Who's Who: Ebtisam Al-Wehaibi, general manager at Saudi Ministry of Culture's Heritage Commission – Arab News

Ebtisam Al-Wehaibi has been the general manager of intangible cultural heritage at the Ministry of Culture’s Heritage Commission since 2021.
She is responsible for overseeing and managing the ICH sector across the Kingdom, and developing and promoting traditional and cultural value through research and documentation.
Al-Wehaibi has also been a UNESCO-certified facilitator since 2019, where she provides advisory services and capacity building training.
From 2020 to 2021, she was program director at the Misk Foundation’s Heritage Institute overseeing operations, project approvals and academic content.
Prior to that, Al-Wehaibi served as head of the ICH department at the Saudi Heritage Preservation Society from 2015.
At the SHPS, she was the project manager of the inventory of ICH in the Kingdom, and was nominated for the Arab States Training of Trainers workshop under the 2003 UNESCO convention.
Al-Wehaibi joined Sultan bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City in 2009 and occupied several positions until 2014.
She worked as a team leader and the head of the translation section where she supervised and managed translators and interpreters.
Al-Wehaibi holds a bachelor’s degree in languages and translation from King Saud University, and a heritage resources management diploma from Sharjah Institute for Heritage.
She is a board member of the Saudi International Council on Monuments and Sites and Al-Nahda Society.
Al-Wehaibi is Saudi Arabia’s representative at the annual meetings of the intergovernmental committee for the safeguarding of ICH, and a participant in the General Assembly meetings of the international convention for the safeguarding of ICH at UNESCO’s headquarters.
During 2020 and 2021, she was a BigSib mentor for the nonprofit Project1932, which focuses on developing emerging leaders, or LittleSibs, in Saudi Arabia.
RIYADH: King Salman visited on Thursday the Qasr Al-Hukm district in Riyadh which includes the headquarters of the governorate and Masmak Palace.
RIYADH: The two-day Misk Global Forum here saw some of the world’s leading intellectuals, officials, academics, influencers, sports people and artists gather to discuss how to boost the knowledge economy by bridging the gap between young and older people, developing new leaders and empowering communities.
The MGF, the flagship global platform of the Misk Foundation, established in 2016, has extended Misk’s mission to young people across the globe through international events, research and global initiatives. The forum ran from Nov. 9 to 10.
The event “brings together emerging and established leaders, innovators, and creators to explore, experience and experiment with ways to meet the challenge of change,” according to the forum’s website.
Hosted at King Abdulaziz International Conference Center in Riyadh, the forum began on Wednesday with the theme of “Multigenerational dialogue to break barriers and inspire change.”
One of the most well-attended sessions of the first day was titled “Generations of the Future,” which featured a conversation between Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi minister of energy, and Omar Al-Jeraisy, the founder of the Socrates podcast. The two discussed ways to enable and empower young people to build society.
“To empower the youth, you have to enable an economic environment that gives them ownership,” said Prince Abdulaziz.
“Change is a journey, not a destination. It cannot be achieved unless there is a leadership that enables youth,” Al-Jeraisy said.
Another discussion on day one was led by Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, the co-founder and CEO of Chill Food Center, who focused on ways to leverage intergenerational dialogue to raise awareness and destigmatize mental health.
She stressed the importance of these conversations during a UN Sustainable Development Goals circle discussion titled “Good Health and Wellbeing.”
“I am speaking about mental health and how the young and older generations can work together to create solutions that we can come up with for depression and anxiety. We discussed the idea of implementing a platform for the younger and older generation(s) to collaborate on finding new ways of addressing mental health,” Kaliisa told Arab News.
“These conversations are very important because if you are depressed, it is going to affect what you are going to do,” she added.
Intellectual and influencer Jay Shetty hosted a session focusing on how millennials and Gen Z can create and implement a unique purpose in the world. He then answered several questions from the audience on what it means to have success, how to handle pressure, and develop satisfaction and happiness in the workplace and in personal life.
“A lot of people think their profession has to be their purpose and the truth is that not every single hobby or purpose or passion can be turned into a career,” Shetty said.
“So if you are someone who has to go to work every day to make money and to pay the bills to take care of your family and you use your spare time in the evenings and the weekends to do what you’re passionate about, that’s a beautiful balance,” he added.
In the afternoon, Palestinian American standup comedian, Mo Amer, took to the stage in a fireside chat to discuss his journey, the power of comedy, and the importance of staying grounded while looking into the future.
“It’s important to understand your art form and tip the hat to those before you. Otherwise, all that hard work of the generations before you is lost. We have to keep the connection to the past alive,” Amer said.
The cities of the future were discussed in a session led by Alaa Al-Ban, chair of the interior design department and assistant professor at Dar Al-Hekma University, featuring Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and David Henry, CEO of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City.
“The cities of the future are generally expansions of existing cities. Proximity, living, and employment are what is important for the cities of the future,” Henry said.
In a session titled “We are Family,” Maha Al-Juffali, director and acting trustee at the Help Center, Daniah Ghandour, board member at the Help Center, and Marilyn Zakhour, CEO of Cosmic Centaurs, discussed philanthropy in Saudi Arabia. They also touched on the importance of family as an anchor to uphold intergenerational values, and address societal changes and transformations.
The second day of the forum saw participants discuss an array of topics including podcasting, e-sports broadcasting, intercultural communication, and innovation skills.
COLOMBO: The Sri Lanka labor minister is visiting Saudi Arabia to seek employment opportunities for the crisis-hit nation’s workers in the Kingdom’s labor market.
Labor and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara arrived in the Kingdom for a four-day official visit on Tuesday to meet his Saudi counterpart, Human Resources and Social Development Minister Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Riyadh Packeer Mohideen Amza, who is accompanying the labor minister, told Arab News on Thursday that the trip has “all the ingredients to be a fruitful visit.”
The visit has several objectives, he said: “One is to enhance the existing labor relations arrangements between the Kingdom and Sri Lanka and to find employment opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled workers, as well as for professionals in the ongoing giga-projects.”
Another aim of the minister’s trip, Amza added, is to enhance foreign remittances to Sri Lanka.
Foreign inflows are crucial for Sri Lanka, where the devastating economic crisis — the worst since independence in 1948 — has left people struggling with daily power cuts and shortages of basic commodities.
The island nation of 22 million officially defaulted in April, and without foreign currency reserves has been left unable to pay for the most basic imports.
Remittances from overseas Sri Lankan workers have long been a key source of foreign exchange for the country. They used to bring in about $7 billion a year before the pandemic-imposed lockdowns in 2020.
During the pandemic, the inflows dropped to $5 billion in 2021, and as the country went bankrupt, no more than $3 billion was expected this year.
The most important source of foreign remittances has historically been the Middle East, which is home to more than 1 million Sri Lankan nationals — 66 percent of the country’s migrant workers.
On Thursday, the labor minister visited NEOM, a $500-billion giga-project in the northwestern Saudi province of Tabuk, where Amza said he would look for opportunities for Sri Lankan professionals in the fields of engineering, architecture and design.
LONDON: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority took part in this year’s World Travel Market Exhibition in London from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9.  
The exhibition, regarded as one of the most important international events in the travel industry, drew nearly 5,000 exhibitors from 182 countries. 
At its booth, “Diriyah, The City of Earth,” the DGDA highlighted the vast advances made in establishing the historically rich location as a top travel destination, as well as its efforts to preserve and celebrate the Kingdom’s heritage and culture.  
The authority showcased two of its most exciting upcoming openings, the UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage site, the At-Turaif district and the neighboring Bujairi Terrace, a hub for luxury dining and lifestyle amenities.
DGDA CEO Jerry Inzerillo also participated in a special panel discussion at the event  focusing on “The Mission to Sustainability.”
“We were beyond excited to once again bring Diriyah to the world, this time at London’s — ExCeL exhibition center,” Inzerillo said.
“WTM London has served as a genuine benchmark for our industry’s event circuit since its inception over four decades ago, and once again provided an outstanding platform to showcase our tremendous progress across the last year to a truly distinguished global audience,” he said.
RIYADH: The world needs a new approach to protect itself from emerging cyber threats, Saudi Arabia’s minister of communication and information technology told the Global Cybersecurity Forum on Wednesday in Riyadh.
Abdullah Al-Swaha added his voice to calls for reform in the face of increasing threats from hackers and rapidly advancing technology, such as AI and quantum computers, that has the potential to subvert even the best cybersecurity available today.
He said that the Kingdom had risen to second place globally in its ranking for cybersecurity but added that it must “reskill” to maintain that position. “We need to shift from conventional IT to secure everything,” he said.
The dangers posed by advancing technology were flagged at another panel by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, who said that the computers of the near future would make modern devices seem little more than abacuses. 
He called for education on dealing with artificial intelligence and quantum computers, and warned that several AI programs could already mimic human behavior.
“We need quantum to fight quantum. We have to rethink the whole thing. We will in fact become obsolete when quantum computers get rolled out,” he said.
“People used to say it was impossible to create a quantum computer that can compete with a digital supercomputer. Three years ago, the impossible happened: Quantum computers from the US and China exceeded the ability of a super digital computer.”
He said that the Chinese quantum computer exceeded the capability of a modern-day digital device by 100 trillion times. 
“These quantum computers are initiating a new era of insecurity. These quantum computers can evade every single known security protocol. This is called chaos. Realizing that we are entering a new era, the age of Silicon Valley is coming to a close, as quantum computers begin to take over.”
He said that while the shift to the quantum era may be gradual, it was nevertheless unavoidable.
Kaku added that humans should create advanced trapdoor functions to make it difficult for a criminal to penetrate security apparatus.
The forum has gathered international experts under the theme ‘Rethinking
the Global Cyber Order.’
4,500 attendees from more than 110 countries are discussing a wide range of cyber issues.
Speaking at the same panel Shyam Saran, a former foreign secretary of India, said that global collaboration and a healthy diplomatic framework were necessary to ensure cybersecurity.
“We are living in a very difficult geopolitical situation. Countries that could lead (cybersecurity) collaboration are actually confronting each other. If they are not going to lead, who will?” he said.
He said that decision-makers should be educated on cyber threats to help them create the right regulatory policies and create safe online space.
Doreen Martin, secretary-general-elect of the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, insisted that world leaders were paying attention to cybersecurity concerns.
She told the event: “The UN secretary general put cybersecurity as core and in the common agenda that he launched last year, and it’s also core to the new agenda for peace that’s being discussed.”
Martin did accept that the world needed to be better prepared for the wave of technical innovations on the horizon.
“I think each of us has to do more because as we increase the cyberworld moves faster, and quantum is coming faster, and of course the metaverse is almost here, so we do have to do more,” she said.
Martin said that the ITU was helping countries to benchmark themselves, identify gaps in their defenses and look to others in terms of best practices.
“Overall we’re seeing positive trends and we have a number of countries that have introduced new laws, and we’re seeing increased training for law enforcement, which is encouraging.” 
Robert Putman, a cybersecurity products and services manager at the ABB multinational, said that it was not just technology that needed to evolve to protect against cyberattacks, but also the behavior of people.
“People do not understand what the risk is. They do not understand how to address it. Complacency is one of the root causes of the risks and exposure we have right now,” he said.
He said that the market had undergone a transition, which, like insurance, involved the modeling of risks. Using such models would enable them to understand the impact of that risk on operational assets, he added.
Interpol’s president Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi told the event that the world needed a better exchange of information and ideas to beat global threats.
“When we have a base to exchange information, even when there are no diplomatic relations between countries, it is important to protect citizens,” he said.
Al-Raisi said that the estimated yearly losses to cybercrimes had doubled to $6 trillion since 2015, and were expected to reach $10.5 trillion in 2025.
“This number is more than natural disasters that occur in a year, in addition to profits made by all drug dealers around the world,” he said.
As the whole world is becoming a village with a vast space of the internet, a large field for all criminal operations in cyberattacks has emerged, he said.
“My past experience with smart transformation has led me to have my first strategy in the organization (Interpol) and to prioritize cybercrime,” he told the gathering.
This move has led to ensuring the 195 member states have systems and capabilities of competencies that can not only respond to a cyberattack but also to prevent them, he added.
Christopher Blassiau, senior vice president of Cybersecurity & Global CISO Schneider Electric,​​ said the changing nature and fracturing of the global energy market made the sector vulnerable to hackers. “There is a big amount of risk,” he said.
Blassiau added that owing to the absolute necessity for a green agenda, digitalization is going at a fast pace and is bringing a complete visibility of asset performance and a better dialogue between human and machine.
Mary Aiken, an expert in cyberpsychology — the study of the impact of technology on human behavior — meanwhile said that the unanimity of the internet was one of the main threats faced by the modern world.
“The internet was created on the principle that all users are equal. This is not true. Some users are vulnerable, especially children and women,” she said. “Young people take risks online that they will not do in the real world.”
There has been a surge in cyberattacks in the Middle East and North African region in recent years, with many companies suffering larger losses than in other parts of the world.  The problem is compounded by the fact that 57 percent of organizations report unfilled cybersecurity positions.
A weak line of defense increases a company’s vulnerability to major damage, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Global Cybersecurity Forum.
The report also said that around 94 percent of women in the Middle East would be interested in studying cybersecurity, although only a small percentage of women worldwide were active in that field.
Speaking to Arab News, Laila bin Hareb Al-Mheiri, founder and president of Alive Group, Alive Medical, Alive Labs, and Alive consulting and education, said women have a high level of emotional intelligence and a unique perspective on problems and cybersecurity benefits from this extra flair.
Al-Mheiri said there is a misconception that women are not qualified to succeed in a male-dominated society.
“I have received praise and support from my male counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It’s been nothing but positivity for me,” she said.
Mary O’Brien, general manager of IBM, said that throughout her journey, she has met with opportunity, respect and inclusion. However, as a woman, she said, “I am very aware of the lack of women around the table and the lack of diverse thought that comes with that.”
Role models and allies are critical to creating change, she told Arab News.
The report quotes more than 70 percent of respondents as saying that a role model encouraged them to learn more about the industry and pursue a degree in cybersecurity.
Many women feel more confident about pushing forward when they see another woman moving through the ranks, she said.
Ultimately, O’Brien suggested engaging young females in STEM early on and helping break some of the stigmas that limit their progress.




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