Saudi Arabia; Greece to establish cultural weeks; loan antiquities to each other

Minister of Culture Prince Badr Bin Abdullah bin Farhan met on Wednesday at the Acropolis Museum in the Greek capital Athens with his counterpart Minister of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic Dr. Lina Mendoni. 

During the meeting; the two sides reviewed the plan proposed by the Saudi side concerning cultural partnership; and ways to enhance and develop it to serve the two friendly countries. 

The Minister of Culture praised the ancient cultural heritage of the Republic of Greece; stressing the importance of building cultural cooperation between the two countries at a strategic level; and for this cooperation to contribute to developing the cultural sector and support practitioners and intellectuals in the two countries. 

Exchanged visits

This is in addition to encouraging the exchange of visits between cultural delegations; inviting the Greek side to participate in the Kingdom’s most prominent cultural forums; loaning employees and specialists between the two ministries to share experiences and build capacities. 

This is in addition to strengthening cooperation in the field of excavation in the village of Al-Faw in particular; due to its connection with the Greek civilization. The two sides agreed on the importance of discussing ways to enable the Kingdom and Greece to expand the scope of their cooperation in cultural fields. 

They decided to initiate consultations with a view to agree on a bilateral memorandum of understanding on cultural cooperation; encompassing exchanges and sharing experience concerning heritage and museums; archeology and preservation of antiquities; cultural festivals and modern culture. 

They also agreed to join forces to address issues of global concern; such as the protection of tangible and intangible heritage from deliberate destruction; alteration and misuse; and the countering of illicit trafficking in cultural property; in time of peace as well as in time of conflict. 

Addressing illicit import

Bearing in mind that both Saudi Arabia and further Greece are parties to the “Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import; export and transfer of ownership of cultural property” (UNESCO 1970); the “Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (UNESCO 1972); the “Convention on the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage” (UNESCO 2003) and the “Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” (UNESCO 2005); they underlined their willingness to cooperate to address these issues also in the framework of UNESCO. 

The two sides stressed that world heritage monuments showcase the multifaceted history of the region and carry a message of mutual understanding; coexistence and respect to future generations and agreed to exert further efforts to protect the collective memory and historical references from deliberate attacks and further intentional destruction or alteration. 

Cultural tour

At the end of the meeting; Prince Badr gave also an official invitation to his Greek counterpart and her team to visit the Kingdom; attend major cultural events; and tour its cultural and heritage landmarks; in addition to participating in the “Future of Culture Summit;” which will be held virtually at the end of this year and in-person next year. 

The Culture Minister and further his accompanying delegation had lunch at the museum after the meeting. On the Saudi side; the meeting was attended by the Kingdom’s ambassador Dr. Saad Bin Abdulrahman Al-Ammar; Deputy Minister of Culture Hamid Bin Muhammad Fayez; General Supervisor of Cultural Affairs and also International Relations Rakan Al-Toq and Supervisor of the International Cultural Relations Agency Fahd Al-Kanaan. 

This meeting is one of the series of meetings that Prince Badr is conducting with a number of Greek officials during his two-day official visit to the Greek Republic. 

This aims to lay the foundation for cultural cooperation between the two countries and between the Ministry of Culture and its Greek counterpart to work on an extensive cultural program over the next two years; besides focusing on creating quality opportunities that serve cultural fields in both the Kingdom and Greece.