Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)
The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)
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Updated 04 March 2024
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Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future

Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future
  • Bookworms’ efforts over three days concluded with pledge to plant over 2,500 trees in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco

DHAHRAN: A reading marathon to promote library culture and environmental awareness was recently organized in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco, with over a quarter of a million pages read.

The Arab libraries that participated in the three-day event were King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt and the National Library of Morocco.

The goal of the marathon was to plant one tree for every 100 pages read, which Ithra estimates would take an average reader one hour. The center said that 326,250 pages were read during the reading marathon, equivalent to 2,504 trees.




The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

The printing of physical books consumes a large percentage of trees, so the planting of new ones directly arrests some of that loss.

Upon arrival at the designated library during operating hours, participants registered at the reception and received a QR code which they used throughout the experience. They were gifted a bookmark and a notebook to log their details. Upon completing their reading for the day, they returned to the reception area to declare the number of pages they read, which were then logged.

HIGHLIGHTS

• According to Ithra, 326,250 pages were read during the reading marathon, equivalent to 2,504 trees.

• Ithra will plant the trees on the readers’ behalf in collaboration with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification in Saudi Arabia.

• A token of appreciation was awarded to those who read 100 pages, 200 pages, 500 pages and 1,000 pages.

In an effort to encourage reading in public spaces, all had to read books in-person in order for it to count, participating on one, two or all three days depending on availability.




The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

A token of appreciation was awarded to those who read 100 pages, 200 pages, 500 pages and 1,000 pages.

At Ithra, a large screen updated the number of pages completed in real time, as well as showing the updated numbers from Morocco and Egypt.

“This is the largest reading marathon in Arab libraries, held for three days from Feb. 29 to March 2. It seeks to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life,” an official statement by Ithra said.




The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

Abdulrhman Al-Qahtani was one of the participants at Ithra. An avid reader, he drove a short distance to the center to join in the fun after coming across a post about it on social media. With his cup of black coffee situated on a small round table, he found a comfortable spot in a plush seat in the middle of the plaza and was immediately immersed in a book written by the late, great Egyptian author Taha Hussein.

Speaking to Arab News, Al-Qahtani said: “I have a ritual of reading every afternoon during the weekend, but this time, it’s with an even greater purpose. Normally, people read for their own personal pleasure or growth but this was an opportunity to do what I already do — and the world would also benefit.

Planting trees is going to help make the world more beautiful, but the lasting impact on our planet will be immense.

Abdulrhman Al-Qahtani, Reading marathon participant, Ithra

“Planting trees is going to help make the world more beautiful, but the lasting impact on our planet will be immense. I’m happy to do my part.”

Talking about the experience, he added: “Usually, I read on my own at various places with the sounds of laughter swirling around me. Here, I’m amongst other readers. Ithra did a great job in making this a suitable environment for reading. Instead of reading 100 pages, you’ll read 200.

“This is my first time participating and it has been such a great experience. I brought my own book but once I’m done, I’ll browse the books available here and I’m sure I’ll read pages from those, too,” he concluded.




The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

While many of the books on the shelves at Ithra were in Arabic, readers were encouraged to read any book in any language. They could bring their own, like Al-Qahtani, or borrow some from the shelves. The pages could also be from the same book or from multiple books.

The space directly beneath the iconic Ithra library also had seats for people to sit and read on. Ithra added temporary booths with books in the middle of the plaza for easy access.

Ithra will plant the trees on the readers’ behalf at a later date, in collaboration with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification in Saudi Arabia. The other participating countries will also plant trees in their local communities.

 


KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries
Updated 55 min 1 sec ago
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KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

RIYADH: Saudi charity KSrelief distributed 1,930 food parcels on Saturday to displaced families in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. 
The initiative, part of the group’s food-security support project in Sudan, benefited 12,236 individuals, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The assistance comes within the framework of a series of relief and humanitarian projects implemented by Saudi Arabia through KSrelief to help conflict-hit areas, SPA added.
In Lebanon, KSrelief provided health care services to Syrian refugees and their host community in Arsal town of Baalbek Governorate. 
The Arsal Health Care Center received a total of 3,422 patients and offered 6,128 services from various health sections such as clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, nursing and the community and mental health program. 
In Yemen, KSrelief continues its implementation of the water supply and environmental sanitation projects across several districts. If February, KSrelief pumped 36,207,000 liters of usable water and 3,194,000 liters of potable water into Hajjah Governorate.
Additionally, the center carried out 237 transportation operations to remove waste from displaced camps.
In Saada Governorate, KSrelief pumped 290,000 liters of potable water and another 290,000 liters of usable water, benefiting 30,100 people.


Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with the prime minister of Iraq on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

During their phone call, Prince Mohammed and Mohammed Al-Sudani discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.

They also dissussed the importance of making the necessary efforts to prevent the situation from worsening and ways to spare the region from the risks of escalation, SPA added.


Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday.

During the call, the officials discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.


Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in the Middle East on Sunday with his US counterpart during a phone call.

The call comes after Iran launched a wave of missiles and attack drones against Israel overnight Saturday to Sunday.

Prince Khalid and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also discussed efforts to contain the crisis while upholding international peace and security.

The officials also reviewed their strategic defense partnership and explored ways to further enhance it, the Kingdom’s defense minister said in a post on X. 


Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
  • Ali Alhammadi has been passionate about visual arts since childhood

JEDDAH: Ali Alhammadi, a Saudi 32-year-old visual artist from Aldawadmi in Riyadh, has carved out a remarkable pathway in the world of art since his professional debut in 2017.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the “Saudi renaissance” in line with Vision 2030, prompting him to embark on a creative expedition to express his perceptions through the canvas.

Alhammadi told Arab News that his art philosophy is about breaking invisible limitations and transcending comfort zones, drawing inspiration from the evergreen landscapes he encountered during camping trips with his father in the Riyadh desert.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

“During every spring season, me and my father used to go camping in the outskirts of Riyadh, when the desert turns green for a couple of months, where all the magical inspiration happens.”

Through his landscapes and abstract pieces, Alhammadi delves into his feelings, insecurities and aspirations, painting a narrative that speaks volumes.

“I use my art to express both happiness and sadness, and sometimes I start a painting with an idea in mind, but then I end up with a new one,” he said.

Ali Alhammadi, Saudi artist

One of Alhammadi’s pioneering techniques, “Invisible Limitations,” challenges traditional conceptions and societal norms, symbolizing the potential within, and beyond self-imposed boundaries. He said that his work reflects a realization that limitations are merely illusions.

“Our comfort zone sometimes restricts our ability to be inspired and inspire others. That’s why I decided to paint the Invisible Limitations theme.

“As I matured, I realized that most of these limitations don’t exist ... our limitation is the sky.”

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

Alhammadi’s artistic evolution has been influenced by his participation in prestigious exhibitions such as The Stars Exhibition at the German Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the second Riyadh Season Exhibition.

These platforms not only showcased his talent but also provided a catalyst for his creative development, empowering him to delve deeper into his cultural roots while embracing global influences.

Navigating between diverse cultural landscapes, Alhammadi, based between Liverpool and Riyadh, seamlessly fuses vibrant hues and styles, blending Saudi heritage and international artistic trends.

His experiences abroad have expanded his artistic horizons, inspiring him to create artworks that resonate with a global audience while retaining a distinctive Saudi essence. “Now that I have found my theme and art style, I believe that this phase will take me to different phases in my professional art career,” he said.

Looking toward the future, Alhammadi envisions his artwork evolving to explore the intricacies of human and cultural relationships, going deeper into themes that resonate with universal emotions and experiences. “Human and cultural relationships is something I’m keen on expressing through art,” he said.

His participation in international and local events such as the Founding Day in Liverpool and the National Day in London has not only spotlighted his talent but also enriched his artistic narrative with a tapestry of diverse influences.

For aspiring visual artists embarking on their creative odyssey, Alhammadi offers this advice: “Stay true to your vision, embrace your unique style, and let your art tell your story.”