Makkah governor inaugurates 12th Saudi Souk Okaz festival

Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al Faisal, right, officially opened the 12th edition of Souk Okaz

:: Prince Khalid Al Faisal, the governor of Makkah province, on Wednesday officially opened the 12th edition of Souk Okaz, which is supervized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) under the patronage of King Salman.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of SCTH and of the Supreme Supervisory Committee of Souk Okaz, welcomed Prince Khalid to the historic market in Taif. Both princes gave speeches, shown on a big screen, highlighting the historical importance of the souk and the keen interest of the country’s leaders in such events.

The opening ceremony also featured theatrical and cultural performances showcasing the rich cultural traditions of the region, including poetry and music, prepared by Prince Badr bin Abdul Muhsin and featuring experienced Saudi actors and singers. Those who missed it can catch all the entertainment at the Okaz Theater on Thursday and Friday, when it will be screened free of charge.

The princes then handed out the Souk Okaz awards. The Okaz International Award for Literature was won by Nasser bin Saad Al-Rasheed, and the Okaz International Prize for Arabic Poetry went to Jassem Mohammed Al-Saheeh from Saudi Arabia. Both awards came with a prize of SR 300,000 ($80,000).

The award for writing an Arabic script for a narrative work was given to Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed Naghi from Egypt, who also received a SR 100,000 prize.

In the artistic category of the Okaz International Arabic Calligraphy Award, first place went to Abdul Majid Mohammed Al-Ahdal from Yemen, who received SR 40,000, second place to Saud Shaker Khan from Saudi Arabia (SR 25,000), and third to Mohammed Abdullah Abu Naji from Jordan (SR 15,000). In the authenticity category of the calligraphy awards, Bilal Mokhtar Attiya from Egypt took first prize, with fellow Egyptian Ahmed Adel Mohamed Amin second.

First place in the Okaz Fine Art Award was given to Tamer Mohammad Ibrahim Ribat from Saudi Arabia, who received SR 50,000, with Saleh Salih Al-Shehri, also from the Kingdom, in second place (SR 30,000), and Rasha Mohammed Siddiq from Myanmar third (SR 20,000).

Dr. Fares Bin Dabbas Al-Swailem from Saudi Arabia received the Okaz Innovation Award and its prize of SR 100,000. The Okaz Business Leadership Award, also worth SR 100,000, went to Majid Mohammad Fayez from Saudi Arabia.

This is the second edition of Souk Okaz since King Salman gave SCTH the responsibility of organizings the event in coordination with executive bodies in Makkah region and Taif.

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