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Former Director General of UNESCO: AlUla is the expression of a journey through time

ALULA: Former UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova called AlUla the “perfect expression” for time travel during the 2023 Hegra Conference of Nobel Laureates and Friends on Saturday.

Participating in the “Kairos vs. Chronos: Decisive Moments in History” panel discussion, Bokova said, “AlUla is indeed time travel; we are talking about time, and AlUla is the perfect expression of time travel when you see this vast civilization.

Bokova, alongside Kailash Satyarthi, winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, and Professor Kurt Wüthrich, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry from the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at ETH Zürich, told Arab News that two events have come to define AlUla’s place in the world in recent years.

“The first is the description of Hegra on the World Heritage List in 2008, when the world began to discover this fantastic place, and the second is of course Vision 2030 for the future of Saudi Arabia,” said- she declared.

“The decision to develop AlUla is one of the outstanding projects of tourism, sustainable development, environmental protection (and) community engagement – I would say this is where the new Saudi Arabia is in emerging,” she added.

“(Vision 2030) goes back to its roots because it is about modernity, new development, social inclusion, youth engagement, education, but also heritage protection.

“For the Saudis to know where their roots are… that’s where I see the huge potential of AlUla, and on top of that, it’s about the common history of humanity,” he said. she added.

Bokova said Hegra is known for having over 7,000 years of history, featuring different civilizations, as well as hosting the trade caravan movement.

“When they traded, there were also ideas that developed; there have been human encounters and I think that is exactly what Vision 2030 means,” she said.

“It’s a question of modernity, but it’s also a question of identity and the protection of heritage.”

Satyarthi spoke about the safety and protection of children, and issues such as child trafficking during the panel – adding that the conference is important for those who care about humanity.

“People who care about humanity, people who care about the planet, there could be many ways like science and technology, literature, economics, social and humanitarian work, when they come together – they will certainly create a momentum of thoughts and actions,” he told Arab News.

He added that there are hundreds of issues that divide humanity, but the issue of child welfare can unite the world.

“If we all come together and decide and take action, that we have to protect one generation – this generation of children – then the rest of the generations would be able to protect themselves,” he said.

“If we are able to educate every child now, then their future generations will certainly be educated; if we ensure the freedom and dignity of these children today, then their children and all generations to come will automatically learn, and they will be a free and happy generation.