Jameel Health Lab presents link between art, health and climate crisis at COP28

Mikey Muhanna, Nadia Christidi, Stephen Stapleton, Uns Kattan and Clea Daridan at the Jameel Arts Center as part of a series aimed at fostering more inclusive and informed discussions. (Supplied)
Mikey Muhanna, Nadia Christidi, Stephen Stapleton, Uns Kattan and Clea Daridan at the Jameel Arts Center as part of a series aimed at fostering more inclusive and informed discussions. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 December 2023
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Jameel Health Lab presents link between art, health and climate crisis at COP28

Jameel Health Lab presents link between art, health and climate crisis at COP28
  • Art can be a ‘powerful ally in our quest to improve health for all,’ states WHO director general

RIYADH: In February the Jameel Arts & Health Lab was established to show how the arts have the power to help tackle climate change and the global health crisis.

From Dec. 1-3, the lab presented COP28 Healing Arts Week, a platform to promote the role of the arts at the intersection of health and climate. Included was a high-level panel in the COP28 Green Zone titled “Arts, Health and Climate” moderated by Princess Mashael Saud Al-Shalan, co-founder of Aeon Collective.




The lab aims to show more evidence regarding the relationship between arts, health and climate change, especially in displaced populations. (Supplied)

A panel on “Safeguarding Our Planet: Biodiversity, Climate and One Health” was held at the Saudi Pavilion in the Blue Zone featuring Princess Mashael; Prince Sultan bin Fahad, chairman of the Saudi Water Sports and Diving Federation; Princess Hala bint Khaled, president of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation; Raquel Peixoto, associate professor of microbiology at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; Richard Bush, chief environment officer at NEOM; Christopher Bailey, founding Co-Director of Jameel Arts & Health Lab; and Catherine Cone environment and sustainability director at the Royal Commission for AlUla.

“The climate crisis is a health crisis,” stated Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director  general of the World Health Organization. “The arts can be a powerful ally in our quest to improve health for all.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Jameel Arts & Health Lab is the first major arts and health initiative in World Health Organization’s history.

• It was established as a result of agreements between the WHO, the Steinhardt School at New York University, Community Jameel and Culturunners.

• For more information about the lab’s work, check jameelartshealthlab.org. 

“I have seen the impact of the arts on community well-being, and I’m very pleased that this collaboration (with the Jameel Arts & Health Lab) will help us understand the science of that impact in order to improve the lives of people from all backgrounds.”

The Jameel Arts & Health Lab is the first major arts and health initiative in the WHO’s history.




Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization director general

“We are interested in connecting the arts and health with climate change because obviously the climate crisis is a health crisis. There’s no doubt that now the question is to understand whether or not the arts might be able to offer answers to these crises,” Clea Daridan, senior curator and culture lead at Community Jameel, told Arab News. “At COP28 we were trying to explore how the intersection between arts, health and climate change from a research and a policy perspective because it is through the implementation of policy that change can happen.”

I have seen the impact of the arts on community well-being ... this collaboration (with the Jameel Arts & Health Lab) will help us understand the science of that impact in order to improve the lives of people from all backgrounds.

Tedros Adhanom, Ghebreyesus World Health Organization director general

The lab focuses on overlooked and underserved communities. It was established as a result of agreements between the WHO, the Steinhardt School at New York University, Community Jameel and Culturunners.

According to its website, the lab “will coordinate and amplify scientific research into the effectiveness of the arts in improving health and wellbeing” by “leveraging data, artist-led advocacy and a global ‘Healing Arts’ campaign that aims to drive policy implementation across 193 UN member states.”




Clea Daridan, Community Jameel senior curator and culture lead

Stephen Stapleton, co-director of the lab and CEO of Culturunners, told Arab News: “The Jameel Arts & Health Lab has been at COP advocating for the important role of the arts in telling the story of the climate crisis as a health crisis.

There’s no doubt that now the question is to understand whether or not the arts might be able to offer answers to these crises.

Clea Daridan, Community Jameel senior curator and culture lead

“In so doing to inspire the behavioral change, on both a personal and societal level, which is so urgently needed … through arts therapies and self-expression, the arts can also help those most vulnerable to cope with the psychological impact of the perceived and real changes which are already affecting millions of people around the world.”

Through the lab’s COP28 Healing Arts Week, Bailey and Stapleton participated in various events at the Jameel Art Center, the Saudi Pavilion, and in the Green Zone.




Stephen Stapleton, Culturunners CEO

The week culminated in an evening with Ghebreyesus, hosted by Community Jameel and the WHO Foundation.

The arts represent a relatively new area in modern healthcare and one that has grown rapidly since the late 1990s. Recent research shows strong evidence for the positive impact of the arts on our health and well-being.

The arts can also help those most vulnerable to cope with the psychological impact of the perceived and real changes which are already affecting millions of people around the world.

Stephen Stapleton, Culturunners CEO

In 2019 the WHO Regional Office for Europe reported how engaging in the arts and creative arts therapies can have wide-ranging positive impacts and health outcomes, including mental and physical health promotion, ill health prevention, and the management and treatment of health conditions and symptoms.

Other research has demonstrated the benefits of general as well as targeted arts-based interventions for different populations, including community-based museum programs for people living with dementia, community dance classes for those living with Parkinson’s disease, music therapy to reduce stress and drama therapy to support the social and emotional skills of children and young people, among other examples.




The lab aims to show more evidence regarding the relationship between arts, health and climate change, especially in displaced populations. (Supplied)

Additionally, a 2022 report by the CultureForHealth project demonstrated how the arts can help to address specific public health challenges, including the need to support the health and well-being of young people, health disparities, and the mental health challenges faced by forcibly displaced people.

“Through the Jameel Arts & Health Lab we are generating data and rigorous studies to prove the effectiveness of the arts on health and well-being,” added Daridan. “It is by leveraging this data that we will be able to drive policy implementation across the 193 UN member countries. Now, when it comes specifically to the link between arts, health and climate change, this is also a specific area of research that the lab is currently conducting.”

This year, the lab partnered with the Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, one of the oldest of its kind, to lead a global series on the health benefits of the arts with a focus on non-communicable diseases, the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. The outcomes will be published in early 2025.  

Daridan added that the lab was working on a report, likely published in the first quarter of 2024, to show more evidence regarding the relationship between arts, health and climate change, especially when it comes to displaced populations.

For more information about the lab’s work, check jameelartshealthlab.org.

 


Saudi Arabia signs international coffee agreement

Saudi Arabia signs international coffee agreement
Updated 21 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia signs international coffee agreement

Saudi Arabia signs international coffee agreement
  • The Kingdom’s ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar signed the trade treaty
  • “We see ICO, and this updated agreement, as a key to achieving our hopes and ambitions for the coffee industry locally and globally,” Prince Khalid said

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia signed the International Coffee Agreement 2022 at the International Coffee Organization’s headquarters in London on Tuesday.

The Kingdom’s ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar signed the trade treaty.

Under the agreement, governments, in collaboration with the private sector and civil society, will come together to determine initiatives that support a more prosperous and sustainable future for stakeholders within the global coffee value chain.

The executive director of the ICO Vanusia Nogueira said she hoped the Kingdom joining the agreement will “bring a unique new flavour to our global community.”

“Together in the spirit of international cooperation, we celebrate the diversity of coffee traditions and jointly undertake to safeguard, promote, and sustain the sector.

“I am sure that our collaboration will thrive as we foster a future where we continue to savour the richness of coffee while advocating for all aspects of sustainability,” Nogueira added.

Prince Khalid said the Kingdom’s coffee sector is growing fast and “is an important part of our plans for the future and the change we wish to bring to our country as it contributes to diversifying the national economy.”

“The Public Investment Fund launched the Saudi Coffee Company in May 2022, which is investing $319 million over the next ten years to support the growth of the national coffee industry, with the goal of boosting the country’s production from 300 tons per year to 2500 tons per year, and focusing on achieving sustainability, across the production, distribution and marketing aspects of the coffee supply chain,” the envoy added.

He continued: “We see ICO, and this updated agreement, as a key to achieving our hopes and ambitions for the coffee industry locally and globally, and we look forward to working with colleagues at ICO to secure a positive and thriving future for coffee in the years and decades to come.”


Saudi Arabia expresses regret over US veto of UN Gaza ceasefire resolution

Saudi Arabia expresses regret over US veto of UN Gaza ceasefire resolution
Updated 20 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia expresses regret over US veto of UN Gaza ceasefire resolution

Saudi Arabia expresses regret over US veto of UN Gaza ceasefire resolution
  • Thirteen council members voted in favor of the Algerian-drafted text

RIYADH: The Saudi Foreign Ministry has expressed the Kingdom’s regret over the US veto of a UN Security Council resolution proposing an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the Saudi Press Agency has reported.

Thirteen council members voted in favor of the Algerian-drafted text, while Britain abstained. It was the third such US veto since the start of the current fighting, which broke out after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

The ministry in a statement stressed the urgent need for reform within the UNSC, highlighting the necessity for the council to fulfill its duties in upholding global peace and security and ensure the consistent application of international law without double standards.

Saudi Arabia has also raised concern over the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza, exacerbated by the escalation of Israel’s military aggression.

The Kingdom has emphasized that this undermines efforts aimed at fostering dialogue and achieving a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian cause, as outlined in applicable international resolutions.
 


Who’s Who: Anthony Aikenhead, chief development officer at the Sports Boulevard Foundation

Anthony Aikenhead
Anthony Aikenhead
Updated 20 February 2024
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Who’s Who: Anthony Aikenhead, chief development officer at the Sports Boulevard Foundation

Anthony Aikenhead

Anthony Aikenhead is the chief development officer at the Sports Boulevard Foundation where he oversees construction of the Sports Boulevard, the world’s largest urban linear park in Riyadh.

In this role, he is responsible for project and program delivery, particularly as it relates to schedule and budget. He is also developing the design and construction division of the Sports Boulevard, encouraging knowledge-sharing within the delivery team.

Aikenhead has implemented a strategic approach to effective risk management at the Sports Boulevard, creating a formal structure that has led to several proactive measures, including thorough risk assessment and continued monitoring and evaluation.

He curated and led the development of Sports Boulevard’s program execution plan, which delineated the project’s planning phase, procurement strategy and management processes.

Aikenhead has more than 40 years of practical experience in real estate and development.

Prior to joining the foundation, he held various roles at Sir Robert McAlpine, a leading UK construction and civil engineering company. From 2011 to 2016, he was director of operations and CEO, during which time he devised and implemented substantial business improvements in leadership and process.

He was the project director of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium from 2007 to 2011 and oversaw delivery of the project three months early.

Aikenhead has also held leadership roles on several other major projects in the UK, including the Millenium Dome in London and Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk.

Most recently, Aikenhead was chief real estate and delivery officer at Dubai Expo LLC, where he formulated the strategic delivery plan for the design and construction for the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

 


Saudi Arabia, France relations at their best: French senator

The French senator Nathalie Goulet spoke to Noor Nugali, Arab News' Deputy Editor-in-Chief. (AN photo by Loai Elkelawy)
The French senator Nathalie Goulet spoke to Noor Nugali, Arab News' Deputy Editor-in-Chief. (AN photo by Loai Elkelawy)
Updated 20 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia, France relations at their best: French senator

The French senator Nathalie Goulet spoke to Noor Nugali, Arab News' Deputy Editor-in-Chief. (AN photo by Loai Elkelawy)
  • Goulet pointed out the cultural fashion trends of the first Saudi Cup, where women were smartly dressed and wearing European-style aristocrat hats

RIYADH: A leading French senator has lauded the strength of relations between Saudi Arabia and France.

During a visit to Arab News’ headquarters in Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss cooperation, Vision 2030, and female empowerment in the Kingdom, Nathalie Goulet described bilateral links as currently being at their best.

A member of the Senate of France representing the Orne department in Normandy, the attorney has held office for 17 years and serves as chair of the senate’s investigation committee on tax evasion and committee on foreign fighters in France and Europe.

She noted the positive changes she had seen in Saudi Arabia over recent years, from tourism to media expansion, and the country’s raised profile on the international stage.

Goulet said: “It’s amazing, because it’s changing very fast … the music, the mixing, and everything is going very fast, without any possibility to go back.”

On the fast-developing relations between the two nations, she highlighted French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to create France 2030, an economic goal composed of 10 objectives, inspired by the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan.

“It is obvious that something is changing. The cherry on the milkshake is that the French president decided to have a big program and he decided to call it France 2030,” the senator added.

As part of her current visit to the Kingdom, Goulet has attended the Saudi Media Forum, an event exploring a range of topics related to the media sector’s growth and future, and covering areas such as visual, audio, print, and digital mediums. Forum discussions will also focus on the media’s role in society, politics, and the economy on a global scale.

She will also attend for a second time the Saudi Cup horse race, taking place on Feb. 23 to 24.

Goulet pointed out the cultural fashion trends of the first Saudi Cup, where women were smartly dressed and wearing European-style aristocrat hats.

She said: “The first Saudi Cup I attended; a woman won … the women were dressed like Europeans. A lot of fashion exhibitions.”

On career advice for women, she suggested working hard and learning new languages.

“I think that working hard will give you credit. If it’s not immediate, it will be later. Build yourself on your own capacity and your own work, without checking what people are thinking of you.

“Build yourself, build your own assists, and your personality. Women are now building their own personality without men, so that is really important. My strong belief is that as a woman you have to work twice as hard.”

 


Saudi architecture, design organization to host March research conference, educators forum

Saudi architecture, design organization to host March research conference, educators forum
Updated 20 February 2024
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Saudi architecture, design organization to host March research conference, educators forum

Saudi architecture, design organization to host March research conference, educators forum
  • Events will outline a strategic vision for research, advance higher education curricula within the sectors

RIYADH: The Saudi Architecture and Design Commission will in March host two major industry events in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

Running over two days from March 6, the Architecture and Design Research Conference will be followed by the two-day Educators Forum for Architecture and Design beginning on March 8.

Titled “Setting the Stage for Architecture and Design Research,” the conference will seek to lay the groundwork and outline a strategic vision for research within the sectors, while connecting academic scholars and professional practitioners and celebrating local and international research achievements.

The main aim of the forum event, titled “Change: Shaping the A and D Education Future,” will be to advance higher education curricula across a range of sectors.

It will also provide a platform to bring together stakeholders and promote collaboration among researchers, educators, and experts.

Along with several prominent regional and international speakers, the forum will include panel discussions, roundtable debates, and interactive workshops.

In addition, the event will offer a chance for educators to share experiences, engage in dialogue, and keep up with international trends affecting architecture and design education, the SPA said.