Gates Foundation and MiSK launch new initiative to reward positive ideas

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Bill Gates speaking at the Misk 2017 Forum in Riyadh on Tuesday.
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Updated 15 November 2017
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Gates Foundation and MiSK launch new initiative to reward positive ideas

RIYADH: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Philanthropic Foundation (MiSK) announced a new initiative on Tuesday that will reward ideas that “positively transform” the world.
MiSK Grand Challenges is backed by grants totaling $10 million from the two foundations, and invites innovators from around the world to tackle some of the biggest problems facing humanity today.
Over the next three years, a series of MiSK Grand Challenges will be announced addressing education and global citizenship.
In a press statement, MiSK Secretary-General Bader Al-Asaker said: “Tackling global issues demands global partnerships. This collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an important and essential initiative for the Misk Foundation. MiSK Grand Challenges will directly empower young people by providing them with the research grants necessary to give them the chance to innovate new solutions. A positive future can be shaped by the next generation and MiSK Grand Challenges will act as a vital catalyst in this process.”
Microsoft founder Bill Gates said: “Through the work of our foundation, I have seen the incredible power of innovation to transform the lives of the world’s poorest and most marginalized people. MiSK Grand Challenges will incentivize more of the brightest minds around the world to find the best ideas to solve some of the toughest development challenges.”
The first two Grand Challenges were also announced at the forum. The first education challenge calls for proposals to transform teaching and school leadership, while the global citizenship challenge focuses on engaging young people to address one or more of the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
A competitive selection process will be open to applicants from around the world and will result in 100 entrants receiving US$100,000 in seed funding to prove their concepts. The most impactful projects will have the opportunity to apply for further funding to implement the ideas across priority locations.


Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

Riyadh hosts the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum in April with its focus on investment opportunities in the urban heritage. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

  • Forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage
  • Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage hosts the forum each year in a different part of the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi capital will host the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum (NUHF) next April to coincide with World Heritage Day, with its focus on investment opportunities in urban heritage.

“The four-day National Built Heritage Forum will be launched in Riyadh on April 15,” said Majed Alshadeed, a spokesman for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), on Thursday, adding that the forum will culminate on April 18, World Heritage Day. World Heritage Day is celebrated every year on April 18 with the aim of preserving the human heritage and recognizing the efforts of the relevant organizations in the field.

Organized by SCTH under the umbrella of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Program, the 6th forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage.

The forum will look at developing business models in the management and development of — and investment in — urban heritage sites, as well as the development of crafts and handicrafts.

The heritage forum is organized each year by the SCTH in a different province in collaboration with the relevant governorates, municipalities and local universities, following the recommendations of the first International Conference for Urban Heritage in the Islamic Countries, which was held in Riyadh in 2010.

The first session of the NUHF was organized in Makkah province, the second in the Eastern Province, the third in Madinah province, the fourth in Asir province and the fifth in Al-Qassim province.

Next year’s forum seeks to invest the expertise, knowledge and experience that the SCTH has gained and transfer it to the four economic sectors working in urban heritage. These sectors are construction, restoration and contracting, site operation, human resources development, and services and industries related to urban heritage.

The forum will include the distribution of prizes to the projects winning the Prince Sultan bin Salman Urban Heritage Awards, exhibitions, scientific sessions, workshops and business meetings with Saudi and international experts and consultants to discuss investment opportunities in urban heritage. There will also be a specialized expo for companies and institutions working in the sectors of the economics of architectural heritage, restoration and engineering consultancy.