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Heart Of Arabia Expedition To Launch Award

In partnership with the Saudi British Society, the Heart of Arabia expedition is launching the Philby Arabia Fund, an initiative that will award a scholar, artist, or historian.

The award honors British Arabist, explorer and writer Harry St. John Bridger Philby, who converted to Islam and took the name Abdullah. In 1917, he set out on an information-gathering mission through what is now Saudi Arabia.

The Heart of Arabia project, which attempts to roughly replicate Philby's trip, is now commemorating the two-part, 1,300 mile expedition.

The Saudi British Society is in charge of the fund, which aims to continue the traveler's legacy. The society, an NGO, has been an important sponsor of the Heart of Arabia expedition, which took its name from Philby's book, issued in 1922.

The fund encourages research into all facets of Saudi geography, topography, geology, animals, and culture, or any other new fields promoting the subtleties of a place that has changed since Philby's voyage.

The aim has two objectives: The first is to draw attention to Abdullah Philby, who made a significant contribution to the development of the Kingdom. The second is to dispel some of the Saudi Arabian misconceptions.

Participants will need to apply with a summary of their goals and finances even if the fund hasn't yet defined critical responsibilities or logistics. A shortlist and a winner will be selected by the society's board of trustees. The winner must submit a field study report with digital images to support results and conclusions.

The current expedition completed its first leg in Riyadh this November. The idea was to create interest-generating platform on leg one so that it could be used on leg two to start spreading the word about the Fund in the hopes of persuading individuals to contribute donations. On January 16, the party will set off on its next leg of travel to the Western coast.

The legacy of Philby began in 1917 when, on a political trip to see Ibn Saud, the area's then-ruling leader, he traveled through the Empty Quarter. The thorough documentarian frequently traveled to London, where he gave talks about his discoveries to the Royal Geographical Society. He was a vital player in preserving the history of the region relaying information of his voyage that helped with the early charting of central Arabia. The outcome earned him the Royal Geographical Society Founder's Medal. During their 36-year friendship, Philby attended council meetings, conducted business, and documented Riyadh. In his senior years, he mostly engaged in youthful conversation about his exploits and the significance of his profession, frequently sharing his ideas and experiences with the Arab world. 

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