Digital wellbeing summit at Ithra to confront technology’s dangers, advantages

The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)
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The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)
Digital wellbeing summit at Ithra to confront technology’s dangers, advantages
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The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)
Digital wellbeing summit at Ithra to confront technology’s dangers, advantages
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The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)
Digital wellbeing summit at Ithra to confront technology’s dangers, advantages
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The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)
Digital wellbeing summit at Ithra to confront technology’s dangers, advantages
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The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)
Digital wellbeing summit at Ithra to confront technology’s dangers, advantages
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The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 May 2024
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Digital wellbeing summit at Ithra to confront technology’s dangers, advantages

Digital wellbeing summit at Ithra to confront technology’s dangers, advantages
  • Event at Ithra will have over 110 digital experts, 70 speakers from 20 countries

DHAHRAN: After a two-year hiatus, the second Sync Digital Wellbeing Summit 2024 returns to the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, or Ithra, this week for discussions and debates by world-leading experts.

Scheduled for May 22 and 23, Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness, and will feature 110 digital experts and 70 speakers from 20 countries.




The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)

“The Sync Summit 2024 is not just another conference. It’s a platform for meaningful discussions, critical reflections, and collective actions for a better digital future,” said Wadha Al-Nafjan, head of digital wellbeing at Sync. “As we navigate the digital paradox, it is vital to recognize our responsibility in shaping the world we want to live in.”

Topics including algorithmic homogenization and identity loss, AI’s impact on the creative industries, and misinformation will be tackled under the theme “Confronting the Digital Paradox.”




The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)

The summit will be held at the Ithra headquarters in Dhahran, with a live stream available.

Day one, organized around the sub-theme “Cuts Both Ways: Wrestling with the Tensions of the Digital Era,” includes seven panels, two fireside chats and two keynote talks.

It’s a platform for meaningful discussions, critical reflections, and collective actions for a better digital future.

Wadha Al-Nafjan, Head of digital wellbeing at Sync

Day two, centering on the sub-theme “A Digital Renaissance: Shaping Our Relationship with Digital for a Better Future,” will have eight panels and three keynotes. In addition, it will have the Sync Spotlight series finale, for which creative influencer Omar Farooq will screen his new documentary, “The Dark Side of Japan.”

Although there was no summit last year at Ithra, the Sync team conducted extensive research globally that led to some compelling findings.




Wadha Al-Nafjan, Head of digital wellbeing at Sync

According to their research, 81 percent of those surveyed are concerned about the unsolicited collection of their personal data, 53 percent struggle to maintain boundaries between their work and personal lives, while 66 percent believe that the internet needs more regulation. About 73 percent of participants think social media was designed to be addictive.

Furthermore, the average time spent online daily has gone down, compared with 2021. About 68 percent claim to understand AI, 87 percent think technology is allowing people to work and study more flexibly, and 91 percent use digital devices to access resources including books and tutorials.




The second Sync Summit is scheduled for may 22 and 23, and Ithra will be buzzing with all things that merge technology and wellness. (Supplied)

“Never before has the world been so connected to everything and everyone. We know technology has improved our lives, but it also has the painful potential to distract and harm,” Ithra said in a statement to Arab News. The summit’s activities are geared toward “ensuring that we as humans come together to keep digital technology in check and working towards the greater good, safeguarding its future, and our own.”

The event will bridge the gap between academic research, industry practices, and end-users regarding digital wellbeing through a variety of sessions.

Sync Spotlight

A series of sessions will run in parallel to the two-day Sync Summit stage program, offering greater interaction between speakers and audience members.

Sync Action Forum

The worldwide Gen Alpha Forum, an initiative developed by Sync Research with McCann Worldgroup, will see the community expand to include Saudi Arabia parents of Gen Alpha children, as well as educators, and other Gen Alpha stakeholders.

Majlis

In partnership with Johns Hopkins, which has a local hospital at Aramco, the Majlis will host three sessions exploring digital wellbeing with educators, researchers and students.

The Plaza

The gamified experience will dive into the findings compiled by the Sync Research team through the lens of three projects which were developed with partners Horizon Group, PSB and McCann Worldgroup.

Sync Immersive

In this interactive journey, the organizers promise to provide a three-step experience designed to impact participants’ emotions and understanding, while guiding them into navigating the complexities of digital ethics.

Podcast

The booth experience will serve both as a studio to record live podcast episodes hosted by Mo Gawdat, formerly of Google, and as a multi-functional space for hosting media interviews. Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Islam, host of the English-language podcast, The Mo Show, will also be present.

Other notable speakers this year include US data scientist and AI specialist Rumman Chowdhury; Saudi Arabia athlete, FIFA World Champion and owner of an esports team, Abdulaziz Alshehri; and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.

One May 21, Ithra will host the Global Digital Wellbeing Assembly, a gathering of experts from across the Kingdom and the globe to discuss the guiding objectives and roadmap for a new digital wellbeing society.

Registration is now open and attendance is free.

 


Ministry supervises Riyadh slaughterhouses for Eid

Slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
Slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
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Ministry supervises Riyadh slaughterhouses for Eid

Slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
  • Ministry said its technical teams carried out 277 regulatory tours of markets and slaughterhouses in Riyadh and 510 visits to shops, stalls and yards

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said that slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha.

This was through both fixed and mobile slaughterhouses supervised by the specialized teams from the ministry’s branch in the region, conducting regulatory operations and providing veterinary inspection services for all livestock.

The ministry said that its technical teams carried out 277 regulatory tours of markets and slaughterhouses in Riyadh and 510 visits to shops, stalls and yards in the region’s markets. These activities resulted in issuing 14 warnings and one violation for non-compliance with health regulations and requirements in slaughterhouses.

In addition, citizens and residents continued to respond positively to the community initiative, “One-third of the sacrifice,” contributing to meat donations for families in need. 

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s branch in the Riyadh region has made significant efforts during this year’s Eid Al-Adha season.

These included early preparations for organizing the main and temporary sheep markets, as well as the regular and mobile slaughterhouses.


Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program visit historic Madinah sites

Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah
Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah
Updated 24 min 28 sec ago
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Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program visit historic Madinah sites

Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah
  • 2,000 pilgrims who are family members of Palestinians killed, injured, or taken prisoner by Israeli authorities are being hosted by the program this year

RIYADH: Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah on Thursday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The pilgrims visited the site of the Battle of Uhud, Rumah Mountain, the Cemetery of the martyrs of Uhud, and Quba Mosque as part of a cultural program planned by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance.

They were also informed about the religious significance of each of the sites.

3,322 pilgrims from 88 countries are being hosted by the program for Hajj this year. This figure includes 2,000 pilgrims who are family members of Palestinians killed, injured, or taken prisoner by Israeli authorities. 


Ministry begins issuing Umrah visas for post-Hajj season

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has started issuing Umrah visas for the post-Hajj season. (@AlharamainSA)
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has started issuing Umrah visas for the post-Hajj season. (@AlharamainSA)
Updated 20 June 2024
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Ministry begins issuing Umrah visas for post-Hajj season

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has started issuing Umrah visas for the post-Hajj season. (@AlharamainSA)
  • The new Umrah season will coincide with the start of the new Islamic year on Muharram 1
  • Move aims to streamline arrival of pilgrims to the Kingdom and ensure a smooth experience

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has started issuing Umrah visas for the post-Hajj season, Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The new Umrah season will coincide with the start of the new Islamic year on Muharram 1, and the move aims to streamline the arrival of pilgrims to the Kingdom and ensure a smooth and worry-free experience.

The ministry is working diligently to implement the directives of the Saudi leadership and accommodate more Umrah pilgrims and provide services that meet their needs, SPA said. 


Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations
Updated 20 June 2024
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Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Arab News RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s drug control authority seized large quantities of narcotics and arrested several people involved in smuggling following a number of operations across the Kingdom, reported Saudi Press Agency.

Border guards in Asir province thwarted an attempt to smuggle 123 kg of hashish and 89,355 narcotic tablets, while in Jazan four Ethiopian nationals were arrested for trafficking 75 kg of qat.

In Riyadh, the General Directorate of Narcotics Control arrested two Pakistani residents attempting to sell 26 kg of methamphetamine.

Saudi security authorities are urging people to report any activities related to drug smuggling or promotion by calling 911 in the Makkah, Riyadh and Eastern Province regions, and 999 in the rest of the Kingdom.

Alternatively, information can be emailed to [email protected]. All reports are treated in confidence.


The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage
Updated 20 June 2024
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The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

RIYADH: Drumming is an important and popular part of cultural heritage in Najran, especially during holidays and special occasions.

The art of playing the drums is considered one of the most famous and creative Najran dances and is the only one in which all vocal and movement arts are included. 

Drummers begin collectively in a single straight row as they move in harmony to the beat of drums and tambourines while chanting. 

The dancers then divide into two rows, one beating tambourines and the other the drums. At the same time, they chant poetic verses with a range of melodies and rhythms.

Najran’s cultural dancers once again enthralled families and visitors during this year’s Eid Al-Adha celebrations, treating them to an exhilarating performance.