The Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce was packed with Saudi businessmen representing construction and engineering companies from across the country last week at a Saudi Aramco forum for discussion about the King Abd Allah Program for Constructing Major Stadiums in the Kingdom’s Provinces.
Abdulhakim al-Ammar, a member of the Eastern Province Chamber board and president of the Contracting Committee, spoke about the unique opportunity associated with the King’s program to construct 11 sport stadiums across the Kingdom. Al-Ammar emphasized the preparedness of the contracting sector, noting that these investment opportunities provide the local contracting sector a chance to prove its ability to train and hire Saudis for the completion of these projects.
Motaz al-Mashouk, general manager of Saudi Aramco Area Projects, thanked the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, for directing Saudi Aramco to execute the stadium construction program, which will contribute to the development of sport and youth sectors in the Kingdom.
He spoke about the success achieved by the company in developing the supply and contracting sector in the Kingdom, indicating that Saudi Aramco purchases awarded to suppliers in the domestic market last year reached more than 23 billion Saudi riyals. The value of the services contracts awarded to domestic companies has reached 92 percent of the total awarded company contracts.
“Saudi Aramco has tried through this Eastern Province Chamber-hosted meeting to formulate a common vision that establishes a real development of the private sector and allows it maximum possible participation in executing this gigantic program to provide the opportunities to the contracting, engineering and supply chain sectors to thrive and provide more than 10,000 training and employment opportunities for Saudi youths,” said Al-Mashouk.
He outlined the huge challenges of executing the construction program, scheduled to be completed in 2 years with the highest world specifications and standards.
Ibrahim Al-Jomiah, executive president of Al-Jomiah Companies Group, thanked Saudi Aramco for responding to the chamber’s invitation to meet with businessmen and contractors. “Saudi Aramco has provided the opportunity for everyone to participate,” he said.
Walid Al-Rumaih, manager of the Power Supply Company for Engineering Consultations, said such meetings are a connecting link between proponents and local contractors. “Saudi Aramco is always known for commitment to the highest specifications and standards, and contractors who deal with Saudi Aramco know this quite well,” said Al-Rumaih. “Anyone who wants to work with Saudi Aramco must rise to the level of these specifications and standards.”
Colors of joy and beautiful scents permeate the Art Café workshops, showcasing the drawings of visitors to the iThra Knowledge program in Riyadh. The month-long iThra Knowledge Exhibition, organized by Saudi Aramco at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, was launched on the second day of ‘Id.
Visitors of all ages use their tools of choice to draw scenes born from their imagination and paint with all the colors of the spectrum in a new and creative way. The drawings are infused with breathtaking colors and speak of beauty ideals.
Innovative drawings are created in several areas inside the Art Café workshops, which encompass plastic arts, Arabic calligraphy, crafts, free and digital art, and origami.
Sahar Al-Hamud, supervisor of the section, said “The Art Café is all about artworks that speak the same language and represent all cultures. These works were brought together to be presented by the visitors and to the visitors in cheerful and creative colors. We derived our works and ideas from different cultures, mixing them with new and global ideas to offer both entertainment and benefit.”
She added that this section runs training workshops in many fields, including origami, the Japanese art of folding paper, drawing in water colors from Turkish civilization, drawing in the dark, sand drawing and other art forms.
The Art Café doors are open to people between the ages 5 to 23.
Some 110 young Saudis participated in a special summer training program provided by the National Industrial Training Institute (NITI) at its Abqaiq facility.
NITI, a nonprofit organization, is a joint undertaking of Saudi Aramco and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC). The organization’s goal is to foster community growth, reduce unemployment and support Saudization efforts.
The Summer Program focused on upskilling trainees in English language proficiency, computer studies and safety. All of the students who completed the program – 27 percent of whom were orphans – were honored at a graduation ceremony held at the Abqaiq facility recently.
Chairman of NITI, Saudi Aramco vice president of Pipelines, Terminals and Distribution, Mohammed A. Al-Omair, congratulated the graduates and spoke of the importance of the program.
“All of NITI’s activities and programs are geared toward raising the knowledge and skill levels among young Saudis and thereby provide a ready and capable workforce of the future for the oil and gas industries. The summer program is an example of how NITI applies its ethos of training, learning and creation of local content through the latest teaching techniques and technology on a year-round basis,” Al-Omair said.
Saad Shahrani, project manager with NITI, said that the program had been a success. Construction of a massive NITI campus at Al-Hasa is on track for completion later this year.
“NITI is a not-for-profit training institute that has made social responsibility an integral part of its business model,” said Shahrani.
Day after day, thousands of Riyadh’s residents and neighbors are putting the iThra Knowledge program on their to-go list. The number of visitors has remarkably increased and can be noted in the lobbies of the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center where unique ideas are converging on many awareness and social issues. There are also scientific, cultural and educational exhibitions of all kinds.
Amid the teeming crowds at the various exhibitions, official delegations can be seen touring the program, which has become the talk of the Saudi capital. Shaykh Mohammed Al-Khuzaim, vice president of the General Affairs of the Grand Mosque, visited at the invitation of the program’s management and toured the program’s exhibits with one of his young grandchildren.
The Shaykh expressed his great delight and admiration of the iThra Knowledge program, describing it as an open venue for education, knowledge and entertainment. He added that the exhibits brought together education and entertainment, which he deemed very useful and helpful in engaging the young generations in knowledge.
Not far from Shaykh Al-Khuzaim stood Jaime Sergio Cerda, the Ambassador of Argentina to Saudi Arabia. He expressed his deep admiration of the program, saying that he had expected to merely see an oil exhibition.
Cerda emphasized that iThra Knowledge is on par with the world’s best knowledge events, noting that the exhibitions included Energy Efficiency and 1001 Inventions. He added: “I used to think that Saudi Aramco’s exhibitions and activities were only focused on oil. Contrary to my expectations, I witnessed a program that embodies the spirit of modern times and appeals to all ages.”
Ithra Knowledge is distinguished by its inclusiveness and diversity, offering a balanced mix of edutainment, science and arts, as well as a host of events unique to Riyadh audiences.
Legoland: At the new Legoland exhibit, children open their imaginations and build shapes and objects using Lego, in an area designed to resemble the city of Riyadh. This Lego game is designed to develop cognitive skills and enhance creative abilities and the sensory aspects of childhood.
Tinkering Studio: Ithra Knowledge also seeks to attract children through scientific workshops held in the Tinkering Studio. This studio presents simple scientific experiments to help children understand mathematical theories and physics that were designed in cooperation with the San Francisco-based science museum Exploratorium. The studio aims to fuel passion among youngsters toward applied sciences.
YouTube Studio: The YouTube Studio is linked to the Energy Efficiency Pavilion. It utilizes new media technologies to offer a short course in cooperation with YouTube on producing and directing short films, using personal cameras and mobile phones, with rich content on social-awareness topics. The studio aims to encourage the production of digital Arabic content, and to boost the making of meaningful films using creative methods. It also aims to instill the principles of social responsibility and positive thinking. The importance of this course offered to young men and women comes from the enormous potential of the video-making business in the Kingdom.
Art Café: Talented artists demonstrate plastic arts, Arabic calligraphy and folklore crafts and host a group of workshops that aim to provide an inter-generational platform for discussing arts and presenting it as a means of expressing the cultural identify of all strata of society. The café provides a creative environment that contributes toward boosting the youngsters’ expression and character-building abilities.
Traffic Safety Village: This exhilarating experience for children nine years of age and older, teaches them about safe driving skills and how to implement them later on in life. Children learn the theoretical rules of driving safely, and practice what they learned in the Traffic Safety Village in order to obtain their “license.”
1001 Inventions: An international award-winning exhibition that aims at shedding light on 1001 inventions that have shaped the world we live in. This exhibit helps youth connect with their inventive side by introducing them to some of the greatest minds in the Islamic Golden Age Era, through educational programs and live performances.
Energy Efficiency Pavilion: Designed in cooperation with the Saudi Center for Energy Efficiency to raise awareness about Saudi Arabia’s biggest challenge — the rising use of energy in Saudi Arabia — this timely exhibit demonstrates methods of saving energy and its positive effect.
The Beautiful Names of Allah: A spiritual journey that ignites the voyager’s mind about the beauty and meaning of Allah’s names and how to implement them in their daily lives, this exhibition employs a multitude of audio and visual media to teach visitors about the secrets and magnificence of Allah’s names.
Children’s Art Contest: The popular art contest has been sponsored by Saudi Aramco ever since it started 32 years ago. This year’s theme is “Watanona Amanah” where children will learn about national values, and express these values through drawing and painting.