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RIYADH: The Saudi ministries of culture and education recently awarded the winning pre-university general education students of the second edition of the Cultural Skills Competition held in Riyadh.

The winners received prizes worth a total of SR9 million (US$2.4 million), while the competition organizers signed three agreements to support prominent talents.

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

The Cultural Skills Competition is a national competition launched by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, with the aim of motivating the young generations to participate, create and excel in shaping the future of culture and the arts.

The competition includes 10 categories: drawing; Arabic calligraphy; cinema; photography; strumming; singing; stories; manga; poetry; and theater. These categories aim to discover and develop the skills of male and female students in cultural and artistic fields and to achieve the perfect investment of their energies.

Fayez reiterated the Ministry of Culture’s support for students’ cultural skills, stressing that such competition contributes to a promising and prosperous future in the cultural sector.

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

The winner of each category received a prize of SR100,000 ($26,659), while the second place winner received SR75,000 and third place winner SR50,000, as well as honoring their parents with financial rewards totaling SR1.4 million.

This year, the competition attracted an impressive turnout and widespread interest from students, exceeding 400,000 participants across categories, according to Dr. Yousef Al-Hamoud, director general of student affairs at the Ministry of Education.

“The competition between students in such events helps them discover and hone 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 joint work between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, which contributes to the development of participants’ cultural and artistic skills, the achievement of the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, and the formation of a globally competitive citizen.

Three agreements with strategic partners were signed during the ceremony to support outstanding talents. The first agreements were concluded with Manga Arabia Co., a company specializing in the creation of creative content and the production and publication of storyboards in Arabic and Japanese. The company will serve as a training platform for the participants of the manga category to learn and master this art and transform the passion of talented students into distinguished artistic creations, according to a statement released by the organizers of the Contest.

The second deal was with Anghami, a Saudi company that works in digital music. It will produce mini-albums, each containing four songs, for the winners of the singing and strumming categories, as well as hold a specialized training camp that focuses on perfecting their artistic skills.

The third agreement was concluded with MBC Media Solutions, which will host exceptional talents at the MBC Academy, include them in MBC’s future corporate skills database, and give them the opportunity to emerge and distinguish themselves in multiple fields.

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