Hayy Jameel’s bustling Ramadan Nights embraces community, culture

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Ramadan Nights takes place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering to all ages and backgrounds. (Instagram/hayyjameel)
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Abdullah Alsilani, a carpenter and the founder of NBR Carpentry. (AN photo)
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Hadeel Alabbasi, the founder of Qanaateer with a kid teaching Arabic fonts. (AN photo)
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Carlota Martin. (AN photo)
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Updated 01 April 2024
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Hayy Jameel’s bustling Ramadan Nights embraces community, culture

  • Vibrant program ‘by the community, for the community’ offers evenings of reflection and joy

JEDDAH: The inaugural Ramadan Nights at Jeddah’s Hayy Jameel cultural center features a range of activities including workshops, film screenings, dining experiences, and shopping options.

Highlighting the importance of community, culture, and well-being, the event will take place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering for all ages and backgrounds.




Ramadan Nights takes place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering to all ages and backgrounds. (Instagram/hayyjameel)

Ramadan Nights includes local artisanal crafts, books, organic seasonal produce, accessories, clothing, and gifts at Hayy Markets. The platform provides the creative community with a space to exhibit their products, engage with customers, and raise awareness about local initiatives that champion sustainability, well-being, and artistic practices.

Rahma Al-Harbi, founder of Sigo and a first-time participant at Hayy Markets, told Arab News: “I am selling souvenirs that are locally authentic and reflect the rich culture of Saudi Arabia and its various cities.




Ramadan Nights takes place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering to all ages and backgrounds. (Instagram/hayyjameel)

“We also offer traditional games that have been reimagined in a modern style, each representing different aspects of cities such as Diriyah and AlUla. The interaction with customers is truly unique, and we manage to sell all our products every week.”

Samar Allarakia, an artist and designer, said: “I create limited-edition abayas by painting and printing on fabrics exclusively for Hayy Jameel. Each time I sell out, I restock.




Hadeel Al-Abbasi, Qanaateer founder

“I also offer handmade items specifically for this bazaar. The response has been incredible, and customers have shown great love for my work. I look forward to collaborating further with Hayy Jameel.”

Raghad Bawazir, the founder of FouZentric, said: “Our brand features 100 percent handmade abayas, dresses, and bags in a boho style. The crowd’s response has been incredible, and people truly appreciate our trendy boho designs.”

I am thrilled to be a part of this initiative and to share Islamic and cultural traditions with children.

Hadeel Al-Abbasi, Qanaateer founder

Carlota Martin, founder of Root Spain and Kids at the Patio, said: “We are showcasing two unique brands at this market. The Root specializes in gourmet Spanish food, including exceptional products like extra virgin olive oil, artisanal flower petal jams, and marron glace (candied chestnuts).




Ramadan Nights takes place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering to all ages and backgrounds. (Instagram/hayyjameel)

“We also offer elegant marble bowl and spoon hampers to complement our offerings.

“Our kids’ brand features stylish clothing for newborns to children, catering to both boys and girls. Visitors are loving our products and are eager to learn more. I am grateful for the invitation from Hayy Jameel.”




Eiman Elnaiem, Hayy Jameel public programs manager

Abdullah Alsilani, a carpenter and the founder of NBR Carpentry, presents wood-carving sessions. He said his business focused on creating custom designs based on requests and its product range included tables, candle stands, kitchen items, and keychains.

Anas Bukhari and Kholoud Faqih, the founders of JED Board Games who frequently collaborate with Hayy Jameel. Faqih said: “We provide a diverse array of challenging board games, offering over 150 options for this Ramadan Nights program.

Ramadan Nights has community at the heart of it all … and it is incredible to see Hayy Jameel buzzing at every corner.

Eiman Elnaiem, Hayy Jameel public programs manager

“Our community has been thriving as we aim to educate individuals about the world of board games. By spreading awareness and knowledge about these games, we hope to encourage more people to step away from electronic devices.

“During Ramadan, it’s a perfect opportunity for families and friends to come together, spend quality time, and enjoy the experience of playing board games.”

During Ramadan, Hayy Cinema presents a selection of local and international films, offering the opportunity to unwind and relax after iftar until midnight.

The program also features Hayy Explorer which provides children with a chance to dig into Islamic arts, participate in games, and discover culinary traditions from different regions in Saudi Arabia.

Hadeel Felemban, who oversees Hayy Explorer, said: “We have storytellers sharing tales of food from Baha and Aseer. We’ve partnered with Akwan to host a fun games night for kids, featuring memory card games for Ramadan and activities to build Arabic alphabets.

“Kids can also enjoy hands-on activities like making mamoul (dates cookies), drawing sessions, and art projects. Each session lasts for one hour and can accommodate up to 20 children.”

The Arabic language institute, Qanaateer, has been highlighting the traditions and history of the Arabian Peninsula through art, stories, and culture for kids.

Qanaateer founder, Hadeel Al-Abbasi, said: “We are collaborating on weekends to teach artwork, Arabic fonts, creating Eid carpets, crafting Ramadan lanterns with wishes and prayers, and more.

“Everything is thoughtfully organized at Hayy Jameel. I am thrilled to be a part of this initiative and to share Islamic and cultural traditions with children.”

At a session hosted at Project Space by Hayy Learning’s teaching artists Nayla Attar and Sahrish Ali, participants explored the Holy Qur’an, and shared stories, recipes, and memories.

Maria Alem, senior manager at Hayy Jameel’s learning program, said: “For Ramadan Nights, we immersed ourselves in discussions about the fruits mentioned in the Qur’an, expressing gratitude for their blessings. This was followed by a creative printmaking session where participants crafted prints inspired by these fruits.

“They also reflected on personal recipes that hold special meaning, translating them into beautiful lino prints.”

Regarding a workshop on making a sobia blend using sourdough and dates, a healthier alternative to the staple Hejazi drink, Maram Murad, from Health in a Jar, said: “I came to Saudi Arabia with an idea to revive the art of fermented foods and started Health in a Jar six years ago, specializing in fermented food.

“We conduct workshops on fermented foods like sourdough, kombucha, kimchi, and during Ramadan, we focus on sobia.

“Collaborating with Hayy Jameel, we offered a healthy version of sobia during Ramadan with dates, raisins, and sourdough bread. It’s amazing to see the community’s growing interest in learning the process of making sobia is truly inspiring.”

Public programs manager, Eiman Elnaiem, said that the inaugural cultural Ramadan program was all about celebrating togetherness, community spirit, and well-being.

“The program has been developed with something for anyone and everyone in mind — from Hayy Markets and its selection of artisanal crafts, books, design, gifts, and local produce by entrepreneurs and creatives from across Saudi Arabia to film screenings at Hayy Cinema, children’s activities centered on storytelling, games, and reminders of the meaning of Ramadan and reflective and inspiring talks, workshops, live calligraphy, and performances celebrating tradition, customs, and shared values,” Elnaiem added.

She also noted the variety of food and beverage options available across Hayy Jameel.

“Ramadan Nights has community at the heart of it all. It is for the community, by the community, and it is incredible to see Hayy Jameel buzzing at every corner, including those curious to explore our current exhibition ‘At the Edge of Land’ in Hayy Arts, as well as Hayy residents in their spaces.

“The Ramadan program has been such a success, introducing us and bringing new audiences to Hayy Jameel. We hope it continues to grow and become the place to be each and every Ramadan for the years to come.

“We feel proud at Hayy Jameel to work with and support local collaborators and participants through the program, allowing them to share their passion, creativity, and connect with the wider community,” Elnaiem said.

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Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Updated 21 June 2024
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Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

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

Border guards in Asir province thwarted an attempt to smuggle 52 kg of hashish into the kingdom, while in Jazan the authorities foiled the trafficking of 243 kg of qat.

Saudi’s 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.


Saudi Arabia reaffirms humanitarian efforts for needy, displaced and refugees

Updated 21 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia reaffirms humanitarian efforts for needy, displaced and refugees

  • Support ‘includes all countries of the world without discrimination,’ says KSrelief
  • Kingdom has spent $115 billion on aid in 90 countries over past 4 decades

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen its support for refugees and displaced persons around the world on World Refugee Day, reported Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi aid agency KSrelief said its humanitarian support “includes all countries of the world without discrimination.”

Since it was founded in May 2025, the organization has so far carried out 2,984 projects in 99 countries as it continues to expand its work for the needy and people affected by wars and disasters.

Support for refugees and displaced people in Syria, Palestine, Myanmar and Yemen alone was delivered through 424 humanitarian projects with a value of over $1.18 billion. The schemes have included food and agricultural security, protection and health services, shelter, early recovery and education.

Infographic courtesy of Salam.org

KSrelief also supported those displaced in other countries by implementing 304 projects worth more than $2.19 billion,

The Kingdom hosts a large number of people from countries affected by war, with refugees from Yemen, Syria, and Myanmar alone constituting 5.5 percent of its population. With the latest General Authority for Statistics census citing a total population of 32,175 million, that places the number of refugees at over 1.76 million.

The visitors are provided with “the opportunity for free treatment and education,” said the SPA report, and the Kingdom is keen they are integrated into society.

Saudi’s humanitarian aid and relief efforts go back decades. Non-profit organization Salam records total spending over the past four decades as more than $115 billion in over 90 countries.

“Saudi Arabia has been providing aid to different countries, solving humanitarian crises, and relieving people suffering after wars or natural disasters. These aids are granted without any bias or prejudice to religion or ethnicity,” says Salam on its website, salam4cc.org.


How Saudi startup Braincell is optimizing decision-making and automation through AI

Updated 21 June 2024
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How Saudi startup Braincell is optimizing decision-making and automation through AI

  • AI solutions designed to solve specific business problems are having a profound impact on how firms operate
  • Braincell leverages AI to enhance processes, from logistics and healthcare to banking and smart cities

RIYADH: Automated decision-making allows businesses to make faster, more accurate and more consistent decisions by analyzing large datasets without the risk of human error. That is why, as Saudi Arabia expands its digital economy, such tools are becoming more widely used in the Kingdom.

One firm that is leading the charge in this area is the Saudi startup Braincell, which helps businesses streamline processes and enhance decision-making through automation and artificial intelligence integration.

“Braincell has created a data governance platform and data workflow platform that enables AI solutions to be connected at ease, making it a one-stop shop for data needs,” Abdulhameed Khairaldeen, Braincell’s business development director, told Arab News.

AI solutions, which leverage AI techniques and technologies to solve specific business problems, are poised to have a profound impact on how firms operate. Already, large language models like ChatGPT are taking on rudimentary tasks in a range of industries.

“Braincell clients can choose to work on their own LLMs and on-premises models or even connect to the likes of OpenAI’s ChatGPT,” said Khairaldeen.

Braincell is just one of the many new Saudi companies utilizing AI to optimize technologies. (Supplied)

With the Kingdom’s mission to become a global leader among data-driven economies, new AI startups are emerging every day with the goal of contributing to the fast-growing sector. Braincell is just one of the many new Saudi companies utilizing AI to optimize technologies.

Since its establishment, Braincell has focused on empowering businesses through technology, data and interconnected systems with the mission of enhancing efficiency in business flow regardless of the sector.

In particular, Braincell is connecting leaders, executives, organizations and governments to systems that will allow faster and more effective decision-making.

Braincell leverages AI-powered decision-making to enhance operations. (Supplied)

Asked how Braincell helps firms improve their employee productivity, the company’s senior data consultant, Shatha bin Shaalan, said: “We use AI and automation in our platform to automate the repetitive tasks that we do every day, ensuring that our clients get the benefit of maximum efficiency while reducing human errors and manual efforts.”

Braincell is leveraging AI-powered decision-making to enhance operations across sectors including healthcare, data, banking, supply chains, manufacturing, and smart buildings and cities.

In healthcare, Braincell’s technology fosters an environment for improved patient outcomes by working with clients to build metric-driven healthcare systems, creating scalable digital health ecosystems that reduce errors through automation.

DID YOUKNOW?

• In healthcare, Braincell improves patient outcomes through metric-driven systems that reduce errors.

• In banking, it performs real-time monitoring, streamlines processes, detects fraud, and monitors risk.

• In smart buildings, it collects data on energy consumption, air quality, and occupancy to improve efficiency.

Some of its services include comprehensive insights into personalized care and streamlined clinical processes.

In banking, Braincell is utilizing AI to enhance the customer experience by streamlining and organizing processes that in turn will reduce manual errors.

Shutterstock illustration image

Through Braincell’s banking command center, real-time monitoring also detects fraud, monitors risk management and enhances strategic decision-making.

Applied to smart buildings and cities, Braincell offers new ways to improve the experience of residents. One example is the firm’s data integration and sensor deployment that collects data on energy consumption, air quality, occupancy levels and other relevant parameters.

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Braincell’s use of automation in smart buildings and cities also improves energy efficiency by using advanced AI algorithms to control smart lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems that adjust settings based on occupancy and environmental conditions.

The company has more than 100 active users, and boasts the ability to process 120 billion records in a matter of seconds using AI.

It aims to help businesses make reliable decisions by connecting data sources and consolidating them in a comprehensive way that is easier for clients to access, resulting in higher quality, accuracy and consistency through the use of AI automation.

“The data platform is highly customizable with a very simple setup,” said Bin Shaalan, the firm’s senior data consultant. “It’s dynamic and fits all needs as it integrates with many systems adopted here in the Kingdom.”

Braincell has signed memorandums of understanding with multiple partners including the Ministry of Health, the Public Investment Fund, the National Unified Procurement Company and supply chain specialist XPL Solutions.

The firm has also created a data governance and data workflow platform to help companies comply with National Data Management Office regulations in the Kingdom.
 

 


No normalization with Israel without Palestinian state, Saudi ambassador to UK says

Updated 21 June 2024
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No normalization with Israel without Palestinian state, Saudi ambassador to UK says

  • Prince Khalid bin Bandar was speaking at Chatham House’s London Conference
  • Said Kingdom’s position on Arab-Israeli conflict has never changed

LONDON: Saudi Arabia will not normalize ties with Israel at the expense of Palestinian statehood, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UK said on Thursday.

Speaking at Chatham House’s London Conference, Prince Khalid bin Bandar said that normalization remained important to Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region because it would ensure peace, stability and security.
He admitted that “compromises would have to be made” to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, which he said affected the world in a way other conflicts did not.

“If what is happening (in Gaza) keeps happening, we are going to go down a path that is irreversible,” Prince Khalid said. 



“The further we get away from finding a solution, the more people lose hope, the more we’re at that point, it’s going to spread to a regional conflict. It’s important for everyone to recognisze the danger of what lies ahead. The conflict will not remain regional, it will become international very quickly,” he said.

But Prince Khalid said that normalization would be “irrelevant” until the plight of Palestinians was resolved.

“We believe in the creation of a Palestinian state and a solution to the conflict,” he said. “If it was easy, we’d have done it by now but without that, normalization is irrelevant. There is no point having normalization because we would still have conflict and conflict is the problem, not normalization.

“There is no point in discussing everything else until we find a solution. Once we do that, everything is on the table.”

Prince Khalid said that the Kingdom was “one of the most important countries in the region,” which had “leverage” in opening up the Arab and Muslim world to Israel and for it not to play a role in brokering a solution would be “silly.” 



But he added for that to happen, Israel “needs to play ball as well,” adding that the price for finding a solution was an independent Palestinian state.

The ambassador bemoaned how little global coverage the Saudi position on the crisis received, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent Hajj address, in which he reiterated calls for an immediate halt to attacks in Gaza.

“It’s important to recognize our position, which has never changed, despite people never listening to us,” Prince Khalid said.

“The crown prince’s positon, Saudi Arabia’s position, his majesty (King Salman)’s position, the government’s position and the will of almost every Saudi I know is we need a Palestinian state.



“The offer was made in the Arab Peace Initiative; on 1967 borders, a Palestinian state, a two-state solution and everyone lives happily ever after. It goes back to 1982, King Fahd presented the same offer, it has not been taken up, I find it mystifying.

“The crown prince stated very clearly, we need a ceasefire, an irreversible solution for the Palestinians and then there’s peace everywhere, it wasn’t even reported.

“It’s annoying and frustrating for us because the world assumes something totally different and that’s not helping the situation,” he said.


Specialist hospital organizes Advanced Therapies Forum

Updated 20 June 2024
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Specialist hospital organizes Advanced Therapies Forum

  • Event in Riyadh will bring together 30 representatives from various government organizations and academic institutions alongside advanced therapy manufacturing companies
  • Forum’s agenda seeks to build bridges between academic healthcare institutions, industry stakeholders, funding agencies, investors, regulators, and government agencies

RIYADH: The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center is set to host the Advanced Therapies Forum which will take place from June 23-24, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event in Riyadh will bring together 30 representatives from various government organizations and academic institutions alongside advanced therapy manufacturing companies. It will aim to foster a collaborative environment where industrial partners can showcase their research and forge strategic alliances with healthcare institutions.

The forum’s agenda seeks to build bridges between academic healthcare institutions, industry stakeholders, funding agencies, investors, regulators, and government agencies. It also strives to increase the number of clinical research studies in the fields of T-cell therapy and gene therapy.

Industrial partners, including pharmaceutical companies of all sizes, will have the opportunity to explore avenues for launching clinical research initiatives at KFSH&RC.

The forum will feature 15 keynote speeches, over 30 presentations on ongoing projects by industry leaders, five panel discussions, and numerous other sessions. The goal is to cultivate a shared vision for the future of advanced therapies in the Kingdom and to localize manufacturing technology for cellular and gene therapies.

In recent years, KFSH&RC has emerged as a beacon of hope for patients who faced limited treatment options, using genetically modified immune cells to successfully treat more than 120 individuals.

The journey began with a positive outcome for the first child from the region to be treated using T-cells. More recently, the hospital successfully applied advanced gene therapy to eight patients with hereditary hemophilia. The single-dose therapy effectively elevated levels of the missing clotting factor, empowering patients to reclaim their lives.

KFSH&RC has been ranked 20th among the top 250 academic healthcare institutions worldwide, according to SPA, and has held the top spot in the Middle East and Africa region for two consecutive years.

Currently, more than 30 gene and genetically modified cell therapies have been officially approved for clinical use. Experts predict that the global cell and gene therapy market is poised for exponential growth, outpacing the traditional pharmaceutical industry to surpass a staggering $50 billion annually by 2027.

It is estimated that more than 2 million patients will benefit from T-cell therapy within the next decade, with more than a thousand clinical research studies actively underway across the globe.