RIYADH: The winning projects in a “Digitizing the Customer Experience in the Real Estate Sector” challenge set by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Authority, also known as Monsha’at, have been chosen.
The aim of the challenge, organized in cooperation with the Real Estate General Authority, was to encourage the development of innovative technical products and services that can help solve some of the challenges faced by property buyers and tenants in the Kingdom, including those encountered during the search for a house. It was one of a series of challenges designed to encourage innovative solutions in the real estate sector.
The entrants were invited to develop projects designed to assist in one of three specific aspects of the real estate sector: The search for a property; the evaluation and inspection of properties; and support services related to housing, such as design, maintenance and furnishing, for buyers or renters.
After a series of qualifying rounds and an intensive training camp, the judging panel whittled down 165 projects to the final 27, from which three winners were chosen.
The top prize of SR50,000 ($13,313) went to a project called “Ejari,” or “Tenant.” “A’aked Ejar,” or “Rent Contract,” won the SR30,000 second prize, and “Iqar Bot,” or “Real Estate Bot” was awarded third place and a prize of SR20,000.
The teams behind the successful projects will now work with mentors and trainers from the real estate sector to develop their projects and present them to investors.
Saudi technical team arrives in Syria to discuss reopening of embassy in Damascus
During the meeting, the head of the Saudi technical team expressed gratitude to the Syrian side for the warm welcome extended to the team
Updated 28 May 2023
RIYADH: A Saudi technical team arrived on Saturday in Syria, to discuss the reopening of Saudi Arabia's embassy in Damascus, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The reopening the Saudi embassy in Damascus comes after the Kingdom’s foreign ministry announced in April the decision of resuming diplomatic mission work in Syria.
The Saudi technical team, headed by Minister of Plenipotentiary, Ghazi bin Rafi Al-Anzi met with assistant foreign and expatriates Minister Ayman Sousan at the Syrian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Damascus.
During the meeting, the head of the Saudi technical team expressed gratitude to the Syrian side for the warm welcome extended to the team.
The decision comes after the Arab League welcomed back Syria’s government, ending a more than decade-long suspension.
Saudi climate envoy meets Panama deputy environment minister
Updated 28 May 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s envoy for climate affairs met Panama’s deputy environment minister, the Saudi foreign ministry said on Sunday.
Saudi Minister of State Adel Al-Jubeir held discussion with Domilluis Dominguez on Saturday.
They discussed environmental and climate change cooperation and ways to enhance them. The minister outlined the Saudi efforts in this regard, including plans such as the Saudi and Middle East green initiatives.
The meeting was attended by the non-resident Saudi ambassador to Panama, Dr. Hassan Al-Ansari, and the Director General of the Office of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs ambassador Khalid bin Musaed Al-Anqari.
Al-Jubeir met senior Panamanian ministers on Friday as he continued his South American tour.
Saudi Arabia, US urge Sudan’s warring parties to discuss truce extension
The truce is set to expire on May 29
Protection of humanitarian assistance urged
Updated 28 May 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the US are urging Sudan’s warring sides to work to work on extending a short-term truce currently in force in the country.
“Saudi Arabia and the US call on the Sudanese Armed Forces & the Rapid Support Forces to continue discussions to reach an agreement on extending the ceasefire that is set to expire on May 29,” the Saudi foreign affairs ministry said in a statement early on Sunday.
The statements said while imperfect an extension would allow for humanitarian assistance to the Sudanese people.
Saudi Arabia and the US, who brokered the current ceasefire, urged the sides to continue to adhere to their obligations even if an extension deal isn’t reach before May 29. The parties signed a Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan agreement in Jeddah, safeguarding humanitarian assistance and access.
Hundreds of people have died after intense urban warfare and thousands have either been injured or have fled for safety since the conflict began in April as the army faced off against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
Japanese calligrapher teaches her art one stroke at a time
She told Arab News: “Seeing how Saudis love anime and manga, I wanted to show them that we have more art forms to offer, such as calligraphy”
Fans of Japanese culture get the chance to learn traditional art forms at City Walk
Updated 27 May 2023
JEDDAH: Japanese calligrapher Yoshimi Fujii is conducting workshops at the Anime Village in City Walk Jeddah, offering participants the chance to learn more about different Japanese art forms.
Fujii, who has achieved the highest level in the Japanese form of calligraphy known as suihou, is based in Dubai and is making her second trip to the Kingdom.
“I’m thrilled to receive an invitation to come here (Saudi Arabia) and teach people of Jeddah the Japanese calligraphy and art of manga (Japanese comic),” she said.
Fujii conducted similar calligraphy workshops and a live show during the Riyadh Season on her first trip.
With a warm smile on her face, she explained to participants how to write in Japanese using traditional calligraphy brushes and special Japanese ink.
“Each line is made with one stroke only,” she said, adding: “Don’t redo it or try to fill the gaps.”
• Yoshimi Fujii, a Japanese calligrapher, is conducting workshops at the Anime Village in City Walk.
• Fujii’s calligraphy workshop is conducted three times a day to allow a large number of visitors to take part.
• This week, Fujii will conduct another workshop about traditional Japanese origami, the art of making different shapes out of paper.
She told Arab News: “Seeing how Saudis love anime and manga, I wanted to show them that we have more art forms to offer, such as calligraphy.”
Fujii said she is enjoying the reactions of the participants, even when they get confused about which direction to start writing in Japanese, which is from top to bottom, unlike Arabic, which is written from right to left.
The workshop is conducted three times a day to allow a large number of visitors to take part.
Rana Alnemari, 21, said that she loved Japanese culture and wanted to learn to write her name in Japanese characters.
“The new characters of the Japanese alphabet really caught my interest and I really had fun learning something new today,” she said. “I might even take professional courses for Japanese calligraphy in the future.”
Wejdan Alomari, 22, said that she joined the calligraphy workshop because she was intrigued by the Japanese writing style.
Seeing how Saudis love anime and manga, I wanted to show them that we have more art forms to offer, such as calligraphy.
Yoshimi Fujii, Japanese calligrapher
“It feels more like a drawing than simple writing,” she said.
Rana Alsaimi, 22, told Arab News that these types of workshops give her an opportunity to try new things like “using traditional Japanese brush to write instead of a calligraphy pen.”
Next week, Fujii will conduct another workshop about traditional Japanese origami, the art of making different shapes out of paper.
Participants will learn how to make Pokemon shapes using origami techniques.
Who’s Who: Aya Al-Bakree, CEO of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation
Updated 27 May 2023
Aya Al-Bakree is the CEO of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, a nonprofit cultural organization chaired by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan.
The foundation is mandated to stage two world-class biennales in Saudi Arabia, alternating between contemporary and Islamic arts.
At the heart of the foundation’s strategy is a mission to foster artistic cross-fertilization by connecting Saudi Arabian and international cultural discourse. It aims to elevate artistic practices and provide educational public programs for participants of all ages and backgrounds.
As a passionate advocate for the arts and the adaptive reuse of public spaces into cultural venues, Al-Bakree has overseen the launch of inaugural biennale editions in two cities: the JAX district in Diriyah and the Hajj Terminal in Jeddah. These editions showcased the works of diverse local and international artists.
The Contemporary Art Biennale in 2021 was recognized as the first dedicated biennale in Saudi Arabia, while the Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah was the first of its kind in world history, showcasing contemporary and ancient works of unprecedented breadth and scale.
Prior to her appointment as CEO at the organization, Al-Bakree earned her global communications degree at the American University of Paris in 2011, where she also completed a year-long exchange program at Parsons.
After graduating, she began her career at a world-renowned French art gallery, where she immersed herself in the world of international contemporary art and learned about the commercial and business sides.
When she returned to Saudi Arabia, she gained further professional experience in the art sector with a cultural organization working across the Middle East, collaborating with locally acclaimed institutions and galleries in the Kingdom.
Bringing over a decade of experience in the arts, she continues to forge opportunities to promote local artistic expression on international platforms and collaborate with local artists, galleries, and collectors across the country.