JEDDAH: Merryhan Al-Baz’ has been taking apart cars and indulging her curiosity in the world of vehicles since she was 13 years old.
This passion for motors and engines, inherited from her father, lead the now 30-year-old to participate in the Diriyah E-Prix 2022 as a recovery marshal last month, becoming the world’s first female crane driver in race competitions.
My father loves mechanics; he has old cars that he tries to repair and put back into operation, and I was the only person that sat next to him to watch how he does it.
“No one ever thought a woman could enter this field — the world of mechanics is a male dominated career. Fortunately, in my household, my mother and father always support any talents, ideas, or anything you desire to do,” Al-Baz told Arab News.
“My father loves mechanics; he has old cars that he tries to repair and put back into operation, and I was the only person that sat next to him to watch how he does it,” she added.
Growing up with this type of quality time helped her gain experience and expanded her knowledge of car mechanics.
Wherever there was a car exhibition or race, Al-Baz made sure to be present.
“I’ve loved cars all my life, I have experience in racing and drifting as well,” she said.
Al-Baz added that after the ban on women driving was lifted in June 2018, many opportunities regarding motor vehicles were opened for women in the Kingdom, from becoming driving instructors to racing drivers and mechanics.
“This helped me achieve my dream of becoming a mechanic,” she said. “It’s such an amazing feeling to walk down the street and have people know who I am and greet me, encourage me and even learn from me.”
Al-Baz explained that there are four types of marshals at the E-Prix; fire, recovery, flag, and trackside. On the ground, authorities saw her capabilities and assigned her to join the recovery marshal team.
Fire marshal: Civil fire-fighters at the circuit.
Recovery marshals: Those assigned to pick up vehicles from the track if an accident occurred.
Flag marshals: Those who give signals to the race-drivers using flags.
Trackside marshals: Those who clear the track from debris or any hazardous items.
Recovery marshals must clean up the circuit immediately after an accident happens in order for a race to continue its course.
“Being a recovery marshal is considered a difficult job for women — I was a crane driver tasked with picking up cars whenever an accident occurs on the circuit as quickly as possible,” she said.
Al-Baz noted that it is a time-sensitive job as it directly affects the flow of the race.
“Whenever there is an accident, recovery marshals need to be at the scene as soon as possible because accidents delay the race and we must act quickly. The time the car is causing a road block is taking up time from the other racers,” she explained.
Al-Baz is a self-taught mechanic, with her educational background completely different from her career path.
“I actually studied psychology and media in Lebanon, but I see myself in the world of cars,” she said.
Al-Baz registered at an institute in Jeddah to receive a certificate to pursue her career in a more official manner. Her autodidactic reputation earned her a position as an instructor too, and she hopes that she will be able to open her own automobile repair shop in the near future.
TUNIS: The president of Tunisia has expressed his thanks to Saudi Arabia for its support through the Saudi Fund for Development.
President Kais Saied was speaking during a meeting with the CEO of the fund, Sultan bin Abdulrahman Al-Murshed, at Carthage Palace in Tunis.
Saied praised the work of the fund and expressed his thanks to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Dr. Abdulaziz bin Ali Al-Saqr, the Saudi ambassador to Tunisia, was also at the meeting, which was held to discuss the development of closer Saudi-Tunisian ties, particularly with regard to projects under the SFD’s supervision.
Al-Saqr noted the good relationship between the two countries and thanked Saied for receiving the SFD delegation.
The ambassador was also present at a meeting between Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden and Al-Murshed at government headquarters in Tunis.
The two sides looked at ways to strengthen economic partnerships, and discussed a number of current and future projects developed through the SFD.
Bouden also expressed her thanks and appreciation to the Saudi king and the crown prince for their continued support for Tunisia.
Al-Saqr further stressed that this support from the Saudi wise leadership is proof of the depth of the relationship between the two brotherly countries.
The two parties explored ways to strengthen economic partnerships and discussed several current and future development projects between Tunisia and Saudi Arabia through the SFD.
JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued a strong condemnation of the repeated attacks by the Houthi militia on the territory of Saudi Arabia.
Twelve civilians were injured by a drone attack targeting Abha airport on Thursday. It was launched by the Houthis in a deliberate attempt to target civilians. Two Saudi citizens, four Bangladeshis, three Nepalese, an Indian, a Filipino and a Sri Lankan were injured.
The secretary-general of OIC, Hissein Brahim Taha, condemned this criminal act in the strongest terms. He said the Houthi militia’s repeated attacks against civilians and civilian objects in the Kingdom were in violation of international laws and norms.
Taha reiterated OIC’s solidarity with Saudi Arabia, supporting the measures taken to protect its territories. He also wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
Muslim World League Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa also condemned the attack, saying that the Houthi militia continues its terrorist crimes with all its barbarity.
On behalf of the MWL’s bodies and councils around the world, he expressed solidarity with the Kingdom in the face of all that threatens its security. He offered support for all the measures it takes to preserve the safety of its people.
The secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, said that the attack was a cowardly war crime that endangers the lives of civilians, tourists and workers.
He spoke of the need to hold the terrorists accountable as civilian airports come under the protection of international law.
Al-Hajraf praised the vigilance of the forces of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia, in intercepting the drone. He said the other GCC member states all stood in solidarity with the Kingdom.
The Arab Parliament described the act as terrorist and destructive and said these attacks not only target Saudi Arabia but also seek to destabilize the entire region.
Many countries, including Mauritania, Djibouti, Kuwait, Yemen, Qatar, US, UAE, Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan, strongly condemned the Houthis’ continuing attacks on Saudi Arabia’s territory.
Ahmed Abdulkarim is the managing director of SAED Group, a Saudi workforce solutions and services company.
Prior to joining the group, he spearheaded the establishment of Cadre Economic Cities. Cadre is an arm of the Ministry of Investment set up to develop and implement sustainable human capital strategies for the economic cities as well as the rest of Saudi Arabia.
It aims to find, attract, and train local talents to become globally competitive, locally employed through innovative training and development solutions.
Abdulkarim also worked as deputy governor and chief operating officer of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, now the Ministry of Investment, where he restructured the organization and introduced an entrepreneur culture to the government sector. The method of transition, and practices, have since been adopted in other governmental areas.
Before moving to the investment authority, he spent 16 years with multinational consumer goods corporation Procter and Gamble, holding several local, regional, and international roles, including leading the Gillette business in the Balkans region of Europe.
During his career, he has successfully implemented a number of organizational redesigns, restructures, and acquisitions, designing, and applying various global Procter and Gamble organization systems.
Abdulkarim is an active trainer in more than 20 leadership and management subjects and has trained thousands of people in Saudi Arabia and throughout Europe and Africa. He has also been a keynote speaker at conferences around the world.
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai continues to enthrall visitors with its diverse set of activities, most recently the “16 Windows” cultural program that sheds light on the cultural renaissance in the Kingdom in various sectors.
The Kingdom’s pavilion presented a historical overview of its ancient heritage art, and introduced visitors to the Saudi Ardah, a tradition group dance that is featured on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The performance started with a chant that was used in the past to rouse up warriors facing the enemy. The performers, dressed in traditional costumes, then performed a dance with swords to the beat of drums.
The leader of the Ardah troupe then invited men and women from the audience — from Ireland, Tunisia, UAE, Russia, France and India — to join the performance.
The lead performer offered the visitors a quick introduction to the dance, amid cheers from the audience.
At the end of the show, the pavilion presented gifts to the best participants in the performance of this ancient heritage art. They expressed their happiness with this beautiful experience that allowed them to participate.
RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that they have begun extending the validity of final exit visas for Moroccan residents in the Kingdom, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The General Directorate of Passports said the decision applied to visas that expired between Dec. 9 and Feb. 7, and has been extended until Feb. 14, in implementation of directives from King Salman.
“This extension, issued by the minister of finance, comes within the framework of the continuous efforts taken by the Saudi government to deal with the effects and repercussions of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
The extension will be automatically completed, in cooperation with the National Information Center without the need to visit the passport departments or the Kingdom’s missions abroad.