Saudi students win 25 medals and awards at Korean invention fair

Updated 01 January 2018
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Saudi students win 25 medals and awards at Korean invention fair

SEOUL: Students from King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) won six medals and 19 special international prizes at the Seoul International Invention Fair 2017 (SIIF) in the South Korean capital.

SIIF was organized by the Korean Invention Promotion Association, and witnessed the display of 633 inventions from 30 countries around the world.

Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Yubi, the KAU president, congratulated the winning students, stressing that this unique national achievement was the fruit of continuous efforts by everyone, and evidence of scientific research and innovative development at KAU.

KAU students received 19 special awards from sponsor associations and organizations, including the Indonesian Innovation and Invention Promotion Association; Thailand’s award for the best international invention; an award from the University of Warsaw, Poland; an award from the Malaysian Association of Research Scientists; an award from the National University of Science and Technology MISiS from Russia; and an award from the Soul River Company, Hong Kong.

Two students, Athir M. Najim and Sarah O. Balkhi, from the faculty of industrial engineering, won a special prize from the Soul River Company, as well as two awards for their invention “The safe electric escalator.”

The invention of Rif M. Al-Mansour, “Drowsiness Sensor for Drivers,” also won two awards, while Tala T. Al-Rumi received four awards for her invention “Traffic Priority,” and Hanin O. Mimesh won two awards for her invention “The Smart Automatic Cooker.”

Khalid Al-Ghamdi, a student at the KAU faculty of engineering, won two awards for his invention “The Safe Knife Holder;” while Najat N. Al-Oteibi, from the KAU faculty of computing and information technology, won two awards for her invention “The Virtual Reality Game to Promote Child Intelligence;” and Wa’d Al-Qarni won two awards for her invention “The Stove Control.”

KAU students also won six medals from SIIF 2017: Silver medals for Najat N. Al-Oteibi and Wa’d Al-Qarni, and bronze medals for Ali Khalid Al-Ghamdi, Maher Al-Juhani, Hanin O. Mimesh, and Rif M. Al-Mansour.


Meet Cherine Magrabi, a talented businesswoman and inspiration to young designers

Updated 18 July 2018
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Meet Cherine Magrabi, a talented businesswoman and inspiration to young designers

  • Born and brought up in Saudi Arabia, Cherine Magrabi is also the curator and founder of House of Today in Beirut, a non-profit organization that helps to launch Lebanese designers onto the global scene
  • She says she is "happy to witness my country taking real steps toward long-overdue social reform"

JEDDAH: Cherine Magrabi began as a store manager and worked her way up to become creative and communications director at Magrabi Optical, a well-known family brand in the Middle East.

Born and brought up in Saudi Arabia, Magrabi is also the curator and founder of House of Today in Beirut, a non-profit organization that helps to launch Lebanese designers onto the global scene.

“I was born in Jeddah and moved at the age of 16 to Switzerland for schooling with four of my best friends. I keep having fine memories related to my life in Jeddah ... my father used to take me fishing in the Red Sea.”

She said: “Moving to Switzerland was a good preparation for life.” While there, she felt it was important to reflect a good image as a Saudi, while adjusting to her new environment and learning to do things by herself for the first time.

“It was also a good preparation for college, and I don’t think I would’ve done it any other way,” she added.

Magrabi went to study at Chelsea College of Art in London, where she met her future husband. After they married they moved to Beirut in 2002 and she started working for Magrabi Optical.

“We were just opening our first store in the Lebanese market and my brother asked me to help set it up and manage it.”

She worked as a store manager, which helped her to understand the family business and learn about their customers’ needs. “It gave me the opportunity to learn from the store level, understanding our weaknesses and opportunities directly from the market,” she said. “Today, as creative and communications director at Magrabi, I relate to what’s really happening on the ground.” 

She made a significant stamp on the firm when it came to rebranding the company, changing its logo, and reworking the display and merchandising. The rebranding stressed how the company’s products marry fashion and medical expertise. The company’s marketing campaign focuses on empowering women, a move which was led by her vision.

The eyewear business inspired her to found House of Today in 2012. She said: “I was always in the search for great designers in Beirut and faced difficulties in reaching out to them. I saw great potential in Lebanon, but there was no supporting system to introduce them to the world. It happened quite organically that I decided to showcase their work as an active member of the art scene.” 

She works closely with designers. House of Today identifies, nurtures, mentors, curates and showcases local Lebanese designers and to help them raise their profile. It also gives promising young designers — between the ages of 17 and 34 — a chance to study product design at a university in Lebanon or abroad under its scholarship program.

She said: “We are helping designers to develop their own business plan, connecting them to galleries and in creating sustainable images for themselves while supporting the next generation of designers through our scholarship program.” 

Every two years, HoT curates an exhibition showcasing the collaboration between experts and emerging designers. So far four exhibitions have been organized, including at Athr Gallery, the Jeddah art gallery, in 2015. Exhibitions aim to present a stellar collection highlighting the best work of young Lebanese designers. 

Commenting on the reform in Saudi Arabia, she said: “I’m happy to witness my country taking real steps toward long-overdue social reform. I think there would be a grace period with people waiting to see the true results of the ongoing changes.”