Saudi education portal among global top 4, says UNESCO official

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Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh held a meeting with UNESCO’s top official Stefania Giannini in Italy on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh held a meeting with UNESCO’s top official Stefania Giannini in Italy on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh held a meeting with UNESCO’s top official Stefania Giannini in Italy on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Updated 23 June 2021
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Saudi education portal among global top 4, says UNESCO official

  • The UNESCO official said the Kingdom’s success in introducing distance learning in a short time has propelled it into a leadership role in this field

RIYADH: UNESCO’s assistant director general for education on Tuesday lauded Saudi Arabia for promptly switching over to online learning methods in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
During a meeting with Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh on the sidelines of the G20 education ministers’ meeting in Catania in Italy, Stefania Giannini said the Kingdom has achieved great success in e-learning and distance education during the pandemic.
She praised the swiftness of the Saudi authorities in switching over to online learning without compromising on the quality of education.
The UNESCO official said the Kingdom’s success in introducing distance learning in a short time has propelled it into a leadership role in this field. Giannini said the Madarasti online learning platform introduced by the Kingdom is among the top four global models.

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The Madarasti platform provides students with virtual classes, homework assignments, and delivery tools and is used in conjunction with the iEN YouTube channel and the iEN national education portal.

The fully interactive platform was developed as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down schools across the Kingdom. It is designed so that students can log in and attend their lessons digitally, interact with their teachers and track their progress.
It provides students with virtual classes, homework assignments, and delivery tools and is used in conjunction with the iEN YouTube channel and the iEN national education portal.
School leaders consistently monitor the educational process via Madrasati, prepare class schedules, communicate with absent students, and provide technical support for students and their parents.


Foundation stone laid for Prophet’s Biography Museum in Islamabad

Updated 46 min 15 sec ago
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Foundation stone laid for Prophet’s Biography Museum in Islamabad

  • Pakistani PM praises Muslim World League’s role in advancing Qur’anic education
  • Shehbaz Sharif: This museum will serve as a pilgrimage destination not just for Pakistanis, but for people worldwide

RIYADH: Muslim World League Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa recently attended the closing ceremony in Islamabad to honor, under the patronage and in the presence of Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the winners of a Qur’anic competition for young memorizers under the age of 10.

Sharif and Al-Issa then laid the foundation stone for a branch of the International Fair and Museum of the Prophet’s Biography and Islamic Civilization, an extension of its main headquarters in Madinah.

The ceremony, attended by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, opened with a recitation from the Qur’an by Irshadullah bin Muti’e, the competition winner.

Sharif praised the pivotal role played by the MWL in advancing Qur’anic education, highlighting the stature of the Kingdom and its leadership in the global Islamic sphere.

He underscored Pakistan’s embrace of the forthcoming Museum of the Prophet’s Biography, recognizing its potential to advance Islamic principles worldwide and deepen understanding of Prophet Muhammad’s life.

“This museum will serve as a pilgrimage destination not just for Pakistanis, but for people worldwide,” Sharif said, affirming that the Pakistani people would deeply appreciate the museum, a gift from Saudi Arabia.

In his address, Al-Issa celebrated the young Qur’an memorizers, emphasizing Pakistan’s deep-rooted commitment to Qur’anic education and the religious dedication of its population.

He said that Qur’anic schools and institutions throughout the Islamic world should not focus merely on memorization but also on imparting understanding and insight into its meanings.

The ceremony culminated in the distribution of prizes to outstanding participants throughout Pakistan, followed by a visual presentation about the International Fair and Museum of the Prophet’s Biography and Islamic Civilization.


Saudi FM visits Pakistan to strengthen economic ties

Updated 20 min 59 sec ago
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Saudi FM visits Pakistan to strengthen economic ties

  • Prince Faisal leads high-level delegation to consult on next stages of investment and issues of implementation
  • Pakistani state media reported that Saudi Arabia was likely to invest $1bn in a mine project in Balochistan province

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan arrived in Pakistan on Monday on a two-day visit aimed at enhancing bilateral economic cooperation, with local media widely showing footage of him being received by Pakistani Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar.

The Saudi foreign minister’s visit comes a little over a week after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Makkah and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to expedite an investment package worth $5 billion that was previously discussed. 

On his arrival at the Nur Khan air base in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, the Saudi foreign minister, who is leading a high-level delegation comprising several top ministers, was given a red-carpet welcome by Pakistani officials.

“A week after Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s visit to Saudi Arabia (April 6-8), a high-level delegation of Saudi Arabia is coming to Pakistan,” the Pakistani Information Ministry said in a statement.

“The Saudi delegation will consult on the next stages of investment and implementation issues,” the statement added, saying Saudi Arabia’s planned investment in the Reko Diq gold and copper mining project would also be discussed during the visit.

On Sunday, Pakistani state media reported that Saudi Arabia was likely to invest $1 billion in the mine project in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, one of the world’s largest underdeveloped copper-gold areas.

Riyadh was also interested in investing in agriculture, trade, energy, minerals, IT, transport and other sectors in Pakistan, the statement said.

“As a result of this visit, Pakistan’s export capacity will increase, joint ventures will be launched and new opportunities will be paved.”

The Pakistani foreign office said last week that the Saudi delegation would comprise the foreign minister, minister of water and agriculture, minister of industry and mineral resources and deputy minister of investment, as well as senior officials from the Saudi energy ministry.

The Saudi delegation is expected to hold meetings with the Pakistani president, the prime minister, the foreign minister and other ministers, as well as the army chief and members of the apex committee of Pakistan’s Special Investment Facilitation Council, set up last year to oversee all foreign funding.


KSrelief contributes $10m to World Food Programme to support Ukrainians

Updated 15 April 2024
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KSrelief contributes $10m to World Food Programme to support Ukrainians

  • Saudi donation will help provide 50m meals in institutions supported by UN agency
  • WFP: ‘We’re grateful that KSrelief chose to support a vital component of our emergency programmes in Ukraine’

KYIV/RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief has contributed $10 million to the UN World Food Programme to support Ukrainians affected by war with daily hot meals in 1,200 institutions nationwide.
The agreement was signed by KSrelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain.
Saudi Arabia’s donation will help provide 50 million meals in institutions supported by WFP such as hospitals, shelters for internally displaced persons, orphanages, and psychiatric and geriatric facilities.
Many of these institutions have faced increased strain and budget shortfalls due to the war and massive internal displacement.
“We’re grateful that KSrelief chose to support a vital component of our emergency programmes in Ukraine, which provides relief to the most vulnerable Ukrainians while also strengthening the local institutions and organizations that care for them,” Marianne Ward, WFP country director in Ukraine, said in a statement.
Ahmed Al-Baiz, KSrelief’s assistant supervisor general of planning and development, said in a statement: “We are pleased to be part of this important emergency programme to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of the affected population in Ukraine.
“KSrelief humanitarian assistance will provide lifesaving food assistance to the most vulnerable communities throughout the country.”
The contribution will enable WFP to procure and deliver approximately 7,600 tonnes of food commodities, including flour, pasta, buckwheat, oatmeal, peas, sugar and oil — all of which are bought inside Ukraine to support the local economy and food systems.
These commodities are complemented by other foods bought directly by the institutions to prepare nutritious daily meals for residents and people under their care.
Over the next six months, WFP plans to provide food assistance to 210,000 vulnerable Ukrainians through its institutional feeding program.
The KSrelief contribution will cover approximately 67 percent of the program’s needs, supporting 140,000 Ukrainians.


Saudi FM stresses GCC-Central Asia cooperation for regional stability

Updated 15 April 2024
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Saudi FM stresses GCC-Central Asia cooperation for regional stability

  • Prince Faisal addressed the second GCC-Central Asia Strategic Dialogue ministerial meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan sign visa-exemption deal for diplomatic, special passport holders

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday emphasized the importance of promoting the interests of Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Central Asian states so the two regions become safe, stable and prosperous, offering hope for a better future for all.

Prince Faisal was speaking at the second GCC-Central Asia Strategic Dialogue ministerial meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

In his speech he affirmed the importance of continuing to strengthen coordination and consultation between GCC countries and Central Asian states based on joint values, interests and historical ties, noting the broad growth in relations over the past years.

Prince Faisal pointed out the broad consensus between GCC countries and Central Asian states on the importance of achieving peace, promoting negotiated solutions and supporting security, stability and development.

He emphasized the importance of joining efforts to ensure the Palestinian people’s internationally recognized rights and to achieve peace through negotiation, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the principles of international law.

The Saudi minister also highlighted the ongoing efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region, as well as the need to pursue a sustainable ceasefire, lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and ensure the delivery of humanitarian and relief assistance.

He called for the forced displacement of Palestinians to cease and emphasized the need for the international community and the UN Security Council to permanently stop Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people.

Prince Faisal also met with his Uzbek counterpart, Bakhtiyor Saidov, and the two signed a reciprocal visa-exemption agreement for holders of diplomatic and special passports.

The parties held official talks during which they discussed ways to strengthen cooperation, as well as opportunities for further bilateral and multilateral cooperation on issues of mutual interest.

The GCC ministerial council also held an extraordinary meeting at the Qatari embassy in Tashkent on the military escalation in the Middle East on Monday.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the council expressed its deep concern about the military escalation in the region and its negative impact on its security and stability.

It stressed the importance of reducing the escalation immediately to maintain regional security and stability, and the need for all parties to settle disputes diplomatically, exercise the utmost self-restraint, and spare the region and its people from the dangers of war.

The council also called on the United Nations Security Council to assume its responsibility towards maintaining international peace and security, especially in the Middle East, and to prevent the worsening of the crisis there that will have serious consequences if it expands.


Gulf Cinema Festival showcases region’s rich cultural tapestry

Updated 15 April 2024
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Gulf Cinema Festival showcases region’s rich cultural tapestry

RIYADH: The fourth Gulf Cinema Festival, which runs until April 18, is currently taking place in Riyadh.

Organized by the Saudi Film Commission under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, the minister of culture and chairman of the commission’s board of directors, the event brings together several pioneers of Gulf cinema.

Dignitaries, cultural and media figures, as well as prominent activists and influencers in the film industry, are also taking part.

The festival’s schedule features film screenings, interviews and workshops, giving visitors the chance to explore the film industry from the perspectives of both makers and critics.

Film Commission CEO Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Qahtani delivered the culture minister’s speech at the start of the event. In it, Prince Badr said: “This edition of the festival represents a crucial milestone in cultural cooperation among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and embodies our leadership’s commitment to enhancing collaboration among us.

“This festival reflects the strong connection between ambition and the cultural strategy of the GCC countries, which play a significant role in enhancing cultural exchange, expanding infrastructure, drawing inspiration from successful experiences, and encouraging Gulf talents to offer more.”

The opening ceremony also featured a film highlighting the depth of Gulf cinema and the festival’s contribution. It is hoped the event will enrich national cinema, providing creative platforms for talented individuals to showcase their work and share their experiences.

A rich and diverse program is planned across the five days, with the screening of 29 films — including feature-length, short films and documentaries — produced by renowned Gulf filmmakers across various categories.

Specialized training workshops will cover topics such as “How to make an impactful documentary film” by Abdulrahman Sandokji, “The relationship between the music composer and the film director” by Mohammad Haddad, and “Art, writing and script development” by Mohammad Hassan Ahmed.

Discussion sessions include “Challenges of producing adapted films,” “Film festivals in Gulf countries,” “Support funds and joint financing,” “Independent films and small budgets” and “The experience of exhibition platforms in the Middle East.”

Gulf filmmakers are also competing for nine awards recognizing various aspects of filmmaking such as directing, photography, music and acting.

The festival aims to promote the growth and development of the regional cinema industry while honoring prominent Gulf cinema figures who have contributed significantly to the global cultural scene. It also fosters cultural and knowledge exchanges among those taking part.