DHAHRAN, 4/6/2014 — Dhahran Hills School third-graders recently raised the staggering sum of SR52,500 for the international children’s medical charity Operation Smile during their three-week Operation Smile Read-a-thon.
First started in February 2012, the annual Read-a-thon is a service-learning project open for all third-graders at the Hills School. The charity that the children raised money for Operation Smile is one of the world’s leading children’s charities.
Working in more than 60 countries, they mobilize medical professionals and volunteers to provide safe, effective reconstructive surgery and related medical care for children born with cleft lips, cleft palate and other facial deformities. This year’s third-grade class raised enough money to fund 56 life-changing surgeries for children in need.
Combining the Saudi Aramco Expatriate School system’s emphasis on civic duty and literacy, the Operation Smile Read-a-thon is a unique project that allows children to improve their reading skills while making a positive impact on the world.
Third-grade teacher Michael Peach was the key figure in bringing the idea of service learning to the Hills School. “As educators and parents, we recognize the importance of service learning. Students of all ages gain a great deal from service learning,” he said. “Projects such as the Operation Smile Read-a-thon foster the development of a life-long commitment to community service, teach students how to work effectively as members of a team and builds confidence by providing students with the opportunity to be part of a solution to a problem.”
The Operation Smile Read-a-thon begins with teachers speaking with their students and explaining both the project and the work the charity does. The Read-a-thon is open to any third-grade students who choose to participate. After this, the entire grade meets together to build awareness, support and set guidelines for the project.
The children who have chosen to participate are asked to solicit sponsorship from their friends, family members, neighbors and other people they know, all in support of Operation Smile.
“The kids raised money with their independent reading during a three-week period,” Peach explained. “People were able to sponsor student’s reading with a pledge for each page read, or each book read, or simply a total pledge. For three weeks, the kids kept track of their independent reading at school and at home, pushing themselves to become better readers and help children in need. This year’s Read-a-thon coincided with the Read Week at the Hills School. Afterward, students determined the number of pages and books they read as part of our Read-a-thon and then went off to share the results with their sponsors and collect their pledges.”
Third-grade student Tuqa Abdelfatah said: “I asked for pledges from my family and my friends and my neighbors. I called everyone to ask them to donate. I feel like I made a difference.”
Mujtaba Hamid said: “When I first learned about Operation Smile, I felt sad for the kids, but then happy because there was a way we could help. It made me feel really good to support kids who need help.”
“When I first learned about Operation Smile,” said Martina Giroldi, “I thought, ‘We have to raise a lot of money so we can help a lot of kids.’”
Talmage Law said his family was excited to help, saying, “We all wanted to raise as much money as we could.”
Daniel Adusei-Poku agreed. “I already love reading because I can learn a lot and get smarter,” Daniel said. “And when I learned about Operation Smile, I thought that this time I could help people, too.”
“Part of what drew us to Operation Smile was their commitment to service learning and this idea that when children help children in need, they learn firsthand how they can make an impact on the world and help heal humanity,” Peach said. “There are currently more than 900 Operation Smile Student Clubs and associations around the world who are working to build awareness, raise funds and educate students about their core values of commitment, leadership and volunteerism.”
Explaining the work that Operation Smile does, Peach said: “Every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft lip or a cleft palate. A baby born with a cleft has twice the odds of dying before their first birthday. The children who survive are often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. They are shunned and rejected. And in too many cases, their parents can’t afford the surgeries they need to live a productive life.
“Operation Smile provides free cleft surgeries. Since 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with facial deformities. The charity also works to train local doctors in developing countries and strengthen health-care systems so more children in some of the poorest areas of the world can be treated. They heal children’s smiles and bring hope for a better future.”
The importance of their efforts to support the work of Operation Smile was clear to all of the participating third-grade children.
“I was really happy to do this. It felt good because I wanted to help kids with cleft palates,” said Kenleigh Aebi.
Isabella Taylor agreed. “Operation Smile is a good thing. I want to help because everyone should be able to smile. Doing this made me happy,” she said.
Noah Stenov said: “I asked people all over the world for money, my friends and family. I read 15 books and I felt proud to help people who needed it.”
Ridwan Shakoor, who read a total of 12 books during the Read-a-thon agreed, adding, “I hope this helps a lot of kids.”
One thing all of the participating children agreed they took away from the project was a desire to continue helping those in need. By working together, the children said they realized that they could make a difference in the lives of others. Finding new ways to help people in need was a goal echoed by all of the children, who said they wanted to raise more money in the future.
It is clear that the children have made and continue to make a huge difference. “This year, through incredible effort and dedication, our young volunteers raised SR52,500 for Operation Smile,” Peach said. “That’s enough to fund 56 life-changing surgeries for children in need. Thanks in part to the incredible work of our students and generous support of our community, since beginning the Operation Smile Read-a-thon, Dhahran Hills School third-graders have been able to fund the surgeries for about 165 children with facial deformities, so they and their families may live happy, normal, and productive lives.”
Kristina Krause of Operation Smile echoed this gratitude. “I love how Dhahran students have jumped full on to helping children elsewhere. Operation Smile believes in commitment, leadership and volunteerism — and the Dhahran community has embraced all three together and is making an impact. For me, to see students helping children is even more heartwarming because together, the students become a force and make an impact in the world to help humanity.”
Third-grade student Lily Hall summed up the feelings of the children participating in the Operation Smile project. “It was really cool to read for a cause and to raise money for kids in need,” she said. “We all want to say thank you to our teachers for putting this all together and letting us help. It was so great.”
DHAHRAN, 4/6/2014 — On May 8, more than 90 women from Dhahran, Abqaiq, and Ras Tanura communities, as well as several women from Prince Mohammad University in al-Khobar, converged at Dhahran’s Baker House to enjoy a night of Bollywood dancing.
The event was Dr. Valli Batchelor’s second Bollywood Night in Dhahran; the first was held in early February 2012. Since then, Batchelor has conducted numerous productions and interactive shows for the Saudi Arabia Education Association, as well as in other locations around the globe. The Bollywood Night was created to promote intercultural arts for health and engagement, as well as to provide the audience — consisting mainly of mothers — a good time before Mother’s Day.
Guests were ushered into the hub of the Baker House, where all the performances took place. None of the music could be heard as the room was alive with excited chatter and conversations. When the performances finally did start, the audience was so excited that they did not even realize the show had begun 15 minutes late.
The event officially started with a welcome speech from Naila Saeed, president of the Dhahran Women’s Group (DWG), as well as a 1-minute video from Dr. Gary Christenson, former president of the Global Alliance of Arts for Health, congratulating participants for being part of a global movement that uses the arts to promote community health.
During the performance, attendees were shown examples of energetic Indian folk movements and songs that were then flanked by calming yoga postures and soothing breathing techniques. With more than 30 individual items, the audience was truly engaged and excited.
Throughout the night, healthy snacks were provided, allowing attendees to enjoy delicious food.
Manal Treakle, a young mother from Abqaiq, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed myself and made many friends.”
Rowena Rahman from Dhahran commented that, “Dhahran ladies are very keen to join Abqaiq for future cultural art events.”
“We believe that community and community engagement is at the heart of a healthy life. We thank all our supporters who believe in our vision, in particular the Saudi Aramco communities,” said Batchelor. “Culture and arts are great tools to achieve this mission.”
Future events are being planned for the ar-Rakah community.
Sitting, left to right, are Abdurrahman Najjar, Mark Dib, Diego Loggiodice, Joshua Nelson, Numan Gilani and Abdurrahman Kharbat. Standing, left to right, are Sana Rasheed, Nur Maryam Nasir, Shalini Rao, Mavra Masood, Diana Naboulsi, Shabrina Nurfitriani, Iris Rahman and Bryn Stonehouse
DHAHRAN — Saudi Aramco families took part in Dhahran High School’s annual Academy Awards.
Students were recognized for various achievements throughout the 2013-2014 academic year. Honorees were as follows:
- Nur Maryam (12), daughter of Nasir Hasnan.
- Sana Rasheed (12), daughter of Mohammed Rasheed Uddin.
- Shalini Rao (12), daughter of Sreenivasa Rao.
- Mavra Masood (12), daughter of Mohammad Ahmad.
- Diana Naboulsi (12), daughter of Jamal Naboulsi.
- Shabrina Nurfitriani (12), daughter of Wahyu Hidayat.
- Iris Rahman (12), daughter of N.M. Rahman.
- Bryn Stonehouse (12), daughter of Gregory Stonehouse.
- Abdurrahman Najjar (12), son of Namir Najjar.
- Mark Dib (12), son of Pierre Bechara-Dib.
- Diego Loggiodice (12), son of Osmil Loggiodice.
- Joshua Nelson (12), son of Jon Nelson.
- Numan Gilani (10), son of Sikandar Gilani.
- Abdurrahman Kharbat (11), son of Fayez Kharbat.
There’s nothing like standing in the midst of outcrops — formed millions, even billions of years ago — to fully appreciate their origin and characteristics beyond the classroom.
Such was the experience of a team of geology students and faculty from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and Stanford University, who, together with geologists from Saudi Aramco and Aramco Services Co. (ASC), recently participated in a geology field seminar conducted in the United States, specifically west Texas and southeastern New Mexico. ASC facilitated the event.
The 25 geoscientists from Saudi Aramco, ASC, KFUPM, and Stanford gained hands-on experience in recognizing and interpreting siliciclastic, carbonate, and volcaniclastic rocks in a wide variety of geological environments.
The trip focused on three main geologic terranes — sandstones and carbonate rocks deposited during Cambrian time, Tertiary-age sediments related to volcanic activity, and Permian-age carbonate rocks.
During the final days of the trip, the group hiked the Permian Reef Geology Trail in McKittrick Canyon in Guadalupe Mountains National Park to study the fossil reef that formed about 265 million years ago, when a tropical sea covered the region.
At that time, calcareous sponges, algae and other lime-secreting marine organisms formed an enormous reef. After the sea evaporated, the reef was buried beneath sediment for millions of years until uplift exposed it.
The trail was constructed in response to geologists from academia, industry and the U.S. Geological Survey who have studied the canyon’s depositional environments and sequence stratigraphy for decades.
On the final day of the trip, the group visited Carlsbad Caverns National Park, where the reef front is visible in parts of the cave that are not covered by recent cave deposits. The group even stopped to examine “teepee structures” in the parking lot. These structures form as sediment deforms during exposure at the earth’s surface.
Along the way, the group encountered undergraduate geologists from Wellesley College in Massachusetts, U.S., and geologists from various oil companies on a training course led by Nautilus.
The field seminar is part of a strategic alliance established in 2009 between Saudi Aramco, KFUPM and Stanford University to collaborate in geosciences and petroleum engineering education and scientific research.
Many members of the group have connected on Facebook so they can exchange photographs and keep in contact about projects of interest. The faculty members and ASC Upstream staff are already discussing plans for future activities such as short courses, research conferences and field seminars.
The Aramco Entrepreneurship Center (AEC) and GE Ecomagination have launched an open global technology challenge to improve energy efficiency in seawater desalination. The $200,000 challenge will be awarded to four winners at a prize of $50,000 each. Part of the agenda of this global contest is to encourage the Kingdom’s entrepreneurs/innovators to propose new efficient low-cost desalination technology solutions that can be readily deployed creating new innovative local businesses.
AEC encourages innovators to submit their proposals to www.ninesights.com/community/ecomagination. The deadline to submit entries is July 16, and winners will be announced in September.
Current desalination techniques are very energy intensive, and Saudi Aramco and GE hope to encourage, identify and promote innovative ideas that can make a big difference. Energy consumption at a desalination plant can account for greater than 50 percent of the plant’s costs. Any effort to increase energy efficiency and to reduce consumption, therefore, is the key to ensuring that the Kingdom receives the most value for its natural resources — value that can be used to develop the Kingdom and its people.
Sami Khursani, acting managing director of AEC, said, “Through this challenge, we hope to inspire local and global innovators to bring their talents to this exciting topic and help drive local manufacturing of efficient desalination plants and empower local entrepreneurs.
“Aramco Entrepreneurship is partnering with GE not only to identify new solutions to lowering desalination costs but also to identify possible attractive new technologies and create new industries in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Nabil Al-Khowaiter, AEC’s director of special projects, said, “Finding a more efficient method of desalinating seawater will be a game-changer in our collective pursuit of a more sustainable energy future across the globe,” adding that since Saudi Arabia is one of the top users of desalination processes, it can also be a world leader in finding new, more efficient methods and providing these solutions to the world.
“With existing techniques, this increased reliance could contribute dramatically to increased energy use,” he said.
The technology challenge was defined after invited representatives from local universities (such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, King Saud University and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals), research institutes (such as King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology) and AEC team members Rashid Khan and Al-Khowaiter met in January 2014 to identify the greatest technical challenge for Saudi Arabia where innovative solutions can create the most positive impact on the Kingdom’s economy.
The challenge was later endorsed by the HE Abdulrahman Al-Ibrahim, Governor of SWCC, Saudi Arabian Saline Water Conversion Corp. (SWCC). SWCC owns and operates the Kingdom’s desalination plants, which account for 25 percent of the world’s total desalination capacity.
The open innovation challenge strives to identify new innovative solutions to lower total desalination costs and emissions through renewable energy sources, incorporating advanced materials and integrating processes better. Solutions must be innovative, impactful, feasible, and scalable across the globe, keeping in mind that there are many new concepts and patents evolving providing an opportunity to deploy the most innovative solutions in the Kingdom.
The goal of the open innovation is to source the best innovations from around the world.
The solution should address high-priority Kingdom challenges — desalination and clean energy.
Create new business opportunities.
Create opportunity cost saving — 1.5 million bbl per day.
Enhance the Aramco Entrepreneurship Center’s global image and exposure to the best enterpreneurs around the globe on this key topic.