RIYADH: Prince Sultan bin Salman on Tuesday announced the winners of the Souq Okaz prizes for the 11th session, which will open next month in Taif under the patronage of King Salman.
Prince Sultan, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and the head of the supervisory committee of Souq Okaz, announced the winners’ names at a press conference in Taif, where he also provided details on activities during the upcoming festival.
The winners in various categories include Mohammed Abdullah Al-Turki (Saudi) for Arabic poetry (classic), SR300,000 ($80,001); Mohammed Said Al-Rashidi (Saudi) for Arabic story narration, SR100,000; Iman Saad Al-Zahrani (Saudi) for innovation, SR100,000; Ithra Investment Group, Nuha Anwar Al-Yusuf (Saudi) for entrepreneurship, SR200,000; and Tariq Mohammed Sumaili (Saudi) for youth poet, SR100,000. The prize for Arabic calligraphy (total SR100,000) was shared by Hafiz Mohammed (Bangladeshi, SR50,000), Ahmed Rafat Ahmed (Egyptian, SR30,000) and Yasir Mahmoud Ibrahim (SR20,000).
Prince Sultan expressed appreciation to King Salman for his care for national heritage projects, notably Souq Okaz for its historic and cultural importance.
He noted that the SCTH’s efforts toward Souq Okaz have expanded to cover other projects such as the Okaz City project, to which the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 has allocated a budget of SR775 million under the “Jadat Al-Mustaqbal,” and similar heritage projects.
Moreover, the SCTH has embarked on preparing development projects for Souq Okaz in a bid to convert it into a cultural and tourist destination for the whole year, in cooperation with its partners in government agencies in Taif, he added.
The 11th edition of Souq Okaz will witness more than 100 functions in addition to contests and tourist journeys that will provide a unique experience to visitors. The events will also include a number of historical and cultural functions including Arabic poetry, theater performances, market shows, poetry of the early days of Islam, Arabic-language challenges, sports shows, horse and camel convoys, handicrafts, and light and sound presentations, he said.
Furthermore, the SCTH will organize 50 journeys under the “Live Saudi Arabia” program where 2,500 students from all regions will benefit, with the participation of 65 tourist guides and 10 journey organizers, he said.
Additionally, Souq Okaz will witness 10 cultural symposia, five nights of Arabic classical poetry, 10 cultural workshops, an Arabic calligraphy show, a fine art corner, the Okaz library, an ancient and Islamic inscription show, and a tent for storytellers under the supervision of the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah).