Beit Hail in northern Saudi Arabia showcases local heritage

RIYADH: Denmark’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ole Emil Moesby, will bid farewell to the Kingdom at the end of his tour of duty in Riyadh later this month.

“From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you,” he told Arab News. “I had a fantastic time here – you’re usually more or less emotional when you have to change, but if you’re a diplomat you’re pretty used to changing from place to place.

“I can’t think of a time when I’ve felt this – that I’m leaving something behind – that I will miss because the way I was treated and inspired, and the way I communicated with people. , has been extraordinary,” said Moesby.

“The experience I’ve had has been fantastic, so my message is: Thank you.”

Ambassador Ole Emil Moesby paying a courtesy visit to King Salman. (Provided)

Moesby has served as Danish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Yemen since September 5, 2017, and his last day of service is August 31.

Speaking to Arab News, Moesby highlighted some of his fondest memories in the Kingdom, where he spent five years, from interacting with the local community and traveling, to enriching the culture and heritage of Saudi Arabia.

“It was a fantastic time to experience the development and the changes I saw in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“Of course, AlUla has developed extremely (well)… But even places like Yanbu or Jeddah have actually changed a lot. Without forgetting, of course, Riyadh.

Balancing on the “Edge of the World”, the Jebel Fihrayn which presents cliffs 300 meters high. It is part of the Tuwaiq escarpment of Riyadh. (Provided)

“It’s actually interesting to also see how development has changed the attitudes and the culture in these places, but yet, on the other side, has actually maintained the heritage of these places,” Moesby explained.

The ambassador has witnessed many changes, including the opening of cinemas in the Kingdom and the lifting of the driving ban for women in 2018.

“I think it’s fantastic to see this development,” the envoy said. “I was (here) at a time when I was for movie premieres in cinemas, and before…my staff here, which is mostly women, was actually brought to the embassy in the morning – now they drive themselves,” he added.

“So instead of having a traffic problem, like we had before, we now have a parking problem,” joked the ambassador.

“It’s a fantastic development, and one that I will carry with me in my memories when I leave.”

The ambassador had also visited Ithra, Ithra, the iconic King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran, which was built by Saudi Aramco. (Provided)

Moebsy explained that he was also a devoted reader of Arab News, making sure to pick up the paper every morning to keep up to date with events.

“In fact, everything has changed since September 5, 2017. So every day, Arab News told me what was happening here. And it’s been a fantastic experience because of the changes you’ve seen here,” he said.

The Ambassador highlighted how his mission has strengthened bilateral relations between Denmark and Saudi Arabia through initiatives and collaborations led by the Embassy.

“As an ambassador, you have to understand what is happening in Saudi Arabia, and you have to convey it to the Danes, and you have to make people in Saudi Arabia understand what Denmark thinks. This is the way to develop a bilateral relationship,” he said.

Most of his efforts have been to invest in trade, develop business partnerships and promote cultural exchanges.

One such effort was to organize a women’s football tournament in Saudi Arabia with 28 teams from across the Kingdom, called the Global Goals World Cup.

“We have been very active in setting up women’s football. The tournament we organized was a great success…because it also demonstrated the role that women can play in sporting events,” he said.

In February, the embassy organized the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and the ambassador invited young Saudi artists to paint an image of the queen to mark the event.

“It’s an incredible development of cultural capabilities and possibilities in Saudi Arabia that can happen. And for the Queen of Denmark, she would see this as a good signal of the long-term good relations we have between Saudi Arabia and Denmark,” Moesby said.

Ambassador Ole Emil Moesby visited the ancient city of Al-‘Ula, an archaeological marvel located in the northwest region of Medina. (Provided)

He concluded his interview by leaving a message for his successor, Liselotte Kjaersgaard Plesner, who will be the next ambassador.

“My successor, she is one of our finest diplomats in the Danish service,” Moesby said.

“I just hope she can be half as happy as I am to be here, (then) I’ll be more than happy.

“An important message to tell him is that the perceptions that we all have sometimes in Europe or Denmark, and the United States, you can’t come close to reality unless you’ve seen it yourself,” he said. he declared.

The Ambassador added that people should not form an opinion about a country without examining it and being part of the culture first.

“You have to come here. You have to live here. You have to understand and communicate with the people here, otherwise it won’t happen,” he said.

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