Saudi Arabian entertainment industry forum Joy Forum19 began on Sunday at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, with many Egyptian, Arab and international diplomats and entertainment figures in attendance.
Among the international celebrities who were honoured at the event were Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Chinese kung fu star Jackie Chan, Hollywood’s Jason Momoa and Belgian action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Authority for Entertainment, presented the global event, which started with a session on “entertainment and building economy” reflecting the kingdom's Vision 2030.
A major delegation of Egyptian artists was present, led by Culture Minister Ines Abdel Dayem, who gave a short speech and was also honoured.
Also honoured at the event were Nasser al-Qasabi, Kuwaiti star Suad Abdullah, Saudi star Mohammed Abdo and Egyptian stars Hani Shaker, Yousra, Ragaa El-Geddawy, and Issaad Younis.
The forum is part of the "Riyadh Season" initiative which is taking place in the Saudi capital until mid-December. The initiative includes many artistic and cultural events, including special programmes of Egyptian entertainment under the title of “Layali Al Mahrosa.”
"It will feel like you are walking the streets of Egypt's ancient district, Al-Hussein, having authentic Egyptian food, and enjoying a selection of Egyptian singers," is how the organisers describe the programme.
Saudi Arabia is currently loosening decades-old restrictions on entertainment as part of a push to improve its image and attract tourists, in a broader plan to diversify its economy away from oil.
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