Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad

By Dr. Talal Al-Harbi
Hats Off To Minister Awwad

During the Crown Prince's visit to Paris, Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad signed with his French counterpart Françoise Nissin cooperation agreements to build an opera house in the Kingdom and form a national orchestra. 

These agreements will contribute to the promotion of creativity in literature, music, arts, film and theater.

"Building upon them" Minister Al-Awwad said," will produce a local cultural product representing the homeland in international forums".

Perhaps this is what has marked the last leg of the Crown Prince's journey that took him to Egypt, the UK and the USA. As such, the signing of these cooperation agreements has added an aesthetic aspect to the visit away from worries of politics.

Few days ago, I watched an American orchestra playing "tala' al badro alaina" (The moon shone on us). The song tells how the residents of Medina welcomed Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) when he migrated from Mecca. The orchestra members, although they are not muslims, said they liked the song and felt it gave them special feelings.

 I believe that such events can spread love among peoples around the world and bring them closer to understand reality of our faith which calls for love and peace. 

From Paris, the land of art, culture and beauty, Minister Al-Awwad announced that the Kingdom will participate for the first time in the upcoming 71st Cannes Film Festival, which made one observer say 2018 will be a year of Saudi cinema with distinction.

Saudi Arabia's participation in this prestigious film festival will be a professional participation that has not been known before. It will feature short films followed by panel discussions with Saudi filmmakers, and it is hoped that it will attract filmmakers from around the world to film in the Kingdom.

This announcement came after the radical changes in the local cultural landscape, including the licensing of cinemas, the establishment of the General Authority for Culture, the formation of the Saudi Film Council, the organization of the first film festival and the development of investment capacities to create a vibrant and thriving film sector and creative content.

Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad understands that the fields of culture and art need great work and budgets, and that uplifting the cultural scene, aesthetic taste and cultural development, requires concerted efforts of many parties, so he believes that the Kingdom is coming to a new stage in which the culture and art in the Kingdom will be presented to the world. 

This effort is not only aimed at presenting an aesthetic and civilized image of the Kingdom, but also aims to transform the cultural sector into an integrated economic sector and a national source that will contribute significantly to the GDP.

To be fair, what Minister Al Awwad is doing within the vision of the Supreme Leadership is commendable. Since taking up the Culture and Information portfolio a year ago, he has shown to be the most active minister to achieve the cultural aspect of Vision 2030.

Although some may find him strange to the cultural and media scene, but Dr. Al-Awwad has well invested his experience in the public service, diplomacy, finance and economics to accomplish the cultural goals of the vision. 

Because his function is primarily managerial and executive, he has proved his ability to meet the challenge of making a qualitative leap in the cultural life of our society in line with the spirit of change and transformation while preserving the fundamentals of the homeland and its supreme traditions.

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