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*By Prof. Alaa Alghamdi
Saudi National Day is a time of great celebration and profound pride, a day when the people of the country come together to honor the unification of the nation in 1932 by King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud. With great enthusiasm and excitement, the people of Saudi Arabia unite to commemorate this day through various events such as parades, concerts, traditional dances, and fireworks.
The celebration of National Day is a joyous occasion that includes beautiful folk dances and cultural activities culminating in grand musical concerts and art shows, and will also be featuring the Saudi Hawks Air Show. Among these events is the highly anticipated Azimuth 2023, featuring performances by a host of renowned artists (be sure to check your local news, listings, and bulletins to find out the locations of any holiday-related events that might be happening near you). During this time, the people of Saudi Arabia adorn themselves with traditional clothing and decorate their homes and vehicles with the national flag, but at its heart, National Day is a time to reflect on the country’s past, celebrate national identity and unity, and look forward to a bright future.
The theme and identity for this year’s celebration, “We Dream, and We Achieve,” speaks to the country’s commitment to achieving its goals and aspirations while acknowledging the challenges that might lie ahead. For those in the know, there are many modern-day reasons why this particular National Day should be held with special regard. Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to watch as history was being made with the successful launch and delivery of Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali al-Qarni, achieving the landmark of Barnawi having the distinction of being the first Saudi, Arab and Muslim woman astronaut to make the launch into space. Meanwhile, here on Earth, Saudi Arabia’s economy is stronger than ever, recording a growth of 12.2% in Q2, the highest quarterly growth in 11 years. The country focuses on economic diversification within Saudi Vision 2030, using oil revenues to channel investments into non-oil industries and promising sectors. The Public Investment Fund’s success has contributed to the growth of the non-oil economy by 5.4%, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expecting the fund’s assets to exceed $2 trillion by 2030 and is set to become the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. Saudi Arabia has successfully maintained a strong and resilient economy, with an impressive growth rate of 3% and low inflation levels. This is largely due to the implementation of various support programs that cater to the needs of its citizens, positioning the country as one of the G-20 nations with the lowest inflation rates globally.
And speaking of the G-20, let’s not forget about the recent Saudi participation at the summit held in India, where the delegation successfully highlighted the kingdom’s unique investment environment and interest in stimulating mutually beneficial investments. The aforementioned conditions have given credible grounds for why officials have confidently submitted Riyadh as a potential host of Expo 2030, which would be a big win for the nation should that be accepted.
Despite facing numerous challenges from the region and the world, Saudi Arabia continues to progress steadily, capitalizing on its cultural openness and other advantages to cement its position as a leader in various sectors. Indeed, the country’s commitment to sustainable development and innovation has enabled it to weather economic headwinds and remain a notable player in the global economic landscape. Overall, the National Day of Saudi Arabia is a time to acknowledge the progress made by the country in various fields and to anticipate continued growth and success. It is a time to come together as a nation and celebrate the rich cultural heritage, economic and social development, and achievements of the nation of Saudi Arabia.
Prof. Alaa Alghamdi
Saudi Scholar & Writer