RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is to stage its first national cultural skills competition — with a prize-money pot of SR5 million ($1.33 million).
The initiative was launched on Wednesday by officials from the Saudi ministries of culture and education.
Noha Kattan, the Ministry of Culture’s deputy minister of national partnerships and development, and Dr. Mohammed Al-Meqbel, Ministry of Education undersecretary for educational programs, announced details of the contest at a press conference.
Kattan said the competition would cover multiple tracks in various cultural sectors including short films, Arabic calligraphy, visual arts, music, theater, manga and short stories, and folk dance.
Divided into seven stages, the scheme will start by identifying talent in public schools, honing their skills and knowledge, providing online training, and then running a series of competitions.
Finalists will showcase their art or skill at a closing ceremony, which will be subject to voting.
The winners of each sector will receive SR100,000, with runners-up getting SR75,000, and SR50,000 going to those coming third.
Al-Meqbel said the competition aimed to discover and develop the skills of male and female students in the cultural and artistic fields to help preserve the Kingdom’s cultural heritage.
Investing in talented students would empower them through the different stages of the competition, he added.
The contest is part of an ongoing working relationship between the two ministries under a cultural capacity development strategy.
It has been designed to increase the cultural and artistic development of public-school students in the Kingdom, pinpoint their skills, and work to enhance them and encourage new creative energies that contribute to the effectiveness and enrichment of the Saudi cultural sector.