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Saudi culture minister to open Saudi Day celebration at Expo 2020 Dubai on Friday – Arab News

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RIYADH: Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, culture minister and chairman of the supervisory committee of the Saudi Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, will head an official Saudi delegation that will visit the UAE to attend the Saudi Day celebration on Friday, Saudi Press Agency said on Wednesday.
The pavilion is preparing to organize a celebration at the Expo headquarters in Dubai, which includes activities, programs, cultural performances and various creative events, reflecting the Kingdom’s growth and renaissance in all fields under the umbrella of Saudi Vision 2030.
The Saudi Day is targeting visitors to the exhibition, including businesspeople, representatives of participating countries, and the general public.
Mohammed Abdu will be performing at #Expo2020’s Jubilee Park to celebrate #SaudiDay on 7th January. Come join us to experience a living legend on this special day#KSAatExpo2020 pic.twitter.com/QdgTzmcTd0
— Saudi Arabia at Expo 2020 Dubai (@KSAExpo2020) January 4, 2022
It will provide a range of activities and events in several locations throughout the exhibition site, including a cultural show in Al Wasl Square.
A parade will also tour the Expo consisting of several performance groups wearing traditional and modern Saudi clothes in addition to a Saudi fashion program. There will also be a concert entitled “Amjad” by Arab artist Mohammed Abdo and artist Ayed Youssef at the Jubilee Theatre, a music festival titled the Saudi Experience Festival, as well as an airshow of the Green Falcons.
The Kingdom’s pavilion on the “Saudi Day” will also organize seminars, lectures and promotional sessions for investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, including an “Invest in Saudi Arabia” session, and a session to introduce the Kingdom’s major projects.
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has distributed more than 185 tons of food relief in Yemen’s Abyan province, state news agency SPA reported.
The aid is part of a project to support the country’s food security for 2021-2022, the report said.
Meanwhile, the relief center distributed more than 128 tons of aid to people in Abyan’s Ahwar district, benefiting 1,200 families.
And a further 57 tons of food aid to the province’s Lawdar district, benefiting 535 families.
KSrelief has also sent 81 tons and 962 kilograms of food baskets to Shabwa province, benefiting 766 needy families.
The center said it aimed to distribute more than 20,000 tons of food aid to families in 15 Yemeni cities.
Yemen is among the top beneficiaries of KSrelief assistance, receiving more than $3.9 billion. 
The center, which works with 144 partners from the UN and other international groups, provides a range of programs covering food security, water sanitation and hygiene, health, education, emergency aid and nutrition.
RIYADH: Former Tanzanian President Ali Hassan Mwinyi and the Egyptian academic Prof. Hassan Mahmoud Al-Shafei were named on Wednesday as joint winners of the 2022 King Faisal Prize for outstanding services to Islam.
Mwinyi, 96, was the second president of the United Republic of Tanzania from 1985 to 1995, and lives in Dar es Salaam. Al-Shafei is professor of Islamic philosophy at the University of Cairo, and president of the Islamic University in Islamabad.  
The two men were among seven winners in four categories announced at a ceremony in Riyadh. The awards are the most prestigious in the Muslim world.
The prize for Arabic language and literature was awarded jointly to Prof. Suzanne Stetkevych, a specialist in classical Arabic poetry at Georgetown University in the US, and Prof. Muhsin Al-Musawi, a literary critic, scholar, and professor of Arabic literature and cultural studies at Columbia University, also in the US.
Prof. David Ruchien Liu, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University and MIT, was honored in the medicine category.
The prize for science was awarded jointly to Prof. Martin Hairer, an Austrian-British mathematician and professor of mathematics at Imperial College London, and Prof. Nader Masmoudi, a Tunisian mathematician at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.
The King Faisal Prize was established in 1977. Since then, 275 recipients from 43 countries have been honored, of whom 21 have gone on to win a Nobel Prize. This year’s awards will be presented at a ceremony later in the year.
 
RIYADH: The Arab coalition in Yemen said that Saudi Arabian air defenses intercepted and destroyed a drone launched towards the Kingdom early Thursday.
In a statement carried by state TV Al Ekhbariya, the coalition said it will “take immediate action to neutralize and destroy the threat to protect civilians.”
The Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen had repeatedly launched ballistic missiles and armed drones toward civilian centers in Saudi Arabia since 2015 after the Kingdom and several Arab nations organized a coalition to help restore Yemen’s legitimate government.
MAKKAH: Artificial intelligence is an increasingly important part of modern life and the technologies we rely on, but it is also being used to enhance awareness and understanding of more traditional and long-established aspects of our lives and cultures.
For example, AI is serving the Arabic language through its use in applications that support teaching and learning and assist in the development of dictionaries and programs to help millions of people worldwide to learn and use the language.
Abdullah Al-Washmi, the secretary-general of the King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language, told Arab News that the academy aims to become a global reference resource for the language by providing the tools required to promote, teach, learn and encourage the use of Arabic, in accordance with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its Human Capability Development Program.
Part of the academy’s strategy involves a focus on accelerating the pace of technical research in various fields relating to the Arabic language, using AI tools to aid understanding, he added.
AI has become a major enabler of the teaching and learning of languages, Al-Washmi said, by helping to provide multiple learning patterns that allow students to learn Arabic in ways tailored to their needs. He added that they can choose the form and level of teaching that best suits them, along with the specific field in which they intend to use the language, and the AI will adapt each student’s learning experience to their particular needs by helping to identify and address any weaknesses and build on strengths.
“When it comes to Arabic speakers, AI helps them develop their skills by providing tools for learning Arabic grammar in a way that differs from the one taught in traditional books,” Al-Washmi said.
“In addition to teaching young people the language using techniques and educational methods that fit their needs, AI also enables students to choose the method through which they want to learn, such as simulation, dialogue or other methods they might prefer.”
AI provides amazing solutions thanks to the high-performance devices it runs on and the amount of data it can process, he added. For example, it can help people learn Arabic and develop reading skills by automatically identifying and correcting pronunciation, evaluating the current reading level, and helping to control the speed of reading, speaking and listening. It can also help to develop writing skills by correcting spelling, grammar, semantics and generating complete sentences.
AI can help to enhance the level of speaking and listening skills through smart dialogue systems, Al-Washmi said. It also allows users to explore other linguistic fields such as summarizing, translating, improving searches, detecting fraud, plagiarism and rumors, identifying hate speech and answering questions. All of these contributions are grouped into a science called natural language processing, or computational linguistics, which brings together specialists in AI and linguistics.
Speaking about modern ideas for teaching Arabic through AI, he said that the use of robots has received widespread acclaim in educational circles in many parts of the world. These robots offer near-limitless opportunities for students to think, design, implement their ideas, employ scientific principles and complete research.
AI is helping to make robots more intelligent and effective in communicating, following instructions, answering questions, providing lessons, and performing some Arab customs that Arabic-language students sometimes needs to know to help them learn, Al-Washmi said.
He added that the virtual world offers opportunities to facilitate the teaching and learning of Arabic and make the educational experience more exciting and enjoyable. It also allows students to become totally immersed in virtual Arabic-speaking environments.
The academy recently concluded a deal with THIQAH Business Services to develop applications for the Arabic language by building linguistic data sources and tools for archiving and analysis and making them available to academics, experts, and students. This project aims to raise knowledge and awareness of the Arabic language and improve the quality of published Arabic content.
TAIF: Nahawand, a new center for music in Taif that opened recently and offers a range of music classes and services in an effort to discover and develop new local talent, already has plans to expand to six other Saudi cities.
The center, named after a type of Arabic melody known as maqam that is often used in Saudi songs and odes, offers lessons in a mix of Eastern and Western instruments.
Anas bin Hussein, its founder, told Arab News that maqam is a romantic and passionate type of music popular with many Saudi singers, most notably Mohammed Abdu, Talal Maddah and Abadi Al-Jawhar.
“It is also an ode that can be performed on Western musical instruments,” he said. “This represents the approach of the center, which seeks to combine training on Eastern and Western instruments.”
He added that a number of students in Taif are already taking lessons at the center, which aims to act as a scout for emerging musical talent that can one day perform on a global stage.
“We look forward to establishing a Saudi orchestra to participate in international musical events,” said bin Hussein. “The basis of the center’s courses is to teach young people to be able to read and write music using a scientific approach, and to train them in musical rhythm skills.”

This more formal and technical approach is a departure from the common local practice of “learning by ear,” which involves listening to music and recreating it. Trainees at the center are taught to read music and play international tunes on instruments such as piano, violin and guitar.
They also learn to play the oud, an Arab instrument, but again through a formal teaching process based on an accredited curriculum. The center also aims to popularize a number of other instruments in the country.
“We are currently motivating talents to learn new instruments such as the clarinet, French horn and saxophone,” said bin Hussein.
The basis of the center’s courses is to teach young people to be able to read and write music using a scientific approach, and to train them in musical rhythm skills.
Anas bin Hussein, Founder of Nahawand
Trainees will eventually have the chance to sit for certified tests set by British institute APRSM, the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music, which offers a curriculum that includes the theories of Western music, solfege, instrumental practice and music appreciation.
Bin Hussein said that so many people have enrolled at the center during its first month of operation it has been forced to increase the number of teachers. He added that this response “demonstrated the willingness of Taif residents to train on sound skills such as solfege, vocalization and choir, prompting us to add new services to suit the size and requirements of the market.”
Although the services provided by the center are currently limited to the Taif area, bin Hussein said that there are plans to expand during the next two months and open centers in six cities across the Kingdom, including Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
Majid Al-Abboud, who is learning to play the violin at the center, said that the training provided by Nahawand is already achieving remarkable results among the trainees.
“It allows them to practice on various instruments to develop their skills after they have acquired the basics of performing on the instruments, thus enabling them to correct their mistakes themselves and quickly promoting their musical experience and knowledge,” he said.
He revealed that after mastering the violin he hopes one day to compose classical music and spread awareness of the culture of music in its classical form.
“In my opinion, society needs such efforts to fill the void of high-end music production, which unfortunately has become rare these days,” Al-Abboud added.
He said that he has not encountered any unexpected difficulties during his lessons but that learning anything new is a challenge, especially when the previous experience of learning music for many people often involves informal attempts to learn by playing by ear.
“But I am confident that these difficulties can be overcome thanks to academic supervision provided by the academy and its trainers,” he concluded.  
 

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