At the Ithra Knowledge program running in Riyadh until August 29, budding film makers are offered the chance to explore and develop their filmmaking instincts at the YouTube studio.
The studio gives visitors the opportunity to produce professional videos using simple technology that is widely available – including smart phones.
After producing the videos, participants can upload them to YouTube or watch their productions with relatives and friends in the House Corner section of the studio.
Wing supervisor Nouf Al-Fara’idy explained that the YouTube Studio is a series of short workshops that are held in cooperation with YouTube. She added that the workshops strive to encourage young men and women to produce quality videos that address important topics such as saving energy and water and health as well as other issues.
The workshops are free and present a golden opportunity for all amateurs who are seeking to learn and polish their filming skills. The film makers can then upload their videos to YouTube to participate in the closing ceremony of the YouTube Studio under the title: Create, Share and Win!
A panel of experts will select the top three videos and the producers will win SR 20,000 worth of professional filming equipment.
People can book a place at the studio by visiting www.ithraknowledge.com/cs. Workshops are held twice daily until the end of the program. Each workshop can accommodate up to 30 people, and are divided into men-only and women-only sessions on alternating days.
DHAHRAN, 08/20/2014 — The Eastern Province free flight paragliding team recently competed in the “Asir International Competition for Paragliding Accuracy 2014.” The competition was held recently at Al Soodha in the Sirwat Mountains west of Abha City in the Asir region, on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. The mountain itself is more like an escarpment or cliff rising up from the Tihamah costal plane adjacent to the Red Sea. The paragliding site is 2,982 meters above sea level and is arguably the highest point in Saudi Arabia. The cool temperatures in the 20s at Al Soodha were very refreshing after the 44 degree days in Dhahran!
The competition was a “precision landing” event where the goal was to take off and quickly fly to the designated landing site 1,300 meters below the launch, where a team of judges was waiting to measure the distance from touchdown to the center of the bulls eye to score the flight.
At the very center of the landing target was a 3-cm electronic button – that gave you a perfect score of zero for the flight. Around this button was a 15-cm radius electronic pressure plate (a much more reasonable target unless you are wearing ballet shoes), followed by concentric chalk circles out to 15 meters from the bull’s eye. Landings farther than 15 meters from the center, or landings where something other than the pilot’s foot touched the ground before the wing collapses were scored the maximum score. The contestants performed as many takeoffs and landings as the competition allowed and the scored distances were tallied to determine the winner. This type of contest is the opposite of most paragliding competitions where the goal is to stay in the air for hours and to fly as fast as possible following a cross country course of many kilometers, usually resulting in an undesirable landing in an unknown location followed by a hike to a main road and a long wait for a retrieval vehicle.
Our team was led by Sadeg Jubran and consisted of seven pilots, six of whom were Aramcons working in Dhahran, Abqaiq and Ras Tanura. The team members competing in the event hold Saudi paragliding licenses and are members of the Saudi Aviation Club (SAC) which regulates general aviation, paragliding, sky-diving and radio-controlled modelling in the Kingdom. Most of the Aramco paragliding pilots are also members of the Aramco Hangar Flyers self-directed group in Dhahran that provided the conduit that brought the team together.
We left Dhahran on a 3 a.m. flight to Abha and arrived at the competition just in time to pay the registration fee, sign numerous wavers, show proof of license and eventually receive our official competitor number, badge and T-shirt. We met many of the other competitors as well as the organizers. Pilots were there from the local Asir flying club as well as from Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Australia, Hungary, Czech Republic, New Zealand, and of course, Saudi Arabia. Our team was the most diverse with an American, a Romanian, a Russian, a Scotsman, and two Saudis. We were tired from the flight so we cut the comaraderie short and headed to the villa that was graciously provided for us for a short nap before returning at 3 p.m. for the opening of the first competition window.
We returned somewhat refreshed and prepared our equipment. We were all anxious as none of us had flown this particular site before. On a previous trip we scouted out the landing location and noticed that it seemed small and somewhat perilous. I had been harboring this feeling for days and was happy to discover that the landing zone had been improved for the competition, as it was flatter and somewhat longer than what we had previously seen. This helped to moderate my apprehension, but I still had pre-flight jitters that didn’t go away until a split second before launch (when they were then replaced with a huge grin).
We were given a full safety briefing in the headquarters tent describing the takeoff procedures, landing zone, recommended approach patterns, alternative landing sites and information on how to get a free ride back up to the takeoff on the cable car! Before we were allowed to fly we were weighed with all of our flying gear to verify that we were operating within the proper weight category for the certified glider we were flying. Our flying equipment was checked – radio, helmet, harness, and emergency reserve parachute. Once that was done, it was time to parawait (sit around until conditions were safe for flying). Eventually the organizers decided that the competition could begin and began calling for the contestants to prepare for takeoff by random selection. I was the first from our team to be called up and I quickly made my way to the launch area and performed my final preflight check – helmet on, radio on, shoe laces tied, chest strap fastened, leg straps fastened, wind direction and speed OK, no traffic – everything was go! A quick tug on my A risers and the wing came up perfectly – all of the lines were clear and it was fully inflated. With a slight tug on the brakes to stop the wing from overflying, I spun around and started my takeoff run. I was airborne and flying before reaching the edge of the ramp, what a feeling…wow!
The flight was a sled ride, the air was smooth, not like the rough bouncing around we sometimes get when thermal flying. As I flew, I watched the pilots before me and took mental notes as they flew their landing patterns, trying to decide what I would do when it was my time to land. When landing paragliders there is no second chance, you can’t just pull off on the side of the road and park while you study a map, you can’t just hit the “reset” button and there are no mulligans. You have one chance to get it right and the result of getting it wrong can at best be embarrassing and at worst be your last major life event. I paid close attention to the pilots below me while also making sure that pilots who took off after me were enough behind me and high enough above me to not present any complication at the landing. Needless to say, as I am writing this article the landing went well, as did the subsequent flight.
We missed the last day of the competition as we had to return to work on Sunday. We were having so much fun, none of us wanted to leave. Hopefully we will be more prepared next year and can book the flights and L days with more anticipation.
No one on our team managed to make more than two competition flights but many of us did manage to land inside the scoring area. Maxim and I even managed to hit the 15-cm plate once. Unfortunately, I touched the ground with my hand so my flight was disqualified, – which meant that as the team’s best pilot Maxim had to buy the pizza at the airport while we waited for our flight back to Dammam. Every cloud has a silver lining. The Asir flying club did a great job organizing a safe and enjoyable event. It was a great trip and a very well-run competition. The team refers to the trip as Abha III as it marks the third time we have come to this beautiful part of Saudi Arabia to enjoy the paragliding and the socializing with the fantastic Saudi Arabian paragliding community.
- Daniel C. Istrate
- Maksim Oparin
- Robert Wilson Rowe
- Sadeg A. Jubran
- Martin F. Hogg
- Hussain A. Alssamen
- Kareem Neemer
SHAYBAH, 08/20/2014 — Anticipation crackles in the air as 135 SAEA members load the buses to head for the much-awaited visit to Shaybah. Shaybah is located in the Empty Quarter, and until 30 years ago, the only people one would have seen would have been Bedouins. After Saudi Aramco began exploring in Shaybah, a camp quickly developed in the middle of beautiful red sand dunes.
A short bus journey and the trip participants arrive at the Saudi Aramco airport to take a company plane to Shaybah, a compound only accessible by Saudi Aramco. As we neared the Shaybah camp, the views become outstanding. There are miles and miles of red sand dunes as far as they eye could see. Once we landed on the ground, the views became more spectacular. The dunes appeared even larger than the view from the air. One feels small and insignificant compared to the splendid dunes. The participants learned about the history of Shaybah before heading to the dunes.
The weather was perfect for enjoying several hours on the dunes. Children and adults alike rushed for the dunes to try their luck at sand sledding. The screams of delight coming from the children could be heard across the sand.
Everyone spent countless times sliding down the dunes before laboriously climbing back up the dunes just to slide back down again. The smell from the barbecue was beginning to waft toward the dunes. The smell was enticing, but so were the views of the dunes as we approached sunset. The change of colors of the sand caused one to stop and appreciate the beauty before one’s eyes. The sand changed from red to orange to brown and finally ended in darkness as the sun bids farewell.
Everyone says goodbye to the dunes and climbed towards the strong smell of the alluring barbecue. If possible, the day gets even better when one realizes the food available for dinner. There were four tables of food along with half a dozen grills preparing food to appeal to all taste buds. There was something for everyone. To end the meal, there were two tables overflowing with a variety of fresh fruits and desserts.
The surreal day came to an end. People collected their containers of red sand and headed back for the plane. Nightfall has set in and our plane waits to take us back to Ras Tanura. Everyone appears to have enjoyed the full day. Many people have waited years for this trip and finally were able to experience the wonder we call Shaybah. The day was filled with memories that will last a lifetime.
The trip was organized by: Nake Arashad (SAEA – RT President)
The Citizenship Report outlines some of the many ways in which Saudi Aramco is creating energy opportunities by giving back to the Saudi economy, supporting productive and resilient communities, expanding the Kingdom’s base of knowledge and expertise, and enhancing the environmental sustainability of our business while expanding into new energy markets.
This 2013 Citizenship Report is one half of a two-volume corporate report; the other volume is the 2013 Annual Review. Together, they represent our continued annual practice of reporting on our operational, organizational, social and environmental achievements and goals. Our reporting has been informed by internationally recognized guidelines developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), ISO 26000 and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA). These guidelines help us identify, structure, prioritize, evaluate, and present key issues that are relevant and meaningful to our stakeholders.
Click Here to Download 2013 Citizenship Report
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.”