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RIYADH: The Saudi culture and education ministries recently honored pre-university general education students who were winners of the second edition of the Cultural Skills Competition held in Riyadh.

The winners received prizes worth a total of SR9 million ($2.4 million) while the organizers of the competition signed three agreements to support distinguished talents.

Minister of Education Yousef Al-Benyan, Hamed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, officials from the two ministries, Saudi cultural and art pioneers, and parents of the winning students attended the ceremony.

The Cultural Skills Competition is a national contest launched by the Ministry of Culture in partnership with the Ministry of Education, aimed at motivating the younger generations to participate, create and excel in shaping the future of culture and the arts.

The competition features 10 categories: drawing; Arabic calligraphy; filmmaking; photography; strumming; singing; short stories; manga; poetry; and theater. Those categories aim to discover and develop the skills of male and female students in cultural and artistic fields and to achieve the perfect investment of their energies.

Fayez affirmed the Ministry of Culture’s support for the cultural skills of students, noting that such competition contributes to a promising and prosperous future in the cultural sector.

“Education is the basis of our journey to build our cultural capacities. Our strategic partnerships with the Ministry of Education have culminated in many proud achievements, emphasizing the importance of supporting that partnership for greater prospects,” Fayez added.

The winner in each category was awarded SR100,000 ($26,659), while second place received SR75,000 and third was awarded SR50,000, in addition to honoring their parents with financial rewards totaling SR1.4 million.

 This year, the competition attracted an impressive turnout and broad interest from students, exceeding 400,000 participants in the various categories, according to Dr. Yousef Al-Hamoud, director-general of student activities at the Ministry of Education.

“Competition among students in such events helps them discover and refine their artistic and cultural skills,” Al-Hamoud said.

Al-Hamoud told Arab News that the success of the Cultural Skills Competition reflects the importance of joint work between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, which contributes to developing the cultural and artistic capacities of participants, achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, and building a competitive citizen globally.

During the ceremony, three agreements were signed with strategic partners, to support outstanding talent. The first agreements were concluded with Manga Arabia Co., a company specialized in making creative content, and producing and publishing Arabic and Japanese storyboards. The company will serve as the training platform for manga category participants to learn and master this art and transform the passion of talented students into distinct artistic creations, according to a statement issued by the organizers of the Competition.

The second agreement was concluded with Anghami, a Saudi company working in digital music. It will produce mini-albums, each containing four songs, for the winners of the singing and strumming categories, in addition to holding a specialized training camp that focuses on refining their artistic capabilities.

The third agreement was concluded with MBC Media Solutions, which will host outstanding talents at the MBC Academy, include them in the upcoming skills database of MBC’s business, and provide them with opportunities to appear and shine in multiple fields.


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