J-PAL boosts refugee education

Hassan Jameel, third from right, president of Community Jameel Saudi Arabia, says the new scheme expands learning opportunities for refugees.
Updated 20 May 2018
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J-PAL boosts refugee education

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is launching a new scheme to help refugees access higher education in development economics. 

The goal of this new collaboration is to empower refugees through training that will enable them to leverage their local knowledge, build their technical skills, and become experts in the fields of development economics and public policy. 

Starting in the summer of 2018, J-PAL is teaming up with MIT’s Refugee Action (ReACT) initiative to provide access for selected refugees to the online MicroMasters program in Data, Economics and Development Policy (DEDP) offered by J-PAL and MIT’s Department of Economics. ReACT, which aims to connect refugees with higher education, will sponsor selected learners and provide access to five online MicroMasters DEDP courses on development economics; in-person workshops on business skills, and paid internships to put their skills into practice. 

Hassan Jameel, president of Community Jameel Saudi Arabia, said: “Education and learning are fundamental to a strong society, and providing access to MIT’s MicroMasters is a foundation upon which to rebuild the disrupted education and careers of refugees worldwide. 

“Building on computer science and entrepreneurship support for refugees in Jordan, this collaborative effort between J-PAL, MIT and ReACT creates another bespoke learning opportunity for refugees, opening doors and knocking down barriers to higher education for learners.” 

A MicroMasters is a professional and academic credential, accredited by MITx, MIT’s online learning platform, and offers individuals a route to applying for a full master’s degree program at MIT or other universities. 

The new initiative uses a carefully crafted model of blended learning — with financial support for online courses and in-person workshops, as well as strong emphasis on community building — to specifically target and overcome the educational challenges facing refugees. This track within ReACT aims to provide refugees with the tools they need to engage as technical experts with the problems facing their communities.


New Balance opens store in Riyadh

Updated 13 October 2018
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New Balance opens store in Riyadh

American multinational corporation New Balance Inc. (NB), a global leader in athletic footwear, apparel and accessories, opened its new store in the Saudi capital on Thursday. The store, located in the high-end Riyadh Gallery Mall on King Fahd Road, showcases women’s and men’s shoes, apparel and sportswear, sports equipment, and kids and lifestyle selections.

Top Brazilian footballer Carlos Eduardo de Oliveira Alves, who plays for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal Club, cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the New Balance store. The inaugural ceremony was attended by a large number of industry leaders and top-notch executives of Apparel Group, which owns and operates the New Balance stores in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on this occasion, Alves said: “I am happy to open the store of New Balance, with which I have been associated.” 

The footballer, who recently signed a two-year contract with New Balance endorsing the brand, called on the shoppers “to visit the store where they will be led into an interactive and immersive experience of the brand, welcomed by dynamic visuals.”

Referring to the range of the New Balance Athletics Inc., a statement released on this occasion, said: “The New Balance’s Riyadh store is roomy and bright, and presents the brand’s footwear and apparel in a raw-concrete environment.” 

New Balance, the Boston-based maker of trainers and running shoes, is planning to aggressively expand its presence in the Gulf region, increasing its store count to 50 by 2020. 

“The launch of this store is the pinnacle of our progress in the Kingdom and the Middle East, but it is also just the start,” said the statement, adding that the Boston-based company is excited to announce the release of the 247v2. As a contemporary evolution, the updated silhouette makes a nod to NB heritage, while further representing the intersection between where lifestyle and sport meet, it said. 

Alves, who inaugurated the New Balance store, plays for the Al-Hilal Club as a midfielder. He joined Al-Hilal in 2015, scored several goals for the club and won many honors. 

New Balance Athletics Inc., popularly known as New Balance, is among one of the world’s major sports footwear makers. 

This $3.8 billion company, which has more than 5,000 employees globally on its payroll, manufactures shoes with high-technical specifications such as, blended gel inserts and heel counters.