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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Education recently honoured pre-university general secondary school students who were the winners of the second edition of the Cultural Skills Competition held in Riyadh.

The winners received prizes worth a total of SR9 million (USD 2.4 million), and the competition organizers signed three agreements to support outstanding talents.

The ceremony was attended by Minister of Education Yousef Al-Benyan, Deputy Minister of Culture Hamed Fayez, officials from both ministries, Saudi cultural and art pioneers and parents of the winning students.

The Cultural Skills Competition is a nationwide competition organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the aim of which is to motivate young generations to participate, create and achieve success in shaping the future of culture and art.

The competition includes 10 categories: drawing; Arabic calligraphy; filming; photography; strumming; singing; storytelling; manga; poetry; and theater. These categories aim to discover and develop students’ skills in the fields of culture and art and to achieve the ideal investment of their energies.

Fayez highlighted the support of the Ministry of Culture in the development of students’ cultural skills, noting that such competitions contribute to a promising and successful future for the cultural sector.

“Education is the foundation of our journey to build our cultural capacities. Our strategic partnerships with the Ministry of Education have yielded many proud achievements, underlining the importance of supporting this partnership for greater prospects,” Fayez added.

The winner of each category received a prize of SR100,000 ($26,659), the second place winner received SR75,000 and the third place winner SR50,000. In addition, their parents received cash prizes worth a total of SR1.4 million.

This year, the competition enjoyed impressive turnout and great interest from students, with more than 400,000 participants participating in various categories, said Dr. Yousef Al-Hamoud, Director General of Student Activities at the Ministry of Education.

“The competition between students during 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 the joint work of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, which contributes to developing the cultural and artistic abilities of participants, achieving the goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, and shaping a globally competitive citizen.

During the ceremony, three agreements were signed with strategic partners to support outstanding talents. The first agreements were made with Manga Arabia Co., a company specializing in the creation of creative content and the production and publication of Arabic and Japanese storyboards. The company will serve as a training platform for manga category participants to learn and master the art and transform the passion of talented students into individual artistic works, according to a statement issued by the competition organizers.

The second deal was with Anghami, a Saudi digital music company. It will produce mini-albums, each containing four songs, for the winners in the singing and strumming categories, and will also organize a specialized training camp that will focus on honing their artistic skills.

The third agreement was signed with MBC Media Solutions, which will host outstanding talent at the MBC Academy, connect them to MBC’s emerging skills base and provide them with opportunities to showcase and shine in a variety of fields.

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