Saudi Arabia aims to become ‘global hub’ for gaming, esports

PIF owns 8 percent of Nintendo and 6 percent of Capcom (SEF)
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Updated 06 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia aims to become ‘global hub’ for gaming, esports

  • Plan for Japan firms to set up offices in Mideast
  • Saudi Arabia has bought stakes in top companies

TOKYO: Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games Group, owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, is reportedly seeking deeper partnerships with game developers in Japan, including Nintendo and Capcom.

The aim is to develop the Middle East market and ensure the Kingdom eventually becomes a global hub for gaming and esports, Nikkei Asia reported on Tuesday.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who chairs Savvy Games, is keen to promote Saudi Arabia’s gaming sector, according to the report.

“One of the main areas is how do we collaborate on localization products and help Japanese intellectual properties grow in a region that right now is underserved because very little is localized,” Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al-Saud, vice-chair of Savvy Games Group, was quoted as saying.

Prince Faisal met with representatives of several Japanese games companies during a trip to Tokyo in late May. “Game development is our long-term goal; we want to build a global hub for gaming and esports,” he said.

It is hoped that the major industry players — Nintendo, Bandai, Capcom and Konami Group — will set up offices in the region. The company also wants to make deals for its esports unit and expand its capacity to develop games.

According to March 2023 financial reports from the two Japanese companies, the PIF owns 8 percent of Nintendo and 6 percent of Capcom.

It also acquired mobile game developer Scopely for $4.9 billion in 2023 and two esports event companies for $1.5 billion in 2022.

This story was originally published in Arab News Japan


Jobs boost for Saudi citizens in engineering roles

Updated 8 sec ago
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Jobs boost for Saudi citizens in engineering roles

  • The new policy comes into effect on July 21 will affect private sector companies employing five or more workers in engineering roles

RIYADH: Employment of Saudi citizens in the engineering sector is set to increase under plans announced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

In a joint initiative with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, the ministry will implement a 25 percent localization quota for engineering professions, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The new policy comes into effect on July 21 will affect private sector companies employing five or more workers in engineering roles.

The initiative is part of the Kingdom’s broader strategy to create more attractive and productive job opportunities for Saudi nationals across the country.

The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing will take charge of monitoring and implementing the policy.

According to SPA, the ministry aims to ensure that the localization efforts align with labor market demands and the specifics of engineering specializations.

To support this transition, the government is offering a range of incentives and support programs to private sector establishments. These include support for recruitment, candidate search, necessary training and qualification, employment, and long-term employment stability.

Companies complying with the new regulations will also gain priority access to various localization support programs and employment initiatives through the Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF).

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has published a detailed procedural guide on its website, outlining the localization process, affected professions, and required quotas. Officials have stressed the importance of adherence to these new regulations, warning that non-compliant establishments will face legal consequences.


Saudi Arabia unveils Golden Pen fiction award with $690,00 prize pool 

Updated 48 min 42 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia unveils Golden Pen fiction award with $690,00 prize pool 

  • Competition open to original works in Arabic, and all nationalities and ages will be eligible

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has launched an award for fiction writing, with winners sharing total prizemoney of $690,000 and successful works to be adapted into film.

Unveiling the Golden Pen Award for Novels on Saturday, Turki Alalshikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said that the competition will benefit Arab novelists and the regional film industry.

The competition will be open to original works in Arabic, and all nationalities and ages will be eligible.

In a post on social media platform X, Alalshikh said that the first and second-place winners of the grand prize will be awarded $100,000 and $50,000, respectively, with their works being adapted into films produced by the GEA.

The third place winner will receive $30,000.

Additionally, the Novel Tracks Awards will grant $25,000 each to the best novels in categories such as romance, thriller, mystery, comedy, action, fantasy, investigative, horror, and historical fiction.

Prizes for the Best Screenplay Adapted from a Literary Work will also be awarded, with $100,000 for first place, $50,000 for second, and $30,000 for third. The Best Translated Novel Award will offer $100,000, while the Audience Award, determined through a dedicated electronic voting platform, will provide $30,000.

Alalshikh said that the main judging panel will consist of three novelists, three screenwriters, and three producers from the Arab world, along with an auxiliary committee for the initial screening stage.

Competition winners will be announced at a grand awards ceremony to be broadcast on television and various platforms.
 


King Salman Global Academy spotlights India’s role in promoting Arabic language

Updated 20 July 2024
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King Salman Global Academy spotlights India’s role in promoting Arabic language

  • KSGAAL is hosting Arabic Language Month for Indian students and teachers
  • Initiative is in line with Human Capability Development Program of Vision 2030

NEW DELHI: India plays a significant role in promoting the Arabic language in the wake of growing commercial exchanges with Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s top linguistic institution has said, as it conducted a series of programs for Indian scholars and learners.

Students and lecturers from the Indian universities and colleges that teach Arabic courses are taking part in training sessions, workshops and competitions as part of the Arabic Language Month organized by the King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language.

The event, which aims to develop and improve the teaching of Arabic for non-native speakers in the world’s most populous nation, began online in late June and runs until July 26.

The main host is Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, which has been teaching Arabic for decades.

“India plays a significant role in promoting the Arabic language, driven by a growing demand for learning Arabic within its vast and diverse human, linguistic and cultural landscape,” KSGAAL Secretary-General Dr. Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Washmi told Arab News on Friday.

“Despite India’s diverse multilingual landscape, there is a growing interest in learning Arabic, fueled by increasing commercial activities and cultural exchanges.”

The Arabic Language Month in India features a range of educational activities led by Saudi linguists affiliated with the KSGAAL — from competitions and workshops to enhance Arabic language teaching curricula at different educational institutions, to specialized sessions for instructors to familiarize them with the most recent teaching methodology.

“These activities are conducted in different educational institutions across India, with the primary goal of fostering stronger relationships with Indian universities that have an interest in teaching Arabic,” Al-Washmi said.

“Moreover, the Arabic Language Month serves as a platform to highlight the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts in promoting and teaching the Arabic language through innovative methods. This initiative is in line with the objectives of the Human Capability Development Program, a key component of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

Upholding and promoting the Arabic language is part of the Vision 2030 transformation strategy, which also focuses on the development of skills and academia.

“The program also focuses on enhancing the teaching skills of Arabic language educators, both locally and globally, particularly in non-native speaking communities,” Al-Washmi said.

“These initiatives include supporting modern activities for teaching Arabic to non-native speakers, enhancing the teaching competencies of instructors, and organizing scientific competitions to discover and encourage individuals with linguistic talents.”


KSrelief continues aid projects in Lebanon, Pakistan 

Updated 20 July 2024
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KSrelief continues aid projects in Lebanon, Pakistan 

RIYADH: Saudi aid group, KSrelief, has distributed 25,000 bags of bread in Akkar Governorate and Miniyeh District in Lebanon.

The distribution comes as part of KSrelief’s Al-Amal Charitable Bakery project to support Syrian and Palestinian refugee families, and the host community living in northern Lebanon, benefiting 125,000 individuals.

KSrelief continues to distribute bread to refugee families in northern Lebanon. (SPA)

Elsewhere, KSrelief implemented the Saudi Noor Volunteer Program to combat blindness and eye diseases in Pakistan's provinces of Sindh and Balouchistan from May 15 to July 10.

During the program, rolled out in cooperation with the Albasar International Foundation, KSrelief's volunteer medical team examined 21,614 cases, distributed 4,683 eyeglasses, and performed 2,038 successful eye surgeries.

KSrelief implemented the Saudi Noor Volunteer Program to combat blindness and eye diseases in Pakistan's provinces of Sindh and Balouchistan from May 15 to July 10. (SPA)

 


Saudi Arabia’s Mawhiba ties up with UNESCO to promote STEM education in Arab countries

Updated 20 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s Mawhiba ties up with UNESCO to promote STEM education in Arab countries

  • Partnership aims to enhance STEM education for students from 6th grade to 12th grade across Arab states
  • Special attention will be given to empowering Arab girls and young women, ensuring they have equal opportunities to excel in STEM fields

PARIS: Mawhiba, an endowment organization that aims to nurture talented Saudi students in the scientific field, has signed a partnership agreement with UNESCO to foster science, technology, engineering and mathematics education across Arab countries.

The agreement was signed on July 19 in Paris by Abdulaziz bin Saleh Al-Subail, Mawhiba deputy secretary-general for business development and communication, and Lidia Arthur Brito, UNESCO’s assistant director-general for natural sciences, Mawhiba said in a news release carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

Mawhiba is the short name for the King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, which was organized in 1999 in honor of Saudi Arabia’s founding king.

Brito said that the partnership aimed to enhance STEM education for students from 6th grade to 12th grade across Arab states, ”focusing on refining their scientific knowledge, nurturing creativity, and fostering critical thinking.”

It sought ”to provide young people with the necessary knowledge and capabilities and to motivate them to use science, technology, engineering and mathematics to meet global challenges,” she said.

Brito said that the experience would help in exchanging these experiences globally, adding that ”there is potential for expanding these efforts to Africa and other parts of the world to promote sustainable development goals.”

Special attention would be given to empowering Arab girls and young women, ensuring they had equal opportunities to excel in STEM fields, she said.

Mawhiba has identified 97,000 gifted students out of more than 300,000 tested in more than 100 cities and villages across the Kingdom. Its sponsorship of more than 54,000 students and its participation in international science competitions for talented youth has reaped global recognition for the Kingdom. 

Saudi students have so far won more than 397 medals and prizes in these competitions, developed in excess of 16,000 ideas, acquired 15 patents, and more than 1,000 Saudi students were accepted in the world’s top 50 prestigious universities in distinguished disciplines that met the needs of national development plans, the SPA report said.

Mawhiba Secretary-General Amal bint Abdullah Al-Hazzaa emphasized the shared commitment to empowering young Arab minds and advancing sustainable development through education and innovation. She underscored the importance of this collaboration within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030.

Central to the initiative is the MAWHIBA-UNESCO Online STEM Oasis, which will serve as a global platform for local, national and regional science and engineering fairs. 

The partnership will focus on training Arab science teachers to lead research and guide students in scientific projects, thereby enhancing the overall quality of STEM education, the Mawhiba news release said.

“Mawhiba is committed to expanding the use of the UNESCO Open Science Portal and the UNESCO Science-2-Innovation Network to build the capacity of young scientists and women in STEM education globally.

“Over the past three years, Mawhiba has supported 839 students from Arab states through enriching STEM programs, setting a precedent for regional cooperation and development in STEM education,” it added.

By joining forces with UNESCO, Mawhiba aims to amplify its ability to address global challenges such as climate change, health crises and technological disruptions, it said.