Jeddah university hosts forum on technology, creativity

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Prof. Ahmed Elmasry, professor of corporate finance and governance at the Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity, Coventry University, UK. (Supplied)
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Attendees at the “Creativity, Technology, and Sustainability” conference. (Supplied)
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The conference was held on May 15-16. (Supplied)
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Updated 19 May 2024
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Jeddah university hosts forum on technology, creativity

  • Conference explored best practices in technology and interdisciplinary scientific research

JEDDAH: Dar Al-Hekma University in Jeddah recently wrapped up its third “Creativity, Technology, and Sustainability” conference, sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

The two-day event, held on May 15-16, drew a wide range of experts, scholars and local and international officials to explore interconnected themes in pursuit of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Abeer Al-Dughaither, the university’s president, highlighted the significance of the conference, saying: “This event embodies the values of the university, which aims to anticipate scientific and practical futures and stay abreast of developments to be an active partner in various aspects of development. There is no doubt that the three pillars of the conference (creativity, technology, and sustainability) represent a fundamental pillar in any cultural renaissance.

“This conference reflects the university’s strategic plan to build bridges of scientific and cultural cooperation between it and local and international institutions, with knowledge and cultural experts participating from within the Kingdom and abroad at the regional and global levels,” she added.

The conference explored best practices in technology and interdisciplinary scientific research, underlining how these advancements foster creativity and development to tackle global challenges.

Discussions also covered the critical role of advanced technology in sustainable development and digital transformation, alongside the significance of effective management, policies and ethics in attaining sustainability objectives.

During his keynote speech on “Innovative Key Facilities for Human-Centered and Sustainable Design,” Prof. Luigi Maffei from the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Caserta, Italy, emphasized the changing viewpoints within disciplines exploring environmental changes and their effects on individuals.

He said: “Many disciplines are transitioning from a negative, monodisciplinary approach to a positive, multidisciplinary one that is more human-centered and sustainable, recognizing the importance of considering the well-being of individuals in design solutions.”

Ahmed Elmasry, professor of corporate finance and governance at the Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity, Coventry University, UK, delivered a thought-provoking speech on environmental, social and governance controversies.

He highlighted the importance of leading change and inspiring growth to empower tomorrow by harnessing technology, sustainability and innovation as drivers for business evolution.

In his speech on “Cognitive Cities and the Future of Urban Living,” Joaquim Alvarez, head of cognitive technologies at the engineering technical services department at NEOM, said: “Understanding the evolution of urban areas by examining cities’ development trajectory is crucial. Transitioning from historical reflections to dynamic adaptation for contemporary challenges is imperative.”

Speakers at the conference outlined the significance of education in promoting awareness about sustainability. Panel discussions, moderated by a diverse group of experts, academics, and officials from local and international backgrounds, explored the interconnected themes of creativity, technology and sustainability.

The sessions delved into research topics that deepen our understanding of technological progress, fostering innovation and progress.

The conference offered a range of workshops to nurture creativity and cultivate essential skills crucial for sustainable development.

A dedicated section featured scientific papers and posters from researchers, with several contributions by students from Dar Al-Hekma University.


Skill meets heritage in initiative boosting Saudi handicrafts sector

Updated 13 July 2024
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Skill meets heritage in initiative boosting Saudi handicrafts sector

  • Saudi Artisanal Company is ‘leveraging the country’s cultural wealth to empower local artisans’

JEDDAH/RIYADH: The Saudi Artisanal Company is playing a central role in the development of Saudi Arabia’s flourishing handicrafts sector — a reminder of the Kingdom’s rich heritage and commitment to honoring its traditions.

According to the company’s acting CEO, Ibrahim Al-Dulaijan, the SAC is “leveraging the country’s cultural wealth to empower Saudi artisans, build sustainable partnerships, and deliver Saudi-crafted goods that are an integral part of the nation’s legacy.

Saudi Artisanal Company equips skilled local artisans with the latest technologies to create their pieces. (AN photos by Loai Al-Kellawy)

“The company not only supports its skilled local artisans but also equips them with the latest technologies to create their pieces blending heritage, tradition, and innovation.”

Al-Dulaijan told Arab News in a written statement: “Empowering local artisans and designers is a key element of the company’s operations. We have activated a strategic partnership with the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts, through which practical training is provided for artisans, offering them practical and profitable opportunities in the artisanal field.”

HIGHLIGHT

Saudi Artisanal Company’s strategic partnership with the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts provides practical training to artisans.

Part of the training includes extensive research on the history and cultural significance of various products.

Saudi Artisanal Company equips skilled local artisans with the latest technologies to create their pieces. (AN photos by Loai Al-Kellawy)

“The team believes in the importance of preserving heritage and reviving and empowering crafts approved by the Heritage Authority. This belief is reflected in the communication, implementation, and supervision processes with artisans and designers.” Al-Dulaijan added.

The resulting products “reflect genuine heritage” and “tell enriching stories,” he said.

Saudi Artisanal Company equips skilled local artisans with the latest technologies to create their pieces. (AN photos by Loai Al-Kellawy)

During a recent visit to the company’s studio in Riyadh’s JAX district, Arab News witnessed some of these skilled artisans at work. Each of them has dedicated years to perfecting their craft, whether working with wool, wicker, wood, plaster, or engraving.

Abeer Al-Rabiah, the product design manager at the company, spoke to Arab News about her background and approach to design.

We aim to enhance our culture, preserve our identity, and pass on our heritage to future generations.

Sadiq Al-Hajri, Artisan supervisor, Saudi Artisanal Company

Growing up in an artistic household, she was surrounded by art and design but also had a strong interest in science. Al-Rabiah felt torn between these passions until discovering industrial design, which combines elements of both.

The Saudi Khawlani coffee collection, a piece that celebrates Saudi coffee, was one of the award-winning products featured in their studio. (AN photo by Loai El-kellawy)

She emphasized that product design is not just about creating beautiful objects but also about considering their functionality and manufacturability.

Al-Rabiah highlighted the responsibility designers have toward the environment, especially when creating products for mass production.

“Handmade products are a lot more sustainable and eco-friendly than products designed in factories,” she said. “This is the main thing that drew me into the crafts field — the materials used, usually natural materials. You’re not using an entire factory that’s producing a lot of toxins into the environment.

Sadiq Al-Hajri, the artisan’s supervisor showcased the steadiness and intricate carving techniques perfected by the artisans. (AN photo by Loai El-kellawy)

“We do a lot of research before making every product and try to connect our history, culture, and heritage into the design,” she added. “Every product that we make either has a story or a meaning that is related to our heritage and culture. The fact that the products are handmade by Saudi hands, with crafts that have been in the region for years, also connects it to our heritage.

“We try to highlight parts of our heritage that are kind of forgotten or not widely talked about. A good example would be our Khawlani coffee collection. The Arabian Peninsula had a Golden Age when coffee was produced here and sent throughout the entire world.”

Many of the craftsman at the Saudi Artisan Company dedicate hours of their day carving, weaving, and designing products that highlight the Kingdoms culture and heritage. (AN photo by Loai El-kellawy)

The collection is an award-winning piece that celebrates Saudi coffee. The 3D-modeled cover and hand-crafted wooden box reflect the mountainous terrains of the coffee-producing regions of the Kingdom, specifically Mount Talan.

Inside the box sit two porcelain coffee cups inspired by coffee fruits, along with coffee capsules filled with a blend of espresso and Saudi Khawlani coffee.

Saudi Artisanal Company equips skilled local artisans with the latest technologies to create their pieces. (AN photos by Loai Al-Kellawy)

The Khawlani coffee collection won Best Luxury Item at the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism Awards earlier this year, while the dates bowls collection won Best Contemporary Interpretation and Design.

“It’s a global award that we’re very proud of,” Al-Rabiah added.

The craftsman at the Saudi Artisan Company dedicate their careers to preserving and showcasing the Saudi heritage through their handmade products. (AN photo by Loai El-kellawy)

The SAC also has an online store offering more than 100 products, with local and international shipping options available.

“The company also participates in certain seasons and events. For example, we displayed artisans’ products during this year’s Hajj season,” Al-Dulaijan said. “Additionally, we’ll be opening stores in several cities in the Kingdom to serve citizens, residents, and tourists by providing high-quality artisanal products, supporting local products, and empowering local artisans and designers.”

Fatima Al-Thubyani, production unit manager at the company’s workshop, has eight years of experience in the field of handicrafts and an academic background in fashion design.

Al-Thubyani told Arab News, “To support the emerging generation, we use modern materials paired with traditional heritage patterns, creating contemporary and innovative outcomes. This approach integrates designers and artisans, providing sustainable job opportunities.”

The company invites artisans and designers from all over the Kingdom to collaborate, whether by showcasing their products on various sales platforms, participating in training programs, or working on business opportunities together. This mutual collaboration provides sustainable income sources for them and is, the company says, “pivotal in driving a significant transformation in the artisanal sector.”

Sadiq Al-Hajri, the artisan’s supervisor, who has more than 14 years of experience in the field, said: “We aim to enhance our culture, preserve our identity, and pass on our heritage to future generations. We strive to convey what our ancestors were, what we have added, and what the next generation will add.

“My interest in handicraft industries began at a young age, specifically with wood carving. Through workshops, I aim to demonstrate to artisans how an artisan as an artist differs from an artisan as a producer. We work to value artisans by providing the necessary tools to achieve outstanding work.”

The SAC has participated in numerous local and international events and exhibitions, such as the Artigiano in Fiera exhibition in Italy and the Benan exhibition in the Kingdom. International participation is a “significant focus” for the near future, according to Al-Dulaijan, in order to “introduce Saudi heritage to the world.”

 


Natural beauty of Baha’s Raghadan Park attracts visitors

Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)
Updated 13 July 2024
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Natural beauty of Baha’s Raghadan Park attracts visitors

  • Mayor welcomes tourists to popular location

RIYADH: With its vast green spaces, dense forest and mild climate, Raghadan Park is among Baha’s most popular destinations for tourists looking for outdoor fun.

In an interview with the Saudi Press Agency, Ali Al-Sawat, the mayor of the Baha region, spoke of the municipal projects within Raghadan Forest Park.

Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)

He said: “These projects encompass Bahjat Raghadan Park, which spans an estimated 20,000 sq. meters, (with a) 700-meter main walkway, and 18,000 sq. meters of green spaces.

“The park also boasts a 30-meter waterfall, an interactive fountain, 156 decorative columns, three children’s areas, three photography zones, and a 25-meter decorative pedestrian bridge.”

Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)

The site, which includes cafes and eateries, also boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters, he added.

The central square covers 8,000 sq. meters and is connected to the garden, which occupies some 5,000 sq. meters. Adjacent to it is a 500-meter walkway covered with natural stone and featuring waterfalls.

Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)

The project is illuminated by about 270 decorative lighting poles and includes statues, flower beds, seating areas, wooden bridges, and kiosks.

The mayor welcomes tourists and visitors to the location to enjoy its atmosphere, stunning views, valleys, and lush vegetation.

 


Saudi ambassador to UAE received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in Dubai

Updated 13 July 2024
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Saudi ambassador to UAE received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in Dubai

  • Sheikh Mohammed, who is also vice president and prime minister of UAE, wished ambassador success in his mission

DUBAI: Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum received the Saudi ambassador to the UAE Sultan bin Abdullah Al-Angari on Saturday during a reception in the emirate, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Sheikh Mohammed, who is also vice president and prime minister of UAE, wished the ambassador success in his mission.

Al-Angari passed on the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Sheikh Mohammed, along with their wishes for continued progress and prosperity to the government and people of the UAE.

The envoy was appointed last year and presented his credentials to Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al-Nahyan in October.


Saudi foreign ministry condemns continued genocide against Palestinian people

Updated 37 min 20 sec ago
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Saudi foreign ministry condemns continued genocide against Palestinian people

  • Saudi Arabia renewed its call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the provision of protection to unarmed civilians

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed on Saturday the Kingdom’s condemnation and denunciation in the strongest terms of the “continued genocidal massacres against the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli war machine.”

The ministry drew particular attention to the latest targeting of displaced Palestinians at camps in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, which claimed the lives of 100 people.

Saudi Arabia renewed its call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the provision of protection to unarmed civilians in all occupied Palestinian territories.

The ministry also stressed the need to activate international accountability mechanisms regarding the continued Israeli violations of international humanitarian law and resolutions.

The UAE and Bahrain condemned and denounced on Sunday the continuing Israeli violations in the Gaza Strip, and the most recent targeting of camps for displaced people in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, which led to numerous deaths and injuries to dozens of innocent civilians.

In a statements issued by both foreign ministries, they called for the respect of international law and international humanitarian law regarding the protection of civilians and civilian objects, an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and to allow unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to Palestinian civilians

Also on Saturday, the Muslim World League condemned the massacre in Khan Yunis.

The League’s Secretary-General, Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, in a statement denounced the “heinous crime” and the Israeli occupation’s “continued flagrant violations of all international and humanitarian laws and norms.”

Al-Issa stressed the urgent need for the international community to intervene to stop the violence raging in Gaza.


Who’s Who: Ahmad Alshubbar, chief financial officer of Rawabi Holding Group

Updated 13 July 2024
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Who’s Who: Ahmad Alshubbar, chief financial officer of Rawabi Holding Group

Ahmad Alshubbar is the chief financial officer of Rawabi Holding Group, a diversified conglomerate headquartered in Alkhobar.

He is a member of the Rawabi Holding Board Investment Committee; the executive committee of Rawabi Electric; and the board of Rawabi Energy Co., Human Resources Business Support Co., and Equatoriale Energy in Singapore.

Alshubbar provides financial insight to the leadership of the group’s core operating entities. He works with the C-suite in developing the future equity capital market and debt capital market transactions.

Alshubbar’s journey in Rawabi Holding Group began in 2019 as the vice president of treasury and strategy. In this role, he contributed to the organic and inorganic growth initiatives, and deployed global best practices in corporate finance.

In 2017, he worked as Gulf International Bank Capital’s vice president of debt capital markets offering debt origination, structuring, and distribution expertise.

He previously worked in Banque Saudi Fransi’s corporate banking division as senior executive manager, serving high-tier corporate clients in the Eastern Province.

Alshubbar’s portfolio covered diverse economic sectors including civil and industrial construction, real-estate investment, diversified conglomerate, oil and gas services, and marine services companies.

In 2012, he joined Samba Financial Group as a corporate relationship manager and managed a portfolio of multiple diversified group relationships.

In 2008, he worked as a corporate relationship manager at National Commercial Bank.

Alshubbar’s work experience began in 2006 as a Coop Trainee at Arab National Bank.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in 2007.

Alshubbar earned a certification in CME-1 from the Capital Market Authority in 2017.