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How long can Saudi Arabia remain a land of contradictions? For decades the country has been torn between its strong, traditional values and a push toward modernisation and change.

Outsiders see the kingdom as upholding outdated societal standards while the country's conservative religious clerics criticise the country's leadership for straying too far from its Islamic roots. 

Saudi Arabia just opened its first co-ed university, where male and female students will share classrooms for the first time. Yet women in the country still cannot study without the permission of their male guardians.

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A new 3-D documentary called Arabia aims to demystify perceptions of the largely secretive country.

The film highlights the achievements of the Arabian empire, but does not shy away from discussing the challenges it faces in the modern world.

So on Wednesday's show we ask: How is today's Saudi Arabia balancing tradition with progress?

Joining the programme is Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia. He was formerly Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US, and for about 24 years served as the kingdom's chief of intelligence.

He is currently the chairman of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired from Wednesday, May 26, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera