhibition, it’s basically taking someone’s career from A to Z, a different destination,” Qabbani said. 

The other aspect of his work pursues his love for traveling to discover gems within the Kingdom. With that, he hopes to inspire people to venture into these spaces and appreciate their beauty. 

“My message is: We have an amazing vibrant Kingdom from north to south, east to west, and it has so many undiscovered jewels, untouched by humans or others. I’m only a person that’s showing one side of the beauty. The real beauty is when you visit the place physically and see it,” Bin Zarah said. 

In his AlUla collection, he features various self-portraits taken under the night sky of the city’s northern part, Al-Gharamil, encapsulating all the stars within single shots, found in his works “Interstellar” and “Message to the Galaxy.”

Bin Zarah uses a Sony A7R Mark IV, a 60 megapixel camera, with a variation of zoom and wide lenses to capture even the smallest of details. Standing parallel to his work easily gives the audience the instinct to reach out and feel the texture. 

He quite frequently uses drones and stitching methods to ensure that the details are vibrant enough even for the human eye to spot. 

“I am going to usual places and trying to capture them in an unusual way … By design, the drone camera is wide. So it will capture the whole thing even if you are at 200 meters, but nobody used it to cover a 4 square km area. I did a sky scan in order for me to show these amazing details,” he said.

In his astonishing “Earth’s Veins,” he took 21 photos from a 500 meter distance, stitched together to reveal the red dunes and mountains near Thadig, a historical city north of Riyadh. 

The unusual landscape scene stretches across 3 km formed by wind and rainwater that pushed through the crevices of the land. 

As a photographer who’s been traveling across the Kingdom for years, his work acts as documentations of the landscape before the initiation of several giga projects under Vision 2030, such as NEOM and Qiddiya. 

He sees the projects as elevations to these spaces, not tampering with the environment. They actually reflect the underlying history of the region.  

“NEOM, which is The Line, is mirror. So it will not intervene with the environment. It will be within it … Saudi Arabia is the land of civilization. The history of the whole earth started from the Arabian peninsula,” Bin Zarah said. 

“The new projects are good for the citizens, and I’m so happy that they are putting in mind the environment. They’re not destroying anything and are actually conserving it.”


Saudi minister lauds workplace safety, health advances as major industry conference opens

Saudi minister lauds workplace safety, health advances as major industry conference opens
Updated 03 October 2022

Saudi minister lauds workplace safety, health advances as major industry conference opens

Saudi minister lauds workplace safety, health advances as major industry conference opens
  • The three-day conference is the Saudi sector’s most important annual event providing delegates with the chance to share information and experiences about the latest industry practices and technology trends on local, regional, and international levels

RIYADH: Saudi occupational safety and health legislation had helped slash the cost to businesses of work-related injuries, the Kingdom’s human resources minister said.

And as a major industry conference opened in the Kingdom, Ahmed Al-Rajhi highlighted efficiency improvements brought about through the implementation of new workplace rules, regulations, procedures, and initiatives.

The minister of human resources and social development’s comments came as the fifth international Conference on Occupational Safety and Health got underway on Monday at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center. The gathering is running in tandem with the fourth Arab Conference on Occupational Safety and Health under the theme, Upgrade and Safety. 

Ahmed Al-Rajhi, Minister of Human Resources (center), Abdullah Abu Thunain, Vice Minister of Human Resources (left) and Fayez Ali Al-Mutairi, Director-General of the Arab Labor Organization, during the opening of the Fifth International Conference on Occupational Safety and Health, which began in Riyadh on Monday. (Supplied)

Al-Rajhi said: “I commend the private sector’s compliance with occupational safety and health legislation, as well as initiatives that reflect the genuine concern for providing safe, healthy, and sustainable working environments that upgrade the Saudi labor market.”

He praised Saudi government legislation, procedures, and initiatives aimed at improving working conditions and promoting occupational safety and health in the business sector.

“These steps have had a positive impact on reducing the costs of work injuries and enhancing the efficiency of facilities,” the minister added.

The three-day conference is the Saudi sector’s most important annual event providing delegates with the chance to share information and experiences about the latest industry practices and technology trends on local, regional, and international levels. 

Abdullah Abu Thunain, Vice Minister of Human Resources, speaking in the first session of the Fifth International Conference on Occupational Safety and Health, which began in Riyadh on Monday. (Supplied)

Specialist working papers, certified training sessions, and interactive simulators form part of the conference events, and it was announced that a number of occupational safety and health training programs would be launched in collaboration with Makkah’s Umm Al-Qura University.

A conference statement also revealed that a training and rehabilitation program for certified occupational safety and health supervisors in the construction and building sector would be organized in collaboration with the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, in addition to training programs for workers’ accident and injury investigators.

The project will aim to organize the recording and investigation of workplace accidents and injuries, while putting initiatives in place for high-risk occupations.

Sattam Alharbi, deputy minister of human resources and social development for the control and development of the work environment, said the exhibition sought to meet the ministry’s goals of analyzing and exchanging Arab and global occupational safety and health experiences and best practices.

He added that while looking to promote a workplace culture of occupational safety and health by highlighting the latest technical advancements, the Kingdom was also engaged in encouraging research into prevention and helping to strengthen sector cooperation in developing the Saudi labor market.


Saudi healthcare facility honored at Patient Safety Conference

Saudi healthcare facility honored at Patient Safety Conference
Updated 03 October 2022

Saudi healthcare facility honored at Patient Safety Conference

Saudi healthcare facility honored at Patient Safety Conference
  • Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City takes platinum award at event in Dubai
  • Prize is ‘a culmination of tireless work,’ Prince Faisal bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz says

JEDDAH: A specialist healthcare services facility in the Saudi capital was honored at the Patient Safety Conference 2022, which ended in Dubai over the weekend.

Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City was presented with a platinum award in the Global Quality and Safety Initiative category after competing with 71 other medical projects in 16 countries across the Middle East.

It was recognized for its high-quality standards that guarantee the safety of surgical and medical procedures provided to patients.

Prince Faisal bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, secretary-general of the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Foundation, said: “This award is a culmination of tireless work … to implement the highest quality standards and the best international applicable methods.

“The city’s vision aims to create an exceptional healing and working environment, whether for patients or for the workforce. By this, it contributes to the development of everything that would positively reflect on the growth of programs and the development of medical care, which in turn helps in providing advanced services to the community.”

The prince also praised the Ministry of Health for working with the nonprofit sector and enabling it to better serve the community, and said he hoped the award would motivate other institutions in different sectors to innovate and develop positive working environments.

According to its website, the three-day conference and exhibition aims to highlight key issues in the healthcare field and support the training and education of workers to enhance medical care around the region and globally.

Tom Coleman, event director, said: “Never before has access to healthcare affected so many people, and these kinds of events, bringing together key actors in the sector from decision-makers to caregivers, is critical for us to continue working to bring better healthcare to all.”

He added: “Whether we are speaking to hospital workers or aid workers out in the midst of humanitarian crises, the issues we are addressing, such as patient safety and infection control, remain pivotal, whatever and wherever.”