OIC urges cooperation to alleviate poverty

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During the OIC meeting in Ankara, Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha called on all member states to collaborate more closely and exchange experiences towards accelerating poverty alleviation especially in the least developed states. (Twitter: @OIC_OCI)
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The 9th Follow-up Committee Meeting of the OIC Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation was held in Ankara, Turkey, on May 23-24, 2023. (Twitter: @OIC_OCI)
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Updated 26 May 2023

OIC urges cooperation to alleviate poverty

JEDDAH: The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha has called on member states to work more closely and exchange experiences to help accelerate efforts to alleviate poverty, especially in the least developed countries.

The request came during a meeting of the OIC’s Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation in Ankara, which was held on May 23-24.

Taha urged member states to actively participate in October’s OIC Ministerial Conference on Food Security and Agricultural Development, in Doha.

The conference aims to speed up the recovery process in the agricultural and food security sectors following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent meeting focused on several issues, including the implementation status of several COMCEC projects in trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, financial development, and poverty alleviation.

The meeting also approved the draft agenda for the 39th session of the COMCEC General Assembly in Istanbul, from Dec. 2-5.

The COMCEC follow-up committee meets annually to review the implementation status of the resolutions of the ministerial sessions on economic and trade development, and to prepare the necessary working documents for the forthcoming COMCEC ministerial sessions.

Saudi authorities foil drug-smuggling attempts

Updated 59 min 43 sec ago

Saudi authorities foil drug-smuggling attempts

  • Initial legal procedures have been taken against the suspects

RIYADH: Saudi authorities have arrested several people and seized large quantities of illegal drugs in operations carried out across the Kingdom, Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

The General Directorate of Narcotics Control arrested a citizen, two residents and a Yemeni national in Jeddah for selling 10 kg of hashish, as well as three citizens in the Asir region for selling 15 kg of hashish.

Initial legal procedures have been taken against the suspects and they will be referred to the public prosecution office.

Meanwhile, land patrols in the Al-Dair governorate of the Jazan region also thwarted an attempt to smuggle 120 kg of qat.

Saudi security forces are appealing to the public to report information concerning drug smuggling or dealing by calling 911 in the Makkah, Riyadh and Eastern Province regions, and 999 in the rest of the Kingdom.

Members of the public can also contact the General Directorate of Narcotics Control on 995 or via email at [email protected]. All reports will be treated with strict confidentiality.

KSrelief chief meets with international president of Doctors Without Borders

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of KSrelief, meets with Dr. Christos Christou.
Updated 24 September 2023

KSrelief chief meets with international president of Doctors Without Borders

  • During the meeting, they discussed ways to provide necessary medical aid to people affected by conflicts, epidemics and natural disasters

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of the Saudi aid agency KSrelief, recently met with Dr. Christos Christou, the international president of Doctors Without Borders, on the sidelines of the work of the UN General Assembly at its 78th session in New York City.

During the meeting, they discussed ways to provide necessary medical aid to people affected by conflicts, epidemics, natural disasters, and deprivation of health care in some needy countries.

Christou praised the Kingdom’s active humanitarian role at the international level, noting the efforts of KSrelief in the health sector and caring for the sick and injured people around the world.

How Saudi artists are embracing cultural heritage through craftsmanship

Updated 24 September 2023

How Saudi artists are embracing cultural heritage through craftsmanship

RIYADH: Saudi craftsmanship and family legacies are being kept alive through weaving and creative works.

Contemporary weaver Hana Almilli explores patterns of sadu weaving, creating masterpieces with a traditional twist.

Almilli told Arab News: “In a world that is constantly evolving, being a part of the few who are actively preserving tradition while exploring their artistry feels like a meaningful contribution. It’s a testament to the enduring value of heritage and the capacity of art to transcend time and space.”

Sadu weaving is an ancient tribal weaving craft that artistically portrays Arabian nomadic people’s rich cultural heritage.

As a multimedia artist and arts and culture management professional, Almilli said she feels a sense of duty in keeping traditions alive, “not only for my family, but also for generations to come to be able to keep histories through tangible assemblages.”

Through the earth, I come back home by Hana Almilli. (Supplied)

While in her third year studying abroad for a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Almilli had an epiphany that would soon change her educational track.

She said: “I wanted to delve into my artistic practice and also regain the textile practice that was always a part of my childhood. I decided to take a knitting course to regain the memories I had with my grandmother when I was little, as she was a knitter and loved crocheting as well.”

Almilli then switched to studying a bachelor’s degree in textiles.

“I knew this was what I wanted to do for my degree. Something that is a form of revival of heritage was a revival of my nostalgia and healing,” she said.

It was during this time that Almilli dived deep into researching her Saudi heritage.

“I am a Saudi. When I traveled abroad for my studies, I felt alienated and longed for my home, family, friends and life. I wanted to feel close while I was far away. Whether researching patterns, looking for books about Saudi, Sadu weaving, or indirectly incorporating it within my work through contemporary patterns, it will always exist in my work in some form,” she said.

She graduated from California College of the Arts in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in textiles with a minor in creative writing.

In 2022, she received a master’s degree in arts and culture management from Rome Business School in Italy.

Belonging to Turkish, Syrian, Kurdish and Saudi lineage, Almilli’s path is persuaded by “questions of identity.”

She said: “Enquiring perpetual alienation, my ideology developed into discovering and representing the term Al-Ghorba (estrangement in a foreign land). Consequently, my visual structure interrogates nostalgia through weaving, dyeing, embroidering and photography techniques.

“My art practice is research-based, and within it, I explore the idea of recreating affected and rediscovering identities through the material culture of textiles and assemblages,” she added.

Almilli said her work is driven by memory, nostalgia, identity, emotion and more.

“Those elements always combine to create a curiosity to research my heritage further and write poetry pieces in response, which eventually leads to visualizations of my works,” she said.

“It is something I hold close to my heart, and which I take immense pride in. Being able to intertwine tradition with my artistic expression is a truly rewarding experience. It’s like breathing life into the past while simultaneously creating something new and innovative.”

The art of weaving, Sadu, has been added to UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage list.

The Saudi Heritage Commission told Arab News that it strives to launch programs aimed at preserving and highlighting Saudi culture.

“These programs and projects promote three main values and goals, which are: Enhancing awareness among citizens of the importance of heritage, establishing rules and regulations and issuing licenses, and protecting the portfolio of cultural wealth and archaeological sites, and managing them effectively,” the commission said.

The Heritage Commission launched six projects that highlight elements of intangible heritage. One of the projects involves preparing intangible heritage files for registration on UNESCO lists.

“From this standpoint comes the importance of preserving the intangible cultural heritage with its cultural components. Therefore, the Heritage Authority works, through its strategy to develop the sector, to align with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.”

This article originally appeared on Arab News Japan

Saudi traditional arts institute enhances cultural heritage

Updated 24 September 2023

Saudi traditional arts institute enhances cultural heritage

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts recently participated in the 93rd National Day activities by organizing programs that align with its core responsibilities of preserving living treasures, offering training and education, and promoting traditional arts.

The institute presented handmade candles that depicted traditional inscriptions from various regions of the Kingdom. These inscriptions included Najdi patterns, Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, Al-Sadu, and Al-Hasawi patterns, serving as an homage to the diverse cultural heritage of different parts of the country.

In addition to the art programs in Historic Jeddah, the institute presented a collection of gifts to visitors and conducted a series of high-quality workshops in various disciplines.

These workshops covered topics such as drawing and coloring traditional geometric patterns, the process of wood design, and creating traditional designs inspired by the homes of Jeddah Al-Balad.

Suzanne Al-Yahya, CEO of the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts, said that Saudi Arabia’s traditional artistic heritage reflects the diversity and wealth of the country’s cultural heritage.

“The institute works to enhance the rich and distinctive cultural heritage of traditional arts and related artistic works, preserve their authenticity, and support national capabilities and talents as well as their practitioners. encouraging those who are interested to study, practice, and grow in it.”

The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts, chaired on an honorary basis by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, promotes and supports traditional arts. It offers education and training, aims to preserve and raise awareness of national treasures, and enhances their visibility globally.

National Day festivities entertain millions in Saudi Arabia

Updated 24 September 2023

National Day festivities entertain millions in Saudi Arabia

  • Maraya Concert Hall in AlUla shines spotlight on beauty of Arabian horses

RIYADH: Fireworks illuminated the skies of Saudi Arabia on the 93rd National Day, as millions of people gathered in various locations across the country on Saturday evening to enjoy the artistic shows organized by the General Entertainment Authority.

Citizens and residents who gathered to witness the fireworks also had the opportunity to enjoy a diverse range of other displays and events, including drone shows.

The celebrations were held in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa, Buraidah, Abha, Madinah, Hail, Tabuk, Baha, Sakaka, Jazan, Najran, Taif, Arar, and other cities.

In Boulevard Riyadh City, billboards displayed images of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the Kingdom’s flag.

In celebration of National Day, the people of AlUla gathered at the Maraya Concert Hall, where Arabian horses, which have long occupied a special place in the lives of Saudis, were put on display, accompanied by riders in traditional Saudi attire.

Meanwhile, Riyadh witnessed a spectacular military show, commencing with a parade featuring the participation of the Presidency of the Saudi Royal Guard, the Ministry of National Guard, and the General Directorate of Border Guard.

The parade featured a horse-mounted march and a musical performance by the Honor Guard, and culminated with the hoisting of the Saudi flag by helicopter, signifying the start of the aerial display.

Twelve Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, belonging to the Ministry of National Guard, took part in the aerial show, followed by the distinguished Saudi Falcons aerobatic team.

The Royal Saudi Air Force also presented impressive displays during the event, featuring aircraft such as Typhoon, F-15 S, Tornado, and F-15 C.

Along the coasts of the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf, the Royal Saudi Navy held maritime processions and shows in both the Eastern and Western fleets.

The aerial displays will continue across the Kingdom’s skies at multiple locations until they culminate in a performance over Jouf on Oct. 2.