Saudi university’s tourism faculty opens its doors to female students

The Kingdom has stressed efforts to promote the country’s tourism sector and increase women’s participation in the workforce as part of Vision 2030.
Updated 09 February 2018
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Saudi university’s tourism faculty opens its doors to female students

JEDDAH: King Abdulaziz University’s faculty of tourism is expected to set up a women’s campus by next year.
Ibrahim Alsini, head of the university’s hospitality department, told Arab News: “Female student intake will begin in the coming academic year. We have received great interest from current students who want to change their major to tourism. This wasn’t possible, at least not until we officially begin the female programs.”
“The industry is hungry for professionals,” he said, welcoming the idea of women entering the tourism campus.
The Kingdom has stressed efforts to promote the country’s tourism sector and increase women’s participation in the workforce as part of Vision 2030.
Details of the departments available to female students are being studied. The male campus includes hospitality management, travel and tourism management, event management, heritage resources management, tour guiding and culinary art.
“Our current programs are taught in English, along with two French language courses,” said Alsini. “Almost 70 percent of our courses are practical. We’re academically partnered with Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne from Switzerland, the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Protocol School of Washington.”
Saudi Arabia is changing its visitor visa regulations to encourage tourism in the Kingdom. Advances in the entertainment sector and a change in the law to allow women into sport stadiums are also expected to boost tourist numbers.
Saudi women have shown their worth in the tourism sector by working as organizers in General Entertainment Authority’s festivities, and in hotel hospitality and management.


Dr. Nasser Alaslai: From a shepherd to a world-class professor

Dr. Nasser Alaslai is responsible for many breakthroughs in his field and has a registered patent under his belt. (Photo/Supplied/Shutterstock)
Updated 19 min 53 sec ago
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Dr. Nasser Alaslai: From a shepherd to a world-class professor

  • Dr. Alaslai has written 10 research papers that were published and is working on two more, mainly about natural gas processing using cost-saving membrane technology
  • The professor has been ranked in the top 5 percent in his field in the world

RIYADH: One of the leading professors of natural gas in the world, who began his life as a shepherd, offers the following advice: 
“If you have a target then nobody will achieve this target except you, no one will work hard on your behalf — just plan it well and go for it. Listen to encouraging people only. ”

Dr. Nasser Alaslai’s journey was not an easy one. The main challenge was going back to study for advanced degrees after being away from school for almost 10 years. Adapting to an educational environment and balancing the time between family and lab work was the real challenge. Nothing went as he wanted without sacrifice and compromise, he said.

“Honestly speaking, at the beginning my dream was limited to just trying to finish my master’s degree then going back to Aramco, but living in KAUST (King Abdullah University for Science and Technology) even for a few days and seeing all these high-tech facilities is enough to instill in you the passion to change your dream and aim higher,” Dr. Alaslai said.

“I will say my bad financial situation was the main driver to join Saudi Aramco so as to help my family, especially my father, at that time,” he said. “Then the chance came after almost 10 years to pursue a master’s degree at KAUST. I managed to continue my Ph.D. studies at KAUST because I tried my best to have distinguished results in my master’s program since this is a golden key to grab a professor’s attention. 

“I have followed the right channel approaching both KAUST and Saudi Aramco.” He said having the Saudi administration’s support at KAUST was also a key factor that facilitated getting Aramco approval and supported his case “from A to Z” because they were convinced about his potential.

Dr. Alaslai has written 10 research papers that were published and is working on two more, mainly about natural gas processing using cost-saving membrane technology. 

He has participated in eight conferences. Six as a speaker and in two showing part of his work in poster format.

“It was really a very tough job speaking as a student in front of all these experts in the field. What made it difficult for me was that the first conference was in San Francisco, USA, and I was the only student who was accepted in the gas separation session, but it went more smoothly than expected.

“With time, and after the second participation at a conference, I started to like the situation and began applying for every related conference. Speaking at a conference is the best way to share your results with experts, and conferences are the best venues for networking and gaining new knowledge.” 

Dr. Alaslai is responsible for many breakthroughs in his field and has a registered patent under his belt and another patent in its registration phase. 

“The main thing about my patent is its simplicity. So it is mainly about the best ratio in mixing two polymers to have a final-blend polymer that can do sufficient separation. Choosing the two polymers is also another key.”

“The patent is completely registered in the US patent office and will be granted soon. I am still working on another PCT patent with my Ph.D. adviser. Research is really a never-ending journey,” he said.

The professor has been ranked in the top 5 percent in his field in the world. 

He his very thankful to his Ph.D. adviser Prof. Ingo Pinnau for classifying him in the top 5 percent of students.

“This is Professor Pinnau’s judgment according to his standards,” he said. “He has very high standards and he rated me according to my accomplishments, including 10 papers, one patent and eight conferences in almost four years, which breaks all international records for Ph.D. students in four years,” he added.