King Abdulaziz University Wins Global 'Zero Project Award’ for 2024

King Abdulaziz University Wins Global 'Zero Project Award’ for 2024
TT

King Abdulaziz University Wins Global 'Zero Project Award’ for 2024

King Abdulaziz University Wins Global 'Zero Project Award’ for 2024

King Abdulaziz University (KAU) won the "Zero Project Award" for the third consecutive time, amidst participation from 523 candidates representing 97 countries.
On Saturday, KAU’s initiative "We Hear You: The Preparatory Year for the Deaf Students" was awarded at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

This award, presented annually, honors innovative projects and initiatives that aim to empower people with disabilities worldwide, SPA reported.
The university's third consecutive award is a testament to its commitment to sustaining its achievements, particularly in supporting students with disabilities.

This recognition also underscores the university's dedication to ongoing efforts aimed at enhancing the services offered to this demographic and prioritizing their participation in global events and celebrations.



Saudi Arabia's King Fahd National Library Introduces 'Open Access' Initiative

The library wishes to encourage the public to seek knowledge
The library wishes to encourage the public to seek knowledge
TT

Saudi Arabia's King Fahd National Library Introduces 'Open Access' Initiative

The library wishes to encourage the public to seek knowledge
The library wishes to encourage the public to seek knowledge

King Fahd National Library has launched a new initiative, called "Open Access", to mark World Book and Copyright Day. It enables free access to a range of its publications on library and information science, Saudi history, and heritage.
By making these publications readily available, the library wishes to encourage the public to seek knowledge, which is vital to individual and societal development.
King Fahd National Library Secretary General Prince Khaled bin Talal bin Badr expressed pride in the initiative, and said that it will help wider dissemination and accessibility of knowledge.
The initiative is part of the library's continuous efforts to foster the culture of reading and scientific research, and position itself as a prominent knowledge hub in Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, the "Open Access" initiative aligns with UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, of 2021.
It will benefit library users and strengthen partnerships with private, government, and semi-government entities such as the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP), the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission, the Libraries Commission, the Research Development and Innovation Authority, associations, public libraries, specialized libraries, academic libraries, academic departments, and research centers concerned with libraries, information, and publishing.
The "Open Access" approach is the core focus of this initiative; it enables users to freely access scientific and literary books through Creative Commons (CC) licenses that give online access to sources, with certain reuse rights, provided attribution is given to the authors.
The initiative aligns with the goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 by promoting the reading culture, scientific research, knowledge dissemination, and accessibility.


Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Brings Together 1,350 Exhibitors from 90 Countries

The 33rd edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will be held from April 29 to May 5
The 33rd edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will be held from April 29 to May 5
TT

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Brings Together 1,350 Exhibitors from 90 Countries

The 33rd edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will be held from April 29 to May 5
The 33rd edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will be held from April 29 to May 5

The 33rd edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), organized by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center (ALC), is expected to host over 1,350 exhibitors from 90 countries, up from 1,300 exhibitors representing 84 countries last year.

The significant number of countries represented embodies the theme of this year's fair, “Where the World’s Tales Unfold,” Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported Tuesday.

Held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC) from April 29 to May 5, this year’s edition will feature 145 new exhibitors and publishing houses participating for the first time, as well as 12 additional countries, including Greece, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Mozambique, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Indonesia.

“The book fair offers an unparalleled opportunity to discover the world’s cultures, providing an enriching experience for the whole family,” WAM said.

“The book fair is a leading cultural and knowledge event with a global reputation, as demonstrated by the large turnout. It underlines the Center’s success in attracting global publishing industry professionals and creators from around the world to fulfil the Fair’s main objective of serving as a platform for intercultural exchange, as reflected in the slogan, ‘Where the World’s Tales Unfold’,” said ALC Chairman Dr. Ali bin Tamim.

The ALC has announced the selection of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz as the Focus Personality for this year’s Book Fair. Egypt’s rich literary tradition, iconic authors, and profound influence on Arab thought and creativity make it a fitting choice to be celebrated as the Guest of Honor at the fair.


Saudi Ambassador Visits Cultural Attaché Pavilion at Tunis Int’l Book Fair

Saudi Ambassador Visits Cultural Attaché Pavilion at Tunis Int’l Book Fair
TT

Saudi Ambassador Visits Cultural Attaché Pavilion at Tunis Int’l Book Fair

Saudi Ambassador Visits Cultural Attaché Pavilion at Tunis Int’l Book Fair

Saudi Ambassador to Tunisia Dr. Abdulaziz bin Ali Al-Saqr has visited the pavilion of the Saudi Cultural Attaché participating in the 38th edition of the Tunis International Book Fair.

During his visit on Tuesday, Al-Saqr toured the pavilion and was briefed on the most prominent publications from various participating entities, including the Ministry of Education, King Abdulaziz Complex for Endowment Libraries, King Abdulaziz Public Library, and the Heritage Authority.

The tour was attended by several intellectuals, writers, and poets from both Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Al-Saqr emphasized the significance of this participation, which reflects the strength of relations between the Kingdom and Tunisia across all sectors. He also underscored the prominent role of books in intellectual development and knowledge exchange.

This theme coincides with the announcement of 2024 as the “Year of the Camel” in Saudi Arabia.


Design Space AlUla Attends Milan Design Week as Part of Initiative to Celebrate Cultural Heritage

Design Space AlUla has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week. SPA
Design Space AlUla has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week. SPA
TT

Design Space AlUla Attends Milan Design Week as Part of Initiative to Celebrate Cultural Heritage

Design Space AlUla has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week. SPA
Design Space AlUla has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week. SPA

Design Space AlUla, a regional center dedicated to celebrating the works of local and international designers, has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week, that concludes Sunday 21.
The exhibition features, among others, projects from the thriving design center that has ambitious plans for the creative industries.
Among the exhibited works are recent projects from the first Arts and Design Center, Madrasat Addeera.
Participating artists from around the world contribute to the diverse collection. Saudi artist Dr. Zahrah Alghamdi's piece titled "Gharameel" draws inspiration from AlUla's distinctive rock formations. Argentine artist Cristian Mohaded's work, named "AlWaha", captures the essence of the desert dunes and palm-filled oases. The Spanish duo "TAKK's Duna" presents the Seating Dune, a versatile relaxation space inspired by the enchanting AlUla desert. TECHNOCrafts, a Spanish design studio, showcases "Alwadiya: The Living Pots", a self-sustaining system that mirrors the natural cycles of AlUla's lush oasis.
Additionally, the exhibition showcases designs from the AlUla Design Residency program. Highlights include "Peculiar Erosions" by artist Leo Orta, inspired by AlUla's mud-brick architecture and unique geology. "From Debris", by Raw Materials, reimagines local historical instruments with materials from the oasis. Architect Leen Ajlan presents "Takki", a modern reinterpretation of traditional recreational spaces. Hall Haus introduces "Haus Dari", a contemporary take on traditional cushions and diwans. "Surface", by Bahraini-Danish architecture firm, is a flexible steel divider facilitating interaction or serving as a screen or curtain.
Executive Director of Arts and Creative Industries at the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) Nora Aldabal highlighted the significance of the design initiatives at AlUla.
"Our growing design initiatives reflect the ongoing development of AlUla as a hub for traditional design, arts, and innovation,” she said.

“These initiatives celebrate the region's cultural heritage, local materials, and natural history. The exhibited works represent the evolving aesthetics of design in AlUla, capturing the inspiration and continuous dialogue nurtured by our destination, embracing diverse cultures and artistic disciplines."


Would You Like a Cicada Salad? The Monstrous Little Noisemakers Descend on a New Orleans Menu 

Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating at the insectarium in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP)
Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating at the insectarium in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP)
TT

Would You Like a Cicada Salad? The Monstrous Little Noisemakers Descend on a New Orleans Menu 

Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating at the insectarium in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP)
Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating at the insectarium in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP)

As the nation prepares for trillions of red-eyed bugs known as periodical cicadas to emerge, it's worth noting that they're not just annoying, noisy pests — if prepared properly, they can also be tasty to eat.

Blocks away from such French Quarter fine-dining stalwarts as Antoine's and Brennan's, the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans has long served up an array of alternative, insect-based treats at its “Bug Appetit” cafe overlooking the Mississippi River. “Cinnamon Bug Crunch,” chili-fried waxworms, and crispy, cajun-spiced crickets are among the menu items.

Periodical cicadas stay buried for years, until they surface and take over a landscape. Depending on the variety, the emergence happens every 13 or 17 years. This year two groups are expected to emerge soon, averaging around 1 million per acre over hundreds of millions of acres across parts of 16 states in the Midwest and South.

They emerge when the ground warms to 64 degrees (17.8 degrees Celsius), which is happening earlier than it used to because of climate change, entomologists said. The bugs are brown at first but darken as they mature.

Recently, Zack Lemann, the Insectarium's curator of animal collections, has been working up cicada dishes that may become part of the menu. He donned a chef's smock this week to show a couple of them off, including a green salad with apple, almonds, blueberry vinaigrette — and roasted cicadas. Fried cicada nymphs were dressed on top with a warm mixture of creole mustard and soy sauce.

“I do dragonflies in a similar manner,” Lemann said as he used tweezers to plop nymphs into a container of flour before cooking them in hot oil.

Depending on the type and the way they are prepared, cooked cicadas taste similar to toasted seeds or nuts. The Insectarium isn't the first to promote the idea of eating them. Over the years, they have appeared on a smattering of menus and in cookbooks, including titles like “Cicada-Licious” from the University of Maryland in 2004.

“Every culture has things that they love to eat and, maybe, things that are taboo or things that people just sort of, wrinkle their nose and frown their brow at,” Lemann said. “And there’s no reason to do that with insects when you look at the nutritional value, their quality on the plate, how they taste, the environmental benefits of harvesting insects instead of dealing with livestock.”

Lemann has been working to make sure the Bug Appetit cafe has legal clearance to serve wild-caught cicadas while he works on lining up sources for the bugs. He expects this spring's unusual emergence of two huge broods of cicadas to heighten interest in insects in general, and in the Insectarium — even though the affected area doesn't include southeast Louisiana.

“I can’t imagine, given the fact that periodical cicadas are national news, that we won’t have guests both local and from outside New Orleans, asking us about that,” said Lemann. “Which is another reason I hope to have enough to serve it at least a few times to people.”


Saudi Heritage Commission Celebrates World Heritage Day at Thee Ain Historic Village 

The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee. (SPA)
The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee. (SPA)
TT

Saudi Heritage Commission Celebrates World Heritage Day at Thee Ain Historic Village 

The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee. (SPA)
The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee. (SPA)

The Saudi Heritage Commission and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Al-Makhwah Governorate of the Al-Baha region celebrated on Thursday World Heritage Day at the Thee Ain Historic Village.

The event was attended by Al-Makhwah Governor Ghalab bin Ghaleb Abu Khashaym.

The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee.

Thee Ain Historic Village is renowned for its authentic heritage, rich history, and breathtaking beauty. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the village dates back to the end of the 10th century.

It stands as one of the most significant heritage villages in the Kingdom, featuring 58 stone-built palaces situated atop a mountain of white marble. The village is home to a mosque where obligatory and Friday prayers are held.


Saudi Arabia: Centuries-old Defensive Moat, Fortification Wall Discovered in Historic Jeddah

Remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah. SPA
Remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah. SPA
TT

Saudi Arabia: Centuries-old Defensive Moat, Fortification Wall Discovered in Historic Jeddah

Remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah. SPA
Remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah. SPA

Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Historic District Program released the results of the archaeological excavations in Historic Jeddah as part of the first phase of the Archaeology Project.

In a recent archaeological discovery, remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah near Allegiance Square and east of Al-Kidwah Square.

According to historical sources, Jeddah was a fortified city as early as the late 10th - early 11th century AD. However, laboratory analysis indicates that the mentioned discoveries belong to a later phase of the fortification system, as they were likely constructed around the 18th-19th century AD.

By the middle of the 19th century AD, the moat had fallen out of use and was soon filled with sand. However, the fortification wall survived until 1947. Some parts of the moat's retaining wall have remained intact up to three meters in height.

Archaeological excavations also unearthed 19th-century AD European imported ceramics, demonstrating Jeddah's far-reaching trade connections. Moreover, a fragment of 9th-century AD pottery was discovered at Al-Qidwah Square.


Centuries-old Artworks Saved from Copenhagen's Stock Exchange Blaze

Charred remains stand on the Old Stock Exchange building, following a fire in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Ali Withers
Charred remains stand on the Old Stock Exchange building, following a fire in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Ali Withers
TT

Centuries-old Artworks Saved from Copenhagen's Stock Exchange Blaze

Charred remains stand on the Old Stock Exchange building, following a fire in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Ali Withers
Charred remains stand on the Old Stock Exchange building, following a fire in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Ali Withers

Art conservators are assessing the damage to centuries-old paintings recovered from a blaze that destroyed Copenhagen's Old Stock Exchange this week, the National Museum of Denmark said on Thursday.
As the blaze ripped through the 400-year-old Copenhagen landmark on Tuesday, passersby jumped off their bicycles to help firefighters, conservators and soldiers retrieve valuable paintings.
"It had to be fast," Nina Wajman, a curator at the National Museum of Denmark, told Reuters.
Conservators retrieved paintings from the half of the building that had not caught fire, while firefighters in smoke-helmets and soldiers of the Royal Life Guards recovered paintings from the part that was ablaze, hastily loading them on to trucks.
"They might not have done it in the way an art expert would, but that's minor, I think," said Wajman.
She entered the building to recover a portrait in oil of Christian IV, Denmark's 17th-century king who oversaw the construction of the building, which was originally built for trading in commodities.
"I wasn't sure that it had been rescued, so I went in to look for it and it was still there," Wajman said.
Some paintings were severely damaged by water or fire or because they were hastily torn off the walls.
Conservators are still inspecting the paintings, which were brought to a depot of the National Museum, and are trying to get an overview of the damage and what is missing.
"We had great focus on the valuables inside the building. But the problem was that I needed all my firefighters to contain the fire as long as we could," Jakob Vedsted Andersen, head of the fire department in greater Copenhagen, told Reuters.
"So we had to ask people for help to bring out the paintings and the sculptures," he said.
Employees at the nearby Danish Chamber of Commerce, including its CEO, helped to carry paintings as big as 3 meters wide into a section of the nearby Christiansborg palace.
Klavs Lockwood, a local, was at the site early on Tuesday.
"These paintings were very big and heavy, so I quickly offered my help," he said.
He said the painting he helped carry had been torn in several places.
"You could see it was taken off the wall in a hurry."


Michelangelo's Scribble Sells for $200,000 at New York Auction

The small work by Michelangelo depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English, according to Christie's auction house. ANGELA WEISS / AFP/File
The small work by Michelangelo depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English, according to Christie's auction house. ANGELA WEISS / AFP/File
TT

Michelangelo's Scribble Sells for $200,000 at New York Auction

The small work by Michelangelo depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English, according to Christie's auction house. ANGELA WEISS / AFP/File
The small work by Michelangelo depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English, according to Christie's auction house. ANGELA WEISS / AFP/File

A square scribbled on a yellowed piece of paper by Renaissance genius Michelangelo sold for $201,600 -- 33 times its estimated value, auction house Christie's said Wednesday.
Found stuck to the back of a frame, the small drawing accompanied by a letter from Michelangelo's last direct descendant was initially expected to sell for between $6,000 and $8,000, AFP said.
But Christie's in New York said the piece went under the hammer for "33.6 times its low estimate," without disclosing any details of the buyer.
The small work depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English. It is believed to have been drawn while Michelangelo worked on his famed Sistine Chapel ceiling, a Christie's specialist told AFP in January.
The drawing is coupled with a letter written by Cosimo Buonarroti in 1836, in which he offers the piece by his "illustrious forefather Michelangelo" to Sir John Bowring, the future governor of Hong Kong, whose signature appears at the bottom of the sheet.
Christie's specialists found the letter and diagram attached to the back of a different drawing that had been in a private collection for decades, the auction house said in a media statement.
Though unsigned by Michelangelo, Christie's said that research confirmed the great Italian artist was responsible for the small drawing.
Fewer than 10 of Michelangelo's works are thought to be privately owned, according to Christie's, with most housed in the Casa Buonarroti, a museum in Florence, Italy.


World Heritage Day... Saudi Arabia Celebrates its Rich Treasures

More than 5,393 craftsmen are registered in the National Register of Handicrafts (Ministry of Culture)
More than 5,393 craftsmen are registered in the National Register of Handicrafts (Ministry of Culture)
TT

World Heritage Day... Saudi Arabia Celebrates its Rich Treasures

More than 5,393 craftsmen are registered in the National Register of Handicrafts (Ministry of Culture)
More than 5,393 craftsmen are registered in the National Register of Handicrafts (Ministry of Culture)

As World Heritage Day falls on April 18, Saudi Arabia celebrates the qualitative transformations it has achieved in the heritage and antiquities sector since the launch of its national strategy for culture, which falls within Vision 2030.

Over the past years, Saudi Arabia has made tremendous efforts to preserve its diverse cultural heritage.

These treasures are evident through traditional costumes that reflect the national identity and the rich cultural heritage, and handicrafts that constituted a source of livelihood and guaranteed a decent life for members of society in the past.

Moreover, excavation projects have uncovered valuable discoveries in various Saudi archaeological sites, and shed light on the Kingdom’s cultural wealth and its importance as a bridge linking the thriving cultural experience on its land.

Seven sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List

The story of heritage and antiquities in Saudi Arabia is full of diversity, and blends authenticity with modernity.

Recently, the Kingdom presented a model of its rich cultural experience to the world, when seven Saudi sites were put on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Those include: Al-Hijr Archaeological Site, Al-Turaif District in ad-Diriyah, Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah, Rock Art in the Hail, Al-Ahsa Oasis, an Evolving Cultural Landscape, Ḥima Cultural Area and the Harrat Uwayrid Reserve.

Through individual and collective efforts, Saudi Arabia registered a number of elements on the UNESCO lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Those include falconry, Arabic calligraphy, traditional weaving of Al-Sadu, Al-Qatt Al-Asiri (female traditional interior wall decoration in Asir), Almezmar (drumming and dancing with sticks), Arabic coffee (a symbol of generosity), Majlis (a cultural and social space) and Alardah Alnajdiyah (dance, drumming and poetry in Saudi Arabia).

These achievements reflect the scale of the Saudi effort in the heritage sector, as shown by the increase in the number of archaeological sites to 8,917 across the Kingdom, in addition to around 3,646 urban heritage sites, and more than 5,393 craftsmen registered with the National Register of Handicrafts.

Riyadh hosted the work of the 45th expanded session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO last September, in the presence of about 3,000 guests from 21 countries. The event shed light on the rich and diverse Saudi heritage sites and the important archaeological discoveries that received global attention.