King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue, Harvard University sign deal to measure coexistence, tolerance

Faisal bin Abdul Rahman bin Muammar
Updated 29 October 2017

King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue, Harvard University sign deal to measure coexistence, tolerance

RIYADH: The King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and joint cooperation with Harvard University in the field of scientific research and the development of surveys to obtain accurate indicators of levels of coexistence and tolerance.
The signing ceremony was held on Thursday at the headquarters of the KACND and was attended by the KACND Secretary-General Faisal bin Abdul Rahman bin Muammar; the deputy secretary-general, Fahd bin Sultan Al-Sultan; Asim Khawaja, professor of international finance and development at Harvard’s Kennedy School; and Jamal Haidar, a research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
This cooperation comes within the framework of the KACND’s interest in developing indicators for the reality of community coexistence and promoting the values of tolerance between different sectors of Saudi society.
It also comes to complement KACND efforts in the field of indicators, and levels of coexistence and tolerance in Saudi society by using direct measuring tools, which is one of the main areas targeted by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Under this collaboration, Harvard University’s evidence for policy design team will explore new designs for indirect methods and tools to measure tolerance within Saudi society, in collaboration with the KACND research team.
A feasibility study will be carried out to implement interventions that can help promote tolerance, and a global-evidence base relevant to the non-cognitive value-building program in the Kingdom will be also reviewed in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of current levels of tolerance in society.

Middle East's love affair with the moon and space

Updated 16 min 45 sec ago

Middle East's love affair with the moon and space

  • The UAE and Saudi Arabia are inaugurating a new era of Arab space exploration
  • Saudi Prince Sultan entered the history books when he journeyed into space on Discovery in 1985

RIYADH: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before schools were due to start after summer vacation. 

Fifty years ago today, Saudis joined the world in gathering around TV sets to watch a live broadcast of what was once thought impossible: American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took man’s first steps on the moon. 

Armstrong famously said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” True to his words, advancement in space has skyrocketed since the Apollo 11 mission, opening up doors for space scientists to reach for the stars.

It was only 16 years later that Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman became the first Arab, Muslim — and royal — astronaut to travel into space. Before traveling to Houston for the Apollo mission anniversary, he sat down with Arab News in an exclusive interview to talk about his NASA mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in June 1985.

Prince Sultan, recently appointed chairman of the Saudi Space Commission, was only 13 when he watched the historic moon landing on TV. The picture quality might have been poor and the sound garbled, but footage of the landing captured his imagination.

“Humans made airplanes and made advances in industry, but for humans to leave their own planet, that’s really something else,” Prince Sultan told Arab News. 

Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old. “It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

It has been more than 30 years since space last had an Arab visitor (Syria’s Muhammed Faris became the second Arab in space on board USSR’s Soyuz spacecraft in 1987). But this September, the first Emirati will become the latest Arab visitor when he joins a team of astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS).

Hazza Al-Mansoori will travel to space on board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft that is due to take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 25.