Umm Al-Qura chooses Oracle Autonomous Database

Umm Al-Qura University is based in the holy city of Makkah.
Updated 12 February 2019
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Umm Al-Qura chooses Oracle Autonomous Database

Umm Al-Qura University will implement Oracle’s Autonomous Database to create an integrated digital platform that will help the university deliver seamless and paperless educational services to more than 100,000 students across its 36 colleges on five campuses. 

The new implementation will also enable the university to introduce programs in digital skills across emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence for students to help prepare the country’s next generation workforce.

“As part of the Vision 2030 initiative, Saudi Arabia is focused on developing at least five universities in the country to be featured among the world’s top educational institutions, Umm Al-Qura University being one of them,” said Dr. Atif Al-Hijali, vice dean of e-services.

“At Umm Al-Qura University, we are fully aligned with the national aspirations and have thus been investing in creating a modern IT infrastructure that will help us deliver a truly digital experience across all our colleges. The Oracle Autonomous Database is helping us create this platform, as the solution enables us to scale efficiently while also integrating vital data with other relevant government ministries,” he added.

“In 2018, only 40 of our services were online — our aim is for everyone including tutors, researchers and students to complete all tasks from their home or office and come to the university only for in-person classes or to write exams. With the Oracle Autonomous Database, we will now offer 200 subsites with personalized editors and publishers with their own workflows, without any intervention from the IT department,” said Dr. Hijali.

Based in the holy city of Makkah, the university receives nearly 35,000 applications for its bachelors’ degree program and over 50,000 applications overall across all degree programs. With the implementation of Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse, the university aims to enhance the user experience of the automated registration, admissions, administration and many other processes, especially for the university’s top management. 

“Umm Al-Qura University is a pioneering educational institution that has always prioritized technological advancement to deliver high-quality education to Saudi students. The adoption of Oracle’s self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing autonomous database will help the university deliver ‘future ready’ education to Saudi students, to equip them with the required skills for succeeding in the digital economy,” said Fahad Al-Turief, country manager — Saudi Arabia, Oracle.


‘Moments’ photo contest celebrates souqs of Middle East

Updated 19 June 2019
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‘Moments’ photo contest celebrates souqs of Middle East

National Geographic Abu Dhabi (NGAD) and Almarai have announced the ninth edition of “Moments,” the annual regional photography competition calling all aspiring photographers from around the Arab world. 

The competition provides the winning contestants a chance to learn from National Geographic photography experts through a photography travel expedition.

The 2019 “Moments” edition is themed around the souks of the Middle East and invites photographers from the region to capture the diversity and stories of markets from around the Arab world, which have been at the heart of the region’s culture and history.

The competition is held in partnership with Almarai, which has been a strategic supporter of this platform for the last six years as part of a shared vision of nurturing youth and talent from the Middle East.

“Moments” will feature a returning category this year for photographers aged 13-17.

Almarai has been a strategic partner of the competition since 2014.

Abdulrahman Awadh Al-Harthi, acting executive director of television and executive director of Abu Dhabi Radio Network at Abu Dhabi Media, said: “The ‘Moments’ photography competition is part of our continued commitment toward nurturing talents across all segments of society and encouraging the community especially youth to express their creativity and reach their highest potential.

“The great success of the competition gives us a new challenge to ensure we reach the largest number of applicants from diverse backgrounds and give them the platform to express their creativity and stories to be shared across the region.” 

Al-Harthi commended National Geographic Abu Dhabi’s strive for leadership and influence toward professional and amateur photographers in the region. 

Hussam R. Abdulqader, CMO of Almarai, said: “We are delighted to be renewing our partnership with National Geographic Abu Dhabi for the 9th edition of the ‘Moments’ photography competition, through which we aim to inspire, encourage and celebrate youth across the Middle East and support them to achieve their highest potential through the art of photography.”

He added: “We remain committed to developing the photography industry in the communities we serve, and to providing opportunities for youth to flourish creatively and professionally as we have done across a wide spectrum of platforms as well.”

Attracting over 200,000 entries since its inception from across the Middle East and North Africa, “Moments” is part of a regional photography talent platform developed by National Geographic Abu Dhabi to promote and nurture local talents and help give them a voice and a platform to showcase the region and what they have.

This year’s judging committee will comprised Almarai CMO Abdulqader as well as Muhammed Muheisen, a National Geographic photographer, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner, and founder of Dutch non-profit organization Everyday Refugees Foundation.

In this year’s competition, each story will carry with it an authentic, detailed and complete description of the image.