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Key Saudi event at UN set to showcase Riyadh’s importance

kA unique four-day event will showcase the Saudi capital as a global, multicultural and international hub for business as well as a heritage center situated at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa. Called “A Day in Riyadh” and organized by Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), the event begins at the UN headquarters in New York today (Monday). Two floors at the iconic UN headquarters building have been reserved for the interactive exhibition, workshops and majlis — all of which are part of the event. In his welcoming remarks on the website dedicated to the event, Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar said Riyadh was the starting point for the late King Abdul Aziz’s journey to unify much of the Arabian Peninsula, and lead it toward tremendous growth.
“This is how Riyadh became the capital city of a modern nation, and the witness to a new era,” he said on www.adayinriyadh.com. “An era in which the Kingdom not only established a new government structure, but underwent massive growth. Today, the Kingdom continues to progress — thanks to Almighty Allah — and is achieving great development and growth in many sectors.” He pointed out that for six decades prior to becoming Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman was governor of Riyadh and led the city on a developmental journey. “King Salman, with Allah’s support, held a futuristic vision built on highly-competent and capable institutions and strategic plans for transforming Riyadh into a global metropolis which kept pace with the Kingdom’s political and economic standing in the world,” said the governor. He said that Riyadh had become a meeting ground for people from different cultures who worked harmoniously together and interacted with the city’s real identity and Islamic culture. “As the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is a global player and an international trade center. In addition, it is a young city with half of its residents ambitious young people aspiring to contribute to their society while at the same time maintaining their values and principles,” he said.
“‘A Day in Riyadh’ workshops and interactive exhibit at the UN will allow people to experience exactly how Riyadh has become one of the world’s most attractive cities for investment as it simultaneously preserves its heritage and culture,” he added. “The express purpose of the event is to eliminate the many misconceptions that Americans and the international media have of Saudi Arabia,” said a senior consultant with Qorvis MSL Group, the public relations company working with ADA to promote the event. “This is a historic event,” he said. “Diplomats, media, and ordinary people from around the world will see the human element of Saudi Arabia that is not normally featured in the Western press.” The senior consultant said the event would highlight Riyadh’s experience in managing the exceptional growth of the city. “It will offer developmental lessons and tools for other cities in the world,” he said. The opening reception on Sept. 26 evening will be attended by Saudi Permanent Representative to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy and Planning. According to experts, the strategic plan of Riyadh — a city with a population of more than 6.5 million — has overcome many challenges and provides a blueprint for smart and sustainable growth.
Since attracting international private sector investment to Saudi Arabia is a critical component of Vision 2030, “A Day in Riyadh” will display the energetic human capital, community friendly plan and the commitment to sustainable development that make Riyadh one of the world’s most attractive cities. The workshops, beginning on Sept. 27, will be led by Saudi officials, civic leaders, professionals and urban planners. The panel of distinguished speakers and moderators will discuss the overall strategic plan for the city, including projects such as the Urban Observatory and the smart city initiative. They will also address how to measure key performance indicators in the development sector and how to address the issues and challenges that result from urban development. Among the panelists and moderators for the different workshops at the event are Dr. Ahmad Al-Saif, former deputy minister of higher education; Dr. Faisal Al-Mubarak, provost and chief academic officer, Al-Faisal University; Yamina Djacta, director, UN-Habitat; Dr. Anas Al-Faris, director of the Center for Complex Engineering Systems at KACST and MIT; Khalid M. Abuleif, adviser to the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources; Khalid Al-Hogail, CEO, Saudi Public Transport Co, (SAPTCO); Hassan Al-Musa, deputy director, Transport Planning Department, High Commission for the Development of Riyadh; Dr. Ihsan A. Bu-Hulaiga, economist and former member of Shoura Council; Dr. Howayda Al-Harithy, professor of architecture, American University in Beirut; Sarah Baashan, adviser, Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources; Dr. Nada Al-Nafea, architect and urban designer, faculty member, King Abdul Aziz University; Dr. Mashary Al-Naim, director general, National Built Heritage Center, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage; Dr. Khawla Al-Kuraya, director, King Fahad National Center for Children’s Cancer and Research, member of the Shoura Council; Dr. Hayat Sindi, member, Scientific Advisory Board, United Nations; and Prof. Abdullah Al-Refaee, dean of media and communication, King Mohammed bin Saud University, Riyadh.

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