Riyadh Meeting Expected to Include 50 Sites on World Heritage List

The logo of the extended 45th session of the World Heritage Committee (Media Center)
The logo of the extended 45th session of the World Heritage Committee (Media Center)
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Riyadh Meeting Expected to Include 50 Sites on World Heritage List

The logo of the extended 45th session of the World Heritage Committee (Media Center)
The logo of the extended 45th session of the World Heritage Committee (Media Center)

The extended 45th session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee will take place in Riyadh between September 10 and 25 and is expected to include several new heritage sites qualified for addition to the World Heritage List.

According to the Committee's agenda, proposals will be examined to add 50 sites to the World Heritage List, including 37 cultural sites, 12 natural sites, and two sites of mixed significance.

The World Heritage Site Managers' Forum will convene on the sidelines of the Riyadh meeting.

Managers and persons working within World Heritage site management systems from across the globe will participate in this year's Forum, aimed at continuing to empower World Heritage site managers on the international stage.

It aims to expand beneficial networking opportunities, facilitate the exchange of expertise and knowledge to preserve shared human heritage, and review techniques for site development.

- Climate Disruption: An Existential Threat to Heritage.

However, a pressing issue looms large.

UNESCO's Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, pointed out that climate disruption poses an existential threat to world heritage.

According to the organization's reports, there is a pressing need for the provisions of the World Heritage Convention, ratified by 195 countries, to address impending challenges.

Last July, the hottest month ever recorded, witnessed coastal erosion due to flooding. Yet, global heritage protection efforts have achieved notable successes.

A UNESCO and IUCN assessment of the status of species reveals that UNESCO World Heritage sites harbor over 20 percent of mapped global species richness within just one percent of the Earth's surface.

During her meeting in Riyadh with around 3,000 participants in the heritage and antiquities sector, Azoulay mentioned that UNESCO has dispatched teams to countries recently affected by harsh climatic conditions, such as Madagascar, Pakistan, Cuba, and Peru, for assessment and preparation for reconstruction.

The Heritage Emergency Fund supports the missions, said Azoulay, emphasizing that the world needs to be better prepared, noting that every manager of World Heritage sites will receive training on climate adaptation strategies by 2025.

- How Are Heritage Sites Evaluated?

The World Heritage List comprises 1,157 heritage sites spread across 167 countries of various categories, including cultural, natural, and mixed areas.

The World Heritage Committee meets once a year and consists of representatives from 21 of the states parties to the Convention elected by their General Assembly. It is responsible for implementing the World Heritage Convention, defining the use of the World Heritage Fund, and allocating financial assistance upon requests from states.

It has the final say on whether a property is inscribed on the World Heritage List and examines reports on the state of conservation of inscribed properties and asks states parties to act when properties are not adequately managed.

It also decides on the inscription or deleting properties on the List of World Heritage in danger.

The selection criteria of the Committee ensure that the site represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and exhibits an important interchange of human values over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world.

It must also bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization that is living, or which has disappeared or be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble, or landscape that illustrates a significant stage in human history.

As for natural sites, they must contain the most significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

- Youth Forum Enhances their Role in the Sector

Seminars and workshops discussing heritage topics and challenges are held within an international forum hosted by Saudi Arabia. The aim is to advance the role of young professionals in the heritage sector, paving the way for a promising generation of specialists in the field.

The outcomes of the Forum are set to be presented as a youth declaration at the extended 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh.

For approximately ten days, while visiting heritage landmarks in Saudi cities rich in architectural heritage and human legacy, the Forum explores opportunities for professionals and specialists.

It delves into the impacts of climate change, digital dimensions, and the promotion of diversity and sustainable tourism intersecting with human heritage worldwide.



King Charles Raises Eyebrows with His Tie Choice amid UK-Greece Dispute

 King Charles III attends a group photo at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
King Charles III attends a group photo at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
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King Charles Raises Eyebrows with His Tie Choice amid UK-Greece Dispute

 King Charles III attends a group photo at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
King Charles III attends a group photo at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)

Britain's King Charles wore a tie bearing the colors and symbols of the Greek national flag to a climate conference on Friday, days after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak snubbed his Greek peer Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a row over the Parthenon Sculptures.

Charles, who wore the tie when he met Sunak on the sidelines of COP28 in the United Arab Emirates and when he delivered a speech at the event, has Greek lineage through his father, the late Prince Philip who was born on the Greek island of Corfu.

Sunak deepened a diplomatic row with Athens on Wednesday by accusing Mitsotakis of "grandstanding" during a recent trip to London over ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures. Sunak cancelled a planned meeting with Mitsotakis earlier in the week.

A Buckingham Palace source said on Friday that Charles also wore the same tie last week, before the escalation of the dispute. A spokesperson for Sunak declined to comment.

British media noted that, as well as the blue and white tie featuring the same white cross design as the Greek flag, Charles sported a blue and white handkerchief protruding from his jacket pocket.

"In a week when Rishi Sunak cancelled a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister to make a 'stand' over the #ParthenonMarbles #ElginMarbles ... King Charles appears to have chosen to wear a very interesting tie when he met Mr Sunak in Dubai today," ITV television's Royal Editor Chris Ship said on social media platform X.

Athens has long called on the British Museum to permanently return the 2,500-year-old sculptures that British diplomat Lord Elgin removed from the Parthenon temple in 1806. The museum has said it would consider a loan to Greece only if Athens acknowledges the museum's ownership of the sculptures.


Russia's Kaliningrad Digitizes Kant's Works

A woman walks on a street during snowfall in Moscow, Russia, 30 November 2023. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV
A woman walks on a street during snowfall in Moscow, Russia, 30 November 2023. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV
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Russia's Kaliningrad Digitizes Kant's Works

A woman walks on a street during snowfall in Moscow, Russia, 30 November 2023. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV
A woman walks on a street during snowfall in Moscow, Russia, 30 November 2023. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

In a once-German corner of Russia, an ambitious project to digitize hundreds of rare and ancient books is under way.
"The principal mission of libraries is to preserve books," said Ruslan Aksyonkin, an expert at the culture and education center at Baltic University in the city of Kaliningrad.
"A huge project is currently under way in Russia aimed at scanning all pre-Revolution [of 1917] books."
In Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic coast and separated from the rest of Russia, around 450 books dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries, some more accessible than others, are to be digitized.
The centerpiece are the books that once belonged to German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant, best known for his "Critique of Pure Reason" of 1781 - a ground-breaking but dense 800-page treatise on the relationship between knowledge and experience or perception.
Kant spent his entire life, from 1724 to 1804, in what was then the Prussian city of Koenigsberg, and the project is part of citywide celebrations of next year's 300th anniversary of his birth.
Little of the city Kant would have known is left today, much of the historic center having been flattened by British air raids in 1944, in World War Two, Reuters reported.
After Germany's surrender, the city was ceded to the Soviet Union and resettled with Soviet newcomers, while its German population were expelled.
Even so, modern-day Kaliningrad remains fond of its most famous German resident, despite the abstruseness of his ideas.
The city's university bears his name, and Kant's tomb and a small exhibition on the philosopher have pride of place in the restored German cathedral.
"There are very few authentic items linked to Kant," said Marina Yadova, deputy director at the cathedral's museum. "But we do have certain items, and they are Kant's works published during his lifetime."
Some of the books being digitized, unopened for centuries, contain dried leaves or handkerchiefs, as well as scribbles in the margins of their fragile pages.
"Ancient books can be particularly finicky. They're not always stable. Typically, they're very thick, often with more than 600 pages," said Aksyonkin.
"There are books that seem resistant to scanning."


GASTAT: 80% of Saudi Arabia’s Population Visited Cultural Venue Mid 2022-2023

General Authority for Statistics
General Authority for Statistics
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GASTAT: 80% of Saudi Arabia’s Population Visited Cultural Venue Mid 2022-2023

General Authority for Statistics
General Authority for Statistics

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics released on Thursday a bulletin of culture and entertainment statistics from mid-2022 to mid-2023.

According to the results of the bulletin, 80% of the total population of the Kingdom (15 years and older) has visited one of the venues of cultural events or activities, while 90% of the total population of the Kingdom has visited one of the venues of the events or entertainment activities.

The bulletin's results showed that 13% of individuals attended national celebrations, while 11% visited cinemas.

The proportion of Saudi individuals who visited a Saudi entertainment season was 39%, while the proportion of non-Saudi individuals who visited a Saudi entertainment season stood at 36%.

The bulletin's findings showed that 20% of individuals did not visit cultural events and activities, 40% of whom could not visit due to the lack of time.

The bulletin showed that 23% of individuals were engaged in walking activities, and 19% spent their leisure time practicing football.

The percentage of individuals who read at least one book in the previous 12 months was 37%, while 21% read newspapers and 7% read magazines.

The results of the cultural and entertainment statistics bulletin highlight data on the visited places and cultural and entertainment activities practices by individuals (15 years and over) based on the results of the survey of culture and family entertainment carried out by the General Authority for Statistics in 2023, by collecting data via phone calls.


Saudi Arabia Showcases its Culture in Milan

The Saudi Ministry of Culture logo
The Saudi Ministry of Culture logo
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Saudi Arabia Showcases its Culture in Milan

The Saudi Ministry of Culture logo
The Saudi Ministry of Culture logo

The Ministry of Culture is participating with a National Pavilion at Artigiano in Fiera, a global village of arts and crafts, displaying items, foods, and beverages from various corners of the globe for more than two decades.

It advocates for artisans, creators of beauty and goodness, presenting distinctive, high-quality products that honor both nature and people. This year's edition will take place in Rho, Milan, from December 2 to 10.

Artigiano in Fiera is now the world's biggest trade fair of its kind, celebrated for its unique blend of positivity and beauty. With a layout organized by regions, the event brings together thousands of artisans. Representing over 100 countries, these artisans showcase a wide range of products from food and textiles to design, furniture, personal care, and fashion.

Antonio Intiglietta, President of exhibition planner Ge.FI., expressed pride in Saudi Arabia's presence.

"After last year's success, we are extremely proud of Saudi Arabia's renewed presence, this year among the largest stands at the fair. We recommend all Italians to discover the wonderful traditions of Saudi culture,” Intiglietta said.

At the Saudi Pavilion, attendees can explore various traditional crafts, including the UNESCO-recognized Al-Qatt Al-Asiri—a unique form of traditional interior wall decoration crafted by skilled female artisans from the Southern region.

The exhibition also highlights the ancient artistry of Al Sadu, a traditional weaving technique passed down by the Central region’s women through generations. This curated presentation provides valuable insights into Saudi Arabia's diverse cultural heritage, emphasizing the unique contributions of its regions to the nation's historical tapestry.

To showcase the vast cultural legacy, the Saudi Ministry of Culture along with some of its 11 sector specific commissions and other will participate in the forthcoming exhibition.

The Saudi Pavilion will offer visitors unique and immersive experiences and enable them to interact directly with skilled Saudi artisans, gain valuable insights into the intricate materials and tools employed, and foster a deeper appreciation for the intrinsic value of each handicraft.

Moreover, the pavilion promises a sensory journey as visitors can indulge in the flavorful tastes of traditional Saudi dishes and culinary delights meticulously prepared by chefs selected by The Culinary Arts Commission. Through this participation, the Commission showcases Saudi cuisine both nationally and globally, and adds a delightful gastronomic dimension to the cultural showcase.

In addition to the visual and culinary treats, attendees can also bask in the artistic prowess showcased by traditional Saudi performers associated with the Theater and Performing Arts Commission. As a patron for all genres of performing arts, the commission brings forth characteristic musical and dance performances that enrich the cultural display.


British PM Fuels Diplomatic Dispute with Greece over Parthenon Sculptures

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak departs Downing Street in London, Britain, 29 November 2023. (EPA)
Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak departs Downing Street in London, Britain, 29 November 2023. (EPA)
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British PM Fuels Diplomatic Dispute with Greece over Parthenon Sculptures

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak departs Downing Street in London, Britain, 29 November 2023. (EPA)
Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak departs Downing Street in London, Britain, 29 November 2023. (EPA)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fueled a diplomatic row with Athens on Wednesday by accusing his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis of "grandstanding" during a recent trip to London over ownership of the Parthenon sculptures.

Sunak told parliament he had cancelled a planned meeting with Mitsotakis in London on Tuesday after the Greek premier broke a promise not to use his trip as an opportunity to advocate for the return of the sculptures, known in Britain as the Elgin Marbles, from the British Museum.

In his first public comments, Sunak said: "It was clear that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss substantive issues for the future, but rather to grandstand and relitigate issues of the past."

Responding to Sunak's comments, a senior Greek government official said: "In the spirit of the good longstanding relations between the two countries, which we intend to preserve, we have nothing more to add on this matter."

Sunak cancelled the meeting after Mitsotakis discussed the issue during an interview for the BBC at the weekend. The cancellation prompted an angry response from Mitsotakis, and Greek government officials said it was disrespectful.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mitsotakis appeared ready to tone down the rhetoric, calling the cancellation of the meeting an "unfortunate event".

"I believe the move will not hurt relations between Greece and Britain in the longer term," he told Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, adding that Athens' demand for the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures had got more publicity than expected due to the turmoil.

Long-running dispute

Athens has repeatedly called on the British Museum to permanently return the 2,500-year-old sculptures that British diplomat Lord Elgin removed from the Parthenon temple in 1806, during a period when Greece was under Ottoman Turkish rule.

About half of the 160-metre frieze that adorned the Parthenon in Athens is in the British Museum, while 50 meters of the carvings are in the Acropolis museum in Greece.

During the BBC interview on Sunday, Mitsotakis compared the separation of the sculptures to cutting the Mona Lisa in half, a characterization rejected by the British government. Greek officials said Mitsotakis had only reiterated his country's longstanding stance.

Sunak's Conservatives, who have been in power for the last 13 years, are trailing the opposition Labour Party by around 20 points in opinion polls ahead of a national election expected next year.

On Wednesday, Labour leader Keir Starmer accused Sunak of trying to "hide his failures" by manufacturing a row over the sculptures and trying to humiliate Mitsotakis.

Greece has said it would be willing to loan antiquities to the British Museum in return for being able to temporarily exhibit the Parthenon sculptures in Athens and that such a deal would not alter its long-standing demand for their permanent return.

The British Museum has said it would consider a loan to Greece only if it acknowledges the museum's ownership of the sculptures, something Greek governments have refused.

But in January the museum called for a new Parthenon Partnership with Greece.

"Discussions with Greece about a Parthenon Partnership are on-going and constructive," said a British Museum spokesperson.

"We believe that this kind of long-term partnership would strike the right balance between sharing our greatest objects with audiences around the world, and maintaining the integrity of the incredible collection we hold at the museum."


The Parthenon Sculptures at Center of Row Between Britain, Greece 

An employee views examples of the Parthenon sculptures, sometimes referred to in the UK as the Elgin Marbles, on display at the British Museum in London, Britain, January 25, 2023. (Reuters)
An employee views examples of the Parthenon sculptures, sometimes referred to in the UK as the Elgin Marbles, on display at the British Museum in London, Britain, January 25, 2023. (Reuters)
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The Parthenon Sculptures at Center of Row Between Britain, Greece 

An employee views examples of the Parthenon sculptures, sometimes referred to in the UK as the Elgin Marbles, on display at the British Museum in London, Britain, January 25, 2023. (Reuters)
An employee views examples of the Parthenon sculptures, sometimes referred to in the UK as the Elgin Marbles, on display at the British Museum in London, Britain, January 25, 2023. (Reuters)

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has cancelled a planned meeting with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis due to a diplomatic row over the status of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon sculptures housed at the British Museum.

Greece has repeatedly asked for their permanent return to Athens, while Britain and the museum have refused to do so.

WHY THEY ARE IN BRITAIN?

The sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles in Britain, include part of a frieze, relief panels and other figures that were removed from the Parthenon in the early 19th century by Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin and then-British ambassador to the Ottoman empire.

They were transported to Britain and bought by the British Museum in 1816 and are exhibited as a prized part of its collection in London.

WHAT ARE THEY?

The sculptures at the British Museum make up about half of a 160-metre frieze which adorned the Parthenon temple on the rocky Acropolis hill in Athens. The collection includes 15 sculpted relief panels and figures of gods and heroes from the temple's pediments.

They are original parts of the temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, completed in 432 BC as the crowning glory of Athens' Golden Age.

The largest temple on the Acropolis, the Parthenon has operated as an archaeological site since 1833, surviving wars and natural disasters to become the symbol of modern Greece.

ATHENS' CAMPAIGN FOR THEIR RETURN

While Athens has called for the permanent return of the treasures since its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832 and accused Elgin of theft, the campaign garnered more attention in the 1980s.

Greek Oscar-nominated actress Melina Mercouri, a vocal supporter of the arts, launched an official campaign for their return when she was culture minister in 1981-1989.

Athens has further stepped up its efforts since it opened a museum in 2009 at the foot of the Acropolis, which holds the sculptures that remain in Greece. With a view of the Parthenon, the layout of the top floor of the museum mimics the temple.

In September 2019, Mitsotakis suggested Athens would be willing to loan antiquities to the British Museum in return for being able to temporarily exhibit them. Greece said the proposal did not alter its long-standing demand for their permanent return.

In December 2022, Greece said it was in talks with Britain over the repatriation of the sculptures to Athens, but a deal was not imminent.

BRITISH MUSEUM'S STANCE

The British Museum, custodian of the sculptures, has refused to return them, saying they were acquired by Elgin under a legal contract with the Ottoman Empire that then ruled Greece.

The trustees of the museum say the public would benefit more from having the sculptures divided between two museums, that bringing them back together into a unified whole is impossible as some parts were lost or destroyed, and that the sculptures could not be safely returned.

The trustees have said they would consider a loan to Greece if Greece acknowledges the British Museum's ownership of the sculptures, which Greek governments have refused in the past. The British Museum in January 2023 called for a new Parthenon Partnership with Greece and said discussions were ongoing.

OTHER RETURNS

In January 2022, a museum in Italy loaned Athens the so-called "Fagan" fragment, depicting the foot of the ancient Greek goddess Artemis. It later said the fragment - part of the temple's eastern frieze - could stay in Greece.

In December, Pope Francis returned to Greece three pieces of the Parthenon that had been in the papal collections of the Vatican Museums for more than a century.


In Row Over Parthenon Sculptures, Greece Says Britain Showing ‘Lack of Respect' 

A photograph shows the Parthenon Temple at the top of the Acropolis hill in Athens on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
A photograph shows the Parthenon Temple at the top of the Acropolis hill in Athens on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
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In Row Over Parthenon Sculptures, Greece Says Britain Showing ‘Lack of Respect' 

A photograph shows the Parthenon Temple at the top of the Acropolis hill in Athens on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
A photograph shows the Parthenon Temple at the top of the Acropolis hill in Athens on November 28, 2023. (AFP)

Greece's government on Tuesday accused Britain of showing "a lack of respect" by abruptly cancelling a meeting between their leaders at short notice in a dispute over ancient Greek sculptures brought to Britain in the early 19th century.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cancelled a planned wide-ranging meeting with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis after the latter raised the decades-old demand for the return of the Parthenon sculptures from the British Museum.

"This is not common, we are trying to find a precedent and we can't," said Pavlos Marinakis, a spokesman for the Greek government. "It shows a lack of respect to the prime minister but also to the country he represents."

Greece has repeatedly asked the British Museum to permanently return the 2,500-year-old sculptures that British diplomat Lord Elgin removed from the Parthenon temple in the early 19th century when he was ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

About half the surviving marble works are in London, and the rest in a museum under the Acropolis in Athens.

Appearing on the BBC over the weekend, Mitsotakis compared the separation of the sculptures to cutting the Mona Lisa in half, a characterization rejected by British government.

Marinakis said the planned talks between the two leaders were meant to have been on global issues, including the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, migration and the climate crisis.

Sunak's decision to cancel the meeting was also criticized by some British opposition parties and a campaign group backed by British politicians from different parties who want to resolve the issue.

The group, the Parthenon Project, has proposed a deal that would see the sculptures reunified in Athens - without Britain and Greece needing to agree on who owns them.

Ed Vaizey, a former Conservative culture minister who advises the group, said that Sunak's action was a "plot twist" given Britain's previous stance that resolving the issue was a matter for the British Museum itself.

"The prime minister has put himself at the front and center of row that he didn't really need to put himself at the front and center of," Vaizey told Sky News.

"I don't think the prime minister needed really to intervene in this way and it hasn't particularly helped our relationships with Greece."

Sunak's office on Monday said Britain's relationship with Greece was "hugely important" and that the two countries needed to work together on global challenges.


Royal Commission for AlUla, France’s Center Pompidou Sign Cultural Cooperation Agreement

The program aims to expand cultural cooperation in preparation for the establishment of the contemporary art museum in AlUla by 2027 - SPA
The program aims to expand cultural cooperation in preparation for the establishment of the contemporary art museum in AlUla by 2027 - SPA
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Royal Commission for AlUla, France’s Center Pompidou Sign Cultural Cooperation Agreement

The program aims to expand cultural cooperation in preparation for the establishment of the contemporary art museum in AlUla by 2027 - SPA
The program aims to expand cultural cooperation in preparation for the establishment of the contemporary art museum in AlUla by 2027 - SPA

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) signed a partnership program agreement with France’s Center Pompidou.
The program aims to expand cultural cooperation in preparation for the establishment of the contemporary art museum in AlUla by 2027, SPA reported.
The new executive program agreement is based on the principles of a long-term partnership, focusing on the exchange of expertise, skills transfer, and building a comprehensive cooperation strategy to enhance and preserve arts, culture, science, and heritage for mutual benefit.
The program provides an opportunity to develop cultural cooperation between the RCU and Center Pompidou, establishing a framework for priorities, new proposals, and collaborative activities in the coming years.
Through a defined technical and organizational strategy, the program enables the exchange, acquisition, lending, and exhibition of artworks and handicrafts between the RCU and the French center. It also promotes various scientific and cultural initiatives that rely on the participation of unique shared elements.
The new program complements the agreement signed between the RCU and Center Pompidou last March, which aimed to develop the contemporary art museum in AlUla over several stages, leading to its planned opening in 2027.
The RCU has made great strides in its plan to establish the new museum, including the appointment of Lina Ghotmeh as the lead architect for the museum’s design.


Royal Institute of Traditional Arts Launches the 'Confluence of Saudi-Korean Culture' Show

The show takes place at the Red Hall of the Princess Noura University Theater in Riyadh - SPA  
The show takes place at the Red Hall of the Princess Noura University Theater in Riyadh - SPA  
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Royal Institute of Traditional Arts Launches the 'Confluence of Saudi-Korean Culture' Show

The show takes place at the Red Hall of the Princess Noura University Theater in Riyadh - SPA  
The show takes place at the Red Hall of the Princess Noura University Theater in Riyadh - SPA  

The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts, in partnership with the Korean National University of Arts, launched on Monday the “Confluence of Saudi-Korean Culture” show.
The show, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, takes place at the Red Hall of the Princess Noura University Theater in Riyadh and will run for three days, SPA reported.
The show provides attendees with the opportunity to delve into the richness of Saudi and Korean arts. It features a range of combined theatrical and performance shows, highlighting five Saudi performing arts alongside five Korean counterparts.
This presentation aims to deepen the cultural and artistic understanding of both sides.
The event concludes with an integrated performing art that combines steps and rhythms derived from both cultures. Additionally, there is an accompanying art exhibition featuring traditional arts in various fields such as metals, pottery, wooden crafts, and hand embroidery.
These artistic works narrate the story of the confluence between art and artists.
Visitors of the show will watch 50 performers from Saudi Arabia and South Korea, including artists from the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts and the Korean National University of Arts. The Saudi part of the theatrical show reflects the cultural diversity of the Kingdom by showcasing various arts such as Al-Samri, Al-Daha, Al-Liwa, Al-Khatwa, and Al-Khabiti.
This cultural event offers a unique journey blending heritage and modernity in an exceptional artistic experience, with the presence of prominent leaders in the cultural sector who will provide their full support to this pioneering initiative.
The CEO of the Royal Institute, Dr. Suzanne Al-Yahya, indicated that the show enhances the artistic movement and promotes global cultural exchange with the Kingdom.
Dr. Al-Yahya added that it serves as a meeting point for traditional arts from different countries on both local and global scales, while also elevating awareness of traditional arts and disseminating them locally and internationally.


Greece PM Laments Lack of Progress with UK on Parthenon Sculptures

An employee views examples of the Parthenon sculptures, sometimes referred to in the UK as the Elgin Marbles, on display at the British Museum in London, Britain, January 25, 2023. (Reuters)
An employee views examples of the Parthenon sculptures, sometimes referred to in the UK as the Elgin Marbles, on display at the British Museum in London, Britain, January 25, 2023. (Reuters)
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Greece PM Laments Lack of Progress with UK on Parthenon Sculptures

An employee views examples of the Parthenon sculptures, sometimes referred to in the UK as the Elgin Marbles, on display at the British Museum in London, Britain, January 25, 2023. (Reuters)
An employee views examples of the Parthenon sculptures, sometimes referred to in the UK as the Elgin Marbles, on display at the British Museum in London, Britain, January 25, 2023. (Reuters)

Talks over a possible return of the British Museum's Parthenon Sculptures to Athens are not advancing quickly enough, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday as he prepared to meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week.

Athens has long campaigned for the return of the Elgin Marbles, as they are often described. The 75 meters of Parthenon frieze, 15 metopes and 17 sculptures were removed by diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, when he was ambassador to the Ottoman Empire then ruling Greece.

"We have not made as much progress as I would like in the negotiations," Mitsotakis told BBC television on Sunday. "I'm a patient man, and we've waited for hundreds of years, and I will persist in these discussions.

"We feel that the sculptures belong to Greece and that they were essentially stolen," Mitsotakis added before playing down the ownership aspect of the discussions and focusing instead on the importance of reuniting the sculptures with those in Athens.

British officials say the works were acquired legally.

Sunak in March ruled out any change to a law that stops the British Museum handing the marbles back to Greece permanently, but the legislation does not prohibit a loan.

George Osborne, a former British finance minister who is chairman of the museum's trustees, this month expressed hope for a deal that would allow the sculptures "to be seen in Athens".

Mitsotakis is due to meet Sunak on Tuesday, a day after a meeting Keir Starmer, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, which is riding high in opinion polls ahead of an election expected in 2024.

The Financial Times last week reported that Starmer would not block a "mutually acceptable" loan deal for the sculptures.