Despite the advances of technology and information, words and images are a vital part of Saudi life, as was made clear last week when three young people lined up on the iThra Knowledge Program stage to receive “Reader of the Year” awards at the closing ceremony of the iRead Competition.
iRead – the latest initiative of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture’s award-winning iThra Youth program – invited youth in the Eastern Province to compete for the “Reader of the Year” award by demonstrating their love of reading in the most creative, passionate and skilled ways possible. Young people (ages 12 to 24) responded with unbridled enthusiasm, submitting 2,500 entries for the reading competition and more than 6,000 for a corresponding photography contest.
Finalists in the reading competition were treated to an intensive training program aimed at honing their skills to demonstrate their chosen book through media such as art, calligraphy, and animation, courtesy of the Cultural Center and iThra Youth. The finalists presented their artistic interpretations with passion and flare to the iThra Knowledge public audience at sessions attended by 2,800 people. Winners were selected by a jury of community and cultural leaders at the Nov. 21 closing ceremony.
The final ceremony started with renowned Argentine-born writer Alberto Manguel talking on the joy of reading, during which he spoke philosophically and conveyed his clear passion for reading.
The sold-out audience was also witness to the first-ever showing of an Ithra Youth-commissioned film, “The Book of Sands.” Directed by Bader Al-Hamoud, the stirring film was inspired by a book of the same name by the late Argentine writer Jorge Borges, with two well-known Saudi social media stars as Masters of Ceremony.
“The event was the embodiment of the Cultural Center as an engine of inspiration, engagement, and societal transformation,” commented vice president of Saudi Aramco Affairs Mohammed Al-Qahtani.
At the time the award winners were announced, the audience was treated to an impromptu and emotional scene, when a close relative of one iRead winner climbed onto the stage to honor one of the winners by presenting her with a homemade wreath.
Among the attendees were Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih, and numerous other company leaders. Among the iRead program’s special visitors were former Saudi Aramco president and CEO Abdallah S. Jum’ah and director general of Education for the Eastern Province Abdulrahman Almuderes, as well as national and international authors, VIPs, and artists.
iRead is a pilot program of iThra Youth in the Eastern Province and may be expanded in 2014. The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture is a major undertaking on the part of Saudi Aramco to create a beacon of knowledge, creativity, and cross-cultural engagement in the Kingdom. A key initiative of the Cultural Center, iThra Youth strives to inspire young people to be lifelong learners, creative innovators and critical thinkers through innovative programs such as iRead, iDiscover and iSpark Mobile.
Reading winners: Nora Jaafar (middle school), Mohammad al-Jugaiman (high school), Fahad Musharraf (university).
Photography winners: Knowledge program visitors voted for the top three photographs, along with a professional jury, with first place going to Sultan al-Ghamdi, Hussein Bohlaiqah in second place, and Nora Rubaiaan in third place.
To learn more about iRead, visit http://ithrayouth.net/iread.
For more information about iThra Youth, visit http://en.kingabdulazizcenter.com/explore/ongoing-activities/ithra-youth.
The Vendor Inspection Division of the Inspection Department recently conducted the “In-Kingdom Contractors Quality Awareness Workshop” in Dhahran for local contractors.
In a continuing effort to boost local contractors’ quality awareness, the half-day event was attended by 110 delegates representing 42 local contractors, as well as members of Saudi Aramco’s Project Management Team (SAPMT).
Husam Sendi, Vendor Inspection division head, welcomed attendees in his opening remarks, urging them to get the utmost benefit from such an event. Sendi emphasized the importance of quality for the success of projects, plant integrity and personnel safety.
“Quality is an investment to eliminate rework and to ensure safe and reliable operations for Saudi Aramco facilities,” he said.
During the workshop, several presentations addressed project procurement activities, areas of improvement and key issues related to quality management in procurement. Also, several lessons gleaned from current and previous projects were shared and discussed with workshop participants.
The participants then engaged in an open discussion session led by Quality Monitoring Unit supervisor Nayef K. Al Utaibi. Participants exchanged quality related information, shared success stories and best practices, and addressed common and repeated quality issues and methods to overcome them in future.
Participants from SAPMT and in-Kingdom contractors provided positive feedback about the workshop. Jaco Seeger, SAPMT material specialist, said: “The interactive workshop was very relevant to the critical procurement and quality related aspects. The detailed procurement and quality processes presented by VID will assist in-Kingdom contractors to meet Saudi Aramco requirements.”
Attendees also strongly recommended that similar workshops be conducted in the future.
Aramco Overseas Company (AOC) was chief sponsor of November’s prestigious IChemE Awards 2013 held in the UK, which recognize innovation and excellence in the field of chemical engineering.
Founded in 1922, IChemE (Institute of Chemical Engineers) has a global professional membership within the industry and boasts close to 38,000 members across 120 countries.
Affiliate AOC, headquartered in Europe, took this opportunity to give greater exposure to Saudi Aramco among the leading specialists and academics in attendance. Networking in such technical fields will allow the business, through AOC, to foster new relationships.
Delivering the evening’s key note address, Nabil Aldabal, Managing Director of AOC emphasized the importance of awards ceremonies like these, which reward cutting-edge thinking. “Nights like this highlight the continuing technological advances in an industry which is of fundamental value to the global economy. Furthermore, we believe these achievements can help meet the challenges that come with an ever-changing energy landscape.
“Since 2012, Aramco has continued to expand its refining capacity and integration of new chemicals facilities, which means more of what we produce will contribute benefits further down the value chain,” he told the audience, which included leading executives from a host of industries including oil and gas, chemicals and pharmaceutical.
Indeed, movement down the value chain, through potential projects in conjunction with IChemE members, can assist the Aramco business to further its downstream activity, in products such as aromatics and polymers.
AOC was also sponsor of one of the ceremony’s key accolades, the Water Management and Supply Award, an area which holds particular resonance with Saudi Aramco, as it looks to improve efficiencies in processes that require heavy water usage. The winners of the award were South Africa’s Trailblazer Technologies for their solutions related to acid rock drainage (ARD), an issue that affects the fossil fuel industry.
The ceremony, this year held near Manchester (UK), is the institute’s global edition and entries from all over the world were in contention. Dr. David Brown, IChemE’s chief executive congratulated all of those shortlisted for this year’s awards, especially the winners. “To have winners from five different continents shows the truly global nature of the IChemE Awards as they continue to grow from strength to strength.”
This year’s proceedings featured a record number of entries from countries including Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK and the United States.
“The IChemE Awards represent the hard work, inventiveness and achievements of thousands of chemical engineers across the world, and we are proud to host them on behalf of the profession,” Dr. Brown added.
The president and CEO of one of the world’s premier modern art and cultural centers, France’s Pompidou, has visited Saudi Aramco’s 2013 iThra Knowledge Program.
Alain Seban was joined by the Pompidou’s general manager Agnes Saal, the new Pompidou head of public relations, Benoit Parayre and French journalist Claire Bommelaer from Le Figaro newspaper.
The iconic Centre Pompidou is one of Europe’s most significant public spaces; its museum, cultural hub, public library and performance components attract more than six million people each year.
The Centre Pompidou “Pure Colors” educational exhibit was on view at the iThra Knowledge Program; an initiative of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture.
This marks the first time Pompidou has exhibited in the Kingdom and the first time original works of art by Picasso and other major 20th century and contemporary artists from the Pompidou collection have been on view in the KSA.
“Pure Colors” is an exhibit of 20 modern art pieces – including stunning works by Pablo Picasso, Yves Klein and Alexander Calder – were hand-selected by the France’s famed cultural center primarily from its own collection of 20th and 21st century works.
Saudi Aramco’s firm belief in the importance of developing a volunteer work culture was personified recently by the presence of more than 500 young volunteers at the company’s 2013 iThra Knowledge Program.
With more than 250,000 visitors so far, organizers from the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture credit the 279 males and 232 females with a big part in the popular community event’s success.
Volunteer experiences ran the gamut from serving as teachers at the Centre Pompidou art tent – requiring them to speak about the 20 contemporary art pieces on display – to assisting visitors with special needs, or ensuring the safety of children riding on stationary bicycles in the Energy Efficiency pavilion. Other volunteers served in ticketing, guiding children in the art tent and acting as theater ushers.
“The skills many of our volunteers had to learn was amazing,” said Omar Bader, who is heading the Cultural Center’s Knowledge Program. “They had to talk knowledgably about art, find solutions to problems, take responsibility and remain courteous and professional, night after night. We are very proud of them all.”
“The Knowledge Program could not have reached its current level of success without the dedication of our volunteers,” said Khalid Al-Hazmi, volunteer team supervisor, who noted many people devoted their evenings to the six-week-long program following full days at their regular jobs.
“I started volunteer work with the company many years ago. This was a major element in building my character, and my confidence in my own skills is on the rise,” said volunteer Sumayyah Al-Shammari.
The net result of all this energy and commitment? More than 100,000 volunteer hours, with these efforts representing more than 50 percent of the operational capacity needed to bring the iThra Knowledge Program to reality.
All volunteers went through a Volunteer Training Program, with short courses, interactive presentations and individual and group simulation exercises designed to encourage a talent for innovative approaches to dealing with challenges.
“Working as a volunteer made me realize the importance of good time planning. Now I can say with confidence that my time is not wasted,” said Abdullah Al-Shehri, volunteer.
“This is part of Saudi Aramco’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy to create more social and economic opportunities for, and to effectively contribute to the development of, youth by building their character on the solid bases of knowledge, discipline, organization and cooperation,” said Essam Z. Tawfiq, general manager of Saudi Aramco Public Affairs.