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FEBRUARY 2012 ISSUE 53 VOL 7

February 2012 Issue 53 Vol 7

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It’s a new center focusing on efforts to promote dialogue between world religions and prevent conflicts - and its up and running thanks to Saudi funding. The scheme, in Vienna, has been backed Spain and Austria in partnership with Saudi. Foreign minister, Prince Saud Al- Faisal, joined his spanish and Austrian counterparts Trinidad Jimenez and Michael Spindelegger to sign on the groundbreaking agreement in October 2011. This agreement between Saudi Arabia, Spain and Austria had led to the establishment of the “King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Inter religious and Intercultural Dialogue” in Vienna. Speaking on this occasion in Vienna, Prince Saud said that “Saudi Arabia is willing to financially participate in this project, and to place all its moral and political resources behind such a center, without infringing on its autonomy or independence from any political interference” The founding document of the center cities principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “in particular, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” he noted. Prince Saud, who also signed a bilateral agreement for consultations with Austria during his trip to Vienna at that time, said that his country’s financial and moral support would always be there with the center. He further emphasized that “the center’s mission would be to promote virtues, respect for human beings irrespective of their religions or race and the prevention of vices, among them, intolerance and racism.” Islam prohibits the misuse and abuse of religion, he added. He said that Austria was chosen for his center because it already hosts several major international organizations. He pointed out that the initiative to set up the Vienna dialogue center was launched by King Abdullah way back in July 2008 at the World Conference on Interfaith Dialogue held in Madrid. For his part, Minister Jimenez, said the three signatory countries put in place this center with an aim to prevent conflicts and to promote peace and understanding amond diverse religious groups. Jimenez said that “the center aims to become an institution of excellence for dialogue between people of different faiths and cultural backgrounds”. The funding of the center will be largely from

Saudi Arabia. The King Abdullah Center will have a directory of nine members representing the five major world religions. On the objectives of the Vienna center, a statement released by the foreign ministry in Riyadh said that “the opening of the center would lead to the conducting of a number of interfaith and cultural dialogue programs besides inter-religious discussions to promote world peace and peaceful coexistence of the followers of different faiths. King Abdullah Center will cooperate with other centers and institutions that work to foster greater understanding between followers of various religions and cultures, it added. Saudi Arabia, Spain and Austria, a country inhabited by the people of diverse faiths and cultures including a large number of immigrants. Muslims are the largest religious minority in Austria with about five percent of the total population. A Saudi- funded mosque was also built in Austria in 1979.

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SAUDI AUSTRALIA BULLETIN PAGE 3 “The death of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz was mourned across the world, with almost 2 million people searching “Google” for news about the Crown Prince’s death.”

While the curtains have rung down on the 27th Janadriyah Heritage and Culture Festival, we earnestly hope that such festivities will go on in many big cities through the year, for not all can travel to Riyadh. Also having such festivals in other regions will revive many traditional folklore and traditions. Such cultural activities cheer up people from all walks of life. In my opinion, there are few leisure activities in the Kingdom except for football and perhaps watching dramas on television. Unfortunately for those who cannot afford trips abroad, there are few venues where one can go out and relax, because even some theme parks are not easily accessible and affordable — they are only for the middle class and up. Public libraries with interesting programs in the attached auditoriums will increase the choices where the families can have some indoor leisure especially during hot and humid summers. These can be designed in a way which still preserves the moral code of the country. Modern libraries provide professional and academic men and women and their young ones with the right place to learn about the progress of their areas of interest and leisure pursuits. Above all, there will be happiness and joy instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia which is the result of boredom and lack of leisure activities. The 14-day festival at Janadriyah village in the suburbs of Riyadh had pavilions for 13 administrative provinces in the Kingdom in addition to numerous stalls for private and public sector establishments. Custodian

of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah inaugurated the festival in which South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was the guest of honor on Feb. 8. Expressing satisfaction at the success of the event, Minister of State and Member of the Council of Ministers Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who is also chairman of the supreme committee of the festival, said the events reflected the cultural and artistic heritage of all regions in the Kingdom. “While our country is rapidly developing in diverse spheres in the present time, it is highly significant to organize programs that will ensure preservation of our heritage from extinction so it can serve as a guiding lantern and become a matter of pride to future generations,” the prince said in a statement. The prince said visitors could see how the Kingdom earned its present symbolic and spiritual status among the world Muslim population, apart from its economic development. “For the history and culture of the Kingdom, space and time were condensed to 14 days at Janadriyah so that anyone who is interested in the affairs of the Kingdom could view them at close quarters,” the prince said. King Abdullah ordered the cancellation of two major events, a musical opera and Ardha dance, as a gesture of Saudi Arabia’s solidarity with the people of Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Tunis.

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Ambassador of the Saudi Arabia to Australia Mr. Hassan Nazer has praised the activities and cultural events, held on the 16th National Multicultural Festival, in the Australian Capital Canberra, under the presence of performers and visitors from across the nation and globe with participation of over 44 foreign countries and 578 exhibitors from Australia and abroad. This year the Saudi Arabia Al Khaimah Exhibition presented the Haramain, Holy City Mosques as well as photographs and paintings as part of the heritage of the Kingdom and its modern renaissance, they also distributed a large number of books, publications and press releases telling the story of the Kingdom and the achievements in its development. Members of the Saudi students club in Canberra , wore the national dress in the tent of Saudi Arabia as they provided coffee and dates,which had the attention of the public and the festival tent made of Saudi Arabia. Also played inside the tent was a documentary film in English de picting the full profiles of life in Saudi Arabia and its cultural development. The Ambassador His Excellency Hassan Nazer expressed his gratitude and stressed the importance of participating in various cultural events to bring the mes-

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sage of the Kingdom’s emerging values of civilization and modernity to all Australian people and the friendly people of the world at large. The ambassador expressed his satisfaction of the successful Saudi Cultural Exhebiton and all others, praising the great efforts in preparing and arranging their participation in the festival. The Ambassador thanked the Saudi cultural attachÊ, and the members of the Saudi Student Club in Canberra including students who participated in the Multicultural Day festival, valuing their combined great efforts. For her part, Minister of Multicultural in the Australian Capital, Canberra, Ms Joy Burch MLA expressed her appreciation of the Saudi Arabia tent and also thanked the participation of all important factors in the festival.

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It is my great pleasure to present the National Multicultural Festival 2012. During the weekend of February 10–12 Australia’s premier celebration of all things multicultural will again take centre stage in the national capital giving us all the chance to indulge in music, dancing, cultural heritage and of course fantastic food. The Festival continues to grow, with around 240,000 people attending the 2011 event, and we have once again listened to community feedback to put on a bigger and better Festival this year. The success of the Festival is firmly down to the immense community involvement from across Canberra’s multicultural spectrum with many thousands of people dedicating their time to prepare the event. My sincere thanks to all these people and to the Festival sponsors who support the ACT Government in staging this wonderful and important celebration of inclusiveness, mutual respect, harmony and goodwill. I look forward to seeing you at the 2012 National Multicultural Festival. Where in the world will it take you? Joy Burch MLA ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs

The 2012 National Multicultural Festival has officially been hailed as the biggest and best on record with more than 260,000 people voraciously eating, dancing, enjoying, connecting and learning at the three day extravaganza which unfolded in Civic at the weekend. We would like to acknowledge everyone involved in bringing the festival to life including the many thousands of stallholders, performers, community organisation members, tireless volunteers, staff and, very importantly, the public who came along to show overwhelming support for our city’s dynamic cultural diversity. The National Multicultural Festival

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he Council of Arab Ambassadors under the leadership of His Excellency Hassan Talat Nazer Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Australia and Dean of the Council of Arab Ambassadors, formed the Australia-Arab States Parliamentary Friendship Group in conjunction with Australian Federal Members of Parliament. The Parliamentary Friendship Group is Chaired by Maria Vamvakinou MP Member for Calwell (Labor). The Hon Bruce Scott MP Member for Maranoa (Nationals) is Deputy Chair. In accordance with parliamentary practice, the Chair is a member of the Government and the Deputy Chair is a member of the Opposition. The Parliamentary Friendship Group has been formed to extend and strengthen parliamentary exchange and understanding between Australia and the Arab World; to establish a forum to systematically discuss and explore issues of mutual interest and influence; to enhance the work of the Arab Ambassadors within the Parliament and to; enhance and promote relations between Australian Parliamentarians and Arab parliamentarians. The Australia-Arab States Parliamentary Friendship Group will enable Australian MP’s and Senators, their constituencies and the diplomatic representatives of Arab countries, to promote understanding and beneficial relationships between Australia and the Arab world. Understanding and strong relationships support the mutual and broad interests emerging and strengthening between Australia and the Arab world.

Ambassador Nazer with Maria Vamvakinou MP Attending the Launch was His Excellency Mr Hadi Brouri Ambassador of Algeria, Mr Sami Saad Murad Hassan Minister of the Embassy of Egypt, Her Excellency Mrs Rima Ahmad Alaadeen Ambassador of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, His Excellency Dr Jean Daniel Ambassador of Lebanon, His Excellency Mr Mohamed Mael-Ainin Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morooco, His Excellency Mr Hassan Talat Nazer Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Mr Raouf Chatty Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia, His Excellency Mr Ali Nasser Al Nuami Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, His Excellency Mr Khaled Al-Shaibani Ambassador of Kuwait, His His Excellency Mr Musbah Allafi Haibani Ambassador of Libya, Mr Jawdat Ali Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Syrian Arab Republic, Mr Hamad Al Hajari the Consul-General of Oman and Ambassador Izzat Abdulhadi Head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

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welcome you one and all, and on behalf of my colleagues, the Arab Ambassadors, I extend my warmest gratitude to you for attending this launch of the Australia-Arab States Parliamentary Friendship Group. I also extend my warmest thanks to Hon. Maria Vamvakinom and the Hon. Bruce Scott, Chair and Deputy Chair of the Australia-Arab States Parliamentary Friiendship Group. Maria and Bruce having recognized the importance of establishing a strong relationship between the Australian Parliaments in the Arab World, are taking up the responsibility of the key positions within the Friendship Group. In the same spirit, having the Hon. Kevin Rudd Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Hon. Julie Bishop Deputy Leader of the Opposition gives us incredible satisfaction as it asserts Australias renewed interest in the Arab world by both legislative and executive branches of government. Your support for this newly- fpformed group is invaluable and key to further elevate realtions between our nations. Indeed, the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the laugue of Arab states and the Governemnt of Australia in September of this year recognizes and demonstrates the significance of these relations.

We are mostly pleased in this respect to praise the nature of our shared existing realtions in different areas, which, byt eh way, are really more than ever to witness a substantial progress in the fields of political, economical, commercial, cultural cooperation as well as energy and interfaith dialogue. It is my pleasure, in this occasion to express the readiness of all Arab countries to promote such relations and constructive cooperation in all fields. We believe cooperation is built on mutual understanding which is fostered by consultation, discussion and information sharing which is why we believe the establishment of this group is essential in cementing these relations. No doubt, we will have our differences and indeed we had a recent one in the matter of UNESCO membership for Palestine. The two-state solution is the agreed upon solution is the agreed upon solution for a just and lasting peace between Palesting and Israel: yet Australia’s support for the two-state solution did not translate into material support for Palesting in UNESCO membership. From the perspective of the Arab states, Australian support for Palestine would facilitate its growing relationship with the Arab world. Perhaps, this is an area where we can build understanding. It is true that with any dynamic exchange, there is bound to be other challenges and differences ahead; however, I am sure given the strong commitment that brings us all here today and with a robust engagement, we will be able to strengthen our understanding and cooperation and openly discuss those matters where we differ. I am also sure that as we work together within the Australian-Arab states Parliamentary Friendship Group, the

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“I do everything myself from A to Z, and actually, I believe that this is one of the main factors affecting my creations spirit. I use the same technique used for bronze sculpture. With this technique, the main mold is made in wax, which turns afterward into silver. It is a complicated and long process which suits my creative development,” explained Abdel Azim. The UK is witnessing a silver renaissance. A large number of skilled silversmiths have emerged and are producing artistic pieces whose exceptional quality has been recognized all over the world. Consequently, there has been a growing demand for contemporary silver and a steady stream of commissions. More recently, the soaring price of gold is creating a momentum for silver. People are not only rediscovering the metal’s beauty, versatility, durability and affordability, but also its artistic value. Silver jewelry, unlike high jewelry, was never disconnected from fashion, art and design. Historically, jewelry played an important role in the world of decorative arts and was very much present in the big international fairs in European capitals like the “Exposition Universelle” held in Paris in 1900. After World War II, jewelry declined along with other decorative arts. The trend moved toward industrial design, which has little in common with the refinement and detail associated with jewelry. Consequently, jewelry became isolated. Figurative jewelry ceased to be made. During the 1980s and 1990s, jewelry was more about big precious stones than artistry and creativity. However, in the past ten years, high jewelry is renewing with the spirit of craftsmanship, which was always present in high quality silver jewelry. When I asked Abdel Azim why she decided to go in the jewelry business, she replied immediately: “ It is not a business, it is art.” Brought up in an artistic family, she has loved silver since her childhood. “I still remember my first silver ring and still have it by the way. It was when I was eight years old! Therefore, it was the first material I had in mind when I decided to specialize in that field although I added some more materials afterwards,” she explained. Although she admits that regular customers might be affected by the high price of gold, she strongly feels those clients who buy

jewelry for their artistic beauty, have a different mentality. “They simply know that they are buying a design or an artistic piece, which has nothing to do with the material used. When you buy a painting, you don’t simply pay the price of paper, brush and colors! What you pay for is the creation; that’s the whole point!” An accomplished designer-maker, Abdel Azim conceives, designs and makes her pieces in her workshop. Inspired by nature, her jewelry is organic and its sculptural textures look like sea-inspired reflections — the rippling effects of the wind on the sand and in the fields and the ragged surface of rocks washed away by the sea. Her creative spirit is intimately tied to the physical activity required to make a piece of jewelry. When she starts working, the physical motion is a visible sign that she is moved and in a creative mood. As she files, stretches the silver with a hammer or gently taps the silver surface to achieve a turtle-shell effect, she feels inspired. She cannot rest until she unloads that bundle of passion, transforming it into a unique sculptural jewel. “Most of my creations are one of a kind. Some pieces are duplicated; yet, I never go for mass production, as I believe that it diminishes the artistic value of any creation. Moreover, duplicated items are always well identified and clearly communicated to the customer interested in them. To me, customization creates a great emotional bond between the customer and the piece,” said Abdel Azim.

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