Al-Ula Commission prepares Saudi youth for international scholarship

Al-Ula, an area rich in archaeological remnants, is seen as a jewel in the crown of future Saudi attractions. (AFP)
Updated 06 June 2018
0

Al-Ula Commission prepares Saudi youth for international scholarship

  • The governor of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, expressed the importance of supporting and developing the potential of young men and women of Al-Ula
  • The Royal Commission for Al-Ula is keen to give our youth population a chance to contribute to the Kingdom’s development as well as the region’s progress as ambassadors of a future Saudi Arabia: scholarship director

JEDDAH: The Royal Commission for Al-Ula has successfully concluded an intensive 10-week language and skills development course for 168 students from Al-Ula who have qualified for the commission’s international scholarship program announced earlier this year.

The governor of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, expressed the importance of supporting and developing the potential of young men and women of Al-Ula. 

Congratulating them on the completion of the intensive preparatory program, the governor emphasized that this program is the first milestone in the journey of qualifying the youth’s ambitious competencies to meet the development requirements for Al-Ula.

To celebrate the completion of the preparatory program, the Royal Commission organized on June 2 an iftar party, during which the director of the scholarship program for the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, Mohammed Al-Khamis; general supervisor of the program Abdullah Al-Khelaiwi; and head of partnerships and innovation Abeer Al-Akel addressed the students and handed out the program certificates.

The preparatory program sessions were designed to equip the selected students with the basic skills they require to study in a foreign country and enable them to adapt to their new life overseas. As part of the training, expert teachers and educational counselors constantly assess the participants’ linguistic, academic and behavioral competencies to enhance capabilities. During the course period, the students also took part in project work, field visits and cultural activities.

“The future of Saudi Arabia is in the hands of its youth. The Royal Commission for Al-Ula is keen to give our youth population a chance to contribute to the Kingdom’s development as well as the region’s progress as ambassadors of a future Saudi Arabia. The preparatory training course was organized as part of the Royal Commission’s continued efforts to introduce our youth to the best global practices, and build a generation that is open to the world’s cultures and capable of achieving sustainable development, as well as to empower the youth of Al-Ula to contribute to the aspirations of the leadership,” said Al-Khamis.

The program featured best practices modules to develop the participants’ English and French language proficiencies. Other modules in the course included soft skills training to improve the candidates’ confidence and critical thinking capabilities and raise their awareness levels about the latest trends and developments within their chosen fields of study. As part of the pre-departure program, students were also taken on field visits to Masmak Fort, Kingdom Tower, the National Museum, Al-Diriyah and Landmark Park.

 As a participant in the preparatory program, Atheer Al-Balawi, who will be moving to Liverpool, England, to major in tourism and hospitality, thanked the Royal Commission for Al-Ula for organizing a comprehensive preparatory program with a variety of courses and activities. “The preparatory program has altered my perceptions and taught me to be independent,” Al-Balawi said. 

Al-Balawi is looking to pursue a doctorate and eventually set up a small tourism company in Al-Ula to contribute to making the province one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world.

Another participant, Madi Mousa Al-Shammari, who will study for a master’s degree in tourism and hospitality in France, said: “The training program organized by the Royal Commission for Al-Ula has been a great learning experience during which we gained a sociocultural understanding of the countries where we will be studying. It is indeed an honor for me to receive this opportunity to participate in the thriving economy of Al-Ula.”

During the training period, the participants were familiarized with the best academic institutions in the US, the UK and France as well as their offerings and relevant visa requirements. 

In the next round of the scholarship program, which will begin in the autumn, the Royal Commission for Al-Ula is aiming to accept up to 300 students.

Students who could not gain entry in the first phase of the program can reapply for the scholarship in this phase.


Saudi Arabia’s Misk partners with UN on youth empowerment

Updated 48 min 34 sec ago
0

Saudi Arabia’s Misk partners with UN on youth empowerment

  • The Saudi-UN partnership aims to reach and mobilize about 50 million young people around the world in support of the sustainable development goals
  • Saudi Arabia has a big youth demographic, with 60 per cent of the country’s population under the age of 25

NEW YORK: Misk Foundation, the not-for-profit philanthropic organization set up by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, has joined forces with the United Nations in a ground-breaking campaign to advance the cause of young people around the world.
The agreement was signed at a ceremony at the UN’s New York headquarters a day after UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres launched his own initiative to enlist young people in its strategy for global sustainable development.
The Saudi-UN partnership aims to reach and mobilize about 50 million young people around the world in support of the sustainable development goals (SDG), via a series of meetings and forums as part of the UN’s Strategy for Youth.
The UN’s SDG program is a set of targets for future development, ranging from the elimination of hunger and poverty, through education and gender equality, to action on climate change and energy. It coincides with Saudi Arabia’s own Vision 2030 strategy in many respects.
Misk is the first non-governmental organization to join the campaign. “Misk’s mission is to discover, develop and empower young people to become active participants in the knowledge economy both in Saudi Arabia and globally, through partnerships such as this,” said a joint statement from the Saudi organization and the UN.
“Under the initiatives, young people’s leadership, creativity and innovation skills will be harnessed to bolster their ability to be agents for positive change during the run-up to the fifth anniversary of the SDGs in 2020.
“Adding to the existing Young Leaders for the SDGs initiative, a ‘Youth Gateway’ central knowledge hub on SDGs is planned, including a platform to map existing initiatives and provide opportunities for engagement, aimed at motivating more young people to take action. Tools will be developed to measure and track global indicators on youth development and well-being,” the statement added.
Bader Alsaker, chairman of the board of the Misk Initiatives Centre, said: "The Misk Foundation is committed to helping as many young people around the world realize their potential in the future economy and to encourage active global citizenship. The strategic agreement that we are signing today shows our commitment to this mission.
“Partnering with the United Nations will greatly enhance its vital work around the world to help young people from all backgrounds to realize their potential and meet the SDGs,” he added.
Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN secretary-general’s envoy on youth, added: “This major contribution towards the UN Secretariat’s work on youth will be used to operationalize the new UN Strategy on Youth with a focus on advancing our collective efforts to support youth mobilization for the 2030 Agenda worldwide.
“It comes at crucial time, immediately after the public launch of the UN’s Youth Strategy, which shows the commitment and dedication of the Misk Foundation to supporting youth development globally,” she added.
Saudi Arabia has a big youth demographic, with 60 per cent of the country’s population under the age of 25. Many of the policies of the Vision 2030 strategy to reduce oil dependency focus on the need for more and better employment for young people.
According to a recent global poll for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, young people have a far more optimistic view of their own future, as well as that of their country, than older people. “Young people in these countries are more likely to believe they can affect the way their countries are governed and that their generation will have a more positive impact on the world than their parents' generation,” Gates found.
Sultan Al-Musallam, global ambassador of the Misk Foundation, told the UN: “The core belief held by youth, that our problems can only be solved together, in a way that is blind to race, religion or region, is also the bedrock of the UN.”