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Cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Ukraine and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
08 October 2014 13:23

During the last decade, the work of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the cultural and humanitarian direction was mainly focused on promoting the final tournament of the European Football Championship in 2012 in Ukraine and encouraging participation of Saudi representatives in the International Children's Festival "Let's Change the World for the Better!" in 2011-2013, as well as improving the relevant legal basis of the Ukrainian-Saudi relations and establishing bilateral cooperation in such areas as medicine, higher education and tourism.

Cooperation between two countries in the field of education and science is limited to providing educational services for a small number of Saudi nationals in the Ukraine’s higher education institutions. Currently, theirs number amounts 26 students.

At the same time, there is still a problem of non-recognition of certificates of medical institutions of Ukraine in the KSA (issued after December 29, 2008).

During the 5th joint meeting of the Intergovernmental Ukrainian-Saudi commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation (April 5-6, 2017, Riyadh), the Ukrainian party appealed to Saudi partners to reconsider abovementioned decision. The issue was also raised during meetings with the leadership of Ministry of Health of the KSA and the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties.

Medical cooperation has been recently stepped up due to efforts of the International Clinic of Rehabilitation (city of Truskavets) on the Saudi medical market whose director prof. V. Kozyavkin visited the Kingdom on several occasions in 2016-2018, in particular for participation in the 3rd Saudi International Exhibition for People with Special Requirements (April 2016) and the 5th International Conference for Disability and Rehabilitation (April 2018) and presentation of his rehabilitation method.

During the visit to the KSA on November 19-23, 2017 delegation of the International Clinic of Rehabilitation visited one of the largest medical and social facilities in the area of medical rehabilitation and physiotherapy – Sultan bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City and the Disabled Children Association, where its members were acquainted with principles of activities and conducted negotiations with their leadership on possible ways of further bilateral cooperation.

Meanwhile, on September 10-14, 2017 delegation of the Ministry of Health of the KSA, consisting of specialists in the area of medical rehabilitation and physiotherapy, visited Ukraine, where conducted a number of meetings with representatives of its central and regional authorities as well as leading medical educational institutions.

An important direction of cultural and humanitarian cooperation is tourism, given the substantial interest of Saudi citizens in visiting Ukraine for recreation and obtaining qualified and relatively inexpensive medical care.

On February 11-12, 2018 the Embassy of Ukraine in the KSA participated for the first time in the most significant event of the country's cultural and social life – the 32nd annual national heritage and folk cultural festival Al-Jenadriyah, which was held under the auspices of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Visitors of the national pavilion received an opportunity to get acquainted with art of embroidery and traditions of the Petrykivka painting, an exhibition of Ukrainian artist I.Litvinova (who also conducted a master class in drawing for children), the latest publications of Ukrainian literature translated into Arabic, the main tourist destinations, as well as taste products of Ukraine’s confectionery companies and famous dishes of its national cuisine.

At the same time, according to the decisions of the Government of Ukraine, Saudi national are eligible to obtain entry visas to Ukraine with business or tourist purpose on arrival at its international airports in cities of Kyiv (Boryspil, Zhuliany) and Odesa, as well as get electronic visas. Such introduced steps are a continuation of the efforts to boost the Saudi tourists’ travelling to Ukraine.

The cultural and humanitarian sphere of cooperation, in particular the development of tourism, is also closely connected with the pilgrimage (Hajj) of Ukrainian Muslims to the cities of Mecca and Medina, located on the territory of the Kingdom –  the main shrines of the Islam religion.

The legal basis of the Ukrainian-Saudi relations in the cultural and humanitarian area consists of intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, memorandum of understanding on cooperation and the exchange of news between UNIA "Ukrinform" and the Saudi Press Agency, program of cooperation between the Hennadiy Udovenko Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the KSA.

In this regards, a joint practical workshop “Ukrainian-Saudi relations. Regional issues” was organized by the Hennadiy Udovenko Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine and the Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies in Kyiv on April, 24 2018 on occasion of celebration of 25 year anniversary of Ukrainian-Saudi diplomatic relations.

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