Jeddah university hosts forum on technology, creativity

Jeddah university hosts forum on technology, creativity
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Prof. Ahmed Elmasry, professor of corporate finance and governance at the Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity, Coventry University, UK. (Supplied)
Jeddah university hosts forum on technology, creativity
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Attendees at the “Creativity, Technology, and Sustainability” conference. (Supplied)
Jeddah university hosts forum on technology, creativity
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The conference was held on May 15-16. (Supplied)
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Updated 19 May 2024
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Jeddah university hosts forum on technology, creativity

Jeddah university hosts forum on technology, creativity
  • Conference explored best practices in technology and interdisciplinary scientific research

JEDDAH: Dar Al-Hekma University in Jeddah recently wrapped up its third “Creativity, Technology, and Sustainability” conference, sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

The two-day event, held on May 15-16, drew a wide range of experts, scholars and local and international officials to explore interconnected themes in pursuit of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Abeer Al-Dughaither, the university’s president, highlighted the significance of the conference, saying: “This event embodies the values of the university, which aims to anticipate scientific and practical futures and stay abreast of developments to be an active partner in various aspects of development. There is no doubt that the three pillars of the conference (creativity, technology, and sustainability) represent a fundamental pillar in any cultural renaissance.

“This conference reflects the university’s strategic plan to build bridges of scientific and cultural cooperation between it and local and international institutions, with knowledge and cultural experts participating from within the Kingdom and abroad at the regional and global levels,” she added.

The conference explored best practices in technology and interdisciplinary scientific research, underlining how these advancements foster creativity and development to tackle global challenges.

Discussions also covered the critical role of advanced technology in sustainable development and digital transformation, alongside the significance of effective management, policies and ethics in attaining sustainability objectives.

During his keynote speech on “Innovative Key Facilities for Human-Centered and Sustainable Design,” Prof. Luigi Maffei from the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Caserta, Italy, emphasized the changing viewpoints within disciplines exploring environmental changes and their effects on individuals.

He said: “Many disciplines are transitioning from a negative, monodisciplinary approach to a positive, multidisciplinary one that is more human-centered and sustainable, recognizing the importance of considering the well-being of individuals in design solutions.”

Ahmed Elmasry, professor of corporate finance and governance at the Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity, Coventry University, UK, delivered a thought-provoking speech on environmental, social and governance controversies.

He highlighted the importance of leading change and inspiring growth to empower tomorrow by harnessing technology, sustainability and innovation as drivers for business evolution.

In his speech on “Cognitive Cities and the Future of Urban Living,” Joaquim Alvarez, head of cognitive technologies at the engineering technical services department at NEOM, said: “Understanding the evolution of urban areas by examining cities’ development trajectory is crucial. Transitioning from historical reflections to dynamic adaptation for contemporary challenges is imperative.”

Speakers at the conference outlined the significance of education in promoting awareness about sustainability. Panel discussions, moderated by a diverse group of experts, academics, and officials from local and international backgrounds, explored the interconnected themes of creativity, technology and sustainability.

The sessions delved into research topics that deepen our understanding of technological progress, fostering innovation and progress.

The conference offered a range of workshops to nurture creativity and cultivate essential skills crucial for sustainable development.

A dedicated section featured scientific papers and posters from researchers, with several contributions by students from Dar Al-Hekma University.


Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon
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Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon
  • Arafat is where Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon more than 144 decades ago

ARAFAT: Amid strict security and health measures, this year’s Hajj pilgrims arrived in Arafat early Saturday morning, the ninth day of Dul Hijjah, and attended the annual Hajj sermon at Namirah Mosque.

As the sun rose, pilgrims camping in the tent city of Mina performed dawn prayers, then began their journey to Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon more than 144 decades ago. On Saturday, one could hear nothing louder than the crowd chanting supplications.

Ansarul-Haq Rasheed, a 63-year-old Indonesian pilgrim, expressed a heartfelt desire to pray to Allah for as long as possible.

“I wish time could pause so I could continue praying to Allah with all my heart,” he told Arab News. “These moments are unforgettable. I want to lay bare all my emotions to my creator, who knows everything. I seek His blessings for my needs in this life and the hereafter.”

Reflecting on the pilgrimage experience, he expressed gratitude for the services provided to pilgrims. He compared it with stories he had been told of his late father’s Hajj, some 45 years ago. “My mother shared the hardships my father faced during Hajj; I wish he could see how much more comfortable Hajj has become,” Rasheed said. 

Meanwhile, 49-year-old Khadija Yakoubi, a Moroccan pilgrim, anticipated a transformative experience from his pilgrimage.

“When all sins are forgiven, life inevitably changes for the better, leading to a renewed enjoyment. This feeling motivates pilgrims to continue doing good throughout their lives,” Yakoubi said, adding that the services pilgrims have received at the holy sites have been “exemplary.”

The Day of Arafat is the most important part of the Hajj — one of Islam’s five pillars; without it, a pilgrimage is not valid. Pilgrims typically combine and shorten the Dhuhr and Asr prayers before staying in Arafat until sunset. They then move on to Muzdalifah before returning to their tents in Mina.

Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly, one of the imams of the Grand Mosque, who delivered this year’s sermon, described Hajj as a “sincere act of worship for Allah.”

He urged pilgrims to seize “the great blessings” during their time in Arafat, reminding them that “in this honorable place and virtuous time, the Almighty multiplies his rewards” for their good deeds and forgives their sins.

In his sermon, Al-Muaiqly emphasized that Islam is a religion of peace and that Shariah “mandates justice, noble ethics, and kindness to parents, along with the importance of maintaining family ties, truthfulness in speech, and safeguarding rights to ensure they are rightfully upheld. It also emphasizes respect for contracts and encourages obedience to rightful authorities.”

He added that Shariah also emphasizes the obligation to obey the five central religious laws: safeguarding religion, and protecting the soul, the mind, one’s possessions, and one’s dignity — all important principles in Islamic jurisprudence and ethics, and, he said, guiding principles for the well-being and growth of individuals and society.

“Indeed, Shariah considers any transgression against these basics a crime deserving punishment. Furthermore, safeguarding these essentials is a path to entering paradise and attaining Allah’s satisfaction. It also serves as a key to stability, happiness, progress, and advancement in this world,” the imam said.


Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 
Updated 45 min 5 sec ago
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Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

MAKKAH: Around 220 girls from the Saudi Arabian Scouts Association are volunteering to serve this year’s Hajj pilgrims by participating with the Grand Mosque Security Force to manage crowds.

The girl scouts are helping to organize and direct the pilgrims, particularly in the women’s prayer areas.

They also guide the lost, assist the elderly, and help those with special needs.

Ghada Al Mutailiq, leader of the Girl Scouts camp, praised the dedication and commitment of the scouts and noted that the association’s expertise in handling large groups also provided members with valuable skills.


Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah

Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah
Updated 15 June 2024
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Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah

Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah
  • Facilities to help take care of youngsters while parents perform Hajj

JEDDAH: Some 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah have been set up this year to take care of children while their parents are performing Hajj.

The centers, which were established by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in partnership with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, can accommodate more than 1,000 children each day, targeting boys and girls between the ages of 1 and 10.

The centers provide care and education for children. They are safe and comfortable environments in which to learn and play under the supervision of a specialized team of consultants and qualified trainers, according to Mohammed Al-Rizqi, the spokesperson at the HRSD.

Facilities include a dining hall, where meals are provided, a sleeping area, a physical play area, and a skill activity space.

Al-Rizqi told Arab News: “The initiative aims to help the guests of Allah perform the Hajj rituals with reverence and reassurance, and to provide them with the utmost comfort to perform the Hajj rituals.

“This initiative is concerned with hosting children of pilgrims up to 10 years of age, as these centers provide a safe environment for the child by providing a group of health, social and psychological programs, as well as recreational activities and overnight services that are appropriate to the age stages of each child.”

Al-Rizqi added that the services are to be provided for all nationalities, with employees speaking different languages to serve the children of pilgrims.

He said: “Care services are provided through recreational programs and activities for children.

“Children are also cared for during their stay and a suitable environment is provided for overnight stays, as well as providing healthy meals for the child.”

Al-Rizqi explained that the initiative seeks to achieve several goals, such as providing awareness and guidance on the nature of dealing with children during the Hajj season.


MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj

MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj
Updated 15 June 2024
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MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj

MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Waste Management, or MWAN, has lunched initiatives to provide a healthy and clean environment for pilgrims throughout the Hajj period.

Sultan Al-Harthi, a spokesperson at the center, told Arab News that the initiatives are part of efforts to improve and regulate waste management during the Hajj season, preserving natural resources for future generations.

Al-Harthi said one includes a machine that turns food waste into fertilizer, which is initially used within sacred sites, without any emissions or emitting odors during the recycling process.

The “Sustainable Ihram” initiative educates pilgrims on the importance of recycling and environmental preservation, he added. It is based on collecting and sorting pilgrims’ textile waste, including ihrams, pillows, blankets and mattresses, followed by recycling and distributing them. Containers will be available in Mina camps and hotels in Makkah where pilgrims can contribute their cloths.

The center expects around 50 tonnes of ihrams and more than 300,000 pillows will be collected in cooperation with the relevant authorities. An outreach team is touring the Mina camps in order to ensure the readiness of the initiative, Al-Harthi said.

Another initiative will treat waste generated from slaughterhouse carcasses, expected to be more than 12,000 tonnes this year, with teams dedicated to monitoring the activity to ensure safe disposal. The work will begin on Sunday, the first day of Eid Al-Adha.

According to Al-Harthi, another initiative seeks to raise awareness of good waste management practices among Hajj service providers. This Hajj season, MWAN has given training courses on sustainable waste management to 121 service providers over the past two weeks, to help them develop their skills and abilities, raise awareness about reducing volume of waste produced, and use environmentally friendly materials that reduce pollution and preserve environmental integrity.

The monitoring and inspection team has undertaken dozens of monitoring tours and visited more than 100 facilities to improve the level of operational efficiency of the facilities.


Health, Transport, and Logistics Ministries Collaborate for Smooth Pilgrimage Experience

 Health, Transport, and Logistics Ministries Collaborate for Smooth Pilgrimage Experience
Updated 15 June 2024
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Health, Transport, and Logistics Ministries Collaborate for Smooth Pilgrimage Experience

 Health, Transport, and Logistics Ministries Collaborate for Smooth Pilgrimage Experience

MAKKAH:The security spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Colonel Talal bin Abdulmohsen Al-Shalhoub, announced the successful implementation of the plan's first phase to smoothly transport pilgrims to the holy sites. 

He made his statement on Friday during the daily press conference for the Hajj season 2024, with the participation of official spokespersons for the Ministries of Hajj and Umrah, Health, Transport and Logistics.

Al-Shalhoub announced the completion of transporting pilgrims from the Grand Mosque to Mina, where they will stay overnight in preparation for their next stop at Arafat.

He indicated that 160 fake hajj campaigns were seized thus far, with 135,098 illegal vehicles were denied access.

Al-Shalhoub said that the number of non-residents of Makkah who were returned reached 250,381 people, and 6,135 were caught violating the city’s residency, work, and border security regulations.

“Saudi Arabia will always and firmly hinder all efforts to turn the holy sites during Hajj into an arena for demagogic chants that are far removed from the purposes of Sharia law, the holiness of the occasion and the spirituality of worship,” he said.

Al-Shalhoub added that any attempts to disrupt the security of pilgrims in any way will be dealt with firmly.

“The safety of the guests of God is a red line for the security authorities working in Hajj.”

Ayed Al-Ghuwaynem, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs, said that the most prominent infrastructure development projects in the holy sites include water networks and electrical power to improve services and raise the efficiency.

He added that the digital transformation processes led by Nusuk platform created a shift for pilgrims to access services, indicating that the number of readings of the response code printed on the Nusuk card exceeded 3 million readings.

Nusuk is the first-ever official planning, booking and experience platform for Hajj and Umrah.

The official spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Dr. Mohammad Al-Abdulali, reviewed the services and care provided by the health system, in integration with various agencies and entities, to the pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season.

He said that approximately 35,000 members of the healthcare system, along with approximately 5,500 volunteers, are responsible for providing services through 189 integrated hospitals, health centers, and mobile clinics.

“Fourteen health control centers in the Kingdom’s ports, 98 emergency centers, 32 mobile medical-supply trucks, and 12 laboratories are operational for pilgrims.”

Al-Abdulali added that there are 6,515 beds, including more than 800 intensive care beds and over 280 beds for heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

Aside from virtual clinics, there are seven ambulance planes, 729 ambulance cars and emergency and rapid response vehicles.

He said that 99 percent of domestic pilgrims had completed the health requirements for vaccinations.

“One-hundred and fifty permits were canceled to preserve the pilgrims’ public health, while others who adhered to the health requirements were enabled.”

The official spokesman for the transport and logistics system Saleh Al-Zwaid, stated that the Kingdom’s airports received, as of Thursday, more than 19 thousand flights from over 72 air carriers, coming from more than 90 countries.