Why Riyadh? Just ask Fox News
Arab News is launching a campaign to back the Saudi capital’s bid to host Expo 2030
I write this column from New York City, where I am covering the UN General Assembly, and where I will celebrate this year’s Saudi National Day. The celebration comes to conclude an active week of Saudi diplomacy, political engagements and cultural events. These have included a spectacular performance by the Saudi National Orchestra and Choir at the world-famous Metropolitan Opera House. The concert — a breath-taking initiative by the Saudi Ministry of Culture — showcased Saudi Arabia’s rich musical heritage.
The cherry on top of this week’s events was the well-received interview of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Fox News. This was his first full televised interview in English, and as such, it was the first time his vision, views and vividness were heard by American viewers. Naturally, the large number of positive headlines that came out of the comprehensive and wide-ranging discussion will keep US political, think tank and media circles busy for several months.
The large number of positive headlines that came out of the crown prince’s comprehensive and wide-ranging discussion will keep US political, think tank and media circles busy for several months.
Faisal J. Abbas
The interview itself is a cause for celebration for many of us Saudis on our National Day. One could argue that it marks a new chapter in helping the world, and the West in particular, to understand the true significance of the reforms, transformations and opportunities that exist in Saudi Arabia. Even the infamously cynical Fox News panel, who came on live after host Bret Baier aired his exclusive, were unable to offer any criticism, and were clearly convinced that real change is happening in the Kingdom.
Indeed, even cynics were able to hear straight from the crown prince that advances previously deemed impossible — such as normalization with Israel, a resolution of the Palestinians’ plight, and a lasting peace across the region — do, indeed, exist in the heart and mind of the region’s most powerful leader.
More importantly, the world saw firsthand how the Kingdom is busy reforming outdated practices and laws. The results are the giga-projects — NEOM, Diriyah, Qiddiya and Red Sea Global — which have made headlines for months, and captured the imagination of the world with their scale and ambition.
Meanwhile, there is huge excitement in Saudi Arabia at the prospect of hosting Expo 2030. Saudis have a spring in their step. They have rallied behind the crown prince. The crown prince acknowledged that the success of Vision 2030 is based on people’s whole-hearted and determined participation.
Why Riyadh? I believe nobody could have said it better than the crown prince himself. He believes that Saudi Arabia is going to be the success story of the 21st century.
Faisal J. Abbas
Of course, as the newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia, we — at Arab News — have been reporting on these changes for the past seven years. We can see where the Kingdom is heading, and have opted to mark Saudi National Day by launching a campaign encouraging our readers, both in the Kingdom and around the world, to back the bid to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh. Should this bid be successful, it would coincide with the realization of Vision 2030, the master plan behind all the reforms that we have seen and been living through.
The campaign will be live via the hashtag #WhyRiyadh on social media platforms, as well as on our website, arabnews.com.
If you ask me, Why Riyadh? I believe nobody could have said it better than the crown prince himself. He believes that Saudi Arabia is going to be the success story of the 21st century. Riyadh, as the nation’s capital, is naturally at the heart of this success. It is the world’s new crossroads, a place where dreams and aspirations are now being fulfilled and home to some of the world’s most fascinating people: from Cristiano Ronaldo and other world-class footballers to Saudi astronauts who have just returned from the International Space Station.
However, what we will set out to do throughout the campaign — running from today until the announcement of the results in Paris in November — is to get citizens, residents and visitors to Riyadh to tell you why they think the whole world must back the bid.
Happy National Day, everyone.
• Faisal J. Abbas is the editor-in-chief of Arab News