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Janadriyah, Years of Intellectual Interlacing - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The custodian of the two holy mosques receiving guests at the Al-Janadriah festival yesterday. Prince Khalid bin Fahd bin Khalid, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Faisal, the Emir of Riyadh Prince Faisal Bin Bandar and the Mufti of Mauritania Sheikh Ahmed Al-Murabit can be seen  (SPA)

The custodian of the two holy mosques receiving guests at the Al-Janadriah festival yesterday. Prince Khalid bin Fahd bin Khalid, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Faisal, the Emir of Riyadh Prince Faisal Bin Bandar and the Mufti of Mauritania Sheikh Ahmed Al-Murabit can be seen (SPA)

When the Janadriyah Festival and forum celebrated its 30th annual activity, especially with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s death, may he rest in peace, some predicted that the event has come to an end. However, in 2016, Janadiriyah’s activities were inaugurated personally under the patronage of King Salman, which in turn translates into being established as both an institution and an anchor monument.

As for when asked, on why is Janadriyah interpreted as significant? The answer came because the event is a part of our recent cultural history, through which its multicultural Saudi forum enables us to take a look into the history of three decades of which we have experienced their different political and cultural events.

It’s not an over statement to say that over the past three decades the forum served significantly as a portal that ushered in diverse thoughts onto the conservative Kingdom; which have become the subject of sessions and seminars at most of the forum’s years.

There were times which Janadriyah’s event could not humor the intellectual conflict presented, what had suggested that controversy runs inside each of the forum, community, and even outside both those spheres. However, all of that occurs naturally during the controversial phase that stands till today.

Most seasons stood out for being a broad platform for intellectual and political discussions. They were all based on true tolerance, which opened up the doors for a campaign of opinions and different discretions, in domains of multi-culture.

Many rounds of intellectual conflict were held at each of Janadriyah’s platforms, they were all attended by speculators and partisans. Among the audience were also those forbidden access to the Kingdom like, communists, extreme Islamists that come from the West, Russia, Iran and Arab countries which are on disaccord with Saudi Arabia.

The suits were proposed with no limits to awareness, novelty, end of history, the relationship with the other, and contemporary political and doctrinal arguments.
It was because of the comprehensive dimensions that names shone during the festival and stood out through it. Distinguished figures, banned from entering the Kingdom, were ruled as an exception and allowed in, hosted by the Janadriyah activities.

Janadriyah has played a major role in forming the relationships of elite and culture concerned Saudis and new thoughts and figureheads. They were influential and effected at the same time.

Perhaps at the beginning, Janadriyah was launched as a promotional project, however, it has transformed to a political and cultural activity on a high level. Moreover, because some were not used to the dosage of spunk, they tried to inhibit the forum, yet it prevailed regardless.

Some even attempted to summarize the forum’s activities, as that of mere heritage and entertainment related activities, however, Janadriyah’s program continued with its capacity to hold diverse thoughts.

Janadriyah is much more than a forum and an annual festival, the event plays the critical role of the bridge and lever. After accomplishing 30 fruitful years, it is worth being transformed into a permanent institution. An establishment that will be responsible to conduct different occasions to go with the changes both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region are witnessing.

Saudi Arabia is in need to become a country for deliberation and intellectual development; which the Arabian Peninsula and its history are known for.

Furthermore, development cannot instigate without the presence of laboratories that test thoughts, platforms for discourse, and assemblies for discussions in which everyone from across the world are invited to.

Janadriyah was born a celebration to the truth of the Saudi Arabian heritage, it has become a museum, and a place that millions of citizens visit to remember their own history, which was nearly lost because of the accelerating wheel of time.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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