RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and the Secretary General of the Digital Cooperation Organization Deemah Al-Yahya signed an agreement to establish the organization’s official headquarters in Riyadh on Thursday.
They also discussed aspects of cooperation between the Kingdom and the DCO in various fields during a meeting.
The organization was established by a group of founding countries that share an interest in collaborating to realize their collective digital potential. Member states include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, and Nigeria.
It aims to drive greater collaboration and cooperation across entrepreneurship, innovation, business growth, and employment in a shared digital economy.
Prince Faisal welcomed the establishment of the organization’s headquarters in Riyadh and stressed the importance of strengthening joint work with DCO member states to contribute to the development of countries through the optimal use of digital technologies to achieve growth and prosperity.
The foreign minister added that the Kingdom is keen to support all DCO initiatives, especially those that contribute to supporting innovation, youth, women, and entrepreneurs, and encourage investment in the digital economy in line with Saudi Vision 2030.The DCO said it was proud to establish its headquarters in Riyadh and looked forward to supporting “a digital economy to enable digital prosperity for all.”
“The decision to establish the headquarters of the DCO in Riyadh is an affirmation of the Kingdom’s regional and international position as a hub connecting Africa, Asia, and Europe, and its status as one of the fastest growing G-20 economies and a leading regional center in technology,” Al-Yahya said.
The secretary general praised digital acceleration in the Kingdom and the fact that technology is driving many aspects of Saudi Arabia’s economic and social expansion.
KSrelief takes Part in second European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels
Saudi Arabia is considered one of the biggest donors of humanitarian aid in the world
Updated 17 sec ago
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s vast role in the field of humanitarian work around the world was praised on Monday by the Swedish State Secretary to Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Diana Janse.
In a meeting with the General Supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSreleif) Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, on the sidelines of the Second European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels, Janse discussed ways to enhance cooperation with Saudi Arabia on the humanitarian aid front around the world.
Saudi Arabia is considered one of the biggest donors of humanitarian aid in the world, with donations amounting to a whopping $95bn in the past 70 years, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan at the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum that took place last month.
Al-Rabeeah accompanied by head of the Kingdom’s Mission to the European Union Ambassador Haifa Al-Judaea, attended the opening of the Forum along with leading representatives of donor countries and UN agencies around the world.
KSrelief’s participation in the forum is part of its constant efforts to develop humanitarian work, and to find effective solutions to improve living conditions and support vulnerable groups all over the world.
Saudi foreign ministry rejects remarks by Israeli official on Palestinians
Updated 1 min 43 sec ago
RIYADH: The Saudi foreign ministry said Tuesday that it rejects statements made by the Israeli finance minister, who denied the existence of the Palestinian people, saying the remarks contribute to spreading hatred and violence and undermine peace.
“The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses the Kingdom’s condemnation and denunciation of the offensive and racist remarks made by an official at the Israeli occupation government against the State of Palestine and its brotherly people,” read the ministry’s statement on Twitter.
“The Kingdom confirms its rejection of the statements made by the Israeli official, which are contrary to the truth.”
“The Kingdom supports efforts to resolve the Palestinian issue in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative,” it added.
Winners of King Faisal Prize 2023 honored in Riyadh
Ceremony held in Riyadh under auspices of King Salman
An Emirati, a Moroccan, a South Korean, two Brits and three Americans were honored with the King Faisal Prize 2023
Updated 21 March 2023
RIYADH: They served people and enriched humanity with their pioneering work so deserve to be honored and recognized for their distinguished efforts, the King Faisal Foundation said when honoring the winners of the King Faisal Prize 2023.
A glittering award ceremony was held in Riyadh on Monday under the patronage of King Salman, and on his behalf, Prince Faisal bin Bandar, governor of Riyadh Region, attended the ceremony for handing over the King Faisal Prize to the winners this year.
The annual awards are the most prestigious in the Muslim world and recognize outstanding achievement in services to Islam, Islamic studies, Arabic language and literature, medicine and science.
This year an Emirati, a Moroccan, a South Korean, two Brits and three Americans won the prestigious prize, which in its 45th session recognized COVID-19 vaccine developers, nanotechnology scientists and eminent figures in Arabic language and literature, Islamic studies, and service to Islam.
The prize for service to Islam was awarded jointly to Shaikh Nasser bin Abdullah of the UAE and Professor Choi Young Kil-Hamed from South Korea.
The prize for Islamic studies was awarded to Professor Robert Hillenbrand from the UK.
The prize for Arabic language and literature was awarded to Professor Abdelfattah Kilito of Morocco.
The prize for medicine was awarded jointly to Professor Dan Hung Barouch from the US and Professor Sarah Catherine Gilbert from the UK.
In his acceptance speech, Barouch said, “The Ad26 vaccine for COVID-19 demonstrated robust efficacy in humans, even after a single shot, and showed continued protection against virus variants that emerged. This vaccine has been rolled out across the world by the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, and over 200 million people have received this vaccine, particularly in the developing world.”
Gilbert said that she was “humbled to join the other 2023 laureates, and to follow-in the footsteps of the men and women whose work has been recognized by the foundation for more than four decades. This award is in recognition of my work to co-create a vaccine for COVID-19. A low-cost, accessible, efficacious vaccine that has now been used in more than 180 countries and is estimated to have saved more than six million lives by the start of 2022.”
The prize for science was awarded jointly to Professor Jackie Yi-Ru Ying and Professor Chad Alexander Mirkin, both from the US.
Ying’s research focuses on synthesis of advanced nano materials and systems, and their application in biomedicine, energy conversion and catalysis.
Her inventions have been used to solve challenges in different fields of medicine, chemistry and energy. Her development of stimuli-responsive polymeric nanoparticles led to a technology that can autoregulate the release of insulin, depending on the blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, without the need for external blood glucose monitoring.
“I am deeply honored to be receiving the King Faisal prize in science, especially as the first female recipient of this award,” she said in her acceptance speech.
This year two women scientists have been honored as winners of the King Faisal Prize for medicine and science categories.
The woman behind the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Professor Sarah Gilbert, the Saïd chair of vaccinology in the Nuffield department of Medicine at Oxford University, was honored with the medicine award.
The other woman scientist honored with the King Faisal Prize in science is Professor Jackie Yi-Ru Ying; the A-star senior fellow and director at NanoBio Lab, Agency for Science, Technology and Research. She is a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was chosen for her work on the synthesis of advanced nanomaterials and systems, and their applications in catalysis, energy conversion and biomedicine.
The King Faisal Prize was established in 1977. The prize was granted for the first time in 1979 in three categories: Service to Islam, Islamic studies and Arabic language and literature. Two additional categories were introduced in 1981: Medicine and science. The first medicine prize was awarded in 1982, and in science two years later.
Since 1979, the King Faisal Prize in its different categories has awarded 290 laureates who have made distinguished contributions to different sciences and causes.
Each prize laureate is given $200,000 (SR750,000); a 24-carat gold medal weighing 200 grams, a certificate inscribed with the laureate’s name and a summary of their work that qualified them for the prize, and the certificate signed by chairman of the prize board, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal.
Saudis patiently watching as Riyadh-Tehran deal unfolds
Almost two weeks after deal signing, Saudis are reminded of past incidents but optimistic of peace deal to start new page
After seven year rift, Saudis apprehensive of Chinese-brokered deal between Riyadh and Tehran but understand the need for a more stable and secure region
Updated 21 March 2023
JEDDAH: Apprehension, wariness, skepticism, cautious optimism: These were just some of the reactions among the Saudi public indicative of the mixed mood that followed the unprecedented announcement of a Chinese-brokered deal between the Kingdom and Iran. In short, people are watching with interest and waiting to see how it all plays out.
Seven years ago, the world watched in horror as the Kingdom’s embassy and consulate in Iran were attacked and set on fire by Iranian protesters. This led to the severing of diplomatic ties, which were only restored less than two weeks ago. The scenes in 2016 brought back memories for many people of the torching of the Saudi and Kuwaiti embassies in Tehran in 1987.
Mixed feelings and reactions or not, the agreement to restore diplomatic ties between Riyadh and Tehran has certainly been a major talking point since it was announced on March 10. There are still more questions than answers about exactly what it means, but the three parties involved in the negotiations have asserted that the rapprochement is part of a process after a zero-sum game that continued for nearly a decade.
The Saudi Press Agency reported that Riyadh and Beijing have agreed to respect state sovereignty and not interfere in each other’s internal affairs. This a problematic notion, however, given the history of Iranian aggression toward the Kingdom, including the 1987 Makkah demonstrations, the 1996 Khobar tower attacks, the 2011 plot to assassinate the then Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel Al-Jubair, and the 2019 missile attacks on the Kingdom’s oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, to name a few incidents.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that the Kingdom’s agreement with Iran to restore diplomatic ties does not mean that the countries have resolved all of their disagreements but that it underscores a mutual desire to “resolve disputes through communication and dialogue.”
The rapprochement follows years of tensions across the region so it is no surprise that Saudis took to social media to share their opinions on the agreement.
Many expressed support for their government’s decision, saying that that they hope and believe it could be a significant step forward, as the deal includes the reactivation of a security agreement, signed in 2001, for cooperation on efforts to combat terrorism, drug smuggling, money laundering and other criminal activity.
“The Saudi-Iranian agreement will bring forth greater security benefits to the Gulf region, the Middle East and the broader global community, as the Kingdom’s position is always to seek security and stability in the region,” retired Maj. Gen. Saleh Mohammed Al-Malik, a professor of military and security media at Naif Arab University for Security Sciences, told Arab News.
“I hope that this agreement will limit Iranian interference in the countries of the region and that security and stability will prevail in the Middle East so that governments can devote themselves to reforms and development in a way that serves the entire region; namely (in) Yemen.
“There is no doubt that this (agreement) will contribute to directing national economic blueprints to achieve visions such as (Saudi) Vision 2030 goals, aimed at comprehensive and continuous development for their respective nations.”
The full details of the agreement between Riyadh and Tehran are yet to be clarified but some Saudis suggest they are immaterial because they believe a focus on internal affairs and building the Kingdom’s capacity across the board should be a higher priority than relations with their neighbors across the Gulf.
Others believe the deal could contribute in a positive way to the development of Saudi Arabia and, perhaps, Iran as well.
“We don’t know what is going on in Iran except from what we see on our screens,” one Saudi citizen told Arab News.
“Whatever it is, it shows a country divided, a people who are suffering and resisting. They want a prosperous Iran and there’s no need to liken (hopefully) its progression to that of Saudi Arabia; they can create their own path, one that suits them personally.
“Every country is growing except theirs; it’s time to join the club.”
Saudi Arabia and its citizens have dealt with a number of regional challenges in recent years in ways the wider world is not used to. Saudi officials and citizens have long pointed out that the Kingdom and Iran share many long-standing religious, historical, geographical and cultural connections, and that such common ground can only strengthen efforts to resolve disagreements between “rivals” through negotiation.
“I am sure that if all the provisions of the agreement are implemented, it will restore security, peace and meaningful and constructive cooperation in the region in the service of the entire Middle East and neighboring countries,” said Al-Malik.
The broad initial support for the deal among the Saudi people is nothing new, he added, as they trust their authorities to negotiate such deals for the greater good.
“Saudis are keen on peace and stability,” he said. “They see their goals achieved through Vision 2030, and their trust in the government to support security and stability in the region stems from that.”
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Pre-Ramadan pop-up show celebrates local and regional brands in Riyadh
The four-day exhibition consists of curated pop-up shops that feature brands from local and regional designers
Updated 21 March 2023
RIYADH: Art, music, fashion, and coffee are among the perks of attending the pre-Ramadan pop-up show in Riyadh’s Lakum Artspace this week.
The four-day exhibition consists of curated pop-up shops that feature brands from local and regional designers.
The shops boast workshops for visitors interested in flower arranging, along with live art and fashion sketching.
And, for refreshments, there are drinks from the studio’s own coffee shop, Malmoum Cafe.
Art curator Dana Qabbani says that the pop-up show has been created to celebrate local brands and give them a platform to share their work.
She said: “I wanted to celebrate the success of the brands that grew with us 10 years ago.
“These Saudi brands are led by amazing ladies and men, who have proved themselves in the market both locally and internationally.”
One of the featured brands is Tamashee, a well-known high-end Arabian Gulf footwear brand based in Dubai that has expanded to the Kingdom.
Muneera Al-Tamimi, co-founder of Tamashee, said that the brand had collaborated with Qabbani in the past.
She said: “Tamashee has been around for 10 years now. We have worked with the team behind the ‘pre-show’ and Lakum Artspace many times and admire their creativity and choice of unique brands that they bring together under their platform.
“Tamashee thrives to create a soulful narrative from within the region that contributes to advancing the Arabian Peninsula’s identity through our products.
“We cater to our customers who enjoy the cultural experience firsthand through our products when visiting one of our shops or pop-ups.”
Saad Ahmed, who is an assistant at the gallery, said that he enjoyed Tamashee’s products.
He said: “My favorite part of the pop-up show is Tamashee because there are options for men.
“But there are a lot of brands that have exciting gifts and I would recommend them to my mother or sister.”
Formally known as Alaan Artspace, Qabbani says that Lakum Artspace is looking back with its latest venture.
She said: “In the past Alaan was one of the only places that dedicated their space to pop-up shops, music shows, art and seminars.
“When it started it was absolutely groundbreaking, so this is the first pop-up show that resembles the old days.
“There was a demand to create pop-up shops like we used to in the past. The past couple of years, most of the shows have just been art, but with the recent demand for pop-up shows, we decided to take a different approach this year.”
Qabbani added that the studio wanted the community to shop for clothing and accessories before the beginning of the holy month.
She said: “We wanted the experience to be curated, for people to enjoy their time, look at designs and indulge in good food and art.”