First came the opening of public cinemas, and now Saudi Arabia has made another move to further promote culture in the Kingdom. In the early hours of Saturday, King Salmanbin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued a number of royal decrees, including one that saw the creation of a new Culture Ministry with Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud at the forefront. Meanwhile, the existing Ministry of Culture and Information was renamed the Ministry of Information.
In his newly established role, the prince will oversee all activities related to culture. “The mission of this ministry is to cater toward culture in all its fields. Culture is part of soft power which we hope to cultivate in service to country and national identity,” he told Al Arabiya on Saturday in his first official statement as the Minister of Culture. “Our vision is, without a doubt, part of the Saudi Vision 2030, and the ministry will be the main sponsor for all the advancement of culture in various fields, enhancing the Saudi and urban identities,” he added.
Prior to his latest appointment, Prince Badr served as the chairman of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), a post he has held since 2015. The law graduate, who is an associate of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has helped nourish the development of the culture sector of Saudi Arabia in a number of different roles, which makes him the ideal fit for the new position. Last July, King Salman appointed him as the governor of a newly formed commission, led by Crown Prince Mohammed, to develop the province of Al Ola, which contains an archaeological site that the Crown Prince hopes to turn into a tourist destination. He is also chairman of a new cultural organization established by the Crown Prince, the MiSK Art Institute.
Additionally, he is one of the 13 members of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Culture’s (GCA) board, which includes artists, filmmakers, executives, and government officials.