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Saudi Culture Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Want A Modern Cultural Institution That Fits All

Saudi Culture Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Want A Modern Cultural Institution That Fits All

Thursday, 28 March, 2019 - 07:45
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, Saudi Minister of Culture (SPA)
Riyadh - Badr al-Kharif, Abdulhadi Habtor
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, Saudi Minister of Culture, launched on Wednesday a national strategy for culture, during a ceremony in Riyadh attended by Arab culture ministers, officials, intellectuals and diplomats, in addition to local and international media.

The new vision presents 27 initiatives in 16 sectors chosen within the UNESCO framework under the Culture Ministry’s umbrella, and covering a variety of aspects including architecture, interior design, books and publishing, heritage, fashion, festivals and events, films and visual arts, food, culinary arts, museums, music, natural heritage, performing arts and poetry.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the Saudi Culture minister said he “aspires to a modern institution that does not dictate its conditions to the public, but always declares itself as a cultural and artistic platform for a wide range of initiatives and activities.”

While he emphasized the strong presence of the entertainment and economic aspects in cultural activities, Prince Badr noted that his ministry also focused on “setting up a foundation and an effective structure to establish a solid culture, to contribute to the introduction of a vision through which we build the so-called knowledge society, and to offer the Saudi citizens a cultural experience that enables them to have a better quality of life.”

“We are constantly exploring with the cultural and artistic milieu the development of sectors in order to ensure the advanced productivity and desired prosperity,” he said.

Elaborating on the new cultural vision, the minister explained that over the past few months, the ministry worked with cultural professionals in various fields, including theater, performing arts, heritage, literature, music and contemporary art. It also consulted experts from outside the Kingdom during visits and working group meetings at the Gulf, Arab and international levels.

This has contributed to a more comprehensive national vision that went beyond the ministry’s traditional work to support the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030, according to the minister.

“When the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 was announced, culture was an important pillar in reaching the essence and objectives of the vision. It is a principle of quality of life and well-being of the society and a means to enhance the values of tolerance and production,” Prince Badr told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Our goal is to push the culture to the forefront and to achieve its legal and regulatory frameworks to become a daily activity that generates opportunities and growth,” he added.

Asked about his recent international visits, where he sent many cultural cooperation agreements, the Saudi minister underlined that there is a “common desire to explore the Kingdom at the cultural level.”

“We have seen this clearly during our visit to Russia during the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum. The same applies to bilateral visits to a number of institutions around the world, such as UNESCO and others,” he explained.

“These steps enable us to highlight and announce an effective and productive communication plan that will achieve one of our most important goals: to export our knowledge abroad and to tell the world about our story,” the minister concluded.

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