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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that royal approval had been issued to grant Saudi citizenship to a number of eminent specialists from a variety of fields.

The move follows a royal decree that opened the door for the naturalization of experts from the legal, medical, scientific, cultural, sporting and technical fields to help develop the country and benefit Saudi society, all of which is in line with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030, including encouraging talented people to relocate to the Kingdom, to localize foreign investment and to “create an appropriate social and investment environment,” according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Those granted Saudi citizenship on Thursday included Mukhtar Alam, the chief calligrapher of the cover of the Holy Kaaba in Makkah; the eminent historians Dr. Amin Seido and Dr. Abdul Karim Al-Sammak; renowned researcher Dr. Mohammed Al-Baqai; and noted theater director Samaan Al-Ani, as well as well-respected figures from the religious, medical, educational, investment, digital, and sports fields. 

Here are the biographies for some of the newly naturalized experts:

Dr. Amin Seido

Dr. Amin Seido is the author of several acclaimed academic and historical research works. He has written more than 30 publications focusing on the local cultural scene in the Kingdom. He worked at the King Fahd National Library and was editor-in-chief of its magazine. He has also presented a bibliometric study and a bibliographical inventory on “Saudis and libraries and information science.”

Dr. Amin Seido

Mukhtar Alam 

Mukhtar Alam is the chief calligrapher of the kiswa of the Holy Kaaba at the kiswa factory in Makkah. His calligraphy has featured in many international exhibitions and forums and he is a well-respected calligraphy teacher himself. His works have been acquired by several political leaders and displayed in a number of public institutions.

Mukhtar Alam

Dr. Mohammed Al-Baqai 

Dr. Mohammed Al-Baqai is a researcher, scholar and translator, with around 40 books to his name, most notably on history, criticism, and translation. He has worked as a professor of linguistics and literary criticism in several academic institutions, including King Saud University in Riyadh.

Al-Baqai currently works at the King Salman Center for Historical Studies of the Arabian Peninsula, where he is furthering a long legacy of investigating publications related to the history of the Arabian Peninsula and Saudi Arabia. In 2018, he was awarded the King Abdullah International Prize for Translation.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Baqai

Dr. Abdul Karim Al-Sammak 

Dr. Abdul Karim Al-Sammak is a historian. He has a Ph.D. in modern and contemporary history. He has spent around 50 years in Saudi Arabia, where he has published several biographies of statesmen from the time of Saudi Arabia’s foundation, especially those who worked with King Abdulaziz.  

Much of Al-Sammak’s work has been inspired by that of journalist and historian Amin Saeed. He has published many of Saeed’s books focusing on the Saudi state, as well as the archives of his magazine, Al-Sharq Al-Adna, which is considered a key source in the history of the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd and their annexation. Al-Sammak presented his findings in a two-volume book, adding a valuable and rare work to the library of Saudi history.

Dr. Abdul Karim Al-Sammak

Semaan Al-Ani 

Semaan Al-Ani is a pioneering theater director, who graduated in Baghdad and arrived in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. “Train of Fortune,” which he directed, is regarded as the first theatrical work to be staged in Saudi Arabia and was the start of Al-Ani’s long history of contributing to Saudi art and culture.

He has since presented several other theatrical works and participated in many international theater festivals, as well as being an acting coach for a number of prominent Saudi actors. 

Semaan Al-Ani
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