Al-Issa condemned on behalf of the MWL the murder that took place in France three days ago
Updated 07 December 2023
Riyadh – Secretary-General of the Muslim World League and Chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa met a French parliamentary delegation at the sub-headquarters of the MWL in Riyadh.
During the meeting, both parties discussed topics of common interest, including MWL initiatives to build bridges and enhance mutual respect between people of different national and religious backgrounds.
One such initiative is “Building Bridges of Understanding Between East and West,” launched by the league at UN headquarters, with the support and participation of international leaders.
Al-Issa condemned on behalf of the MWL the murder that took place in France three days ago, in which a French man pledging allegiance to Daesh killed a German tourist and wounded two others near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Mangrove park to be created in Jubail as part of ecology push
‘This partnership is focused on preserving the Kingdom’s unique natural environment’
Updated 07 December 2023
RIYADH: A mangrove park in Jubail is set to be created thanks to a new agreement signed by the Saudi Arabian Mining Co., also known as Ma’aden.
The firm inked a memorandum of understanding with the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu in a move that will support carbon sequestration and biodiversity preservation in Saudi Arabia.
The plan falls in line with the mining company’s commitment to plant 10 million terrestrial trees and 10 million mangroves by 2040, as part of its ambition to be carbon neutral by 2050.
It also aligns with the Saudi Green Initiative’s target to plant 100 million mangroves in Saudi Arabia by 2030, which will offset around 96 million tons of carbon emissions as well as help to stabilize the Kingdom’s coastline ecosystems.
“This partnership is focused on preserving the Kingdom’s unique natural environment,” CEO of Ma’aden Robert Wilt said.
“Mangroves provide one of the most effective natural carbon-capture ecosystems and our ability strategy provides a roadmap towards restoring and enhancing the biodiversity of our coastline, in line with Ma’aden’s vision for sustainable growth in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Under the agreement, both parties will work hand in hand on research initiatives relating to mangrove planting and ecosystem health.
In addition to this, the two entities will work on developing local community programs which back ecosystem restoration as well as boost environmental awareness.
“Our partnership with Ma’aden will continue to preserve and expand mangrove ecosystems in Jubail, a key feature of our region’s natural environment,” CEO of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu Mahmood Al-Theeb explained.
“Together we will develop impactful initiatives that benefit the local community and contribute to the Kingdom’s sustainability objectives,” Al-Theeb added.
Recognizing mangroves as an essential barrier to protect biodiversity in the coastal areas and prevent erosion, the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification is implementing an ambitious project to plant over 200 million mangrove trees, said the CEO of the government organization mandated to protect and restore green cover all over Saudi Arabia earlier this week.
Speaking to Arab News during the Saudi Green Initiative Forum held at Expo City on the sidelines of COP28 in Dubai, Khaled bin Abdullah Al-Abdul Qadir said that mangroves were distributed widely in the Gulf region and also in the Red Sea areas of Saudi Arabia and that a massive effort was underway to not only preserve the existing mangroves, but also restore others.
Saudi foreign minister, UN chief discuss situation in Gaza
Updated 07 December 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan discussed on Wednesday the situation in Gaza with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the Kingdom’s Foreign Ministry said.
Guterres called Prince Faisal and they discussed the importance of making more effort to reach an immediate ceasefire.
Israel is waging a ground and air offensive against Hamas in all parts of Gaza, resulting in mass civilian deaths and causing a humanitarian catastrophe.
Three-month cultural calendar is full of surprises that will take you through Kingdom’s culture and heritage
Updated 06 December 2023
RIYADH: The 2023-2024 Diriyah Season is set to begin on Dec. 12 with a curated three-month calendar of events that combines arts and culture, and live performances and experiences that showcase nearly 600 years of history and heritage.
The season is off to a musically spectacular start with an exceptional lineup of cultural concerts. Tickets for the first cultural concept, featuring the Saudi music legends Rabeh Saqr and Ayed performing in Mayadeen theater, will go on sale on Dec. 10.
This year’s theme honors Diriyah’s story and celebrates Al-Awja in a rallying call for all Saudis to unite and celebrate their shared culture and identity.
The season will be set in five distinct Diriyah locations: Wadi Safar, which will feature a Diriyah cultural basecamp; the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site At-Turaif; Bujairi Terrace; the Mayadeen theater; and Diriyah district.
• Diriyah Season is set to begin on Dec. 12 and will conclude in March.
• The theater will also host a theatrical equestrian show and cultural concerts.
• For the first time, Bujairi Terrace will feature a themed escape room called ‘Journey to the Future.’
• For more information, check diriyah.sa/season.
The season “blends the old with the new and takes us on a journey of self-discovery as we reconnect with our authentic selves. This is not just entertainment; it’s entertainment with meaning,” said Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority.
“We want people from all over the world to see 300 years of our music, our food, our tents, our costuming, our storytelling, our poetry, our calligraphy,” Inzerillo said.
The Diriyah E-Prix championship, immersive art installations and exhibitions, live and theatrical performances, plus culinary experiences that celebrate both traditional and contemporary cuisine, are also planned for the season.
The Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture will present Shetana, an outdoor winter-evening Saudi culinary experience, every day for four weeks at the Mayadeen theater. There will be a theatrical equestrian show and cultural concerts at the theater as well.
Bujairi Terrace, the fine dining destination, will include an expanded return of Layali Diriyah, which sees one of Diriyah’s heritage farms transformed into an open-air illuminated wonderland, showcasing the best of local and international contemporary art, design, cuisine, dance, live music, poetry and theatrical performances.
For the first time, Bujairi Terrace will also feature a themed escape room called “Journey to the Future,” which will test players’ escape skills and explore the Kingdom’s historical narratives.
What is special about the Diriyah escape room is that it will carry a cultural aspect and requires reviewing your cultural and historical information to solve the puzzles at hand.
Ahmad Alnuaisri, Diriyah Company assistant manager of media relations
“The themed escape room is a unique experience. It is an activity that requires one to be a quick thinker, and quick at making decisions and solving puzzles,” said Ahmad Alnuaisri, assistant manager of media relations at Diriyah Company.
“What is special about the Diriyah escape room is that it will carry a cultural aspect and requires reviewing your cultural and historical information to solve the puzzles at hand,” he said.
This season’s events planned for the At-Turaif historic district include poetry pop-ups, workshops, a retrospective, an exhibition, Souq Al-Mawsim, and more.
The At-Turaif retrospective explores and embraces the values of At-Turaif’s continuing influence on the Kingdom while bringing Diriyah’s stories and memories together in a multimedia installation. The “Diriyah Doors” exhibition explores the significance and history of the vividly colored, intricately patterned and engraved doors in Diriyah and Najd.
We want people from all over the world to see 300 years of our music, our food, our tents, our costuming, our storytelling, our poetry, our calligraphy.
Jerry Inzerillo, Diriyah Gate Development Authority CEO
The season, which ends in March, is predicted to strengthen the Kingdom’s tourism sector by bringing in both local and international visitors and generating 178,000 jobs for young Saudis.
“Even though we’re a 2030 project, we opened assets in 2022 including our UNESCO site … we’ve already had 1 million visits,” Inzerillo said.
“And now the numbers are growing, and we’ll have a million people that will visit us … until Ramadan when this Diriyah season concludes,” he said.
The 2023-2024 Diriyah Season is presented by Diriyah Company in partnership with Diriyah Gate Development Authority.
Saudi wood sculptor creates odes to nature, wildlife, ancient history
Award-winning artist Sultan Al-Mrshood inspired by childhood on Buraidah farm
Work includes ‘snake’ cane, rosaries from coconut wood, pits of olives and dates
Updated 06 December 2023
RIYADH: Award-winning artist Sultan Al-Mrshood — who is currently presenting his work at the Saudi Feast Food Festival — has mastered the art of sculpting hyper-realistic representations of nature from wood, inspired by his childhood living on a farm.
Al-Mrshood has a booth at the festival’s Olive Exhibition — showcasing the fruit’s use as food and cosmetics — where he says his artwork often has admirers gathering for long periods.
The sculptor has an assortment of work on display including an eagle, a wooden cane entwined by a snake, and several handcrafted rosaries made from coconut wood, and the pits of olives and dates.
Al-Mrshood has crafted three snake canes, with each taking about three months to complete. He sold the latest one, facilitated by the Ministry of Culture at the festival, for SR30,000 ($8,000). Seven years ago, Al-Mrshood sold a cane to Prince Sultan bin Salman who gifted it to Bahrain’s foreign minister at the time, Khalid bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa.
“Each of my pieces is mixed with an event or ancient history in Saudi civilization … the snake (cane), which embodies the story of the staff of Moses, is the secret of my fame and was sold to Prince Sultan bin Salman,” he noted.
He has also sold one to a well-known cane collector in Al-Qassim province.
Al-Mrshood previously won third place for his wood sculptures in a Souq Okaz competition. Souq Okaz is a part of Taif Season which showcases Arab culture through food, art and goods from the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
Al-Mrshood says that he has received positive feedback from the community on his snake canes. “It is classified as one of the rarest canes found in Saudi Arabia … The fact that there are not many sculptors in Saudi Arabia makes it very important and relevant. All the visitors’ responses are admiration and amazement.”
He is inspired by images of a farm in Buraidah where he was raised. “I lived part of my life on a simple farm. My childhood at the farm was filled with adventures and I would always play with the wooden sticks and create shapes out of them. I would try to make masterpieces out of whatever was around me even though I didn’t know I would be an artist.”
“I have been an artist since childhood, and I was a painter before I was a sculptor. The art of sculpture is a complex process that relies on geometry, imagination, sculpting skill, and the use of many methods.”
Al-Mrshood says he is inspired when in “a mixture of calm solitude, meditation, and walking.”
He currently works at the Ministry of Culture as an instructor, passing on his knowledge to young Saudis through wood carving classes.
On challenges he faces as a wood sculptor, Al-Mrshood noted the “lack of availability to purchase manual machines to help me work accurately and quickly.”
While he caters for a niche market, which has its difficulties, there is also the appeal of its exclusivity. “If there are many wood carvers in Saudi Arabia, the price would decrease, but since the number of wood carvers in Saudi Arabia is very low, the prices of our handcrafted producers increase. This makes individuals like us very important and valued.”