Salford PhD student captures the sacred traditions and untold stories of Saudi Arabia in book and documentary duo
A PhD student in the University of Salford’s School of Health and Society has published a book and produced a documentary about his unique experience in Saudi Arabia, where he is currently researching the food habits of Saudi youths.
Titled ‘The Land of ‘Adat’, Alexander Woodman’s book is inspired by Saudi culture, traditional values, people and the land, all captured and documented through fascinating images, chronicles and stories of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The book is also accompanied by a thorough and captivating documentary, titled, ‘The Land of ‘Adat – A documentary of Saudi Arabia’.
Alexander, who is originally from Los Angeles, California, said: “I personally wanted to create a golden bridge between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the family of the world with this book. I certainly believe that humanity has the vision of peace in their hearts and that all of us belong to one another.
“The documentary part of the book is the root of the mission. I have tried to tie the vision I have cherished to the reality of the land and its people. I believe I have created a harmony between my vision and the land.”
The word ‘Adat’ translates from Arabic into ‘custom’, meaning customs and traditions. This was chosen by Alexander purposely, as a title, as he believes that this story is representative of the people’s lives and how they connect to the land and culture of Saudi Arabia.
After initially moving to Saudi Arabia to teach at the university in Al Khobar in the Eastern Province, Alexander noticed the Saudi youth shifting from traditional lifestyles to a more Western one, including adopting unhealthy diets, resulting in overweight and obesity.
This inspired him to undertake his PhD at the University, focusing on young people’s nutritional attitudes and knowledge of dietary guidelines, with hopes to improve global public health.
Whilst in the Eastern Province, Alexander became acquainted with the spiritual texture and daily life of Saudis, and in particular the youth. He witnessed how the descendants of noble semi-nomadic tribes strived to become an integrated part of the global community.
He added: “Wherever I go, I observe the life of people, their history and traditions. In the case of the ‘Land of ‘Adat’, my interest has been deeper as I was not only a visitor to the country, but being in the Kingdom, my life was deeply engaged in the texture of people’s lives due to my profession as a public health researcher."
Alexander’s experience and hard work is collated in his book and documentary, as well as his PhD research, the latter of which he hopes will lead to the development of interventions to support young people in making healthier food choices.
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