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Saudi Arabia to host Week of Russian Culture — minister

October 08, 14:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Culture ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia have signed the cooperation program for 2017-2019

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Saudi Arabia's Minister of Culture and Information Awwad al-Awwad and Russia's Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Culture and Information Awwad al-Awwad and Russia's Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. The cooperation program for 2017-2019, culture ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia have signed, will include organization of a Week of Russian Culture in the kingdom, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture and Information Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad said in an interview with TASS.

The Week of Saudi Arabia, coinciding with the state visit to Russia of the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, is closing on October 8. From October 2, in the Novy Manezh exhibition hall visitors could see the national coloring of the Arab country. The event’s program included an exhibition of Saudi artist and photographers "Kingdom - View from Inside," as well as screening of Saudi films and concerts of folk artists.

"In the cooperation agreement, which we have signed with Russia’s Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, we hope for a mirror Week of Russian Culture in Saudi Arabia," Mr. Al-Awad said.

Cooperation program

According to the Saudi minister, the cultural cooperation program is focused on three major aspects. The key role is given to the cultural exchange. "The Week of Saudi Culture, which was organized in Moscow, is the first step towards understanding between our countries. In March 2018, we want to invite Russian editors to the international book fair in Riyadh, which is the biggest even of the kind in the Middle East. Besides, we think about hosting exhibitions from the State Hermitage. Those are just plans as yet, without exact dates or names of exposition projects," the minister said.

He also noted he planned focusing on promotion of the Saudi cinema and theater. "Saudi film makers have what to learn from Russian masters. Exchange of gained experience in the film industry would be useful to our countries. We also hope to invite Russian students to study in Saudi Arabia to see and feel our culture and then to share the received impressions and knowledge with the public in their country," the minister said, adding the third item would be joint archaeological expeditions in the kingdom.

Reaching out to Russian people is the main objective

Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad said the topic of culture takes one of the leading positions in the Saudi Vision 2030 plan for reforms.

"History of the Arabian Peninsula is thousands years long. But its cultural movement has begun only recently. This is why the topic of the Saudi culture’s openness is so important for us. And Russia with its rich cultural heritage is a best partner for the kingdom. I am in Moscow for only a couple days and already can see your potential, as well as the state’s attention to history of the nation," the minister said.

He said, he can still remember the opera at the Bolshoi, which he visited during the past visit to Moscow. This trip to Russia has given the understanding of the direction in which Saudi Arabia and Russia would be moving, he said.

"We know only little about each other. But I have seen the interest from the Russian audience. And it is most important - to reach out to the Russian people," he told TASS.

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