RIYADH: Saudi Arabia called on the Taliban to reverse a ban on women pursuing higher education in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
The call came a day after the country’s Taliban rulers ordered women nationwide to stop attending private and public universities immediately and until further notice.
The Kingdom’s foreign ministry expressed surprise and regret at the decision and said it was met with astonishment in all Muslim countries.
The ministry said the decision denied Afghan women their full legal rights and the right to an education which contributes to supporting security, stability, development, and prosperity in Afghanistan.
Taliban security forces in the Afghan capital on Wednesday enforced the higher education ban for women by blocking their access to universities. Women were filmed weeping and consoling each other outside one campus in Kabul.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also denounced the decision, calling on the Taliban to reverse it “for the sake of maintaining consistency between their promises and actual decisions.”
“Suspending access by female students to Afghanistan’s universities, OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha believes, will go a long way in seriously denting the credibility of the government in place, just as it will deny Afghan girls and women their fundamental rights to education, employment, and social justice,” the OIC tweeted.
50 tourism ministers, 500 guests welcomed to Diriyah for World Tourism Day gala event
Among the guests at the At-Turaif UNESCO World Heritage Site were 50 tourism ministers from around the world
Updated 30 September 2023
RIYADH: More than 500 officials, tourism leaders and experts from 120 countries attended a gala event in Diriyah in the Saudi capital this week to mark World Tourism Day.
Among the guests at the At-Turaif UNESCO World Heritage Site were 50 tourism ministers from around the world, who had been in the Kingdom for a series of conferences, UN World Tourism Organization initiatives and private sector sessions hosted by Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi minister of tourism.
Zurab Pololikashivli, the UNWTO secretary general, was honored at the event for his leadership and contribution to the sessions and activities that took place throughout World Tourism Day.
“Since its historic grand opening in December 2022, Diriyah has already welcomed one million visitors,” Al-Khateeb said.
“Fast emerging as one of the world’s foremost tourism destinations, Saudi Arabia will target 100 million visits annually by 2030 as it looks to accelerate an $800 billion plan to become a travel hotspot and one of the world’s most visited countries.
“Saudi Arabia is already the most visited country in the region, and by the end of the decade, the sector will contribute more than 10 percent toward the Kingdom’s GDP,” he added.
Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of Diriyah Company, it was fitting that Diriyah was chosen to host the gala event.
“As Diriyah Company oversees the opening of the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the world, it embodies a vibrant reconnection with the Kingdom's rich history, where a nation was born,” he said.
“Diriyah serves as a bridge between cultures and generations, rekindling its role as one of the world’s greatest gathering places and emerging as a premier cultural tourist destination.
“World Tourism Day reflects a worldwide commitment to preserving heritage, nurturing cultural exchange, and crafting unforgettable experiences for visitors from across the globe. At Diriyah, we are dedicated to bringing these pillars of tourism to life every day,” he added.
Saudia unveils new logo, brand identity at event in Jeddah
Also introduced developments in guest services system and incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) into its operational processes
Announced refreshed cabin crew uniforms
Updated 30 September 2023
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) unveiled its new brand identity and livery during an event in Jeddah on Saturday, Saudi Press Agency reported.
According to a statement from the airline, the new identity reflects its commitment to modernization and includes colors that hold deep symbolism in the Saudi identity.
SAUDIA also introduced developments in its guest services system and has incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) into its operational processes, and announced refreshed cabin crew uniforms, SPA added.
The official presentation of Saudia's new identity took place at the airlines' headquarters and was attended by dignitaries, government and private sector officials, and experts from the aviation and air transport industry.
The date of the launch, September 30, was chosed to commemorate the anniversary of the late King Abdulaziz's first flight aboard a "Saudi Arabian" DC-3 aircraft from Afif to Taif.
The colors of the new logo were also chosen for their links to the Kingdom.
“Green for pride and honor of the national flag, as well as the generosity, culture, and hospitality of Saudi Arabia represented by the palm tree; blue symbolizes the Kingdom's seas and skies, drawing inspiration from them for future groundbreaking initiatives; and lastly, sandy brown signifies the richness and authenticity of the homeland, highlighting its deep-rooted heritage,” the airline statement said.
Director General of Saudia Group, Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar, said the airline was embarking on a new era and entering a distinctive phase.
He highlighted the humble beginnings of the airline with a single aircraft and its subsequent growth to a fleet of over 140 planes, connecting regions within the Kingdom and serving more than 100 destinations across four continents.
Saudi Arabia takes bold steps to safeguard architectural heritage
The Saudi Heritage Commission has initiated process to register 50,000 sites into the Architectural Heritage Register
Experts say each region of the kingdom possesses its own distinct architectural heritage, setting it apart from others
Updated 30 September 2023
MAKKAH: The preservation of cultural heritage is of the utmost importance in the Kingdom, and the Saudi Heritage Commission is taking significant steps to protect and promote the country’s architectural treasures.
With the recent nomination of 50,000 urban heritage assets for registration, these sites will be added to the Architectural Heritage Register, joining the already registered 3,400 sites.
This collaborative effort, in accordance with the antiquities and urban heritage system, aims to utilize modern technologies to register, categorize, and encode these assets. This initiative not only preserves architectural heritage but also fosters community involvement and paves the way for future development plans.
Salma Hawsawi, a professor of ancient history at King Saud University, said that the Saudi Heritage Commission is currently implementing projects aimed at preserving architectural heritage.
One of these projects is focused on registering urban sites found in all 13 administrative regions of the Kingdom in the Architectural Heritage Register.
Hawsawi said: “This endeavor involves active participation from local communities and encompasses a wide range of structures, including villages, neighborhoods, towers, fortresses, ancient temples, castles, walls, and mosques. These sites possess a rich historical and cultural significance, reflecting the unique aesthetic value created by humanity since ancient times.
“Each region of the Kingdom possesses its own distinct architectural heritage, setting it apart from others. This diversity can be attributed to the varied terrains found throughout the country, which influenced the choice of construction materials. The embellishments adorning the facades, doors, and windows of buildings were inspired by the local environment.
“The coastal communities, for instance, incorporated gypsum and wood into their architecture and decorations. Mountain communities, known for their physical strength, utilized their abilities to carve houses and graves into the mountains. Numerous pieces of evidence support this notion, as caves scattered across the Kingdom are adorned with drawings and inscriptions that depict the rich history of these communities.”
He added: “Due to the significance of architectural heritage and its close connection to culture, heritage, and identity, the Saudi Heritage Commission initiated a project with the objective of gradually registering 50,000 sites into the Architectural Heritage Register.
“The process consists of several stages. First, an extensive search and discovery of sites takes place. This is followed by the nomination phase, where all relevant information about the sites is collected.
"The third stage involves the registration of the sites, during which the data is carefully examined and validated. Subsequently, the fourth stage focuses on classifying the sites according to the standards set by the commission. Finally, in the fifth and final stage, a code is assigned to each site and plaques are installed to validate their authenticity and historical significance.”
Hawsawi highlighted the project’s aim of preserving cultural heritage and having it listed in the national register as a step toward potential inclusion in UNESCO's World Heritage List.
He added: “This registration holds political, economic, and social dimensions, as it strengthens international relations, diversifies the national economy, reduces unemployment, and enhances the overall standard of living.”
Saudi-funded energy transmission network launched in Seychelles
Updated 30 September 2023
Saudi Fund for Development CEO Sultan Al-Marshad participated in the opening of the 33 KV Transmission Network of South Mahe Island Project in the Seychelles, in the presence of the country’s President Wavel Ramkalawan and Vice President Ahmed Afif, on Saturday.
The Saudi fund contributed a development loan worth $20 million, which aims to improve the electricity transmission network in the south of the island to ensure the quality of electrical energy, to enhance social infrastructure activities such as education and health, and to stimulate economic and commercial development.
In a post on X, Al-Marshad wrote that the project will bring “reliable and affordable electricity to thousands of households, while boosting the economy and creating jobs.” He added: “We wish the nation of Seychelles a prosperous future.”
Saudi leadership keen to ‘promote, protect human rights’
Hala Al-Tuwaijri delivers lecture in the UK, highlights Kingdom’s reforms
Updated 30 September 2023
RIYADH: Hala Al-Tuwaijri, the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, praised the Kingdom’s comprehensive reforms and advancements in all areas, particularly in human rights, during a visit to the UK.
She highlighted the significant attention and commitment given to human rights by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Al-Tuwaijri emphasized that these developments have further strengthened Saudi Arabia’s efforts to safeguard human rights across various aspects of life.
These remarks were made during her official visit to the UK, where she met with Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK minister for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and the UN.
Al-Tuwaijri led a delegation from the Human Rights Commission, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.
During the meeting with Lord Ahmad, Al-Tuwaijri discussed the significant legislative reforms and advancements in human rights that have taken place in the Kingdom since the adoption of Saudi Vision 2030.
She also emphasized the leadership’s strong interest and dedication to promoting and protecting human rights in all aspects.
The two sides discussed several topics of common interest and ways to promote cooperation in the field of human rights.
The visit also included discussions with other government officials in the UK and covered bilateral relations in all fields, especially in the field of human rights.
Furthermore, the commission’s delegation reviewed topics of common interest in security, stability and peace. They discussed joint bilateral cooperation and exchange of ideas, in addition to both sides’ experiences in protecting human rights and combating human trafficking.
Al-Tuwaijri also gave a speech at the UK Foreign Office. Officials and specialists from a number of government agencies and local organizations in the UK attended the lecture in which she highlighted the most notable future direction in the Human Rights Commission’s performance.
She noted the objectives the commission is seeking to achieve at the national and international level and highlighted its tools for protecting human rights and the Kingdom’s development in this area.