Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director

Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director
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The UN World Tourism Organization on Wednesday, World Tourism Day, announced the winners of its Women in Tech Startup Competition: Middle East, being held in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director
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Executive Director of UNWTO Natalia Bayona said that Saudi Arabia is “booming when it comes to tourism.” (AN/Huda Bashatah)
Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director
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The winner of the Tourism and Travel Experience category is Kirti Chandel, CPO at SparkleHaze. for creating an enterprise-based AI assistant speaker, named Woo-Hoo, an in-room voice assistant for hospitality. (AN/Huda Bashatah)
Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director
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The winner of the Events and Community category was Menna Ayad, CEO of Fosha, an AI-powered app for booking personalized experiences in the Middle East and North Africa region. (Supplied)
Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director
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The winner of the Social Impact Category is Saudi Nouf Alhazmi, CEO of Plastus Biotech, specializing in the making of PHA biodegradable bioplastic re-purposing organic waste. (AN/Huda Bashatah)
Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director
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The winner of the Future Tech Category is Zeljana Babic, CEO of Xenios Academy, an AI-powered training program with the mission to help hospitality businesses boost revenue by investing in employee training. (AN/Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 28 September 2023
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Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director

Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director
  • UNWTO announces winners of Women in Tech Startup Competition: Middle East
  • The competition saw 143 applicants from across Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Syria

RIYADH: The UN World Tourism Organization on Wednesday, World Tourism Day, announced the winners of its Women in Tech Startup Competition: Middle East, being held in Riyadh.
Launched in March to celebrate International Women’s Day, the competition sought women-led startups with innovative approaches to provide services and solutions with a positive social impact.
The competition saw 143 applicants from across Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Syria.
The winner of the Social Impact Category was Saudi national Nouf Al-Hazmi, CEO of Plastus Biotech, which specializes in making PHA biodegradable bioplastic by re-purposing organic waste.

 


Al-Hazmi said: “They’ve only selected four from all over the world … It’s huge. It means a lot to us, for young Saudi women and women around the world.”
Plastus Biotech’s concept falls in line with the Kingdom’s circular carbon economy goal for 2030 and the carbon neutrality agreement of 2060.
She said: “There are many opportunities. We can replace so many products that are fossil-based with more sustainable products that are actually carbon negative, and everyone will benefit.”
The winner of the Tourism and Travel Experience category was Kirti Chandel, chief product officer at SparkleHaze, for creating an enterprise-based, artificial intelligence assistant speaker named Woo-Hoo, as an in-room voice assistant for hospitality.
Chandel says Woo-Hoo creates a personalized experience for guests while remaining sustainable and easy to use.

 

 


She said: “We are boosting green hospitality. We are moving away from all the different devices that are used in hotels that are more cluttered. So, we combine them into one single form factor and also, we are digitizing your compendium menu. So, all the paper that is there within the room is gone.”
The winner of the Future Tech Category was Serbian national Zeljana Babic, CEO of Xenios Academy, an AI-powered training program with the mission to help hospitality businesses boost revenue by investing in employee training.
She said: “I feel extremely empowered. I feel very humbled. I am still shocked. To be honest. This might be one of the happiest moments of my professional career …

 

 


“We cannot invest in hospitality without investing in people and without investing in their education. And only once we do that, they will be able to provide services to their guests.”
The winner of the Events and Community category was Menna Ayad, CEO of Fosha, an AI-powered app for booking personalized experiences in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Executive Director of UNWTO Natalia Bayona said that Saudi Arabia is “booming when it comes to tourism.”
Bayona is a frequent visitor to the Kingdom and has collaborated with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Education to boost the tourism industry.
She said: “I have to say that … (Saudi Arabia) has those values — the values of investment in people through education, investment in the planet through a better futuristic city for the next generations, and of course, investing in prosperity, in youth, and in technology and innovation.
“I have been working a lot with the ministry to foster education to create together a strategy of human capacity development and to strengthen the power of partnerships again with the private sector for innovation and technology and investments.”

 

 


Bayona said that the Financial Times’ joint report with the UNWTO reported that Saudi Arabia has been growing its foreign direct investment by 80 percent. “That’s crucial and that’s really strong because that means that the country is really into investment and diversifying the economy through tourism.”
With tourism being the top employer of women and youth, Bayona says staying committed and being part of a positive community makes all the difference.
“The most important thing is that I have to be thankful to my bosses,” she said, crediting her employers for empowering and trusting her. “And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. Because of course you can be talented, and you can have a very bright curriculum, but if you are not empowered, you are not (going) anywhere.”


OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission to convene in Jeddah

OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission to convene in Jeddah
Updated 25 June 2024
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OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission to convene in Jeddah

OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission to convene in Jeddah
  • Inaugural ceremony will be held on June 30 at the Ministerial Conference Hall
  • Ceremony will be followed by a debate on The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Human Rights: Challenges and Opportunities

JEDDAH: The 23rd Regular Session of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation takes place from June 30 to July 4 in Jeddah.

The event will bring together representatives from OIC member and observer states, national human rights institutions, international and regional organizations, and senior officials of the OIC’s General Secretariat, as well as media representatives.

The inaugural ceremony will be held on June 30 at the Ministerial Conference Hall. The ceremony will be followed by a debate on “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Human Rights: Challenges and Opportunities.”

The debate, which will be overseen by the OIC’s Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha and the IPHRC’s Chairperson Talal Khalid Saad Al Mutairi, will feature international experts from specialized institutions from the the UN and the OIC, as well as representatives of OIC member and observer states, including their NHRIs.

The debate will aim to explore the opportunities and challenges posed by AI on human rights, and will look to provide guidance on how to prevent or mitigate its negative impacts.

An outcome document reflecting key recommendations made during the debate will be finalized by the commission and posted on the IPHRC website on the conclusion of the session.

The commission will also hold a high-level event on July 1 called “International Court of Justice Judgment on Gaza: Implications for Future and Possible Way Forward.”

This will analyze the ICJ’s judgment on Gaza and its implications on implementing provisional measures to bring an end to the humanitarian crisis. It will also focus on human rights violations against the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza.

The commission is expected to conclude memorandums of understanding with several international and regional organizations, aimed at enhancing technical cooperation and exchange in various fields.

The commission is to hold closed meetings of its different working groups at the IPHRC’s headquarters in Al-Hamra District, Jeddah, from July 2-4.

It is expected to hold detailed discussions on all issues on its agenda, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in OIC member states, and human rights violations in Palestine and Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The regular meetings of its four working groups on Palestine; rights of women and children; Islamophobia and Muslim minorities; and the right to development will also be held.


Saudi authorities raid illegal cosmetics factory in Qatif

Saudi authorities raid illegal cosmetics factory in Qatif
Updated 25 June 2024
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Saudi authorities raid illegal cosmetics factory in Qatif

Saudi authorities raid illegal cosmetics factory in Qatif
  • Food and Drug Authority seizes 365,000 items after tracing origin of unlicensed product sold online to a house where it was manufactured illegally
  • Under Article 34 of the Cosmetic Products Law and related regulations, manufacturers and distributors of illegal goods face fines up to SR5m or up to five years in prison

RIYADH: A facility in Qatif is being prosecuted for the manufacture and marketing of cosmetics without proper licensing. It was also found to be storing regulated products at an unauthorized location.

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority traced the origin of an unlicensed product sold online to a residential property, where they discovered it was being manufactured illegally. During a raid on the location, officials confiscated products and ingredients. They also discovered an unlicensed warehouse containing unregistered cosmetics and food items, along with an area used to fulfill online orders.

The authority shut down the storage facility, seized approximately 365,000 products from the house, warehouse and the fulfillment center, and referred the case to the Public Prosecution

Under Article 34 of the Cosmetic Products Law and related regulations, manufacturers and distributors of illegal goods face fines up to SR5 million ($1.33 million) or up to five years in prison.


Saudi ambassador to Egypt hands over copy of credentials to Egyptian FM

Saudi ambassador to Egypt Saleh bin Eid Al-Husseini hands over his credentials to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Saudi ambassador to Egypt Saleh bin Eid Al-Husseini hands over his credentials to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Updated 25 June 2024
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Saudi ambassador to Egypt hands over copy of credentials to Egyptian FM

Saudi ambassador to Egypt Saleh bin Eid Al-Husseini hands over his credentials to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
  • During the reception, Shoukry welcomed Al-Husseini and wished him success in his post

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s new ambassador to Egypt Saleh bin Eid Al-Husseini handed over his credentials to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Tuesday.

During the reception, Shoukry welcomed Al-Husseini and wished him success in his post. He also highlighted the depth of the historic relations between their countries.

Al-Husseini expressed his aspirations to continue implementing the directives of the Saudi leadership in strengthening the existing and well-established strategic relations between the Kingdom and Egypt in various fields.


Saudi Arabia condemns terrorist attacks that targeted places of worship in Russia’s Dagestan

Russia’s FSB security service officers conduct an anti-terrorist operation in Dagestan. (File/AFP)
Russia’s FSB security service officers conduct an anti-terrorist operation in Dagestan. (File/AFP)
Updated 25 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia condemns terrorist attacks that targeted places of worship in Russia’s Dagestan

Russia’s FSB security service officers conduct an anti-terrorist operation in Dagestan. (File/AFP)
  • Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry affirmed the Kingdom’s rejection of all forms of terrorism, extremism, and targeting of civilians

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia condemned on Tuesday the terrorist attacks that targeted churches and synagogues in Russia’s mainly Muslim region of Dagestan on Sunday.

21 people were killed and at least 46 people were injured after militants attacked Christian and Jewish houses of worship and fired at police in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala in Dagestan.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry affirmed the Kingdom’s rejection of all forms of terrorism, extremism, and targeting of civilians.

The Kingdom extended its sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, Russia, and its people. It also wished the injured a speedy recovery.


Saudi defense minister received by Chinese counterpart in Beijing

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman is received by his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun in Beijing on Tuesday. (SPA)
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman is received by his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun in Beijing on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 25 June 2024
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Saudi defense minister received by Chinese counterpart in Beijing

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman is received by his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun in Beijing on Tuesday. (SPA)
  • A reception was held for Prince Khalid who is on an official visit to the country
  • Earlier on Tuesday, Prince Khalid met with the vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission

RIYADH: Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman was received by his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun in Beijing on Tuesday.

A reception was held for Prince Khalid who is on an official visit to the country.

The two ministers held an official discussion session during which Saudi-Chinese relations and ways to strengthen them within the framework of the strategic defense partnership were reviewed.

They also discussed joint coordination efforts to maintain international peace and security.

Prince Khalid met with the Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Zhang Youxia on Tuesday. (SPA)

Earlier on Tuesday, Prince Khalid met with the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Zhang Youxia.

Ways to strengthen military and defense cooperation and regional and international developments were discussed during their meeting. They also exchanged views on issues of common interest.