PNU’s Apple Developer Academy celebrates first graduation

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More than 100 students graduated from Apple Developer Academy. The all-women program prepares participants for careers in the growing iOS app economy. (Saleh Al-Ghannam)
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More than 100 students graduated from Apple Developer Academy. The all-women program prepares participants for careers in the growing iOS app economy. (Saleh Al-Ghannam)
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More than 100 students graduated from Apple Developer Academy. The all-women program prepares participants for careers in the growing iOS app economy. (Saleh Al-Ghannam)
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More than 100 students graduated from Apple Developer Academy. The all-women program prepares participants for careers in the growing iOS app economy. (Saleh Al-Ghannam)
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More than 100 students graduated from Apple Developer Academy. The all-women program prepares participants for careers in the growing iOS app economy. (Saleh Al-Ghannam)
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More than 100 students graduated from Apple Developer Academy. The all-women program prepares participants for careers in the growing iOS app economy. (Saleh Al-Ghannam)
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Updated 08 August 2022
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PNU’s Apple Developer Academy celebrates first graduation

  • ‘The women graduating today from the Apple Developer Academy are creators, designers, coders and entrepreneurs’

RIYADH: The first group of students have graduated from Riyadh’s Apple Developer Academy, established last year in collaboration with Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Tuwaiq Academy and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones.

The all-women program brought together graduates on Sunday night to celebrate the study of the expanding iOS app economy.

Esther Hare, senior director of worldwide developer marketing at Apple, said: “The women graduating today from the Apple Developer Academy are creators, designers, coders and entrepreneurs. They have bright futures ahead, and we can’t wait to see how they will use their skills and experience to leave their mark on the region and the world.”

She added: “Already, many of our graduates here have lined up wonderful jobs as they launch their careers as iOS developers, UX designers, project managers and more. As we expand the program, we expect to eventually reach over 600 women each year with these world-class learning opportunities.”

The Academy helps women entrepreneurs and developers to begin careers in the app economy.

More than 100 students gained coding, design, marketing and professional skills over the course of nine months, and they now graduate with the full set of abilities required to take part in the iOS app economy, and even launch their own businesses.

“Our mission this year was to fully support our learners’ education ambitions, wherever they are and at whatever level, regardless of age, technical knowledge or background,” said Ohood Al-Nayel, director of the Riyadh Apple Developer Academy.

“We were very mindful from the beginning in equipping each and every Apple Developer Academy learner today with relevant real-world knowledge and skills, to ensure the region’s app development environment of tomorrow is an exceptional one,” added Al-Nayel.

The Academy began offering in-person classroom instruction in February. The facility is housed at PNU, which has the largest women’s university campus in the world, offering students access to top-class amenities including dorms, athletics facilities and quick links to Riyadh.

“Following my time at the Academy, I am proud to witness my own change and evolution,” said Academy student Samah Bamumin.

In order to connect with businesses for career and funding opportunities, students took part in a job fair before the graduation ceremony.

“It was an absolute honor to witness how the Apple Developer Academy delivered skilled developers, designers and entrepreneurs to the Saudi market,” said Ahmed Dulli, executive manager of mobile development at Elm Company, one of the Kingdom’s largest development houses that offers custom-made solutions for the government and private sector.

“There is a dire need for iOS developers in the Kingdom, especially with iOS being the most used mobile platform in the country. Therefore, we truly appreciate Apple’s efforts for supporting that.”

To help aspiring business owners, developers and designers find and create jobs in the booming iOS app economy, Apple has established more than a dozen Apple Developer Academy locations around the world.

Academy graduates go on to launch their own companies, develop and market apps on the App Store, and volunteer in their communities.

Applications are now open to all women across the region. Students do not need to have a connection to PNU, nor do they need a university degree or any coding experience.

Commenting on why the Apple Developer Academy is offered at no cost, Hare said: “We believe apps for everyone should be designed by everyone and we want to ensure that passionate learners have the opportunity to be part of this program, regardless of financial ability. Across the world, we offer this program at no cost so that we can increase equity, access and opportunity.”

Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that within weeks, Apple will launch a special logistics zone at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh to manufacture and export devices to markets in the region.


Saudi Arabia, Norway host meeting on coordinated approach to recognition of Palestine in Brussels

Updated 26 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia, Norway host meeting on coordinated approach to recognition of Palestine in Brussels

  • Meeting discussed the urgent need to end the war in Gaza and take the necessary steps to implement a two-state solution

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Norway hosted a meeting on a coordinated approach to the recognition of Palestine in Brussels on Sunday.

The meeting discussed the urgent need to end the war in Gaza and take the necessary steps to implement a two-state solution, Saudi Press Agency reported.

It was attended by ministers and representatives of Algeria, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Latvia, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkiye, the UAE, the UK, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The meeting is a continuation of a previous one on the same subject hosted by Riyadh on April 29 for Arab and European ministers.

The conference expressed support for efforts aimed at reaching an immediate ceasefire, releasing prisoners and hostages, ending the war in the Gaza Strip and all illegal unilateral measures and violations in the occupied Palestinian territories including controlling the Rafah crossing, and addressing the catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

Concrete steps toward establishing a Palestinian state in the context of the two-state solution, and adopting a political path that supports a sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were also topics of discussion.

The meeting stressed the importance of the international community’s recognition of the Palestinian state in order to adopt a comprehensive approach toward a reliable and irreversible path to implementing the two-state solution in accordance with international law and agreed standards, including UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

This would then lead to a just and lasting solution that meets the rights of the Palestinian people and achieves security in the region, paving the way for normal relations between countries, the meeting heard.

The meeting comes before Norway, Spain and Ireland formally recognize a Palestinian state on Tuesday, a largely symbolic move that has infuriated Israel.


Saudi artist embraces her Jazani heritage 

Updated 26 May 2024
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Saudi artist embraces her Jazani heritage 

  • Rehab Zakri’s vibrant impressionist works display rich diversity of southern Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Saudi artist Rehab Zakri is carving a niche for herself in the art world by delving deep into the rich culture and identity of southern Saudi Arabia.

The artist’s impressionist works capture her passion for her heritage and have been displayed at various exhibitions, including a solo exhibition in 2020.

The 24-year-old’s art is a vibrant tapestry of colors reflecting the diverse natural landscapes of her daily life in the city of Jazan.

“Jazan, my hometown, is a treasure trove of heritage and natural wonders that stir my soul. Immersed in its rich nature, my artistic journey blossoms,” she told Arab News.

“Each brushstroke tells a story inspired by ventures with friends to coffee farms, the majestic Qahar mountains, and the serene Wadi Lajab.”

Zakris artistic journey began in childhood when her love for painting blossomed into a fully fledged passion after a teacher encouraged her to participate in a drawing competition.

Her talent shone through as she clinched first place in the Jazan region and fourth place nationally in drawing and painting competitions. This early recognition fueled her determination to pursue her artistic dreams further.

Her choice to follow the impressionist school of art stems from her desire for freedom of expression through color, steering away from precision and perfection.

Her paintings, rich in color and emotion, allow her to convey her feelings and thoughts in a visually captivating manner.

“My artistic expression thrives on the interplay of colors, weaving emotions and identity into every stroke, forging a deep connection between my art and my being,” she said.

Zakri has also created a space at home where art comes to life, hosting art gatherings and workshops, welcoming visitors to experience the beauty and identity of Jazan through her eyes.

“I established a personal sanctuary at home, where every stroke of paint breathes life into my creations. It’s a haven where I open my doors to fellow art enthusiasts,” she said.

“Welcoming visitors from afar, I offer them a glimpse into the essence and allure of Jazan. This city, ingrained in my artistic soul, finds its way into myriad brushstrokes, embodying its spirit and beauty in every painting I create.”

Her large-scale interactive artwork, titled “Generosity,” draws inspiration from Saudi culture and vividly portrays the elegance of the Najdi majlis, symbolizing the warm hospitality ingrained in Saudi society. The piece was crafted to honor the Kingdom’s Founding Day.

In her portrayal of a Jazani mountain girl, she captures the essence of the people of Fayfa and their rich cultural heritage. Fayfa village is known for its unique natural features and the warmth of its people. Nestled amid lush greenery and surrounded by stunning mountain landscapes, Fayfa has a rich biodiversity, with vibrant flora and fauna adding to its charm.

Through meticulous attention to detail, the mountain girl is depicted wearing traditional Jazani attire, adorned with a garland of roses and a straw hat and set against a backdrop of lush green. Zakri’s portrait of the girl skillfully reflects the beauty of Jazan’s natural surroundings.

Another painting, “Coffee Farms,” captures the essence of the famed coffee plantations nestled in the Bani Malik mountains of Jazan.

Having participated in various exhibitions, including her first solo exhibition supported by the Culture and Arts Association in Jazan, Zakri’s artwork has garnered widespread acclaim, with each work representing a cherished moment in time.

“The painting dearest to my heart is a portrait of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” she said. “It embodies Saudi pride and the ambitious vision reflected in his gaze toward a radiant future.”

Describing her approach to the work, she said,:“I employed my impressionist style, infusing vibrant colors and crisp lines to craft a vivid and expressive depiction exuding prominence. This artwork was acquired by the deputy governor of the Jazan region, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Abdulaziz,” she said.

Her painting titled “Our Present to Our Future” symbolizes the Saudi people’s achievements in the journey to Vision 2030, depicting that dreams can come true with belief in one’s abilities.

Her advice to aspiring artists, is straightforward. “Work hard, stay committed, and stay open to new experiences,” she said. “In art, don't be afraid to explore new things. And most importantly, enjoy the journey, even when it gets tough.”

Zakri remains enthusiastic about exploring new opportunities in the art world and has built a platform on Instagram where she displays her art and engages with the community.


Training courses for Hajj and Umrah workers begin

An initiative offering 100,000 training opportunities to workers serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims began on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 26 May 2024
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Training courses for Hajj and Umrah workers begin

RIYADH: An initiative offering 100,000 training opportunities to workers serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims began on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

As part of the Rafid Al-Haramain initiative, 100,000 workers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors will be trained to ensure that the services they offer are of the highest quality and leave a lasting positive impression on visitors to the Kingdom.

The initiative is being organized by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and Makkah’s Umm Al-Qura University.


Three ibex born in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah National Park

Updated 27 May 2024
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Three ibex born in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah National Park

  • The release of the ibex aims to preserve and enhance Saudi Arabia’s biodiversity

RIYADH: Three ibex were born in King Abdullah National Park’s Red Rock Zone after Soudah Development, a Public Investment Fund company, released 23 ibex into the wild last year in collaboration with the National Center for Wildlife.

The release of the ibex aims to preserve and enhance Saudi Arabia’s biodiversity.

It marks a significant milestone in joint reintroduction and conservation efforts, aligning with the Saudi Green Initiative and Vision 2030’s environmental goals.

The two newborns were delivered by two adult ibex, and the third was delivered by a two-year-old ibex.

Soudah Development is closely monitoring a herd of nine ibex to ensure the population’s health and to study their habitat preferences.

“The successful births of the ibex signify a major step forward in our mission to reintroduce endangered species and revitalize the ecosystem within the region,” said Saleh Aloraini, CEO of Soudah Development.

“This development not only reflects our dedication to conservation but also highlights our unwavering commitment to the Saudi Green Initiative.”


Saudi ambassador to Guinea sees off first group of Hajj pilgrims from country

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Guinea Fahad Al-Rashidi sees off this year’s first group of Guinean Hajj pilgrims.
Updated 26 May 2024
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Saudi ambassador to Guinea sees off first group of Hajj pilgrims from country

  • Al-Rashidi said the Kingdom was fully prepared for Hajj

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Guinea Fahad Al-Rashidi on Sunday saw off this year’s first group of Guinean Hajj pilgrims heading from Conakry to the Kingdom.

Al-Rashidi said the Kingdom was fully prepared for the pilgrimage, during which millions of pilgrims from various parts of the world will perform their rituals in the best possible manner, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The ambassador said that due to God’s grace and the generous care and directives of the Saudi leadership, the Kingdom had mobilized its resources, personnel, and capabilities to ensure the comfort, security, and safety of pilgrims.