Faisal Foundation, IBO sign accord

Updated 05 April 2014

Faisal Foundation, IBO sign accord

The King Faisal Foundation (KFF) and the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) signed Friday a partnership project that will bring holistic IB educational programs to the Kingdom through the “Developing Learners, Leaders and Teachers for the future of Saudi Arabia” project.
Prince Bandar bin Saud bin Khalid, secretary-general of KFF, said: “Our partnership with the IBO has existed since 2008 and this new phase is a five-year plan that will lay strong foundations for future leaders, innovators, and professionals who will be able to use their knowledge to enhance the quality of education and benefit the Kingdom’s economy.
“Our aim is to develop up to 40 primary and secondary schools in the Kingdom to become centers of excellence as IB World Schools including the provision of IB diploma program subjects in Arabic.”
Prince Bandar said: “We aim for over 1,500 teachers to be trained through an innovative professional development program and hundreds of practicing teachers and school leaders will acquire IB teaching and leadership certificates each year.
“In line with the KFF mission, and with an investment of more than SR1.65 million from the foundation, this initiative aims to gradually transform education in Saudi Arabia and the Arabic-speaking world to be the best.”
The new partnership between the IBO and KFF aims to increase the impact of education in Saudi Arabia and the Arabic-speaking world. KFF is one of the largest philanthropic foundations worldwide with well-defined goals and focus on education, research and philanthropy.
Siva Kumari, director general of IBO said: “The IB is already recognized for its rigorous standards and holistic educational offer in Saudi Arabia and this partnership with the KFF is a significant commitment that will allow many more Arabic-speaking students access to the IB.”
Speaking to Arab News, Kumari said IB looks forward to truly internationalize its community as it is the organization's mission to create intercultural understanding. "Our organizations are aligned in the vision to create a better world through education and we are confident that the benefits will be felt in the Kingdom and beyond.”
KFF and IBO shared beliefs that the education for young people provides the foundation for greater understanding, awareness and knowledge throughout later life.
The project will focus on the educational development of young people and adults by increasing access to the IB’s primary years, middle years and diploma programs which are to be delivered in Arabic. This includes increasing the number of authorized IB World Schools in the Kingdom, in addition to translation of the program’s materials.
It will also seek to augment the professional development of educational professionals within the state system in Saudi Arabia. This will include establishing IB certificates in teaching and learning, and in leadership practice, at higher educational institutions locally.
For more than 45 years, IB programs have gained a reputation for their high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century, and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Currently there are over 1 million IB students attending over 4,600 programs in more than 147 countries.

Tanween festival: Seeking the unusual? You’ll find it at Ithra

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), which organized the Tanween festival, is a creative feat in itself. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 15 October 2018

Tanween festival: Seeking the unusual? You’ll find it at Ithra

  • Tanween encourages people to see something in a new way, try something they had not done before and explore their relationship to disruption

DHAHRAN: “Beyond Unconventional” is the subtitle of Ithra’s first Tanween creativity festival, and it is true to its word from what the Arab News team witnessed on its opening weekend at Saudi Aramco’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, aka Ithra, in Dhahran.

Running from Oct. 11 to 27 with talks, workshops, performances and installations, the three weeks are divided into themes: this week is “Humanities’ Response to Disruption,” in art, science and technology; the second week is “Manufacturing and Communication,” including disruptive technologies such as AI and big data; the third and final week is “Fashion Technology/Adventures in Disruption.” Curating this year’s festival is Robert Frith, the creative director of Ithra’s Idea Lab, who has worked as head of exhibitions at Christie’s and as a senior exhibition designer at the British Museum.

As it says in the program: “Tanween encourages people to see something in a new way, try something they had not done before and explore their relationship to disruption.” Many of the installations and speakers addressed the theme of disruption, including Adam Savage, who visited Saudi Arabia for the first time.


Heart Catherization

Abdullah Al-Othman

One doesn’t need to visit Ithra to experience Tanween. Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Othman wrapped a building in Al-Khobar entirely in tinfoil “in a symbolic gesture to its frozen state, making a statement about the absurdity of thinking that the cycle of change could ever be stopped.” We found it driving through the narrow streets near the Corniche, glinting in the sunlight, mosque-goers passing it by with barely a raised eyebrow.

Silent Fall

Studio Swine 

Founded by Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves, it presents an “interactive intallation and multi sensory experience” consisting of “delicate mist-filled blossoms that disappear on contact with skin and surfaces.” It’s like a waterfall of durable white bubbles continuously falling from above making random patterns as they slowly drift down. Likely to be one of the festival’s Instagram hits.

The Drifter

Dutch Studio Drift

A block of what looks like concrete floats slowly along “a controlled 3D path.” “The Drifter creates a performance in its space, calling on the viewer to reconsider the relationship with our living environment, which is often accepted as static and lifeless,” the creators Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta said. There was nothing static or lifeless as visitors here laughed in delight as they pretended to lift it.


• AN photos by Ziyad Alarfaj