Raha Moharrak scales the Nepalese side of the tallest peak on Earth.
The New York Times reports, “First Saudi Woman Scales Mount Everest“; By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Published: May 18, 2013:
KATMANDU, Nepal — A Saudi Arabian woman was among 64 people who successfully scaled Mount Everest on Saturday from Nepal’s side of the mountain, according to mountaineering officials.
An official with Nepal’s Mountaineering Department, Tilak Padney, said that 35 foreigners accompanied by 29 Nepalese Sherpa guides reached the 29,035-foot peak on Saturday morning after climbing all night from the highest camp on South Col, the pass between Everest and a neighboring mountain.
AramcoExPats.com founder and president Vicci Turner addresses the 2013 Saudi Aramco retirees in this informative video presentation. Following a brief address to the current retirees, Vicci goes on to share with you an entertaining overview of what makes AramcoExPats.com the perfect extension of the Aramco community. We hope you enjoy the show.
Samia Khan completed her Ph.D. Samia is the daughter of Mrs. Imtiaz Jehan and Qamar Khan (Badge #73036 and Saudi Aramco Ex-Employee Association Member), who retired in March 2012 after serving 37 wonderful years with Saudi Aramco.
Samia completed Junior High at Abqaiq Academy and at the age of 15, she left her home and moved across the world to the Madeira School, Virginia, USA with a dream of a higher education. In 2003, she moved to the Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU), Ohio, USA where she received her B.S in Biochemistry and Biology.
With encouragement from her parents and mentors at OWU, Samia decided to pursue a PhD that lead to her ultimate move to Miami in 2007. She entered into the umbrella Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (IBS) program at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine and later joined the Cancer Biology Program.
After doing several research rotations, Samia wanted to study immunology and joined the laboratory of Dr. Eckhard Podack where she worked on the generation of TL1A-Ig, a drug that has therapeutic implications in asthma, cancer, organ transplantation and several other human diseases.
During her PhD program, Samia got married to Imran Khan in September, 2011. She successfully defended her dissertation on January 25, 2013. Imran accompanied her on this special day. Samia would like to thank her family members who were a constant source of encouragement and support throughout her graduate school career.
Currently, Samia resides in Chicago, IL with her husband and works for the Rush University Medical Center as a Postdoctoral Scientist. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim, Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
In mid-April, an unusual exhibition was held in London, showcasing pictures of Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust. During the exhibition people saw love and harmony between people from different faiths, mainly Muslims and Jews. One month later, on May 15 the Palestinians marked the 65th anniversary of the Yaum Al-Nakba or the Day of Catastrophe. It was the beginning of a never-ending conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The conflict subsequently brought many Arab (Muslims) to the struggle and human lives were lost and unknown amount of assets were wasted. But on May 15 we didn’t find love and harmony, we saw clashes in the never-ending conflict.
These days, we see more efforts especially from the United States to bring the Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiating table. US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent visits to the Middle East remind us of the shuttle diplomacy of the former American Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. But the conflict in the Middle East is getting more complex. The number of Palestinians in the refugee camps who were promised 65 years ago that one day they would go back to their homes has increased many times in the past 65 years.
They are still living in refugee camps while the Holocaust survivors and their children have become Nobel Prize winners and are most recognized people in the fields of science, medicine and modern-day inventions. And if the conflict in Syria continues, then the Arab world will end up seeing the number of Syrian refugees surpass the number of the Palestinian refugees and many of the Syrians recently have even ended up in Palestinian refugee camps. This is very ironic because it was the Syrians who kept promising the Palestinian refugees a quick return to their homes since 1948? So why did we see 65 years pass by and the parties involved couldn’t find a solid ground to negotiate and solve the conflict once and for all?
Strangely enough, in the past and present, we saw Muslims and Jews putting their hands together and solving many common issues without the media coverage or the involvement of politicians. So let us talk about how easy it is to get Muslims and Jews together.
During the 1990s, when the tough negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis were taking place under the supervision of US President Bill Clinton, Palestinians and Israelis couldn’t find common ground for negotiations. They disagreed more than they agreed. But around that time there were many friendly meetings between Muslim and Jewish religious figures in the United States who were putting their hands together to persuade a steel mill not to lubricate its machines with any fat that came from pigs. The Muslim and Jewish delegations were able to succeed in their joint efforts.
Later on, at a time when we saw more conflicts between Hamas in Gaza and the Israelis, we saw Muslim and Jewish religious scholars uniting in Germany few months ago when the German government was debating about banning male circumcision, which is only practiced by Muslims and Jews. So the world saw many Muslim scholars and Jewish religious figures holding meetings and standing together to persuade the German government not to ban circumcision.
To be honest, I read this piece of news with a smile on my face because we saw Muslims and Jews putting their hands together and uniting in Germany not to talk about a lasting peace in the Middle East, but to discuss the fate of a decision which involves what to do with the extra skin on a newborn baby boy’s private part! All it took to get the Muslims and Jews to be together was when they saw what they have in common instead of discussing the differences.
One of the most historically significant events that brought the Muslims and the Jews together was during the Holocaust, which was considered the most difficult times for Jews. People know about the German businessman in Poland who saved many Jews whose story was turned into a movie in the 1990s and directed by Steven Spielberg. But do people know that Muslims saved more Jews during the Holocaust than some allied countries that participated in WWII.
Some historians, including many Jewish scholars say that Muslims have protected and saved more Jews than the United States and the United Kingdom. An Israeli Rabbi Meir Lau has spoken very extensively about the tens of thousands who were saved by Turkish Muslims and some others from Albania and Bosnia. It was circulated that as many as 190 prominent Jews were saved by Muslims from Turkey. Those Muslims risked their lives in the process and some of these Muslims were diplomats in Europe.
And for the information of the readers, there were others who saved many Jews during the Holocaust such as the Japanese, Swedish diplomats and most notably Germany’s Oskar Schindler whose list was named Schindler’s list. So the Muslims had a list of Jews whom they saved during the Holocaust and the list as I have mentioned above was in the tens of thousands. The efforts of the Muslims to save the Jews were brought to light in last month’s exhibition in London. The event highlighted the role Muslims played in saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust. The Righteous Muslim Exhibition was launched at the Board of Deputies of British Jews in Bloomsbury, London.
During the Holocaust, it wasn’t Jewish lives that were saved by Muslims. The Sarajevo Haggadah, a 600-year-old manuscript, which was hidden from the Nazis, was given to a Muslim cleric to hide it. Interestingly, he kept it under the floor of a mosque until the war ended. All these events tell us that our creator had created us to help each other not hurt each other. And now, we saw 65 years of attacks and counterattacks and no peace is achieved. The Middle East is going through the most difficult times in its history and the longer we wait in bringing different parties together the more difficult it will be to solve anything. The Palestinians and the Israelis must take every initiative for the sake of the future generations. History taught us that conflicts no matter how complicated they are can always be solved at the negotiation table not in the battlefield.
Unique is a somewhat overused word, but it loses none of its import when attached to the achievement that is Manifa.
The sheer scale of the project is mind boggling. A few numbers set the scene: More than 80 million construction man-hours without a lost-time injury, peak manpower of more than 21,000, 100,000 tons of structural steel, 9,000 km of pipes and cables — the list goes on.
It is the single largest offshore increment in the oil industry and will provide feedstock to two new joint venture refineries in Jubail and Yanbu’.
The story of Manifa begins in 2006 when the task of determining the most effective way to produce from a shallow, offshore oil field had to be undertaken.
The causeway option took prominence as an alternative to 30 offshore platforms that would have required extensive dredging of the area and would have heavily impacted a fragile ecosystem.
In 2008, the first pile of the longest bridge was driven into the seabed and temporary facilities were constructed. In all, 13 bridges were built in a way so as not to impede vital water circulation.
Manifa Department manager Mohammed Abdulkarim isn’t a man at home behind a desk. He’s a man of the field, content when among towering gas oil separation plants (GOSPs) and engineers.
Abdulkarim is passionate about this project that is close to his heart. He has watched Manifa evolve from the draftsman’s drawing board to what some people term an engineering miracle in the oil and gas industry.
While the causeway inevitably steals the limelight, Abdulkarim is keen to point out that the Manifa Project is also a feat of logistics, planning and scheduling. It all came together over seven years and could not have been achieved without quality people, he emphasizes.
The complicated jigsaw was painstakingly joined together piece by piece.
“We looked at alternatives for the causeway design,” Abdulkarim said. “We had to have an onshore field offshore. The conventional way is to dig channels, long channels to connect to deeper sea — something that, in this case, would have proved very expensive and would have had an adverse impact on the environment.”
The natural environment at Manifa Bay is delicately balanced and marked by a rich area of coral reefs resting under its shallow waters, and playing host to a thriving marine habitat.
An extensive scientific study was performed, marking the locations of the coral and sensitive natural areas.
“The study came up with 13 bridges to ensure the proper circulation of the seawater to preserve the natural environment. The longest of the bridges is 2.4 kilometers. That was a part of the challenge we as Saudi Aramco overcame,” he said.
From the project’s outset, emphasis was placed on research designed to avoid potential pitfalls in construction.
“It was like an exercise in reverse engineering. We talked to people involved in projects elsewhere who knew the pitfalls,” Abdulkarim said. “We were dealing with a lot of complex islands in segments and with confined spaces, with the added threat of H2S gas hotspots, which required specialized study and a lot of risk management. Manifa has monitoring devices for this gas, including on vessels in the sea off the causeway.”
Saudi Aramco’s safety contingencies for the gas are detailed and impressive. A control room monitors wind speed, and a digital map has potential hydrogen sulfide (H2S) zones marked with red circles.
Only essential personnel are allowed to work in these areas at any time. Detailed evacuation plans are in place and have been well rehearsed.
The safety of workers is paramount, in line with one of Saudi Aramco’s core values.
All of the contractors were required to meet stringent safety standards, and about 40,000 workers have been trained in H2S awareness.
In 2008, an unforeseen external menace threatened the completion of the Manifa vision. What became known as the Global Financial Crisis played havoc with the fundamentals of the project.
Tenacity — typical of Saudi Aramco — kept the project on track when many outside commentators might have written it off.
Al-Falih told the 2011 World Petroleum Congress in Doha that Saudi Aramco took the long view with Manifa and that an intelligent and economic review of the program with contractors kept the project alive in a torrid global economic climate.
“It was difficult,” he said, “but we stayed with Manifa despite the economic winds blowing around us, and the project is on schedule for a 2013 start-up.”
In the end, Manifa reached the operational phase in record time, and against the odds, it was an achievement for Saudi Aramco and everyone involved.