The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture and Saudi Aramco made a splash at the Riyadh International Book Fair, bringing Saudi Aramco’s Knowledge Society projects in front of more than 2 million fair visitors and directly reaching 75,000 people.
With its modern, curved design, a new custom-made booth shared by the Cultural Center and Saudi Aramco made a dramatic statement on the crowded floor of the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.
Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih also launched iRead 2014 nationwide during the book fair, which comes after a successful pilot in the Eastern Province last year.
The iRead competition invites expressions of the love of reading, through writing and professional photography and — for the first time — animated videos and short films. iRead 2014 is open to Saudi intermediate, secondary and university students from throughout the Kingdom (http://www.ithrayouth.net/iread).
iRead is one of five i-programs offered by iThra Youth, which is among the Cultural Center’s most popular public outreach activities.
Center staff members were kept busy answering questions from an estimated 75,000 booth visitors regarding the Center’s future library and cultural offerings, a major part of Saudi Aramco’s move to develop a knowledge society in the Kingdom. The team also distributed several thousand Arabic children’s books as part of a strategic effort to stimulate reading among youngsters. The joint booth also showcased Saudi Aramco’s Corporate Social Responsibility work.
Saudi Aramco’s presence at the Kingdom’s largest book fair is the latest in a series of initiatives by the company and the Cultural Center designed to promote knowledge and reading in the Kingdom.
“This book fair was a great opportunity to highlight the work of the Center and to talk about what our dedicated team of world-class professionals will have to offer,” said Fuad Al-Therman, Cultural Center director. “We were delighted to be part of it, and we are convinced of the vital place of books and reading in building a knowledge society.”
Government officials, school classes and senior Saudi Aramco executives also visited the booth. The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information-sponsored show reportedly attracted more than 2 million visitors in its eighth year, with a record 900 publishing houses and public and private institutions represented from 31 countries.
Children’s books handed out
The Cultural Center team also handed out more than 10,000 Arabic children’s books at the fair as part of a strategic effort to stimulate reading among youngsters.
“The Center Library is already working hard to promote reading among children and getting young people excited about books,” said Al-Therman.
“We printed these children’s titles in partnership with King Abdulaziz Public Library with the intention of giving them away at events such as the Riyadh Book Fair,” explained Al-Therman. “We have conducted research into reading trends in the Kingdom, and we know there is a great opportunity to increase the amount of Arabic children’s literature out there in the market. This is just part of a plan to stimulate an interest in reading and creative writing.”
The Center’s library is amassing a collection which will see 220,000 books on its shelves on the first day of operations, 60 percent of them in Arabic, as well as numerous programs designed to encourage citizens of all ages to read.
The library plans a stock of 500,000 volumes within five years and will also include music and song, including precious recordings of traditional song and oral history from Saudi Arabia.
In addition to traditional paper books, the Cultural Center library will host many thousands of electronic and audio books and public access computer workstations.
The library will also organize events and classes designed to develop the Knowledge Society and boost lifelong learning.
Wa’ed held its third semi-annual entrepreneurship meeting and exhibition at the Technical Exchange Center on March 11.
The meeting, which was presided over by Motassim A. Al-Ma’ashouq, Saudi Aramco’s vice president of New Business Development, was attended by businessmen and presidents of major agencies specializing in entrepreneurship that are interested in supporting small and medium enterprises in the Kingdom. Other attendees included Wa’ed strategic partners, representatives from Saudi universities and Saudi Aramco officials.
The event provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet with the entities that funded their projects and gave them a chance to meet with decision makers and agencies that can help their enterprises develop and thrive. The meeting was part of the post-funding support that Wa’ed provides to all the enterprises it has supported.
“This forum comes to gather entrepreneurs with Saudi Aramco’s decision makers, businessmen and our strategic partners to provide the appropriate opportunities to develop new enterprises and overcome all difficulties that small and medium enterprises may face,” Al-Ma’ashouq said. “We are about to establish a distinctive orientation program to support innovative ideas to help their owners to transform them to successful firms. For this reason, this forum is considered a practical assurance of Wa’ed’s commitment to its mission to provide post-funding support to entrepreneurs, and I am totally confident that the attendees will benefit from this important forum by building strong relationships with officials and consultants whom we shall meet today under one roof to help Wa’ed-supported enterprises thrive and grow,” he added.
The forum featured an accompanying exhibition consisting of more than 20 booths that displayed a number of Wa’ed supported enterprises. Entrepreneurs had the opportunity to introduce their activities and showcase their work to the attendees with the goal of possible commercial, technical and industrial cooperation and experiences sharing.
“Wa’ed has recently doubled its efforts in supporting entrepreneurs,” said Jamal Naboulsi, Wa’ed executive director. “Funding committed by the company has reached SR165 million allocated to support 22 small- and medium-size enterprises, in addition to 10 other larger projects by means of venture capital. Wa’ed will also cooperate soon with permanent international agencies to launch an international contest to search for innovative solutions for technical and economic challenges facing the Kingdom such as water desalination. The hope is that this contest will provide solutions that will contribute to transferring and employing technology and support the Saudi economy in many areas,” he added.
Wa’ed strives to support and fund 250 small and medium-enterprises in the next five years with SR1 billion and create quality and well-paying new jobs by supporting young entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises through loans and partnership.
Saudi Aramco’s Educational Partnership Department recently co-hosted the Japan Cooperation Center Petroleum (JCCP) alumni meeting at an al-Khobar area hotel.
More than 200 guests participated in the event that was co-hosted by the JCCP. Guest of honor at the program was Abdulaziz F. Al-Khayyal, Saudi Aramco’s senior vice president of Industrial Relations. He was accompanied by other members of the company’s management including, Huda M. Al-Ghoson, executive director of Employee Relations and Training; Nasser Al-Nafisee, general manager of Training and Development; and Khalid Al-Mulhim, general manager of Government Affairs.
Also in attendance was HE Jiro Kodero, the Japanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, along with other members of JCCP management and instructors.
In his welcoming address, the CEO of the regional JCCP office described the JCCP, which was founded in 1981 to promote technical cooperation and personnel exchanges with the oil-producing countries in the downstream sectors of the oil industry. Its major activities include programs to accept overseas technical and administrative staff for training, to dispatch Japanese experts abroad, to sponsor international conferences and seminars and to conduct studies and research. The JCCP is now involved in training Saudis to be effective operators in the downstream sector.
Al-Khayyal told his audience that the oil industry operates leading-edge technology and requires billions of dollars of investment. But he pointed out that the most important source of competitive advantage for any company is its human capital.
“And that is why the efforts of the JCCP are so important and so welcomed here in the Kingdom and throughout the region,” noted Al-Khayyal. “By focusing on training petroleum professionals, sharing technical knowledge and best practices, and expanding cross-border networks of collaboration, JCCP enhances the caliber and qualifications of our people. That enables them to be better employees, without a doubt, but it also enables them to deliver for our many stakeholders around the world — including more than 120 million Japanese who depend on our petroleum for the prosperity of their society and the well-being of their communities. This is truly a mutually beneficial collaboration, as are all of the best and most enduring partnerships.”
The Japanese ambassador underscored the importance of the relationship between his country and the Kingdom. He noted that Japan relies on Saudi oil as a main resource for its energy requirements. Therefore, training provided by JCCP ensures the transfer of technology and high levels of training for Saudis involved in the production as well as the downstream aspects of the relationship.
Also in attendance was Abdulrehman Subaie, manager of Riyadh Refinery. He recalled his first encounter with the Japanese work ethic during a maintenance program handled by a Japanese crew next to his office. “They were so dedicated and methodological that they were able to complete the job ahead of schedule; but, when I asked their supervisor about it he responded that the work performance and quality of standards were far more important. This is what got me interested in the JCCP program, whether for me or for my personnel.”
Al-Khayyal said the JCCP programs were something of benefit for both nations. “These programs are important for both our countries, and I hope that these collaborative efforts — and the enduring friendships that they create — will continue to grow and prosper for many, many decades to come.”
About 2 500 energy leaders from about 60 countries gathered for discussions and presentations on the state of the industry at the CERAWeek annual conference in Houston, USA.
Abdallah I. Al Saadan, recently appointed senior vice president of Saudi Aramco Finance, Strategy and Development served as a key panelist and shared Saudi Aramco’s downstream plans.
Saudi Aramco is actively pursuing a growth-oriented downstream strategy — including chemicals and lubricants — that complements its upstream leadership position. The company sees appealing downstream prospects for large global companies that participate across the value chain.
Al-Saadan explained that the value chain spans from exploration, production and supply to refining, marketing, chemicals, lubes and electric power. When integrated, various segments in the value chain reinforce each other, especially at times when market conditions become unpredictable.
The downstream sector will continue to strengthen as demand for refined products continues to rise but the industry will need to make significant investments in new refining capacity,” Al-Saadan said. He anticipates a trend of shutting down smaller, less-efficient refineries and replacing them with newer, larger and more efficient ones.
During an audience question-and-answer session, Al Saadan elaborated on the company’s investment in refining operations in the United States through Motiva Enterprises, which is equally owned by Saudi Refining Inc. and a Shell Oil Co. affiliate.
Al Saadan also touched on the company’s additional refining projects throughout the world, its efforts to help meet domestic energy needs primarily through its gas program and its commitment to attract and retain the world’s best talent to ensure the company’s future success.
DHAHRAN — Early Friday morning on Feb. 14, 110 individual runners, five teams, 22 volunteers and Saudi Aramco Security participated in the Dhahran Road Runner’s Half Marathon.
The 13.1 mile race was won this year by Yassine Mhimda, who came in at 1:08:32, which means that the course record of 1:07:22 set in 2010 by Abdullah Al Joud will stand for another year.
The first woman to cross the finish line was Shannon Lebeuf at 1:37:22.
As always, a big thank you goes to Recreation who helped with all facets of the race. Thanks also goes to Security, which continues to keep everyone safe, and to the many volunteers who helped with everything from registration to timing, recording times, water stops and serving race marshals.
Everyone who attended contributed to a really great morning.
A trio of runners take the recent Dhahran Road Runner’s Half Marathon in stride in the Dhahran community. The race featured 110 individual runners and five teams.