MAKKAH: Makkah’s Umm Al-Qura University recently concluded its three-day Career and Innovation Forum 2023 that aimed to foster entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.
The forum serves as a scientific and professional incubator in which the roles of various governmental, private and non-profit sectors are integrated to create suitable job opportunities for university graduates and students in various scientific disciplines.
Dr. Amer Al-Zaidi, UQU’s vice president for educational affairs, told Arab News that the forum brought together various ideas and entrepreneurial projects under one umbrella.
“UQU required from all of its students that their graduation projects be pioneering and serve as the nucleus of a pioneering company in the future,” he said.
He noted that 1,500 graduation projects were filtered into 60 pioneering projects through UQU’s Institute of Research and Innovation. “A group of international investment companies were invited to arbitrate these projects, including Makkah Co., owned by Umm Al-Qura University. The companies chose eight projects in preparation for converting them into pioneering companies, and signing the required contracts. One of those companies, for example, provided a design for Ihram clothes with cooling and bacteria-free features.”
Al-Zaidi pointed out that 50 international companies took part in the forum offering 2,000 training jobs. “Some of these companies even provided face-to-face interviews for immediate employment, where the interviews took place within the forum. Others provided work contracts after concluding a six-month training, which is an opportunity for students to learn about the jobs offered, and exploit them,” said Al-Zaidi.
He added that these opportunities coincided with the graduation ceremony held last week that saw the graduation of 16 thousand students, and said the university, in turn, offered jobs in addition to organizing 20 training courses and 20 workshops to train graduates for the labor market. The workshop focused on training the participants on resume formulation and knowledge preparation for the labor market.
Al-Zaidi underlined that the forum targets graduate and entrepreneurial students, along with talented local students in Makkah, with the very best given immediate admission to the university.
He said that, as part of the efforts aimed at making Makkah a smart city, “we at UQU have contracted with the Royal Commission for Makkah City to ensure the actual application of the projects submitted in the holy sites, the Grand Mosque in Makkah and in Madinah so that they form a practical extension for all the successful and winning ideas in the Hajj hackathon.”
Residents enjoy airshows, military parades, musical performances, art and fireworks as part of National Day celebrations
Updated 10 min 7 sec ago
Nada Hameed Afshan Aziz Jasmine Bager
JEDDAH/DHAHRAN: Residents marked the 93rd Saudi National Day over the weekend with great fervor as they took part in celebratory activities organized across the Kingdom’s regions, captivating audiences and instilling a sense of national pride.
A parade of naval vessels and special marine security boats, helicopter airshows and spectacular aerial ballet by the Royal Saudi Air Force were on show in different cities of the Kingdom. A military parade featuring an array of vehicles and infantry and cavalry units was also held. The Jeddah Waterfront became a focal point of celebration as enthusiastic crowds gathered to savor the day’s activities.
Rehab Al-Dossary, a student at King Abdulaziz University, said: “My family is a big fan of the air shows. It is clear that great efforts were made here.”
Jeddah Art Promenade witnessed a two-hour folkloric show that showcased Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural heritage.
At the Jeddah Yacht Club, the Royal Guard held a parade and the Saudi Hawks Aerobatic Team executed intricate formations and aerial displays, leaving spectators spellbound.
The historic area of Al-Balad saw musical performances, a delectable array of food trucks, traditional folk dances, educational workshops, live shows, and guided tours that allowed both locals and visitors to immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of Saudi Arabia.
A parade of naval vessels and special marine security boats, helicopter airshows and spectacular aerial ballet by the Royal Saudi Air Force were on show in different cities of the Kingdom.
As guests arrived, they were warmly welcomed in the traditional Saudi way, with Arabic coffee and genuine hospitality.
The air was filled with enchanting melodies as singers and musicians occupied various areas within the historic district, mesmerizing the audience with their performances.
A kids’ corner ensured that little ones had their fair share of fun and entertainment too.
The Royal Institute for Traditional Arts, in partnership with The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, held family-oriented activities during Saudi National Day celebrations in Al-Balad.
These included workshops on traditional arts like intricate geometric pattern drawing and hands-on woodcarving sessions.
Suzan Al-Yahya, CEO of the institute, said: “Saudi National Day reminds us of our cultural richness and the Kingdom’s commitment to preserving and promoting traditional art. Through our collaborative workshops, we aim to nurture local talent, provide training, and inspire the community to embrace Saudi Arabia’s artistic heritage.”
Art enthusiasts were delighted by the diverse range of artworks showcased at the Visual Arts Gallery on Abu Inabah Street.
Traditional games at Al-Falah Courtyard brought people together, fostering a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition. A treasure hunt added an element of adventure to the festivities.
In collaboration with Infuse Advisory, Jeddah’s finest chefs opened a three-day pop-up restaurant, Peninsula, at Tahreek Space — a gastronomic initiative that celebrated the diversity of Saudi cuisine, infusing traditional flavors with contemporary trends.
Hashim Nazer, CEO of Infuse Advisory, told Arab News: “Peninsula Pop-Up offered a culinary journey, diving deep into the distinctive flavors emblematic of Saudi cuisine. In tribute to the 93rd Saudi National Day, and as a nod to our rich heritage, the menu has been meticulously curated by the dedicated Saudi chef team at Infuse Advisory, which includes Dana Al-Maddah, Abdulrahman Enani, and Taleen Miliany. While it pays homage to our traditions, the menu also captures the nation’s progressive stride towards contemporary trends.”
The menu showcased a fresh take on beloved Saudi classics, innovating with textures, presentation, and culinary techniques while staying true to the authentic flavors and spices that define traditional Saudi cuisine.
At the King Abdullah Economic City, residents enjoyed a traditional Saudi folk band show, an outdoor Arabesque seating area, and other entertaining activities.
Bay La Sun Hotel at KAEC hosted a grand celebration with live music, cultural shows, exquisite dining, and activities for children.
Sheraton Jeddah Hotel celebrated by honoring Saudi heritage with a buffet of traditional flavors, dance performances, and a commitment to authentic Arabic hospitality.
“Through our National Day celebration, Sheraton Jeddah Hotel aimed to honor the rich heritage of Saudi Arabia and provide our guests with an unforgettable experience that showcased our commitment to authentic Arabic hospitality,” said General Manager Edwin Wijkhuijs.
In Dhahran, the iconic King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, or Ithra, was lit in a neon green with rays of white as it welcomed visitors young and old for the Kingdom’s three-day celebration.
One big attraction — and perhaps the most photographed — was the Aramco-commissioned large painting, titled “Sights of Grandeur.” The oil on canvas framed art piece was created especially for the 93rd National Day by artist Simon Pasini and depicts the previous late Saudi kings as they walk in unison down steps. The painting shows women standing prominently to the side, with familiar Saudi buildings in the background, including the Ithra building.
“We celebrate our homeland, the great anniversary of its unification; a day of strength, pride and renewed belonging,” Ithra said in a statement.
The “Sing Along for Saudi” karaoke experiment returned with two nightly shows, encouraging audience members to sing from their seats. Popular Saudi song lyrics were displayed on a big screen, accompanied by a live orchestra led by Maestro Yahya Musawa.
With 2023 designated as the Year of Arabic Poetry by the Kingdom, the Ithra Museum offered an Arabic Poetry Exhibit, along with musical performances at the Plaza and the famous Selfie Corner.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, the night skies across Saudi Arabia were illuminated by breathtaking fireworks displays.
Cities like Jeddah, Alkhobar, Madinah at King Fahad Main Park, Taif at King Abdullah’s Public Park, Hail’s Al-Salam Park, Abha’s Al-Sadd Garden and Al-Fan Street, and Tabuk Rose Garden all came alive with dazzling bursts of color and light.
Prince Faisal meets Cypriot president, Turkish and Thai FMs on sidelines of UNGA
The prince discussed relations and ways of boosting cooperation with both ministers
Updated 23 September 2023
NEW YORK CITY: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with Cypriot president Nikos Christodoulides on Saturday, the foreign ministry said.
As well as discussions on relations between the two countries and international affairs, Prince Faisal conveyed the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Christodoulides and the Cypriot people.
The foreign ministry also announced Prince Faisal met with the Turkish and Thai foreign ministers on Saturday.
Prince Faisal held talks with Hakan Fidan and Panpree Phahitthanukorn in New York.
The prince discussed relations and ways of boosting cooperation with both ministers, the foreign ministry added.
All meetings were also attended by Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN Abdulaziz Al-Wasil.
Starbucks celebrates Saudi National Day with special cup design
Saudi artist Joud Yahya Al-Sultan’s work won public vote in coffee chain’s second design contest
Updated 23 September 2023
JEDDAH: To commemorate the 93rd Saudi National Day, coffee chain Starbucks has announced the winner of its second design competition, held in collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Culture.
The contest, which was launched last year to mark the Year of Saudi Coffee, aims to portray the Kingdom’s heritage and culture through art and creativity and encourage the creative community to pay tribute to Saudi Arabia’s history and its beloved coffee traditions.
This year’s winning design, created by Saudi artist Joud Yahya Al-Sultan, will grace Starbucks’ cups throughout the month. Her work was chosen by public vote from a shortlist of 10 designs, selected from a multitude of entries. The top three artists all received cash prizes.
Al-Sultan’s artwork incorporates immediately recognizable elements of Saudi culture including coffee, camels, and traditional houses adorned with vibrant decorations.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Al-Sultan explained: “Through my illustrations, I tried to highlight elements related to our beloved Saudi culture in a harmonious mixture that represents the Saudi identity. Camels, old houses and Saudi coffee are all elements that are deeply ingrained in the minds of the people, representing a history full of pride and honor.”
She continued: “Frankly, I did not expect to win due to the large number of creative designers and painters in the Kingdom.”
Her winning design was created using Photoshop. She selected a palette of brown tones to represent her country’s heritage and convey a sense of tradition and history.
Al-Sultan added that she is already planning her next creative endeavor for Starbucks — one that will showcase her artistic talents to audiences in the Gulf and beyond.
The artist told Arab News that she has been passionate about drawing since childhood. Her ability to create digital drawings and visual identities has opened up exciting opportunities in the world of art and design, she explained.
“My message to emerging painters and designers is to take advantage of the opportunities available to you because you do not know which of these opportunities will build your future,” Al-Sultan said.
Who’s Who: Abdulaziz Almizani, head of sustainability in renewable energy and circular economy at the Royal Commission for Riyadh City
Updated 33 min 17 sec ago
Abdulaziz Almizani is head of sustainability in renewable energy and circular economy at the Royal Commission for Riyadh City.
Almizani is responsible for managing stakeholder alignment in the sustainability ecosystem. Some of the stakeholders he works with include the Ministry of Energy and the Water and Electricity Regulatory Authority.
He has been heavily involved in the execution of Riyadh’s city masterplan, planning for renewable alternative sources to meet 50 percent of Riyadh’s electricity consumption needs.
Additionally, Almizani is responsible for managing the strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent.
Almizani previously served as the director of the Attracting Global Headquarters Program at the commission from 2021 to 2022. In that position, he collaborated with various stakeholders to incentivize the regional headquarters program for multinational companies. Through his efforts, he successfully delivered programs for over 60 initiatives involving 10 stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Finance.
Between 2020 and 2021, Almizani served as an adviser at the Ministry of Energy. He was responsible for managing the implementation of non-metallic hydrocarbon-based materials.
During his 14-year tenure at Saudi Aramco from 2006 to 2020, Almizani held multiple positions, including program director, operation foreman, and lead project engineer.
Almizani holds certificates in project management and portfolio management from the Project Management Institute, as well as leadership certifications from the Saudi Aramco Executive Leadership Centre.
Almizani graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He also holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and material science from the University of California in San Diego.