RIYADH: The Saudi Tourism Authority concluded its participation in the World Travel Market exhibition, which was held in London from Nov. 7-9.
The Saudi pavilion drew the attention of visitors to the WTM by displaying the treasures, destinations, landmarks and tourist experiences that the Kingdom offers.
It also highlighted the Kingdom’s natural, climatic, cultural and social diversity, while the Saudi cafe received the pavilion’s guests in celebration of the Year of Saudi Coffee.
By organizing the pavilion, the STA was keen to highlight the potential and opportunities of the tourism sector in the Kingdom, and consolidate relations with its current partners while building new ones to attract tourists from all over the world.
This year there were over 35,800 visitors to the WTM, exceeding expectations and more than double the number in 2021. The number of global travel buyers at the event increased by 25 percent compared to 2021.
The pavilion included over 40 partners from the Saudi tourism system, representing tourist destinations, airlines, tour operators, service providers and tourism experiences from all over the Kingdom, to build strategic partnerships with the most important global markets.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, the STA signed 11 strategic partnership deals with global travel and tourism companies including Agoda, Satguru Travel, Edreams, Lufthansa and others.
The pavilion was inaugurated by Ahmed Al-Khatib, tourism minister and chairman of the STA’s board of directors, and Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, ambassador to the UK.
Fahad Hamid Al-Din, CEO and member of the STA’s board of directors, delivered a speech at the opening session in which he said: “The tourism and travel market in the UK is keen to build partnerships with Saudi Arabia and expand the tourism investment opportunities that exist in Saudi Arabia, which is the fastest-growing destination in the G20, as it witnessed a growth of 121 percent on an annual basis after the coronavirus pandemic.
“This confirms the confidence of the global tourism sector in Saudi Arabia, and clearly shows the desire of those interested in learning about the homeland of Arab authenticity.”
Saudi Arabia is making great efforts to attract tourists by making travel smoother, and is working to create competitive, renewable and low-cost travel programs in cooperation with international companies such as Wizz Air.
It is also providing electronic tourist visas to new segments of visitors, and as recently announced, the extension of the period of time to travel.
Residence for single-visit visa holders is up to three months, and transit visa holders can spend 96 hours in Saudi Arabia without fees.
KSRelief distributes over 92 tons of food baskets in Marib
Updated 05 December 2022
RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) distributed 92 tons and 127 kilograms of food baskets in Yemen’s Marib governorate, benefiting 5,166 people.
This is part of the Food Security Support Project 2022, which is being implemented by KSRelief in Yemen and aims to distribute more than 192,000 food baskets weighing more than 20,000 tons to needy and affected families in 15 Yemeni governorates.
KSRelief also continued to implement its voluntary medical project for specialized surgeries in Gambia, which is being carried out from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4.
Since the beginning of the campaign, the voluntary medical team has performed 105 surgeries.
Also, KSRelief distributed 1,644 winter bags in Pakistan, benefiting 11,508 people.
This comes within the framework of the relief and humanitarian projects and voluntary programs being implemented by Saudi Arabia, represented by the KSRelief, for a number of brotherly and friendly countries.
HMS Hail commissioned into Saudi Arabia’s naval service
This is the third ship to be launched, following Al-Jubail and Al-Diriya, as part of the Sarawat project
Updated 05 December 2022
SAN FERNANDO, Madrid: The Royal Saudi Naval Forces has commissioned into active service His Majesty’s Ship Hail at the Navantia shipyard in San Fernando, Spain, state news agency SPA reported.
This is the third ship to be launched, following Al-Jubail and Al-Diriya, as part of the Sarawat project of five combat ships aimed at improving the Kingdom’s maritime defense capabilities and interests.
Rear Admiral Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily, Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, together with other Saudi and Spanish officials hoisted the Saudi Arabian flag on the ship to mark its official commissioning into the naval service.
Sawarat is a joint venture between the Saudi Arabian Military Industries company and Spain’s state-owned Navantia to build multi-purpose combat ships for the Saudi navy as well as localize 50 percent of military industries by 2030.
Under the joint venture, Saudi Arabia’s navy will also have its first Saudi system, nicknamed Hazm, that would contribute to localize military industries through transformation of technology and national staff intensive training
HMS Diriya, the second ship of the Sarawat project, is scheduled to reach Saudi Arabia early next year after having completed its training program in Spain.
The launch of the fourth and fifth ships, HMS Jazan and HMS Onaiza, will meanwhile take place in Saudi Arabia under the sponsorship of Saudi engineers who have received training in Spain.
Cross-cultural dialogue at heart of Riyadh Philosophy Conference
Event’s 2nd edition asked questions surrounding space exploration and impact on humanity
Updated 05 December 2022
Rebecca Anne Proctor
RIYADH: Over the course of three days, scientists, writers, historians, professors and philosophers from around the world gathered at the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh to discuss the major issues affecting humanity today.
The second edition of the conference, which concluded on Dec. 3, was dedicated to the theme of “Knowledge and Exploration: Space, Time and Humanity.”
A total of 71 speakers attended from more than 19 countries around the world, including the US, UK, UAE, Mexico, Italy, Singapore, Italy, Germany and Egypt, making the conference a diverse platform to discuss ideas and topics pertinent to our world today. Attendees numbered around 2,700.
“A conference such as this has cross-cultural dialogue at its heart. Inviting and welcoming leading philosophers from all over the world is not a one-way thing,” Dr. Mohammed Hasan Alwan, CEO of the Literature, Publishing & Translation Commission, told Arab News. “It is, instead, a two-way dialogue, with international experts joining their Saudi and regional colleagues in a spirit of intellectual exploration that is far more profound and far-reaching because it is done in a spirit of partnership.”
This year’s conference continues the efforts of last year’s event, which was the first of its kind to take place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “Our conference has been bigger and more ambitious in many ways,” added Alwan.
The conference was established, he said, “because we believe in philosophy and its relevance in our world.”
The theme of the conference was highly topical to ongoing debates surrounding space exploration.
“The conference theme is, to coin a science fiction phrase, ‘going boldly where few conferences have gone before,” said Alwan. “We chose a theme that was challenging, and yet which also showed just how philosophical thinking is absolutely vital for humanity, because of its ability to map out entirely new intellectual territory that relates to space exploration, to humanity’s potential extra-terrestrial activities.”
The topic of space exploration is also reflective of Saudi Arabia’s own plans. In September 2022, the Kingdom announced that it had launched a new astronaut program. Its first journey, set for 2023, will carry a female Saudi astronaut, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
“What has been impressive is the ability to speak to a diverse and large population here that you don’t find in academic conferences; attendees this year included even investment bankers and people working in the oil industry,” Nicolas de Warren, professor of philosophy at Penn State University in the US, who was attending the conference for the second time, told Arab News. “I was impressed again by the level of sophistication and questions from the diverse audience.”
De Warren chaired a panel titled “Exploring Space and Time Today.” His research looks at the impact of science fiction literature which, as he says, “imagines not only the exploration of space but what it would mean to enter into contact with other life forms or alien civilizations. It is what is called first contact narratives.”
Such ideas raise the fundamental philosophical question of if we as a species are alone in the universe? Are there other life forms? How do we know if there are other life forms? Why has there been no contact with these other life forms? And what would it really represent if, indeed, one day, there was the discovery that there are other intelligent life forms and civilizations?
De Warren discussed such questions in his panel but went a step further. According to his thesis, these questions do not really concern aliens but ourselves.
“It has to do with the way in which we project our planetary fears onto some imaginary alien to sublimate them,” he said. “From that perspective, it’s not fortuitous that during the 1950s and 1960s, one of the dominant genres of science fiction literature and films was invasion narratives — Martians are coming, and so on. That reflects the sort of sublimation one found during the Cold War.”
Apart from delving into pressing issues involving our world today and fostering cross-cultural dialogue, the conference also had a pedagogical aspect.
A pavilion area with workshops for children called Philosophers of Tomorrow, a Philosophical Camp for philosophical dialogue, and a debating competition for trained teams of college students called Reading Between the Lines Competition underlined the importance of fostering philosophy inquiry and thought within educational platforms, schools and communities in the Kingdom.
“We’ve done more than before to encourage children and young people to participate in the conference through a Philosopher’s Cafe, which has space for members of the audience to discuss philosophical topics with the conference’s speakers,” added Alwan.
This year the conference partnered with more organizations, ranging from international universities, the International Federation of Philosophical Societies, as well as the Saudi Space Commission, and several Saudi organizations engaged in promoting philosophical thinking, such as Baseera, the Saudi Center of Philosophy and Ethics, Mekal Philosophy Club and the Saudi Philosophy Association.
“We abstract the tools that philosophers use and try to invite teachers to apply those tools in their curriculum,” said Dalia Toonsi, educational consultant, founder and general manager of Baseera Educational Consultancy. Baseera, an institute that trains teachers to implement dialogical and philosophical teaching as well as learning methods into the curriculum of Saudi schools, was taking part in the event for the second time.
“People in the Arab world generally don’t think philosophy is an interesting subject,” said Toonsi. Baseera’s work emphasizes the importance of philosophical inquiry in schools.
Toonsi said: “Tools from philosophy entail critical thinking, examining assumptions, deduction and reduction, and inquiry and also caring thinking, related more to children, which gives children the ability to open their minds to different opinions related to philosophical inquiry.”
People with disabilities take the stage at Gulf Theatre Festival
Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi said: “The initiatives, programs and projects offered to people with disabilities in the Kingdom reflect our wise leadership’s interest in this group … and the achievement of equal opportunities for them”
Updated 04 December 2022
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is currently hosting the sixth Gulf Theater Festival for People with Disabilities at the Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University Conference Center in Riyadh.
The nine-day festival, organized by the Authority for Persons with Disabilities, began on Friday, Dec. 2 and will feature six theatrical performances from the GCC alongside interactive events and theater workshops.
The festival aims to promote inclusivity, and boost awareness, of people with disabilities.
Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, minister of human resources and social development, said: “The initiatives, programs and projects offered to people with disabilities in the Kingdom reflect our wise leadership’s interest in this group … and the achievement of equal opportunities for them.”
The Kingdom is hosting this session for the first time, with the aim of discovering and developing the talents of our sons and daughters with disabilities in the GCC in the fields of arts and increasing their participation in cultural events.
Ahmad Al-Rajhi, Saudi minister of human resources and social development
He added: “The Kingdom is hosting this session for the first time, with the aim of discovering and developing the talents of our sons and daughters with disabilities in the GCC in the fields of arts and increasing their participation in cultural events.”
Alanoud Al-Faqeer, the supervisor of the festival, said: “Theater is one of the mechanisms through which the awareness of the public can be raised. Theater helps showcase talents and motivate people with disabilities to integrate into society.”
“Saudi Arabia welcomes all people with disabilities … all arrangements have been made to contribute to the festival’s success and provide support to all participants to showcase their performances in an amazing manner,” she added.
The director of the executive office of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Dr. Amer Al-Hajri, called for greater efforts to empower people with disabilities by providing them with appropriate opportunities of all kinds to show their talents.
The exhibition will feature exclusive and innovative products in fashion, jewelry, perfumes, leather and home accessories in an interactive environment
Updated 04 December 2022
RIYADH: The exhibition “Ana Arabia” (Arabic for “I am an Arab Woman”), which highlights Arab women in design and fashion, will be launched on Saturday at Riyadh Front, one of the entertainment zones of Riyadh Season.
The exhibition will bring together Arab creators in what will be the largest gathering of its kind in the Middle East.
“Ana Arabia” will display the works of more than 200 designers from across the Arab world, allowing female designers and businesswomen to market their products and exchange experiences in the design sector.
The exhibition will feature exclusive and innovative products in fashion, jewelry, perfumes, leather and home accessories in an interactive environment.
It will also see exclusive meetings with top fashion and beauty experts to present their experiences.
The exhibition will open from 4 p.m. until midnight and will continue until Dec. 16. Tickets can be booked via the link: https://riyadhseason.sa/event-details-en.html?id=598/en_Ana_Arabiya