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How the Saudi pavilion mopped up awards at Expo 2020 Dubai – Arab News

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DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai kept its winning streak since its launch on Oct. 1, the latest being several awards given by the event’s main evaluator.
Exhibitor, a magazine that hands out awards during each expo, gave the Saudi Pavilion an award for the best pavilion in the category of large suites.
It also gave the pavilion — the second-largest at Expo 2020 Dubai with a total area of 13,059 sq. m — an honorary award in the category of best exterior design and best display.
Exhibitor has been organizing this competition for more than 30 years, honoring the best-designed exhibitions, according to the assessment of an international committee composed of design, marketing and events experts.
The Saudi Pavilion also won the Platinum Certificate in LEED granted by the US Green Building Council. This meant that the structure was among the most sustainable buildings in the world. Among its features were 650 solar panels, all manufactured in Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, the Saudi Pavilion holds three Guinness World Records: the longest interactive water curtain (32 m), the largest interactive light floor, and the largest interactive digital screen mirror (1,240 sq. m).
The pavilion won praise for showcasing the Kingdom’s past, present and future by fusing technology with knowledge and creative arts in a way that conveyed a sense of Saudi Arabia’s growth and prosperity in all fields.
As one of the Expo’s most talked-about pavilions, it logged a record number of visits, with more than 4.6 million people passing through its portals since its launch.
For these visitors, the Saudi pavilion organized more than 1,800 events, activities, programs and themed weeks that reflected the Kingdom’s rich nature, vibrant society, longstanding heritage and economic opportunities.
Other attractions included a sustainable energy station, exhibitions featuring Saudi heritage and handicrafts, popular folklore shows and famous dishes from all of the Kingdom’s regions.
Pavilion visitors went on discovery tours that reflected the spirit of Saudi Arabia and highlighted its cultural innovations and economic and investment opportunities.
On Jan. 7, the pavilion celebrated Saudi Day with activities, programs, cultural performances and creative events to highlight the Kingdom’s growth and renaissance in all fields under the umbrella of Saudi Vision 2030.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the expo during an official tour of the UAE on Dec. 8.
He was welcomed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and ruler of Dubai, who said the world was looking forward to Saudi Arabia hosting the World Expo 2030 in Riyadh, with the support of the Kingdom’s crown prince.
On Feb. 1, Saudi Arabia’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif visited the Expo, where he was taken on a tour of the Saudi Pavilion.
Earlier this month, Saudi Islamic Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh and Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani separately toured the Saudi Pavilion among other pavilions during a visit.
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia lowered the curtain on its Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion on Monday, and looked to raise another one — by hosting Expo 2030 in Riyadh.
On an evening of spectacle, as Saudi dancers performed traditional and contemporary routines in front of the pavilion’s striking architectural façade, the Kingdom reinforced its desire and readiness to bring the global event home.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Saudi bid in October 2021, and the formal application was submitted to the Bureau International des Expositions in December.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Saudi bid for Expo 2030 in October 2021, and the formal application was submitted to the Bureau International des Expositions in December.
“As we continue our expo journey toward Expo 2030, we will grow the expo team from 300 to 34 million people as our whole nation mobilizes behind our efforts,” Fahd Abdulmohsen Al-Rasheed, chief executive of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, said at the closing ceremony in Dubai on Monday.
The event, attended by dignitaries and VIPs, celebrated the success of the pavilion over the past six months. “What a pavilion and what an experience it was,” Al-Rasheed said. “It was the colors, the landscapes, the diversity, the authenticity, the heritage, the modernity — I could see under one roof everything that we are all as a nation working toward.”
The pavilion’s dramatic sloping structure features a façade representing the idea of a large window open to the future. “It has become a recognizable landmark with a strong foundation rooted in heritage rising toward the sky,” said Hussain Hanbazaza, the pavilion’s commissioner general.
The pavilion was the most visited at Expo 2020, with more than 4.8 million people passing through its doors. Its architecture and design, and its programming over the past six months, aimed to represent the social, cultural and economic change that is taking place in the Kingdom as a result of the Vision 2030 reform agenda.
“This is a statement about our readiness to open our hearts and doors to the rest of the world, and to the limitless potential of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Hanbazaza said.
Al-Rasheed said Riyadh was a global capital, and two thirds of its people were under the age of 30. “Its streets, corners, offices and parks are bustling with youthful energy,” he told guests at the closing ceremony.
“We know that the world of 2030 will be different, we know that it will be better. Our capital Riyadh is preparing to host you and the world. But to get there, we need to work together.”
DUBAI: Over the past six months, the Saudi Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai featured a packed schedule of workshops, meetings, concerts and exhibitions designed to share the very best of the Kingdom’s innovations, culture, heritage and investment opportunities.
Since it opened in October last year, millions of visitors from around the world flocked to the Saudi Pavilion — the second biggest at the Arab region’s first world expo — to learn more about the Kingdom as it embarks on a new era of greater openness.
The Kingdom’s ambitions for the coming decades, enshrined in its Vision 2030 economic and social reform agenda, featured prominently in the pavilion’s calendar of events.
At a series of business forums, the Saudi Pavilion invited entrepreneurs and leaders in global commerce to network and learn more about opportunities for cooperation in investment, sustainability, health care, digitization, innovation and smart cities.
As part of its economic diversification strategy, the Kingdom became a magnet for investment in new technologies, the creative industries, clean and renewable sources of energy, tourism, leisure and entertainment.
One area where the Kingdom has seen rapid growth is sports entertainment — a sector it has been eager to show off at pavilion events, offering visitors the opportunity to watch live motor racing, participate in youth sports tournaments, and the chance to experience virtual reality with top-of-the-range VR headsets.
The Kingdom has also been keen to promote its blossoming creative industries, in everything from filmmaking and theater to fine art and fashion. One series of events, dubbed “16 Windows,” gave visitors a taste of a different aspect of Saudi cultural innovation each week, enticing guests to return again and again.
In the spirit of greater openness, the Kingdom’s pavilion also hosted “Saudi Salon,” a program of monthly talks that invited experts and visitors to tackle the big issues of the day, from the role of the creative industries in transforming societies to the conservation of water.
In fact, the theme of environmental sustainability featured prominently in the Saudi Pavilion’s program of events. One family-friendly workshop that took place every weekday allowed children to learn about recycling by transforming scrap materials into spectacular works of art.
The Saudi pavilion’s events calendar was not all focused on the future, however. Throughout the expo, organizers laid on a program of workshops, concerts and activities that celebrated Saudi heritage, traditional crafts, storytelling and music.
Daily performances in the pavilion’s open square introduced visitors to Saudi Arabia’s rich folklore traditions, including the Saudi Ardah, Al-Liwa, Al-Azawi and Al-Khubaiti, while in the pavilion’s Palm Garden, guests were invited to hear authentic live music performances from captivating Saudi musicians.
In a program of workshops, children were invited to learn about Saudi Arabia’s regional handicraft traditions by making floral head wreaths and trying their hand at Al-Sadu weaving.
Some of the pavilion’s best events were reserved for Jan. 7, when the Kingdom marked its national day. They included mesmerizing performances by Saudi singers Mohammed Abdu and Ayed Youssef at the Jubilee Theater in a music extravaganza dubbed the Saudi Experience Festival.
“Saudi Day” also featured a cultural show in Al-Wasl Square, a parade around the expo site by performance groups wearing traditional and modern Saudi clothes, a Saudi fashion program, and a breathtaking airshow by the Green Falcons.
As Expo 2020 Dubai draws to a close, the success of the Saudi Pavilion’s events calendar will no doubt leave a lasting impression in the minds of its visitors and will live on in the cross-cultural bridges forged between the Kingdom and the world.

RIYADH: Women’s empowerment in the Saudi labor market is gathering pace with the ambitious aim of increasing the female contribution to the Kingdom’s overall economy to 28 percent.
The Shoura Council has enacted a number of laws and proposed amendments to other regulations in order to protect women’s rights, including initiatives to reduce unemployment, as well as increase female representation in positions of authority and decision-making.
Legislative efforts are expected to broaden employment opportunities, paving the way for women to work in different sectors.
The objective is also to lift women’s participation in the labor force from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030, as well as strengthen female economic involvement by encouraging remote and flexible work.
• Legislative efforts are expected to broaden employment opportunities, paving the way for women to work in different sectors.
• The objective is to lift women’s participation in the labor force from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030, as well as strengthen female economic involvement by encouraging remote and flexible work.
• Other goals include leadership guidance for female cadres, programs to support daycare centers, training to help women meet labor market requirements, and the improvement of job creation mechanisms.
Other goals include leadership guidance for female cadres, programs to support daycare centers, training to help women meet labor market requirements, and the improvement of job creation mechanisms.
Hala Al-Tuwaijri, secretary general of the Family Affairs Council, told Arab News that “accurate indicators” based on labor market data will help empower women economically and enhance productivity.
The Kingdom has increasing women’s workforce participation as part of its Vision 2030 reform targets, she said.
Legislative changes also have a positive impact on the Kingdom’s international indicators, and “this supports the continuation of resolutions, the launch of programs, and future plans and solutions to support the empowerment of women to access opportunities and services.”
She said that women’s economic empowerment will boost productivity, and contribute to greater economic diversification and income equity, as well as assist positive development outcomes and growth in gross domestic product.
Companies and institutions benefit from increasing employment opportunities and women’s access to leadership positions, enhancing the efficiency of the organization. As a result, according to Al-Tuwaijri, the Kingdom has paid special attention to women’s strong and active participation in social and economic development.
She said that an integrated system for empowering women in the labor market should be provided. Economic progress and encouragement of women to enter the labor market can help balance women’s lives and enhance their role in the family.
“A family-friendly work environment should be created through, but not limited to, various labor policies and patterns such as flexible work policies, part-time work, the provision of soft loans to women entrepreneurs,” Al-Tuwaijri said.
“It is important to support policies, programs, and initiatives that assist women in meeting the challenges of the labor market and that are provided by the Kingdom to facilitate women’s access to and promotion of entry into the labor market.”
Other experts also shared their views about women joining the labor market in Saudi Arabia.
Gareebah Al-Twaiher, supervisor of the Department of Female Students at Arab East Colleges, said that government resolutions in support of women had enabled them to become an effective player and partner in the region’s comprehensive and sustainable development.
These resolutions view women as strategic partners in driving comprehensive and sustainable economy across the country, she added.
Al-Twaiher, who also chairs the Future Women Society,) said: “Indicators are an important scientific tool for monitoring women’s participation in development and measuring progress toward Vision 2030 targets, and the Kingdom’s overall trends toward achieving women-related sustainable development goals, which will have a positive impact on women’s economic empowerment to participate in regional development.”
She said that for decision-makers and market policymakers, “accurate indicators” based on labor market data are critical.
“It assists in diagnosing challenges and assessing the current situation by understanding the structure of the current market, understanding the demographics of the labor market, identifying the main indicators of the market, in general, and of women in particular, and contributing to the Kingdom’s progress in global indicators, thereby supporting and strengthening efforts to improve the mental image of Saudi women.”
Al-Twaiher, who recently finished a joint study on “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Automation on Future Jobs in Saudi Arabia,” highlighted the importance of “carefully selecting qualified people and enabling women to develop their skills for future jobs by providing incentives that encourage them, enhance their technical capabilities, and increase their share in leadership positions.”
Saudi journalist Sukina Bu Haliqa believes that woman’s presence in the labor market has been modest and restricted to roles such as receptionists, cashiers and saleswomen, “but we haven’t seen women in executive positions or other senior positions.”
She hopes the rate of women’s participation in the labor market will rise, but said that “a lot is needed to achieve that.”
Bu Haliqa added that women’s independence in obtaining employment, including the ability to drive and choose whether to work, will have a host of implications for the national economy.
Independence will help women work in schools, nurseries and restaurants, for example, and increase their purchasing power, demand for basic services, and consumption of fuel and perfumes, for example — all of which have an impact on local economies.
Huda Al-Rasheedy, a specialist in scientific research, said that Saudi women’s empowerment has accelerated as a result of legislation to strengthen their position in society.
“They have become an effective partner in national development in all fields: Economic, social, scientific, cultural and others. Many decisions have been made that demonstrate the leadership’s faith in women and support their endeavors to hold leadership positions.”
According to Al-Rasheedy, author of “Innovation in Universities,” women are a major component of the Kingdom’s human capital, and constitute an important part of the economic value of human resources.
“Their integration and cohesion, as well as the effective investment of their skills and capabilities, are the basis for the demographic reconfiguration that achieves growth.
“The economy, as well as the belief in women’s pivotal role as a cornerstone in the development process and a flourishing economy, provided the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 with a great opportunity for their participation and enhancing their value in society,” she said.
 
JEDDAH: As part of the activities of Riyadh Season, the General Entertainment Authority announced on Sunday the launch of the biggest oud-related music event of its kind in the Middle East taking place in the Music section at Riyadh Boulevard until March 30.
The event will also include a three-day oud competition called “King of Oud” between 10 participants from different Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Royal Court adviser and chairman of the GEA, Turki Al-Sheikh, announced the competition on March 22 via his official Twitter account.
• Candidates will perform in front of an audience, and will be rated by five oud professionals on a jury.
• The panel will feature players and composers, and include Hamad Brosli, Khaled Mohammed Ali, Mamdouh Al-Jabali, Abdullah Bahchwan, and Charbel Rouhana. The event represents the largest Arab gathering of oud players.
• The competition is aimed at embracing and reviving musical heritage among the Saudi community through the medium of the instrument and traditional music.
In a video, the he explained that the competition is a wonderful chance for every oud player to participate from around the globe to will the title of “King of Oud,” and that participants can apply by sharing a video of themselves playing the instrument to: [email protected]
Al-Sheikh tweeted: “Waiting for all talented oud players from around the Arab world and the globe.”
Candidates will perform in front of an audience, and will be rated by five oud professionals on a jury. The panel will feature players and composers, and include Hamad Brosli, Khaled Mohammed Ali, Mamdouh Al-Jabali, Abdullah Bahchwan, and Charbel Rouhana.
The event represents the largest Arab gathering of oud players.
According to the GEA, the competition is aimed at embracing and reviving musical heritage among the Saudi community through the medium of the instrument and traditional music.
The event will also feature two oud-related exhibitions: A huge collection of the rarest ouds from around the world, and an array of the most famous and distinguished oud manufacturers in the world.
Contestants will perform on the first and second day from 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., with the “King of Oud” announced at 9. p.m. on day three. The award ceremony will be followed by a 90-minute oud closing show.
The second Riyadh Season was launched in October 2021, hosting many special events, including theater and cinema shows, mass concerts — in which international stars and bands participated — as well as exhibitions of fine art and other entertainment activities.
The GEA recently announced that, according to its statistics, the second Riyadh Season has received 15 million visitors from around the world.
JEDDAH: The Red Sea Film Foundation on Monday confirmed the second cycle of the Red Sea Fund will open for submissions for features, documentaries, and animation projects from April 6-20.
The second cycle of the fund enables filmmakers from Saudi Arabia, the wider Arab region and Africa secure access to crucial funding at the early stages of crafting an idea, exploring unique stories and script development.
The recently improved year-round fund, comprising of four cycles, was adapted to handle the increasing number of submissions and will empower rising filmmakers with the support they need to create and evolve production-ready screenplays.
The Red Sea Fund encourages bold and original ideas that embrace a rich and diverse range of subjects to inform, educate and entertain global audiences.
The second cycle of the fund enables filmmakers from Saudi Arabia, the wider Arab region and Africa secure access to crucial funding at the early stages of crafting an idea, exploring unique stories and script development.
As the film industry in Saudi Arabia continues to thrive, the Red Sea Fund has proven to be a crucial vehicle to ensure filmmakers are in a position to make a vital contribution to champion the cultural value of storytelling in the Kingdom, and thus create a window for audiences to access authentic, untold narratives from the past, present and future.
Last year, out of the 97 awarded projects, 37 films were from the development stage, which further underlines the importance of the stage of the filmmaking process.
Fourteen Red Sea Fund films from Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Qatar, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco were presented to packed-out film screenings at the Red Sea International Film Festival in December. With a number of the films finding their way onto the international festival circuit, this further indicates that the fund is an important force behind extraordinary features, documentaries, and animations coming out of Saudi Arabia, the Arab region and Africa.
Mohammed Al-Turki, the Red Sea International Film Festival’s committee chairman, said: “The development stage of the Red Sea Fund cycle is crucial for filmmakers with strong and exceptional stories to tell. Global streamers and studios are ramping up the volume of local content available on their platforms; the surge of Arab and African films continues to increase at international film festivals, and there is investment from international and regional production companies to shoot in the region. This is an exciting time for filmmakers.”

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