By Arab News
By Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud*
Growing up in Saudi Arabia, some of my first memories are of the desert landscape, ancient forts, and song — my mother singing to me as a child. Later on, I found great enjoyment in discovering our country’s history and understanding other cultures through painting and sculpture.
I was lucky. Culture was part of my upbringing and it helped make me the man that I am today.
Not everyone is so fortunate.
Many people do not know that we have some of the earliest traces of human activity in the world. Many people are unaware that Saudi Arabia boasts five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In recent years, our country has been represented at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and the Venice Biennale.
Too many people are unaware that we have a plethora of wonderfully talented artists, poets, designers, architects, musicians, singers, comedians, authors and more.
As promised in Vision 2030, we will support, protect and promote culture, heritage and the arts in our country.
This is why today we are pleased to launch a dedicated new ministry to champion culture under my leadership. We will transform our cultural sector to make it part of people’s everyday lives, accessible for all. We will make it stronger.
Why have we chosen to prioritize culture in this way? Because culture enriches lives. It binds communities together, enhancing them. It helps build understanding between people.
In short, it makes people’s lives better. And reinvigorating culture in our country is the right thing to do.
How will we do this?
Under my leadership, with a new team of talented Saudis, we will work hard to safeguard and support heritage and cultural practices. At the same time, we will help Saudis unleash new and inspiring forms of expression.
Our efforts will make sure arts and culture become something we can all be proud of, contributing to economic growth and supporting cultural exchange and understanding.
Today marks a turning point in the history of our nation. It is not often that a nation undergoes such a massive revival of its culture.
The transformation of arts and culture will benefit all Saudis, young and old, across the length and breadth of our country. For our children, we will build a Saudi Arabia where their creative spirits can flourish, confident in their past, stepping out into the future and into the world.
• Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud is Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture.