Saudi Cabinet reviews unemployment figures, approves international agreements 

Update Saudi Cabinet reviews unemployment figures, approves international agreements 
The Cabinet also highlighted the security agreements signed between Saudi Arabia and the UK. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 05 April 2023
Follow

Saudi Cabinet reviews unemployment figures, approves international agreements 

Saudi Cabinet reviews unemployment figures, approves international agreements 

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet reviewed the nation’s security and foreign policies at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday aimed at enhancing peace and stability in the region and across the globe.

At the start of the session chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Cabinet was briefed on two messages received by King Salman and the crown prince from the presidents of the UAE and Djibouti.

The ministers were also briefed about the meeting between Crown Prince Mohammed and the president of Egypt, which saw discussions take place on developing closer ties in various sectors.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency following the session, Minister of Media Salman bin Yousef Al-Dosari said that the foreign policy discussions focused on ensuring peace and stability, in partnership with various friendly nations, in the region and globally.

The Cabinet also highlighted the security agreements signed between Saudi Arabia and the UK.

On domestic affairs, Al-Dosari stated that the Kingdom’s unemployment rate fell from 9.9 percent in the third quarter of 2022, to 8 percent in the fourth quarter.




Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman heading the session. (SPA)

This was a result of the legislative and other reforms under Saudi Vision 2030, which ensured the country’s remarkable economic growth compared to the rest of the world.

The Cabinet issued various decisions including approving a cooperation agreement between the Kingdom and Greece on crime; and authorizing the Foreign Ministry to draft a political memorandum of understanding with Sri Lanka.

The minister of foreign affairs was also authorized to discuss a headquarters agreement with the UN Human Settlements Programme.

Cabinet further approved a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Culture and the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization.

A memorandum of understanding was authorized between the Kingdom’s Finance Ministry and the treasuries of Britain and Northern Ireland to enhance cooperation in the financial services and the public finance sector.

There were other memorandums of cooperation approved, on social development with South Africa, direct investment with China, and money laundering and terrorism with Oman.

Approval was further given for Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University to draft an education agreement with German company Merck.

The Cabinet approved the appointment of Eng. Abdurrahman bin Saleh Al-Faqih, a representative of the private sector, who is not an investor in the ports sector, as a member of the board of directors of the Saudi Ports Authority.

Other approvals included organizational structure and manual of the Ministry of Tourism; the two final accounts of the General Authority for Competition; and the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority accounts for the previous fiscal year.

The Cabinet also reviewed the annual reports of the Saudi Export Development Authority, the National Industrial Development Center, Prince Sultan Defense Studies & Research Center, and King Salman Park Foundation.


Noor Riyadh returns to transform city into glowing work of art

Noor Riyadh returns to transform city into glowing work of art
Updated 29 November 2023
Follow

Noor Riyadh returns to transform city into glowing work of art

Noor Riyadh returns to transform city into glowing work of art
  • Top curators, artists get together to stage biggest light art festival in the world

RIYADH: Following its first showcase in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the beauty of Noor Riyadh has been its ability to bring art to not only the city of Riyadh, its various districts and neighborhoods, but to the Saudi populace.

Large-scale art installations produced by artists from Saudi Arabia, the greater Middle East and across the world can be found throughout the city of Riyadh during the festival. Viewing these artworks at night when they are illuminated becomes a way to discover the Saudi capital, neighborhoods and monuments many were unaware even existed, as well as find new artists, ways of thinking and cultures.

Noor Riyadh’s power, according to its directors and curators, lies in its ability to unite everyone, from all walks of life within the city, through alluring specially commissioned artworks.

London Launch of the 2023 noor Riyadh festival. (Supplied)

“One of the key components of the festival is to stage it everywhere in the city of Riyadh,” Miguel Blanco-Carrasco, adviser at the Royal Commission for Riyadh City and Riyadh Art, told Arab News.

“Our audience is very diverse. We are targeting people who are museumgoers and who have a profound interest in art, and those who would not regularly go to an art exhibition.”

Speaking about the significance of the event, he added: “Noor Riyadh is part of the creative transformation that is taking place in the Kingdom.

Ahaad Alamoudi’s ‘Ghosts of today and tomorrow.’ (Supplied)

“This year we concentrated all artworks in five main hubs to improve the visitor experience. We also have three works in other locations across Riyadh.”

Noor Riyadh will showcase artists from around the world working in diverse mediums, including performance art, architecture, engineering, graphic design, and even medicine.

The five main hubs are located throughout Riyadh, with the central hub situated in the King Abdullah Financial District, the Saudi capital’s preeminent destination for business and lifestyle, which recently witnessed the staging of the inaugural Riyadh Fashion Week.

‘Oasis’ by Belgian conceptual artist Arne Quinze displayed at the 2022 Noor Riyadh festival. (Supplied/ Instagram/noorriyadhfestival)

The third Noor Riyadh begins on Nov. 30 and runs until Dec. 16 under the theme “The Bright Side of The Desert Moon,” and explores the desert as a place of reconnection.

It will include 120 artworks by more than 100 artists from around 35 countries, including a significant representation of Saudi talents who comprise one third of participating artists.

Artworks include prominent pieces by Ange Leccia, Carsten Holler, Chris Levine, Dana-Fiona Armour, Diana Thater, Janet Echelman, Ivan Argote, Laurent Grasso, and Philippe Parreno, among others.

Community engagement remains a cornerstone of our festival. Our focus is on making art accessible and educational through various initiatives like talks, workshops, and school programs.

Nouf Al-Moneef, Noor Riyadh project manager

While the artist lineup has expanded, there are also several returning artists this year. These include Muhannad Shono, Rashed Al-Shashai, Bruno Ribeiro, Christopher Bauder, Studio Drift, Ahaad Alamoudi, and Zahra Al-Ghamdi.

Noor Riyadh’s curatorial team is just as diverse and multinational as its artist lineup and comprises both local and internationally renowned names. It is led by Jerome Sans and supported by curators Pedro Alonzo, Fahad bin Naif, and Alaa Tarabzouni.

Running concurrently to the festival is Noor Riyadh’s exhibition “Refracted Identities, Shared Futures.” It is being staged by Neville Wakefield who returns as lead curator, working alongside Maya Al-Athel, who served as artistic director of the festival in 2022.

Nouf Al-Moneef, Noor Riyadh project manager

The show, which runs until March 2, will include work by artists such as Abdullah Al-Othman, Ahaad Alamoudi, Conrad Shawcross, Farah Al-Qasimi, Julian Charriere, Kim Farkas, Mariko Mori, Rashed Al-Shashai, Sarah Brahim, and Sophia Al-Maria.

Noor Riyadh aims to help the art community as well as making the city an even bigger attraction.

Nouf Al-Moneef, project manager of Noor Riyadh and architectural adviser at the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, told Arab News: “Community engagement remains a cornerstone of our festival.

“Our focus is on making art accessible and educational through various initiatives like talks, workshops, and school programs.”

Among the noteworthy aspects of this year’s event is the diversity of its artistic representation, which, according to Al-Moneef, has increased this time.

She added: “Each year’s innovative theme has deeply resonated with the worldwide topical themes, fostering a dialogue that bridges local and global perspectives.

“A testament to the festival’s growing prominence is the record-breaking attendance in 2022, with 2.8 million attendees and six Guinness World Records (totaling eight over the years), highlighting the largest celebration of light art globally.”

The festival is also pushing various artistic mediums. “We are further exploring the intersection between art and technology,” explained Blanco-Carrasco. “We are seeing what we can do with drones that hasn’t been done before. How can we use this medium to attain new artistic abilities?”

Noor Riyadh is an initiative of Riyadh Art, dubbed one of the largest public art initiatives in the world, which was launched in March 2019 by King Salman, under the supervision of the Committee of Grand Projects chaired by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Riyadh Art was created “to foster local artistic talent and ignite Saudi Arabia’s cultural economy,” according to a statement.

The ambition and vision of Riyadh Art is to transform the Saudi capital into an inspiring “gallery without walls,” showcasing over 1,000 public artworks dispersed throughout the city through 10 programs and two annual events.

“Through Riyadh Art, we’re bringing art directly into the everyday lives of citizens and visitors by integrating public art installations throughout the city,” said Al-Moneef.

“This approach not only makes art more accessible to a wider audience but also embeds it into the very fabric of the city, transforming public spaces into areas of inspiration and conversation.”

Noor Riyadh’s editions have offered “unique moments of joy” for millions of residents and visitors to the Saudi capital. The festival gives visitors the chance to view Riyadh in a new light and appreciate its ever-evolving landscape and great history.

For more details, visit riyadhart.sa.

 


Red Sea film festival fosters creative visions

Ryan Ashore, the head of Red Sea Labs, speaks to the media during a media dialogue session at Jeddah’s Ritz Carlton on Monday.
Ryan Ashore, the head of Red Sea Labs, speaks to the media during a media dialogue session at Jeddah’s Ritz Carlton on Monday.
Updated 29 November 2023
Follow

Red Sea film festival fosters creative visions

Ryan Ashore, the head of Red Sea Labs, speaks to the media during a media dialogue session at Jeddah’s Ritz Carlton on Monday.
  • Red Sea Lodge Program aims to support emerging filmmakers in Kingdom, Arab region and Africa

JEDDAH: The third Red Sea International Film Festival will be held in Jeddah from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9 under the “Your Story, Your Festival” theme.
A pivotal component of the Red Sea Film Foundation is the Red Sea Labs which runs the Lodge feature film development program, conducted in collaboration with TorinoFilmLab and sponsored by the Film AlUla.
After the resounding success of its previous outings, the fourth Red Sea Lodge Program returns under the umbrella of Red Sea Labs.
The Red Sea Lab is an initiative of the Red Sea Film Foundation, aimed at empowering filmmakers, writers and industry professionals to realize their creative visions.
Ryan Ashore, the head of Red Sea Labs, emphasized the significance of progress in bringing in new regions during a media dialogue session on Monday at Jeddah’s Ritz Carlton.

FASTFACTS

• The program aims to support emerging filmmakers in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world and Africa.

• Selected projects will benefit from opportunities such as access to a wide network of creative mentors and cinema professionals.

Ashore told Arab News: “This is the fourth year for the Lodge, and there has been significant progress in entering new regions, as two projects from Africa joined us, making a total of 12 projects, five Saudi projects and other five Arab projects.”
“The notable renaissance in African cinema is evident, but they need support for their talents. As a global foundation, we have learned that including them in regions that require development in the film industry is essential.
“We started the program in AlUla in various areas of the city because it is the main sponsor. After 10 months of training, participants will present their films at the Red Sea Film Souk to compete for prizes, as now they have scripts, pitch deck and ready for production.”
The program aims to support emerging filmmakers in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world and Africa. Selected projects will benefit from opportunities such as access to a wide network of creative mentors and cinema professionals.
The Lodge presents a total of $200,000 that is $50,000 for four projects.
Among the selected projects from the Kingdom are “In the Beginning it is the End” by Ghadeer Binabbas, “The Night Whisperer” by Lina Mahmoud, “Mecca, Berlin” by Mujtaba Saeed, “By Hasnaa’s Side” by Amaal Yousef, and “The Middle One” by Sarah Mohammed Almuneef.
The Arab region is represented by projects such as “An Endless Night” by Mohamed Kassaby, “The Girl and The Missing Bed” by Samer Battikhi, “Temporary Lives” by Wessam Hachicho, “The Sun Seens Everything” by Wissam Tanios, and “My Father Killed Bourguiba” by Fatma Riahi.
Meanwhile, African projects include “Black Snake” by Naishe Nyamubaya and “Fantastic Tale” by Vincho Nchogu.
Another program under Red Sea Labs is “Music for Film,” an intensive on-site training program conducted over the course of a week. This program is designed to develop the skills of musicians in film scoring and music composition.
“Music is an integral part of the story,” Ashore said.
The program offers a comprehensive curriculum rich in technical dimensions and tools encompassing the skills that a composer needs to create original music to the highest standards, as well as many masterclasses and workshops.
“We received 150 applicants, and only seven were selected. The first thing we highlighted is the distinction between songwriting and film music composition, a difference that is not small at all,” Ashore said.
He added: “It was a great success to have seven Saudi composers that we were not aware of their existence. The main goal of this program is to equip these talented individuals with a new set of skills that they can apply to larger projects. We are promoting them so that they can secure actual work for short films, a starting point for them. One of them has already begun composing for a TV series.”

 

 

 

 


King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival soars high

The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival has attracted exceptional numbers since its launch in 2019. (SPA)
The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival has attracted exceptional numbers since its launch in 2019. (SPA)
Updated 29 November 2023
Follow

King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival soars high

The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival has attracted exceptional numbers since its launch in 2019. (SPA)
  • The total prize pool for winners at the King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival is an estimated SR33.6 million ($8.96m), which includes the Al-Melwah and Al-Mazayen competitions

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival kicked off on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Saudi Falcons Club in Malham, north of Riyadh.

Elite falcon owners from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and around the world will take part in the event, which runs until Dec.14.

The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival has attracted exceptional numbers since its launch in 2019. (SPA)

The club’s official spokesman, Walid Al-Taweel, said the festival included the largest falconry competition in the world. This was within the framework of the Saudi leadership’s keenness to preserve the Kingdom’s cultural and civilizational heritage.

Al-Taweel said the club was constantly working to improve its activities as each year saw increased development and support for falconers. The total prize pool for winners at the King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival is an estimated SR33.6 million ($8.96m), which includes the Al-Melwah and Al-Mazayen competitions. The festival will also feature a falcon beauty pageant.

FASTFACT

The total prize pool for winners at the King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival is an estimated SR33.6 million ($8.96m).

Al-Taweel said new categories had been added, such as 20 prizes in the Al-Melwah competition instead of the previous five, an international auction for falcon production farms, and 10 international competitor prizes instead of three. There will also be an additional round in the Al-Mazayen contest exclusively for Saudis, where the top three will receive SR300,000, SR200,000 and SR100,000 respectively.

The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival has attracted exceptional numbers since its launch in 2019. Its first edition entered the Guinness World Records as the largest falconry competition in the world, attracting 1,723 participants. The second event, later the same year, did the same, with 2,350 falcons taking part.

 


Saudi Arabia’s ultra-luxury hospitality in spotlight

Saudi Arabia’s ultra-luxury hospitality in spotlight
Updated 29 November 2023
Follow

Saudi Arabia’s ultra-luxury hospitality in spotlight

Saudi Arabia’s ultra-luxury hospitality in spotlight
  • Boutique Group was established to support the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture to develop and promote the tourist industry in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Boutique Group, described as the first ultra-luxury hospitality organization of its kind in Saudi Arabia, will showcase its range of luxury hotels at the International Luxury Travel Market Cannes from Dec. 4 to 7.

Owned by the Public Investment Fund, Boutique Group was established to support the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture to develop and promote the tourist industry in the Kingdom. It does this by developing and operating ultra-luxury boutique hotels within transformed historic and culturally important palaces, which previously served as royal residences or accommodation for VIP guests.

By refurbishing the three palaces, the company promises to provide a sumptuous and culturally authentic hospitality experience. (SPA)

The company said it aims to set new benchmarks in the industry and redefine the luxury hospitality experience in the Kingdom by offering domestic and international travelers an opportunity to immerse themselves in a modern-day Saudi Arabia inspired by tradition.

Boutique Group’s portfolio of properties previously inaccessible to the public include the Red Palace in Riyadh, which was once home to King Saud and later used as the offices of the Council of Ministers for three decades; Al-Hamra Palace in Jeddah, which provided accommodation for many prominent international public figures; and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture-winning Tuwaiq Palace, considered one of Riyadh’s most significant architectural landmarks.

The company said that by completely renovating the three palaces to offer grandiose, all-encompassing hospitality experiences that honor local history and culture, it epitomizes the traditions of Saudi hospitality and generosity, with a focus on providing guest experiences of the highest standards.

 

 


Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla to contribute to SGI, COP28

The commission aims to increase green areas in AlUla, employ the best international practices to manage natural reserves. (SPA)
The commission aims to increase green areas in AlUla, employ the best international practices to manage natural reserves. (SPA)
Updated 29 November 2023
Follow

Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla to contribute to SGI, COP28

The commission aims to increase green areas in AlUla, employ the best international practices to manage natural reserves. (SPA)
  • RCU is strengthening its presence and partnerships, in return for its commitment in making efforts to protect the natural environment in AlUla

ALULA: The Royal Commission for AlUla is participating in the third Saudi Green Initiative, and in the UN Climate Change Conference which takes place in Dubai from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.

The RCU’s efforts, initiatives and programs within the AlUla Vision and the AlUla Charter for Sustainability and Ecosystem Rehabilitation will form part of a special exhibition, while several experts and specialists from the commission will engage in panel discussions on relevant topics.

COP28 will highlight efforts to find sustainable environmental solutions and will boast broad international participation.

RCU is strengthening its presence and partnerships, in return for its commitment in making efforts to protect the natural environment in AlUla, by preserving environmental systems, and supporting the implementation of wildlife management and restoration.

The commission aims to increase green areas in AlUla, employ the best international practices to manage natural reserves, increase the community’s participation in maintaining environmental balance, and develop global strategic partnerships to support its field efforts.

AlUla’s Vision emphasizes protecting the natural components and restoring the environmental balance in the governorate.

The work contributes to strengthening AlUla’s position as one of the world’s iconic archaeological and natural cultural destinations. Its ambitions are consistent with restoring the environmental balance with the SGI by allocating 50 percent of AlUla’s area to natural reserves, rehabilitating 65,000 hectares of degraded land, and restoring vegetation by planting more than 200 local tree species, in addition to planting 10 million trees by 2035.