British embassy hosts Ramadan event celebrating women in Kingdom

Special British embassy hosts Ramadan event celebrating women in Kingdom
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The British Embassy hosted a Ghabga, a women’s Ramadan event for UK alumni to network, share experiences and celebrate Saudi women. (AN Photo/Lama Alhamawi)
Special British embassy hosts Ramadan event celebrating women in Kingdom
2 / 2
The British Embassy hosted a Ghabga, a women’s Ramadan event for UK alumni to network, share experiences and celebrate Saudi women. (AN Photo/Lama Alhamawi)
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Updated 05 April 2023
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British embassy hosts Ramadan event celebrating women in Kingdom

British embassy hosts Ramadan event celebrating women in Kingdom
  • Eilidh Kennedy McLean: We wanted to have an event during Ramadan because it is a very special time for us and all of our Saudi alumni in the country
  • Wedyan Al-Madani, a Saudi staff member of the UK embassy, read out two poems about the year of poetry and the Kingdom’s women

RIYADH: The British Embassy in Riyadh recently hosted a Ghabga, a Ramadan event for female UK alumni to network, share experiences and celebrate Saudi women.

“Women’s networks anywhere in the world are incredibly important. I think women have a special responsibility to other women to support them, to empower them, and to help them progress their careers,” Eilidh Kennedy McLean, the country director of the British Council, told Arab News.

The event saw the alumni and guests have poetry readings and open discussions.

The word Ghabga translates to gathering in Arabic and is an event that takes place late in the evenings during Ramadan.

“We wanted to have an event during Ramadan because it is a very special time for us and all of our Saudi alumni in the country. We wanted to reconnect with all of our female friends and celebrate this special time together,” said McLean. 

The event opened with McLean highlighting the gathering’s importance. “One of the strongest networks we have as women is the support of other women,” she said.

“I think this is a fantastic opportunity for us all to meet new friends, build our networks and benefit from the kinship of other women,” McLean said.

The women’s event also served as a celebration of the Saudi Year of Poetry.

Wedyan Al-Madani, a Saudi staff member of the UK embassy, read out two poems about the year of poetry and the Kingdom’s women. 

Several discussions were held including on challenges in the workplace. A talk on health was led by Dr. Amina Butt, a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology.

The participants tackled misconceptions and challenges women face around health, with topics including contraception, treating menstrual pain, and menopause.

“Support groups are really helpful to raise the awareness among women on certain problems plus it’s also important that women can share their experiences and their stories with each other and they are learning,” Butt said. 

During her discussion, many women in the audience highlighted the health challenges they face, and the need for more support groups on miscarriage and menopause. 

To ensure inclusivity and accessibility Butt said these support groups “need to be multicultural and multilingual so that everybody can share. Saudi is expanding and we do need to work as a big society and not in small pockets.”


Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future

Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future
Updated 25 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future

Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future
  • Local, regional and global specialists and decision-makers to feature in 2-day gathering in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will launch the first Environmental Compliance Forum 2024 on Sunday.

The Riyadh forum, which is being organized by the National Center for Environmental Compliance, will feature local, regional and global specialists and decision-makers in the field of the environment, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

The two-day gathering will seek to develop a comprehensive vision for the advancement of the environmental sector between the governmental, private and nonprofit sectors.

Saad Al-Matrafi, the center’s spokesman, said that more than 40 international and regional figures from 10 countries will discuss topics related to future trends in the field of the sustainable environment.

He said that the forum will offer a platform for discussing best practices in the field of the environment, in addition to supporting environmental research, innovations and technologies, with one section designated the Sustainability Cafe.

Al-Matrafi said that the event offers a rare opportunity for institutions and companies to review their projects, initiatives and tools that support environmental sustainability, and come up with the best global environmental practices by harmonizing plans and projects that contribute to the successful implementation of everything that serves the sustainable environment sector.

The forum’s sessions will discuss the challenges in advancing economic growth and diversification, in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as well as unifying efforts to achieve a qualitative shift in the national economy while protecting and preserving the Kingdom’s natural resources and habitats.

The forum will also deal with other topics, including how to chart the way to a brighter future, policy and governance, technology and innovation in the field of the environment, sustainable development and quality of life, private sector participation, community participation, and youth and the environment.

Meanwhile, the Sustainability Cafe will encourage young people to discuss their aspirations and roles regarding the environment, with the participation of several specialized environmental associations.

Participants will include several CEOs of national environmental centers, and major national companies such as NEOM, Red Sea Global, the New Square Development Company, and the Saudi Mining Company.


Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone

Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone
Updated 24 February 2024
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Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone

Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone
  • The visit came within the framework of enhancing cooperation and exchanging expertise in the field of the aviation and space industry
  • The representatives toured COMAC’s factories and facilities and were briefed on the stages of aircraft manufacturing

RIYADH: A high-ranking delegation from Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation sector has visited the headquarters of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China in Shanghai, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Headed by the President of the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej, the delegation also visited the assembly line of the C-919 and ARJ-21 aircraft in Shanghai and the economic zone at Zhengzhou Airport.

The representatives toured COMAC’s factories and facilities and were briefed on the stages of aircraft manufacturing, the company’s future plans for testing and assembly facilities, and the latest technologies and innovations in the aviation industry.

They listened to a presentation of COMAC’s missions and the details of designing and developing the various aircraft produced by the company, in addition to a look at the organization’s history since 2008, the development of its products, the ongoing specialized research on more efficient and sustainable solutions, and its tasks and responsibilities in the design, development and production of commercial aircraft.

The delegation also visited the economic zone at Zhengzhou Airport and heard about the work of specialized companies and institutions; the development of local manufacturing capabilities; enhancing cooperation with foreign companies to improve the quality of products; increasing competition at global level; and contributing to improving the quality of products and developing advanced technology.

Al-Duailej, in the presence of vice presidents, CEOs, officials, and several experts in the field of aviation, airports, and the service sectors of the aviation system, held a meeting with the Executive Vice Gov. of Henan Province Sun Shougang.

The meeting focused on several issues of common interest and ways to strengthen areas of joint cooperation in the field of civil aviation.

The visit came within the framework of enhancing cooperation and exchanging expertise in the field of the aviation and space industry, and exploring opportunities for joint cooperation in improving manufacturing, innovation and air cargo capabilities, along with attracting investment and enhancing international trade in the sector.


Najdi Ardah — a testament to vibrant Saudi history

The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)
The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2024
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Najdi Ardah — a testament to vibrant Saudi history

The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)
  • Saleh Nasser Al-Abdulwahed, leader of the Saudi Ardah group, told Arab News that the Najdi ardah “stands as a testament to Saudi history”

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia is home to a rich tapestry of folkloric arts, each with its own distinct features, but all with the same purpose: to express the Kingdom’s history, culture, and heroism.

Over time, these artistic traditions have become essential components of a variety of events and holidays. They predominantly take the form of ardah — group war dances which were originally intended to terrify enemies by showcasing the performers’ military prowess and the power and courage rooted in their past.

Of the many types of ardah, the most popular style in the Kingdom is the Najdi ardah, also known as the Saudi ardah.

The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)

Saleh Nasser Al-Abdulwahed, leader of the Saudi Ardah group, told Arab News that the Najdi ardah “stands as a testament to Saudi history.”

The Najdi Ardah begins with the recital of a poem, after which the drummers begin, establishing the rhythm for the dancers to follow. The group leader then takes the stage, wielding a blade and demonstrating well-practiced movements that match those of warriors in battle. He expertly maneuvers the sword, occasionally laying it on his shoulder, lifting it high, or holding it on its side. He also uses precise finger movements to move the blade in a circular motion, demonstrating his expertise.

Usually, the dancers will be dressed in their finest military outfits.

FASTFACT

The Najdi Ardah begins with the recital of a poem, after which the drummers begin, establishing the rhythm for the dancers to follow.

“Ardah performers don Al-Murawden military uniform, featuring long sleeves. They complement it with Al-Zaboun, a finely crafted wooden cashmere fabric adorned with a cashmere shawl, meticulously made by hand, resembling the ‘dagla’ gown,” Al-Abdulwahed explained. “Additionally, the performers may opt for Al-Saya, a tailored white summer fabric, or the Jokha, which is usually reserved for dignitaries such as kings, princes, and knights.”

He noted that warriors typically choose red clothing, though the shades could vary from a bright, blood-like tone to a more muted burgundy.

The performers will also typically be heavily armed, wearing a dagger, a gun holster, a bullet holder known as mujannad, and a sword. When wearing the uniform, the participant positions his pistol holster to the left and mujannad to the right. Various types of sword are used, each with its own sheath.

The Najdi ardah is a cultural touchstone for many Saudi nationals, and remains widely practiced today, not only in the central part of the Kingdom, but all over the country. It is frequently showcased at weddings. Its involvement in such ceremonies creates a sense of joy and delight, enthralling both older and younger generations.

Folk arts in other regions

The Hejaz region is one of the Kingdom’s most diverse in terms of folk arts. It is renowned for the Majrour art form, characterized by two facing rows of performers wearing tied and belted headbands. Each individual holds a daf in hand, contributing to the performance with special tunes and melodies.

The Yanbawi tarab is a form of collective musical expression, featuring the use of a stringed instrument called a simsimiyya, which is closely tied to maritime culture.

In Taif, the ardah Al-Zir takes center stage during special occasions and holidays. This dance involves the use of swords, guns, and daggers, and is a significant element of cultural festivities.

In the northern region, the traditional arts of Al-Samari and Al-Dahha come to life with two opposing rows of performers creating harmonious rhythms, playing melodies such as Al-Mashoub, Al-Zubai, and Al-Hajini.

 


Guests of Riyadh forum visit marvels of AlUla

Guests of Riyadh forum visit marvels of AlUla
Updated 24 February 2024
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Guests of Riyadh forum visit marvels of AlUla

Guests of Riyadh forum visit marvels of AlUla
  • The guests were taken on a tour of several archaeological sites
  • The forum organized the visit in partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla

RIYADH: Guests at the Saudi Media Forum had the opportunity to visit AlUla Governorate over the weekend on a fascinating journey through time.
The guests were taken on a tour of several archaeological sites, including the city of Al-Hijr, the first Saudi site to be included in the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s list of World Heritage Sites.
They listened to an introductory explanation of the sites and saw each monument’s impressive and intricate details.
The forum organized the visit in partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla and the Saudi Broadcasting Authority.
Its purpose was to give guests a unique opportunity to discover the Kingdom’s landmarks. They learned about the area’s history and the various civilizations that left their mark on the region.
The beauty and cultural significance of AlUla have made it a focal point for visitors from around the world.
The third edition of the Saudi Media Forum convened last week to address the evolving landscape of global media. Against the backdrop of rapidly changing trends and challenges, participants delved into discussions surrounding innovative media management strategies and the pursuit of sustainable approaches in the sector.
The forum’s agenda included dialogues on re-evaluating media flow sources and harnessing innovative solutions to meet evolving audience expectations.
Amid accelerated efforts in media modernization and incentives, AlUla has emerged as a pivotal partner in fostering productive cooperation and knowledge-sharing within the media sector.


Resilient plant inspires Saudi artist’s Jeddah exhibition

Resilient plant inspires Saudi artist’s Jeddah exhibition
Updated 24 February 2024
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Resilient plant inspires Saudi artist’s Jeddah exhibition

Resilient plant inspires Saudi artist’s Jeddah exhibition
  • Sara Al-Abdali explores life, death and transformation in her solo show at Hafez Gallery
  • The exhibition explores her personal experiences of loss, drawing inspiration from the plant as a symbol of renewal

JEDDAH: Contemporary Saudi artist Sara Al-Abdali is presenting her second solo exhibition, “Growing Vines of Sodom,” at Hafez Gallery in Jeddah, marking a significant milestone in her artistic career.
In her second solo show, Al-Abdali delves into the intricate relationship between life and death, skilfully using artistic juxtaposition as a medium to explore this profound interplay. The collection showcases a series of paintings and multidisciplinary artworks that prompt viewers to reflect on the delicate balance between existence and departure.
Speaking to Arab News about the inspiration behind her works, Al-Abdali said: “The main inspiration was driven from a personal encounter with a plant that suddenly grew in front of my house, symbolizing resilience and life. The Apple of Sodom plant became a powerful symbol for loss and rebirth, encapsulating the transformative journey I wanted to convey.”
Al-Abdali’s choice to focus on the plant and incorporate motifs like the moth, symbolic of death and transformation, reflects her deep exploration of life’s complexities.
“The exhibition works around metaphors and symbolism surrounding life, death, and transformation, with mediums like hand-prepared pigments emphasizing the theme of new life emerging from death,” she said.
The exhibition explores her personal experiences of loss, drawing inspiration from the plant as a symbol of renewal. Transitioning into a deeply introspective body of work, the collection centers on her three-year exploration of self-portraiture, capturing emotions of loss and despair following her father’s battle with cancer.
Reflecting on her hopes for the audience, she added: “I hope viewers will see the raw and daring nature of my work, delving into themes of mourning and loss often overlooked in society. By normalizing discussions around pain and suffering, I aim to provide a space for contemplation on both life and death.”
Regarding her artistic evolution since her first solo exhibition, Al-Abdali discussed the shift from traditional techniques to experimental approaches in “Growing Vines of Sodom”: “I challenged myself to break from tradition, experimenting with scale and medium, such as charcoal and oil, alongside gouache paintings. This departure from traditional techniques allowed me to delve deeper into personal concepts and work on a larger scale, symbolizing growth and rebirth.”
Her unique perspective continues to shape her creative vision, pushing boundaries and exploring new artistic territories, while staying true to her personal truths as a painter.
“Looking ahead, I am excited for future projects, aiming to expand on the themes explored in my current exhibition. I envision my work evolving into series and larger works, emphasizing the power of painting as a medium of artistic expression,” she said.
Contemplating on art as a full-time career, the Saudi artist added: “Despite the challenges of pursuing art as a full-time career, I remain dedicated to my craft, finding motivation in building a supportive community of fellow painters and maintaining a dedicated studio space. Perseverance and trust in the artistic process are key, and I find the journey of overcoming challenges and painting my truth to be truly rewarding.”
Qaswra Hafez, founder of Hafez Gallery, said: “We’re very happy to host Sara’s second solo. Sara is an exceptional visual instigator and no one captures the soul of this region of Saudi quite like she does.”
The exhibition is open to visitors until the end of Ramadan.