RIYADH: Saudi Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed Elkhereiji received Tanzanian ambassador to the Kingdom Ali J. Mwadini. They reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to enhance them, in addition to discussing issues of common interest.
Saudi nomad publishes book on 400-day adventure around the world
RIYADH: In a world of routine and conformity, it takes a free spirit to break away from the chains of convention and embark on a journey of self-discovery. Rakan Al-Mogbil, a nomad from Saudi Arabia, is one such individual who chose to abandon the comfort of his settled life and explore the world in 400 days.
Al-Mogbil, who is showcasing his first book “Lost on the Map” at the Riyadh International Book Fair, told Arab News: “Being here is amazing because I get to tell my story at one the biggest book fairs in the Middle East.”
Speaking about the premise of his book, he said: “’Lost on the Map’ is a true story about how I sold my car and (left) everything behind just to travel and explore the world. I traveled more than 400 days in a row without coming back to my country and visited more than nine countries.”
Al-Mogbil said that leaving behind his family, job and possessions was challenging — and with a mere $800 monthly budget. Despite the obstacles, Al-Mogbil embraced a life of constant movement, seeking to unravel the mysteries of different cultures and landscapes.
“I did a lot of hitchhiking between countries. I traveled 1,500 km from Bangkok in Thailand to Malaysia with only hitchhiking.”
Being on a tight budget, Al-Mogbil did not use any costly means of transport, such as busses, rental cars or airplanes.
His journey included some bumps along the way: “Some people in some countries threatened me. I’m not going to mention more, but you’re going to find out in the book.”
Through encounters during his travels, he has come to recognize the common thread that binds humanity despite any superficial differences. “I always say travel for the people, not the places, because people will leave, but the places will remain,” he said.
“One of the stories is about my time in Mexico where I lived on a ranch for three months and found a lot of similarities between Mexican and Arab cultures.”
He said that Mexicans’ hospitality and kindness is similar to Arabs.
Al-Mogbil discovered his love for traveling by chance: “After I traveled to South Africa to study English, I fell in love with traveling just as COVID-19 hit and I had to go back home to Saudi Arabia.”
However, once the travel restrictions eased, he drew up a plan: “I then decided that I was going to quit my job, sell my car, and just continue exploring because there are always places in the world to see.”
He said that one day he hopes to translate his book into other languages such as English and Spanish.
Omani literature, culture in the spotlight at Riyadh International Book Fair
- Oman is ‘guest of honour’ country at the RIBF 2023
RIYADH: The Riyadh International Book Fair, or RIBF 2023, is attracting thousands of visitors daily. It offers its audience millions of books, new titles and manuscripts, as well as a space for intellectual and cultural dialogue.
Omani literature and culture is in the spotlight this year as the sultanate is the “guest of honour” country.
Oman’s pavilion reflects the cultural exchange and cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the sultanate. It represents its national culture, books and manuscripts, showcasing the distinctiveness of Omani culture.
The RIBF was launched by the Saudi Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission at its new headquarters at King Saud University on Sept. 28 and will continue until Oct. 7. It attracts publishers, intellectuals and content creators from all over the world.
Hassan Al-Matrooshi, cultural expert at the Omani Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, and a member of the Omani delegation, told Arab News: “This is a very important opportunity to be here in this big cultural event. This is one of the biggest and most important book fairs around the Arab world. So it’s an important opportunity to be here showing a lot of our cultural aspects, like poetry, novels, history and so many other things, also our arts and music.”
The Omani participation as a guest of honor was an affirmation of the rapprochement between the two countries, and an embodiment of the distinguished cultural relations and issues of concern to Arab culture and thinkers, Al-Matrooshi said.
“This comes within the framework of the deep, long and strong brotherly relationships between Oman and Saudi Arabia. It builds up and enhances all the cultural cooperations between the two countries. There are a lot of things we are aiming to achieve through this platform,” he said.
“Oman actually has been participating for a long time, but this year it’s our first time to be a guest of honor, which is very important.
“This is an opportunity to build up on what has already been built up through history, through a long experience,” Al-Matrooshi said.
“And this definitely will help to strengthen cultural exchange, cultural relations between the two countries. We have a lot to give to each other. Saudi Arabia is a great country with a huge history and civilization. Oman also has great history, culture, heritage. We have a lot of things in common; we speak the same language, share the same heritage, and we live in the same region. We have the same religion. So we feel here we are in our country. There are a lot of things that we can give, and there are a lot of things we can also gain from this opportunity,” he said.
“There are publishers and some official establishments (participating). Of course, the main organizer is the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, but we also have here the Ministry of Tourism and Heritage, Ministry of Auqaf and Religious Affairs, Sultan Qaboos University Cultural Club. As you see, there are a lot of establishments, official and also private publishers here, around ten publishers exhibiting their books.
“There is a huge amount of visitors and also publishers coming here, that is encouraging.
“The princes, high officials to intellectuals, poets, writers, all sorts of visitors. So this is an opportunity for them and us,” he said.
“Due to similarity we visit each other, every year we receive thousands of our Saudi brothers in Muscat and in Salalah during tourist season.
“We are having a lot of Saudis present on our occasions, cultural and tourism. I am still inviting them to come and see Oman and discover the beauty, the culture of Oman, and the history of their brotherly country to further deepen our ties.”
Al-Matrooshi said that visitors had flocked to the Oman pavilion after the opening last Thursday to see the rare manuscripts, art exhibition, musical shows and VR presentation on display.
The pavilion exhibits a collection of rare manuscripts that reflect Omani cultural history and the sultanate’s role in the Arab world, the connections among Arab countries and people throughout history, and their civilizational role in advancing humanity and serving scientific and cultural purposes.
The Omani pavilion displays diverse aspects of thought, culture, literature, art and heritage, and presents poetry evenings and art shows in which Omani novelists and intellectuals take part.
The pavilion is hosting a folkloric Omani group that performs popular arts, reflecting the diversity and richness of the country.
The outdoor area hosts theater shows featuring Saudi and Omani performances.
GCC secretary-general meets EU ambassador to Saudi Arabia ahead of ministerial meeting in Oman
- Relations between the two parties were reviewed at the meeting
RIYADH: The secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council met the EU’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday at the headquarters of the GCC in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi and Christophe Farnaud discussed the agenda of the joint ministerial meeting between the GCC and the EU, which is scheduled to take place on Oct. 9-10 in Oman.
Albudaiwi said the GCC countries and the EU were always seeking to increase cooperation and develop relations, a statement read.
Relations between the two parties were reviewed at the meeting, while progress in implementing the strategic partnership between the sides, and the joint work program 2022-2027 were also subjects of discussion.
Riyadh forum advances global postal network
- Delegates agree to adopt the Riyadh Solution to help improve international mailing services
- Initiative expected to enhance cooperation between UPU members and other postal sector entities
RIYADH: Delegates attending the fourth Extraordinary Congress of the Universal Postal Union, in the Saudi capital, have agreed to adopt the so-called Riyadh Solution to help improve international mailing services.
The move is aimed at strengthening cooperation and partnerships globally, while making them more interconnected, and follows years of negotiation and work to develop the logistics sector.
The initiative was expected to enhance cooperation between UPU members and other postal sector entities while raising the quality and scope of products and services around the world.
Representatives of more than 190 countries are participating in the congress, which runs until Oct. 5. They will explore opportunities to expand membership and tackle key issues affecting the global postal system.
The Riyadh Solution will see the introduction of projects such as the establishment of customized business models, facilitating access to UPU services for parties beyond designated operators or official postal institutions.
The adoption of the Riyadh Solution is considered by the UN agency to be a significant step toward a more integrated and efficient global postal system that meets the evolving needs of individuals and businesses worldwide.
Riyadh exhibition to revive falconry heritage
- Fifth International Saudi Falcons and Hunting Exhibition will begin in Riyadh on Thursday
- Exhibition highlights the Saudi Falcons Club’s commitment to preserving and enriching the traditions of falconry
RIYADH: The fifth International Saudi Falcons and Hunting Exhibition, a cultural and entertainment event showcasing the ancient sport, will begin in Riyadh on Thursday.
Held over 10 days at the Saudi Falcons Club’s headquarters in Malham, north of Riyadh, the exhibition highlights the club’s commitment to preserving and enriching the traditions of falconry.
Bringing together the heritage of falconry, hunting, land and sea trips, and related hobbies, the exhibition features a large pavilion of weapons.
Targeting visitors from all walks of life, especially falconry enthusiasts, hunters and camping enthusiasts, the exhibition aims to pass down this rich heritage to current and future generations as a key cultural legacy in the Kingdom.
The exhibition includes a specialized museum providing insights into the history of falconry, as well as an art, painting and calligraphy exhibition. It offers a multitude of events and pavilions, combining cultural and entertainment aspects to enhance visitors’ experience.
The previous four exhibitions attracted a significant number of attendees. In 2018, there were about 150 exhibitors and a total of 120,000 visitors, averaging 24,000 visitors a day. In 2019, the number of exhibitors increased to 300, attracting 350,000 visitors, averaging 70,000 visitors daily.
The exhibition achieved even greater success in its third outing in 2021, rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic. It featured 350 exhibitors and drew half a million visitors, with weapon sales surpassing SR200 million ($53 million). In 2022, the number of exhibitors rose to 400, and the total number of visitors exceeded 512,000.
These improved results are the outcome of the exhibition’s continuous development, aiming to attract more than 550,000 visitors this year, representing various dimensions of heritage and national culture.
The Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Reserve Development Authority is also participating in the exhibition. The authority’s involvement coincides with the upcoming second season of the North Reserve, the Kingdom’s first sustainable hunting reserve. It aims to promote the culture of sustainable hunting, conserve natural balance and adhere to environmental sustainability standards.
The reserve is currently accepting applications from those interested in participating in hunting and camping activities in the coming months.