Russia’s Putin congratulates Saudi Arabia for winning Expo 2030 bid

Update Russia’s Putin congratulates Saudi Arabia for winning Expo 2030 bid
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Russian president Vladimir Putin meet with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin at Yamamah Palace in Riyadh. (SPA)
Update Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Updated 07 December 2023
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Russia’s Putin congratulates Saudi Arabia for winning Expo 2030 bid

Russia’s Putin congratulates Saudi Arabia for winning Expo 2030 bid
  • The Russian president and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also exchanged views on regional and international issues, including the crises in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan and Yemen

RIYADH: Following an official visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Saudi Arabia this week, during which he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday gave details of areas of future cooperation between the two countries.

According to a joint statement, the leaders discussed historical and strategic relations between their countries and ways in which they might be further developed. The Russian president also congratulated the crown prince on the successful Saudi bid to host World Expo 2030.

They exchanged views on several current regional and international issues. Regarding Sudan, they stressed the importance of building on the Jeddah Declaration, which was signed on May 11 with the aim of protecting civilians during the conflict in the North African country.

On Iran, Putin welcomed the resumption of diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran and expressed hope that this would lead to enhanced stability and security in the region.

Both sides also stressed their full support for regional and international efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the crisis in Yemen.

Turning to economic matters, the two leaders said they were keen to enhance mutual and joint investments in their countries. They welcomed a 46 percent increase in the volume of bilateral trade in 2022, compared with 2021, and affirmed their intentions to continue to work together to enhance and diversify trade relations.

The crown prince and president also commended the level of joint investments in industrial initiatives, including projects worth SR300 million ($80 million) to establish four factories in Jubail and Yanbu. In the energy field, they welcomed the close cooperation between their nations and the successful efforts of OPEC+, of which both are members, to provide stability in global oil markets. They said it is important that this cooperation continues and stressed the need for all member states to adhere to OPEC+ agreements, to help support the growth of the global economy.

The two leaders highlighted the importance of enhancing cooperation across the oil and gas industry, including in areas such as research and development, procurement, supply, and the standardization of equipment.

They also agreed on the need for cooperation in the geoscientific field and the exchange of know-how in geological, mining and environmental studies, to mutually benefit sectors under the Kingdom’s National Industrial Strategy.

The crown prince and the president discussed cooperation related to the environment, water, agriculture, food security, communications, technology, the digital economy and innovation. Other areas in which they talked about joint initiatives included the judiciary and justice, sustainable tourism, and the development of efforts to boost the exchange of tourists between the two countries.

Other topics included sports, higher education, research, medical training, technical and vocational training, and the teaching of the Arabic and Russian languages, as well as cooperation in the media and health sectors.

They agreed on the importance of strengthening cooperation in international organizations and forums, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the G20, to help confront global economic challenges.

Regarding the current situation in Palestine, the leaders said the only way to achieve security and stability there is through the implementation of international resolutions relating to a two-state solution so that the Palestinian people can achieve their legitimate right to establish an independent state. Russia commended the Kingdom for its efforts in hosting the Joint Arab Islamic Extraordinary Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 11.

Turning to the crisis in Ukraine, Russia expressed appreciation for the humanitarian assistance provided by Saudi Arabia and the political efforts undertaken by the crown prince.

In conclusion, the Russian president thanked the prince for the “warm reception and generous hospitality” his delegation received.

Putin traveled to the UAE earlier on Wednesday, where he was received by President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at Qasr Al-Watan Palace in Abu Dhabi.


Argentine artist ‘takes over’ Jeddah’s Al-Balad

Argentine artist ‘takes over’ Jeddah’s Al-Balad
Updated 25 February 2024
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Argentine artist ‘takes over’ Jeddah’s Al-Balad

Argentine artist ‘takes over’ Jeddah’s Al-Balad
  • Andres Reisinger’s dreamy pink drapes unlock a new dimension in art, reality

JEDDAH: Argentine digital artist Andres Reisinger has made a name for himself by reimagining various locations across the globe draped with fabric in shades of pink.

Reisinger’s whimsical virtual spaces have taken over cliff edges, coastlines, and city centers. Now, his most recent physical installation lies in the heart of historic Jeddah’s Al-Balad, breaking the boundary between digital and physical art.  

The work is part of Reisinger’s viral “Take Over” series, which casts the artist’s dreamy and romantic hues over different global locations such as Venice and Miami. In an interview with Arab News, he dug deeper into conceptualizing the 17-meter-tall installation, developing his practice, and exploring new mediums of art.  

Argentine artist Andres Reisinger’s ‘Take Over Jeddah’ was unveiled at Balad Al-Fann as part of the ‘Matters through Matter’ exhibition. (Supplied)

He said: “I think there’s something very interesting about Al-Balad in the contrast between what we are used to surrounding (ourselves) with … It’s not another 30-year-old building. It’s really something much more.

“It’s like taking over a monument with all the respect and constraints and formalities around it, and on the responsibility of actually adding a new layer of information into something that’s very old and has a lot of history and meaning for our civilization.”

HIGHLIGHTS

● Andres Reisinger’s most recent physical installation lies in the heart of historic Jeddah’s Al-Balad, breaking the boundary between digital and physical art.

● The building draped in pink is positioned in a textile neighborhood, bringing a unique context to the piece.

● Reisinger previously participated in a Saudi digital art exhibition ‘A Way With Light’ put on by Athr Gallery in partnership with RFC Art.

Reisinger’s “Take Over Jeddah” was unveiled at Balad Al-Fann, a cutting-edge arts and culture initiative, as part of the “Matters through Matter” exhibition curated by Jumana Ghouth in collaboration with American philosopher Graham Haman.

The immersive installation is a tribute to “the new energy coursing through both the universe and Al-Balad.” In Jeddah’s historic district, the resilience and adaptability of cultures is platformed by weaving and formulating new narratives.

This is not the first time the Argentine creative worked to accentuate Saudi landscapes. Reisinger participated in a Saudi digital art exhibition “A Way With Light” put on by Athr Gallery in partnership with RFC Art, which showcased works of local and international artists.

Andres Reisinger, Argentine artist

But now his work comes alive on-ground in one of the Kingdom’s crown jewels. The building is positioned in a textile neighborhood, bringing a unique context to the piece as the peony pink cloth poetically flutters over the historical structure in Bedouin Market.

“I’m very drawn to the contrasts in between the hard and soft surfaces and materials that create this very antagonist narrative, where they actually tell a new story by being so different and acting together to change the space,” Reisinger said.

The digital artist staged his first physical installation in December last year when he took over a building in Miami Design District. The sleek design was a representation of the city’s vibrant and modern landscape.  

Nothing that is born from love can be transformed into something different.

Andres Reisinger, Argentine artist

Since the start of his career, Reisinger’s AI-generated art has been disputed, driving discourse over the constitutions of “real” art. By utilizing social media as real-estate for new art mediums, he hopes to overthrow the boundaries of physical and digital while creating a world where they both coexist.

“It’s really interesting for me to play with social media because it’s actually the platform where many people walk through every day, like Times Square, but it’s kind of tailored. Each one can create their own interests. I think that creates a whole virtual layer on top of the physical and geographical that I find very personal,” Reisinger said.  

Having produced his digital work remotely at first, the artist connected to individuals across the globe to help illustrate what each location and project would look like using “homemade iPhone walkthroughs.”

In Jeddah’s bustling cultural hub, people from all walks of life can now experience a romantic edge to the ancient trading port as they come across the pink drapes. The work itself does not push any specific message, but is merely an insertion of an action or expression into the context of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“I think positivity is my idea of the action, and I would love for people to actually be inspired and take it very positively because that’s how I made it and gave it birth. And nothing that is born from love can be transformed into something different,” he said, noting the color is a metaphor for these emotions.

As human participation is essential for the work, some may find a pleasant surprise during their walks across the neighborhood and possibly choose to look at the world with rose-colored glasses moving forward. In a new universe of possibilities by stumbling upon the unexpected, it may unlock an open mind: “that every day can change, every day can be different.”

Under the theme “Past-Forward,” Balad Al-Fann converges with various forms of contemporary and traditional art to create a temporal blend of our past heritage and its future possibilities. The hub beams with light, sound, music, theatrical performances, exhibitions, and a number of local eateries and cafes until March 9.

 


Baha’s historic architecture echoes its heritage

Baha’s historic architecture echoes its heritage
Updated 25 February 2024
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Baha’s historic architecture echoes its heritage

Baha’s historic architecture echoes its heritage
  • Tourists and visitors are captivated by the architectural brilliance of Saudi forefathers in constructing these palaces and fortresses, admiring their skill in crafting stone edifices

RIYADH: The historical castles and fortresses that dot the landscape of Baha in southwest Saudi Arabia serve as bright reminders of the country’s great founding story.

From quaint villages to bustling settlements, each corner of the region has its own piece of history in the form of majestic castles and fortresses.

These architectural marvels serve as proud caretakers of tradition, telling stories from bygone ages and adding to the rich tapestry of Saudi civilization.

Baha’s architectural marvels serve as proud caretakers of tradition, telling stories from bygone ages and adding to the rich tapestry of Saudi civilization. (SPA)

Tourists and visitors are captivated by the architectural brilliance of Saudi forefathers in constructing these palaces and fortresses, admiring their skill in crafting stone edifices.

Among the notable landmarks is Bin Raqoush Palace, now a hub of cultural and historical significance, drawing dignitaries and visitors from far and wide.

FASTFACTS

● Among Baha’s notable landmarks is Bin Raqoush Palace, now a hub of cultural and historical significance, drawing dignitaries and visitors from far and wide.

● Efforts to revitalize have gained traction, particularly during national celebrations like Saudi Founding Day.

Similarly, the Bakhrush bin Alas Fortress in Qura governorate; the ancestral castles of Al-Osaidhan family; and the charming village of Shabraqah, north of Baha city, hold their own historical charm.

Baha’s architectural marvels serve as proud caretakers of tradition, telling stories from bygone ages and adding to the rich tapestry of Saudi civilization. (SPA)

The imposing Al-Akhawayn Fortress overlooks Al-Malad village, a monument to history amid ancient heritage homes. Meanwhile, Al-Ayed Heritage Guesthouse in Bani Kabir village and the Mishref Palace in Baljurashi add to the region’s allure, commanding views of the historic Saturday Market.

Despite the passage of time and exposure to diverse elements, these ancient fortifications stand tall, a testament to the craftsmanship of builders and their resilience.

With their distinctive conical shapes and towering heights of 20-25 meters, these structures boast intricate designs and are adorned with white marble stones, exuding a captivating aura.

Baha’s architectural marvels serve as proud caretakers of tradition, telling stories from bygone ages and adding to the rich tapestry of Saudi civilization. (SPA)

Originally built for surveillance during times of conflict, these strongholds now serve as poignant reminders of the region’s history, tucked within village courtyards or towering atop hillsides, offering a glimpse into a bygone era.

Efforts to revitalize have gained traction, particularly during national celebrations like Saudi Founding Day.

By organizing heritage events and artistic showcases, authorities aim to preserve Saudi cultural identity, encourage awareness for the country’s rich history, safeguard cultural heritage and societal norms, spotlight local talents, and improve tourist experiences at heritage sites.

With locals taking pride in their heritage and taking on their restoration as well, these sites have become magnets for visitors, photographers, and enthusiasts alike, offering opportunities to document and explore diverse aspects of Saudi heritage.

Their eagerness to capture the essence of these historical sites has led to a flurry of activity, with documentaries being produced in various fields including architecture, fashion, jewelry, culinary arts, agriculture, and weaponry.

 


Waad campaign provides more than 800,000 training opportunities for Saudis

The ministry is keen to provide more opportunities for the development and enhancement of skills for all Saudi beneficiaries.
The ministry is keen to provide more opportunities for the development and enhancement of skills for all Saudi beneficiaries.
Updated 25 February 2024
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Waad campaign provides more than 800,000 training opportunities for Saudis

The ministry is keen to provide more opportunities for the development and enhancement of skills for all Saudi beneficiaries.
  • SABIC, Saudi Telecom Company and Arab National Bank achieved more than the campaign’s targets for the next three years in the course of 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development’s national training campaign Waad has achieved 74 percent of its target numbers.

The campaign aims to offer 1,155,000 training opportunities by the end of 2025, as part of the ministry’s strategy to support and train national cadres in partnership with the private sector.

The initiative provided about 863,675 training opportunities for national cadres in 2023, with the second half of the year giving some 670,000 opportunities.

SABIC, Saudi Telecom Company and Arab National Bank achieved more than the campaign’s targets for the next three years in the course of 2023.

The regional meeting series started in Arar city in the Northern Borders, allocating 35,000 training opportunities for the region.

The second meeting took place at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in the Eastern Province. This was attended by the region’s governor and the deputy minister of human resources and social development for labor, and 100,000 training opportunities were offered.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, through Waad, aims to advance the job market and achieve Saudi Vision 2030 targets by supporting, qualifying and training national cadres. It has set seven criteria for national facilities’ participation in the campaign, notably training 12 percent of Saudis annually.

The ministry is keen to provide more opportunities for the development and enhancement of skills for all Saudi beneficiaries, as part of its aim to achieve a vibrant society and a distinguished working environment.

 


Saudi Arabia launches Madak competition to inspire Arab youth in space sciences

The Madak competition aims to enhance the culture of research and innovation and inspire generations.
The Madak competition aims to enhance the culture of research and innovation and inspire generations.
Updated 25 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia launches Madak competition to inspire Arab youth in space sciences

The Madak competition aims to enhance the culture of research and innovation and inspire generations.
  • Called “Space Madak,” the competition is aimed at students in the Arab world between the ages of 6 and 18
  • Winning entries will have the opportunity to journey to the International Space Station by the fourth quarter of 2024

RIYADH: The Madak competition, which was launched on Sunday by the Saudi Space Agency, aims to enhance the culture of research and innovation and inspire generations to engage in the space sciences.

Called “Space Madak,” the competition is aimed at students in the Arab world between the ages of 6 and 18. The winning entries will have the opportunity to journey to the International Space Station by the fourth quarter of 2024.

The competition comprises three tracks: the arts track targets students aged 6 to 11, the botany track from 12 to 14, and the engineering track from 15 to 18.

Supervised by Rayana Barnawi, the first female Saudi astronaut, who conducted 14 experiments aboard the ISS, the competition is a collaboration between the Misk Foundation and the Ilmi Science Discovery & Innovation Center.

Barnawi said the competition is a “unique opportunity for students in the Arab world to participate in a journey of discovery and innovation,” and will expand the horizons of young and ambitious generations while stimulating their creativity.

The objective of the competition is to cultivate skills and abilities among students in the Arab world and motivate them to explore the wonders of space.

It aims to enhance students’ critical and analytical thinking skills through the presentation of an experiment focused on studying the impact of the microgravity environment on plant growth.

The competition also aims to boost problem-solving skills by tasking participants with designing scientific experiments within a microgravity environment.

SSA CEO Mohammed Al-Tamimi said that the competition was open to all students in the Arab world, enabling them to explore a new horizon in space science and enhance their scientific skills to help enrich the space arena with pioneering contributions.

He added that Saudi Arabia, a leader in the space field, reaffirmed its commitment to stimulating creativity and excellence in the domain, both regionally and internationally.

Registration for the competition is open until April 30 at https://ssa.gov.sa/en/initiative/?path=/initiatives-1/madak-competition/

Established in 2018, the SSA was created to bolster the Kingdom’s standing as a leading regional and international center in the field of space. Its primary objectives revolve around space science and exploration, creating new opportunities within the industry while nurturing local talent to foster growth and advancement for the benefit of the nation and humanity.


Saudi deputy minister receives Tunisian ambassador

Abdulrahman Al-Rassi holds talks with Hichem Fourati in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Abdulrahman Al-Rassi holds talks with Hichem Fourati in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Updated 25 February 2024
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Saudi deputy minister receives Tunisian ambassador

Abdulrahman Al-Rassi holds talks with Hichem Fourati in Riyadh. (Supplied)
  • The two sides discussed bilateral relations, along with the latest developments of common concern

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Minister for International Multilateral Affairs Abdulrahman Al-Rassi on Sunday received the Ambassador of Tunisia to the Kingdom Hichem Fourati, it was reported on X.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations, along with the latest developments of common concern.

Deputy Gov. of Eastern Province Prince Saud bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz in a separate meeting received the Director General of the UNESCO Regional Center for Quality and Excellence in Education Abdulrahman Al-Mudaires, who presented a report on the center’s work and projects, the Saudi Press Agency reported.