Saudi Arabia inaugurates pavilion at Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in US – Arab News
MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia, represented by the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) and the Ministry of Education, is participating in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia, from May 7 to 13.
The Saudi pavilion, which was organized over two days and inaugurated by Mawhiba’s secretary-general, Saud bin Saeed Al-Mathami, attracted more than 300 visitors within the first hour of its launch.
Al-Mathami told Arab News: “We are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the creativity of our students, who have provided a true model of knowledge, wealth, and scientific excellence in all cultural activities, which is reflected in their participation in the ISEF exhibition.”
He wished them success, excellence, and a top ranking.
He also expressed his hopes that the students’ talent, ideas, and creativity would contribute to the extraordinary renaissance that the Kingdom was witnessing during this auspicious era.
He stressed that the Kingdom took pride in the students, saying the country had harnessed its great potential to qualify them to compete effectively in international forums so that Saudi Arabia could take its proper position among the countries of the world.
“When the crown prince said that the Saudis’ strength was like that of the Tuwaiq Mountain, unbreakable, Mawhiba saw in his words a road map for its initiatives. 
“Our talented students are the true wealth of Saudi Arabia and the solid building blocks of our society. They are the real future that we are looking forward to, and their familiarity in all disciplines and specializations will push forward the Saudi Vision 2030.
“The talented students excelled in all disciplines related to energy, climate change, medicine, biosciences, space, medical and environmental engineering, organic materials industry, technology, innovation, information engineering, and artificial intelligence. They underwent extensive training for long hours and rigorous testing under the supervision of competent committees to honor Saudi Arabia in international forums.”
Al-Mathami explained that Mawhiba’s students were the kernel of the upcoming Saudi economy and said their talent confirmed the strength of the presence of the Saudi identity in all fields. 
He added that their confidence and knowledge were the foundation of their success.
The secretary-general urged the members of the Saudi team to be respectful toward the arbitrators, advising them to refrain from arguing with them and instead engage in a discussion about the results of their studies and research, leveraging their skills through effective communication to express their ideas.
He said that everyone in the Saudi team represented the Kingdom, represented themselves through this project, and represented the world given that ISEF was an international platform where all countries competed.
“Each one of them is now an ambassador to the world through the project he is competing with at ISEF.”
Al-Mathami said he and his foundation deputies were keen to participate in and attend ISEF because of Saudi Arabia’s great accomplishments this year. It ranked third after the US and China for the number of students participating in the current exhibition.
“This would provide Saudi students with the opportunity to receive awards, whether major prizes or special prizes.”
As part of their ISEF 2022 participation, the Saudi students installed project signboards in the exhibition, took part in workshops in preparation for the arbitration tours, and trained the female Saudi student who won the Broadcom Master awards.
They also attended the broches exchange ceremony with the rest of the international students.
JEDDAH: Relentless economic development, accompanied by agricultural and industrial expansion, the extraction of minerals and fossil fuels, and improved health and nutrition, has led to a global population explosion.
This in turn has resulted in the encroachment of urban areas such as cities and towns into previously uninhabited lands and animal habitats.
While living standards have risen over the centuries, the upward trajectory of unsustainable development has placed a heavy burden on the world’s ecosystems, with carbon emissions, deforestation and the overexploitation of land and fisheries causing untold harm to plant and animal life.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature’s biannual Living Planet Report 2020, about a million animal species face the threat of extinction in the coming decades, with potentially catastrophic consequences for pollinators and our food systems.
But as the efforts of Saudi Arabia show, the picture is not uniformly bleak. From the rugged mountains of the Hijaz and the lush green oases of the east to the wide valleys and vast desert plains that make up 30 percent of the country’s land, the diverse landscape is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
To preserve this wealth of biodiversity, authorities in the Kingdom have devoted considerable resources to conservation efforts, including funding for projects designed to protect threatened species and expand nature reserves, preventing further human encroachment into vulnerable habitats.
Saudi Arabia spans the majority of the Arabian Peninsula but is among the world’s most sparsely populated countries, allowing it to set aside vast tracts of land as protected wildlife preserves, safe from urban, agricultural or industrial expansion.
These efforts date back to 1978, when Saudi authorities set aside an initial 82,700 square kilometer area to protect natural habitats. In 1986, the Kingdom established the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development to oversee conservation initiatives.
One of the first species-specific programs it launched was a captive-breeding project for Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii, better known as the houbara bustard, the population of which had dwindled as a result of overhunting and changes in land use.
Poaching, falconry, unregulated hunting, overfishing, overgrazing and habitat loss all contributed to the bird being classified as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of endangered species.
Several long-term breeding projects were initiated to build a self-sustaining population of houbara within a network of managed sites and prevent local extinction. The Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center for Wildlife Research succeeded in hatching its first houbara egg in 1989.
Two years later, the center had bred sufficient numbers for them to be released in the Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area. In the first two years of the project, the center bred more than 2,000 houbaras for release into the wild.
Building on monumental work of the center, the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Nature Reserve Development Authority announced in August this year that it had launched its own houbara breeding center to help replenish local populations.
As part of its ecological protection and restoration efforts, Saudi Arabia has mobilized environmentalists, scientists and special task forces to collaborate with international bodies, including the IUCN, and develop plans for its nature reserves.
Sanctuaries have been created to protect the region’s endangered species. Many of them combine conservation work with the development of ecotourism and public recreational spaces.
Currently the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development manages 15 protected areas, and proposals to grant protected status to 20 more reserves are under review.
An additional 40 areas are managed by other entities, including the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, neighboring countries, and the royal commissions for Jubail, Yanbu and AlUla, among others.
The Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center for Wildlife Research in Taif, the Prince Mohammed Al-Sudairy Center for the Breeding of Reem Gazelles in Al-Qassim, and the Arabian Leopard Sharaan Nature Reserve in AlUla are among the existing reserves in the Kingdom that have helped endangered species to flourish.
Covering an area of 130,700 square kilometers, the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve, the Kingdom’s largest reserve, is home to about 277 native vertebrate species of bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian.
Its three primary conservation areas — Khunfah, Tubaiq and Harrat Al-Harra — provide sanctuary for rhim gazelle, Arabian wolf, Arabian oryx, sand fox, Nubian ibex, Arabian spiny-tailed lizard and various migratory bird species, including houbara, golden eagle and the Eurasian stone-curlew.
“Tremendous efforts are needed to protect and conserve species of conservation concern, mainly to ensure that these species are well protected against both natural and human-induced threats,” a spokesperson for the KSRNR told Arab News.
“These efforts include, but are not limited to, several protection and conservation programs of habitat restoration, reintroduction, monitoring, protection and awareness programs. The current reintroduction programs mainly include flagship and threatened species such as Arabian oryx, Nubian ibex, Arabian sand gazelle, Arabian gazelle and Asian houbara.
“Preliminary results of such programs and efforts are promising, such as recording signs of acclimatization of individuals and the success of having newborn individuals in the wild of the reintroduced species, including the first oryx to be born in the wild in nine decades.
“Another success story … within KSRNR (is the) breeding population of the griffon vulture, which is considered one of the largest resident breeding populations of the species in the Middle East.”
Despite recent efforts by governments and agencies throughout the world to conserve ecosystems, the pace of wildlife and habitat loss is staggering.
“The main obstacles facing the animals are habitat degradation due to overgrazing of local herds of livestock, mainly camels, as well as hunting,” the KSRNR spokesperson said.
“The Royal Reserve’s specialized team is tackling these issues of deteriorating habitat by conducting restoration programs, as well as using advanced methods and technology for monitoring and protecting animals.”
Marine habitats in particular are suffering as a result of pollution, acidification and rising temperatures. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, for example, has lost more than half of its corals as a result of rising ocean temperatures in recent years.
Meanwhile, marine life is disappearing rapidly around the world, with whales, dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles and many species of fish disappearing at twice the rate of species on land.
The Farasan Islands, an archipelago off the southwestern coast of Saudi Arabia, is feted for its unique biodiversity. It is home to more than 230 species of fish, a variety of coral reefs, and several endangered marine animals, including dugongs.
Since 1996, the area has been a protected nature reserve covering 5,400 square km and it was recently added to UNESCO’s World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves.
It is a sanctuary for the Kingdom’s largest colony of edmi gazelles, which are endemic to the region, as well as white-tailed mongoose and several species of rodent.
The area is also an important corridor for migratory birds, with about 165 species passing through it. It also has flamingos, Eurasian spoonbills, the largest concentration of pink-backed pelicans on the Red Sea, and the largest concentration of ospreys in the Middle East.
Its remoteness has, to some degree, helped preserve the area and its animal inhabitants. However, with new coastal developments, passing ships and warming waters, certain land and marine species are now in decline, inspiring the efforts to preserve and restore marine ecosystems.
Ten billion mangrove trees will be planted across Saudi Arabia as part of the Saudi Green Initiative, which was launched last year to tackle climate change, reduce carbon emissions and improve the environment.
Nature reserves are contributing to the Kingdom’s afforestation initiative. KSRNR is working to recover 90 percent of degraded habitats by 2040, with ambitions to plant 70 million native wild species seedlings.
“KSRNR is planting 1 million native plant seedlings in 2022,” the spokesperson said. “This plantation target will be doubled during the year 2023 to reach 2 million seedlings planted.
“This will be the contribution of KSRNR to SGI targets relative to its land area. In 2030, we will aim for 30 million seedlings, and in 2040 we will aim for 70 million.”
Despite these sterling efforts, and the work of conservationists elsewhere, experts warn that more needs to be done, both in the region and globally, if more of the breathtaking variety of animal species with which we share our planet are to avoid extinction.
BALI, Indonesia: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Education met with the Indonesian minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology and the assistant director-general for education at UNESCO as part of a visit to Indonesia to participate in the meeting of the G20 ministers of education, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh met with minister Nadiem Anwar Makarim and Dr. Stefania Giannini during the meeting being held in Bali.
The minister discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the Kingdom and Indonesia in education.
He also discussed ways to build a solid and comprehensive partnership to benefit from the development plans and programs implemented by educational institutions in the two countries, as well as to enhance cooperation and partnerships in higher education, scientific research and innovation, and student scholarships and grants.
Dr. Al Al-Sheikh also discussed with the Giannini how to strengthen cooperation between Saudi Arabia and UNESCO in education, and support for future aspects of international cooperation, joint work, and the exchange of expertise, in addition to improving educational systems and developing scientific research, which will contribute to global prosperity.
RIYADH: Top local and international artists are set to perform at AlUla to celebrate the 92nd Saudi National Day later this month, it has been announced.
The lineup was broadcast on Riyadh Boulevard City’s 82 screens with a five-minute performance by female Saudi violinist and DJ, KAYAN, who played against a backdrop of AlUla’s iconic Elephant Rock.
In its second edition, Azimuth, amplified by MDLBEAST, will include regional and local artists KAYAN, Dorar, Solskin, Dish Dash, Baloo, Biirdperson, Nomad, Gooner, ANMARZ, Vinyl Mode, Damian Lazarus, DJ Snake and Parov Stelar.
The event will start on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following day. On Friday, the show will run from 4:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Saturday.
Saudi DJ Baloo, the man behind Azimuth 2022, said: “We’re really excited to be throwing Azimuth this year on the national day weekend, in the breathtaking and enchanting AlUla.”
The festival is set to take place in the same valley where Desert X AlUla art exhibition was hosted earlier this year.
“Everything that’s been developed for AlUla is above par and coming into this place as a music programmer we had to come in and create a festival so special to fit the magical space we’re given,” he added.
Dorrar, Solskin, DJ Snake, Dish Dash, Damian Lazarus, and Vinyl Mode will be performing on day one of Azimuth.
On day two, KAYAN, Biirdperson, Gooner, Parov Stelar, ANMARZ, and Baloo will take the stage.
Philip Jones, Royal Commission of AlUla chief management and marketing officer, told Arab News the main difference between MDLBEAST Riyadh and MDLBEAST in AlUla was that “while you might have 30,000 people in Riyadh, there will only be around a thousand in AlUla.”
Jones said it is more of an individual, tailored experience with smaller crowds.
“What we offer is very experiential that it will set us apart because it fits the brand of AlUla as a premium luxury destination, so think of it as a premium luxury festival.”
This year, AlUla Moments will present several festivals and events: Azimuth, Winter at Tantora, AlUla Wellness Festival, and for the first time The Ancient Kingdoms Festival which is inspired by 7,000 years of successive civilizations on the Arabian Peninsula and the famed incense trading route.
“One of the things we want to do is nurture and develop the entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia, and because AlUla lends itself to such amazing backdrops with film and entertainment and videos, we wanted to use it as an opportunity to really highlight that aspect of it and develop the existing local talent and showcase it,” said Jones.
Tickets are on sale at
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the death of former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the Saudi Press agency reported early Friday.
“We send to Your Excellency, the family of the deceased and the Russian people, our deepest and sincere condolences,” the king said.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Russian president.
Gorbachev, who as the last leader of the Soviet Union waged a losing battle to salvage a crumbling empire but produced extraordinary reforms that led to the end of the Cold War, died Tuesday. He was 91.
The Central Clinical Hospital said in a statement that Gorbachev died after a long illness. No other details were given.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered deep condolences over Gorbachev’s death and would send an official telegram to Gorbachev’s family.
(With AP) 
RIYADH: The Saudi Organization for Chartered and Professional Accountants has launched a new academic curriculum for universities to aid the development of the industry and better support its members.
Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi, who chairs the SOCPA, said the government attached great importance to accounting and regarded it as an “essential component of the economy.”
He was speaking at an event to celebrate the achievements of 1,733 men and women who recently completed their professional qualifications. 
SOCPA CEO Dr. Ahmed Almeghames told Arab News that the new curriculum would help universities to produce graduates who are better suited to working in the accounting profession.
It will bridge the gap between education and the labor market, and provide students with the grounding they needed to succeed in their professional studies, he added.
Almeghames described the acquisition of professional credentials in accounting and auditing as “crucial in the labor market,” as that is what businesses and industries desire. 
At the awards ceremony he acknowledged the achievements of the attendees, including the recipients of the excellence award in the fellowship exam, the VAT certificate and accounting certificate.
The event also witnessed the signing of separate agreements between the SOCPA and the Social Development Bank and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.
Each was designed “to support licensed accountants through funding programs and enable them to benefit from the self-employment program,” the SOCPA said.
According to its website, the professional body “aims to improve and contribute to the development of the practice of the profession while monitoring its performance quality … in serving the community and the national economy.”


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