Digital Cooperation Organization event explores AI’s role in global diplomacy

Digital Cooperation Organization event explores AI’s role in global diplomacy
The DCO hosted the second Diplomatic Connect event to foster digital diplomacy for member countries and international partner organizations. (Supplied)
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Updated 09 October 2023
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Digital Cooperation Organization event explores AI’s role in global diplomacy

Digital Cooperation Organization event explores AI’s role in global diplomacy
  • Event, hosted at the Embassy of Oman in Riyadh, highlighted the critical role of artificial intelligence and digital diplomacy in promoting international cooperation in the digital age
  • DCO is committed to fostering a welcoming space for the diplomatic community and other stakeholders to convene for conversations on diplomacy and technological innovation

RIYADH: The global multilateral Digital Cooperation Organization hosted the second Diplomatic Connect event to foster digital diplomacy for member countries and international partner organizations.

The event, hosted at the Embassy of Oman in the Saudi capital Riyadh, highlighted the critical role of artificial intelligence and digital diplomacy in promoting international cooperation in the digital age.

The DCO is committed to fostering a welcoming space for the diplomatic community and other stakeholders to convene for conversations on diplomacy and technological innovation.

Founded in November 2020, the DCO enables digital prosperity by accelerating the inclusive growth of the digital economy.

The organization brings together the ministries of communications and IT of 15 nations — Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia.

Together, the member countries represent almost $2 trillion in GDP and a combined market of almost 600 million people, more than 70 percent of whom are aged under 35.

The second edition of Diplomatic Connect brought together government officials, private sector leaders and technology experts to explore the transformative potential of digital innovation in international relations.

The gathering welcomed 24 prominent guests, showcasing the the power of digital innovation, new technological advancements, and data-driven insights to enhance decision-making and international relationships.

Renowned deep tech diplomacy and tech advocate Prof. Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes delivered the keynote speech, titled “Advancing Global Diplomacy: Navigating AI’s Role and Challenges in the ‘Phygital’ Era.”

Her presentation delved into digital diplomacy and artificial intelligence, illustrating pathways for enhancing global diplomatic efforts through technology.

Sayyid Faisal bin Turki bin Mahmoud Al-Said, ambassador of Oman to Saudi Arabia, said: “Hosting this prestigious event at the Embassy of Oman symbolizes our unwavering commitment to nurturing diplomatic relations and endorsing digital advancements for global betterment. We look forward to the valuable insights and the collaborative initiatives that this gathering will undoubtedly advance.”

DCO Secretary-General Deemah Al-Yahya said: “Digital transformation has disrupted our lives in ways we could never have imagined. AI, cloud, quantum, Metaverse, blockchain — all have a real-world impact on both the public and private sectors, and civil society. The diplomatic ecosystem undoubtedly finds itself in a state of flux as the very nature of diplomatic relations and how countries communicate with each other changes thanks to rapid digital transformation. Digital doesn’t know or recognize borders.”

The objective of Diplomatic Connect is to facilitate discussions and build awareness about the meaningful ways in which the diplomatic ecosystem can embrace innovation and transformation in the digital era.

Speaking about the impact of the event, Vasiliu-Feltes said: “The second DCO Diplomatic Connect is a pivotal juncture to explore and understand the intricate correlation of artificial intelligence with global diplomacy. It is an opportunity to navigate the challenges and amplify the role of AI, ensuring robust, resilient and innovative diplomatic engagements in the contemporary world.”

Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ahmed Farooq welcomed the decision to host the upcoming third Diplomatic Connect at his country’s embassy in Riyadh.

Through the event, the DCO aims to bridge the digital and diplomatic worlds, and facilitate collaboration.

The event comes as part of DCO’s strategy to advance digital diplomacy through knowledge sharing, innovation and inclusivity.


Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day
Updated 22 February 2024
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Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

HAIL: Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Hail region, took part in a Zubaida Trail caravan on Thursday to mark Founding Day celebrations.

The caravan, overseen by the Heritage Commission and organized by the Caravans Trails Association, began its journey from the historic city of Fayd to Sumaira’ Province.

Prince Faisal honored the sponsors and partners, and along with hikers, horseback riders, camel riders and cyclists, took part in the caravan journey.

Along the route, the deputy governor spoke to groups taking part in the event, including Saudis and foreigners in the Kingdom.

Prince Faisal praised the government’s support for the heritage sector, and commended the dedication of all parties involved in the caravan program.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Obeida, general supervisor of the Zubaida Trail, praised the support given to the initiative by the Saudi leadership, as well as the Hail governor and his deputy.

He said that the scheme aims to revitalize the ancient route, which is one of many in Saudi Arabia dating back over 1,000 years.

Al-Obeida highlighted the importance of community involvement in sustaining and developing the trail route for economic, cultural and tourism purposes.
 


Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve
Updated 22 February 2024
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Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

AL-ULA: Fourteen Arabian oryxes and 40 Arabian sand gazelles have been released into the Gharameel nature reserve by the the National Center for Wildlife.

The conservation effort at Gharameel, located 60 km north of AlUla, took place with cooperation from the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The reserve features unique biodiversity throughout its rock and sand formations, and hillsides.

Resettlement of endangered native species is a key target of the center, as well as restoring biodiversity and environmental balance as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Animal reintroduction also promotes the RCU’s plan to activate six nature reserves while regenerating AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.

The formations of rocky pillars in the area were created through wind and rain erosion over thousands of years.

AlUla is also a popular stargazing destination for tourists from around the world.
 


Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

RIYADH: The honeybee breeding program — spearheaded by the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program “Saudi Reef” in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture — is poised to make a substantial impact on bee populations.

A select group of model beekeepers has achieved an impressive 200 percent increase in productivity by implementing the program.

According to the “Saudi Reef” program, the surge in production is attributed to a strategic focus on expanding queen bee rearing within the breeding and propagation program.

Additionally, the adoption of innovative production techniques and best practices, including hive management and organic beekeeping, has played a key role.

These practices have been documented in a booklet distributed to beekeepers and have yielded significant production boosts in several model farms established by the project.

Expanding on its success, the program plans to roll out projects for “bee queen breeding and nuclei production” across eight centers spanning regions such as Jazan, Najran, Asir, Baha, Makkah, Madinah, Hail and Tabuk.

Each center is expected to produce 5,000 queen bees annually, characterized by purity and high-production specifications.

This will enable beekeepers to expand queen bee breeding and bee colonies while preserving favorable genetic traits for enhanced production and resilience against diseases and environmental factors.

The honeybee development and honey production sector is a key focus of the “Saudi Reef” program. Since its inception, the program has had significant increases in production, enhancing the income and living standards of its beneficiaries.

To increase food security and agricultural self-sufficiency, Saudi Arabia unveiled an ambitious initiative in August last year to produce more than 7,500 tons of honey annually as part of the Saudi Reef.


Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors
Updated 22 February 2024
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Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors
  • Saudi employees trained at top schools bringing skills back to the Kingdom

MAKKAH: The Makkah Expo for Hotels and Restaurants, held at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exhibition Center, ended on Wednesday evening.

The exhibition’s fifth edition was inaugurated by Vice Chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce Mustafa Rajab and involved officials, business owners and company representatives.

A large number of companies and institutions representing the hotel and culinary sectors, specialized in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors, attended the three-day exhibition, which was held in collaboration with the Unit for Exhibition Organization.

Abdullah Haneef, the acting secretary-general of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce, told Arab News: “The exhibition provided an opportunity to access the best practices in the hotel and restaurant sectors, as it brought together a select group of people specialized in this field in Makkah, a pioneer in the hotel sector field attracting large numbers of visitors from around the world.”

He added that industry officials exchanged business ideas and showcased modern tools and technology, food products and hotel and restaurant supplies, and took part in several accompanying events.

Haneef added: “The exhibition offers an opportunity for investors, interested parties, specialized companies and experts in the hotel and restaurant sector from inside and outside the Kingdom, to display their products to investors and interested individuals and exchange expertise, as well as engage in commercial deals between exhibitors, participants and individuals interested in the hotel and restaurant sector.”

The exhibition also hosted a salon for culinary arts and live cooking demonstrations.

Khalid Al-Ghamdi, an investor in the hotel sector, said that the Saudi industry has begun a strong post-pandemic recovery, and is fulfilling its role in serving visitors.

He added that intensive training programs Saudi employees are undertaking in top international hotel schools are helping them apply their knowledge back in the Kingdom.

Al-Ghamdi said that the restaurant sector is facing significant challenges but also opportunities, including smart digital solutions.

Makkah is one of the most significant and holiest places worldwide, drawing millions of Muslims for religious rituals such as Hajj and Umrah, he added.

The city should therefore focus on enhancing future innovation plans and smart marketing to make the hospitality sector a top performer, through innovative solutions and major investment, he said.


Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines
  • Ministers reviewed latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met on Thursday with his French counterpart Stephane Segournet on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

They discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

They also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Brazil Faisal Ghulam and Walid Al-Smail, assistant director general of the Saudi foreign minister’s office, were also present at the meeting.