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Subbiya - Second City in Kuwait

A panel discussion titled Subbiya – Building Kuwaits Second City, hosted by the Center for Gulf Studies at the American University of Kuwait (AUK), together with Arabana Project, to discuss the social and cultural impacts associated with development plans in Subbiya.

The event, held at Salmiya in Kuwait, involved experts in architecture, social geography, archaeology and tourism. Dr. Farah Al-Nakib, the Director of Center for Gulf Studies, presented the introduction on the Subbiyah project, and the proposed Silk City, which the Kuwait Municipality is currently developing, together with the private sector.

Dr. Al-Nakib said that the event wanted to throw light on this major national project, which is not receiving sufficient public and media attention. This project is vital for future of Kuwait and its young generation.

According to Dr. Derek Kenet, Senior Professor of Archeology at Durham University, who is currently conducting excavation work in Subbiya, said that the rich archeological findings in Subbiya includes some of the oldest representations of seafaring vessels found in the world. He suggested that creating awareness of the thriving past in Subbiya will contribute to developing a tourist aspect to the city, and create an identity about Kuwait’s ancient population. In fact event schools can take their students to witness the historical remains, he said.

Meanwhile, Professor of Geography, Dr. Abdulrasool Al-Mousa, said that the project, being away from the congestion of the capital city, might prompt Kuwaitis to look forward to the promising future of Subbiya. Although, the new city will be located only be across a bridge over Kuwait Bay, the very mention of it being a new commercial, residential, economic and recreational city by itself will make it sound like it is far and distant from the usual city crowd.

As for tourism and recreation, the General Manager of Safir Hotels Group, Nabil Shashatari, said that the Safir Heritage Village project at the Failaka Island is a resort and an environment–friendly village with several elements of attraction aimed at attracting the tourists and public. Unfortunately, Failaka is more of a local tourist destination as of now, as majority of foreigners are yet to get aware about such a place.

Subbiya may also have great tourist potential, and will also help improve the interest of other tourist areas and places. Dr. Nasser Abdulhasan also warned that lack of transparency in the planning stages of the project could lead to its failure in meeting the desires and requirements of Kuwaiti population.

This event was the first of the three panel discussions, while the second will focus on environmental implications of building in Subbiya, and the third will examine the economic and geo-strategic aspects. These are scheduled for January and February 2012 respectively.

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