Saudi crown prince oversees signing of agreements between KSA and US universities on Boston visit

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Saudi crown prince visits MIT in Boston.
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the IBM Watson Health office in Boston.
Updated 26 March 2018

Saudi crown prince oversees signing of agreements between KSA and US universities on Boston visit

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman oversaw the signing of several agreements between Saudi and US universities as he toured a number of Boston institutions on Saturday.

At least seven agreements were struck during the visit, including a cooperation between state energy giant Saudi Aramco and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the field of sustainable development in the energy sector.

The crown prince visited IBM Watson Health, which aims to empower advocates and influencers in the health care field, just one of his stops in the Massachusetts capital as he explores “areas of cooperation between the Kingdom and the United States,” the Saudi Embassy said in a tweet.

During the visit, the center’s Senior Vice President David Kenny briefed the crown prince on the potential applications of artificial intelligence in the health care field, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The crown prince also toured the biomechatronics lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where scientists work on technologies to restore function to individuals who have impaired mobility due to trauma or disease.

He also visited the Innovation Forum held at MIT, where he was briefed on the industrial innovations of Saudi universities and companies, and a selection of their technical products.

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) displayed a biometric magnetic sensor for use in oil and gas exploration, and a project on smart cities and alternative energy use.

At the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology pavilion at MIT, four programs were presented, including the “Fast Innovation Track,” which seeks to establish an environment aiming to increase bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and the US.

There were also pavilions associated with Saudi companies including SABIC and Aramco.

At the nearby Harvard University, the crown prince met with Provost Alan Garber and faculty members.

They reviewed aspects of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the university in a number of fields, especially in the areas of advanced research of entrepreneurship, systems engineering and the development of education methods to cope with new challenges.

The crown prince also met with the heads of other major universities, colleges and institutes.

The meetings and visits were attended by Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi ambassador to the US, and the crown prince’s official accompanying delegation.

The crown prince is on a multi-city tour of the US, in a trip highlighting the ties between the longstanding allies.

He met US President Donald Trump on Tuesday and delivered a keynote speech at a gala function in Washington on Thursday, where he said the KSA-US relationship was one built on trust and strategic partnership.

Crown Prince Mohammed has met with US dignitaries during his visit, including Vice President Mike Pence and US Congress leaders as well as some of the heads of the largest corporations in America.

AGREEMENTS SIGNED IN BOSTON

A number of cooperation agreements were signed in the technical and research fields during the Saudi crown prince’s visit to Boston:

- Agreement between Saudi Aramco and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the field of the sustainable development in the energy sector.

- Agreement between SABIC and MIT in the field of pyrolysis research of natural gas.

- Agreement between King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and MIT to establish a research center in complex engineering systems.

- A cooperation between King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Brigham Women’s Hospital in the field of biomedicine.

- Partnership between KACST, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Research Product Development Company to establish a vaccine and biotech production center at KAUST.

- The creation of an “Ibn Khaldun Fellowship” between MIT and KACST.

- Agreement between GE Healthcare and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies to establish a center for biologics manufacturing and vaccine development in order to supply equipment and develop treatments for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).


Culture documentation by Saudi ministry to help dispel misconceptions

Updated 22 October 2020

Culture documentation by Saudi ministry to help dispel misconceptions

  • Dia hopes the documenting process will be done professionally and without bias

JEDDAH: Saudi artists welcomed the Ministry of Culture’s first-of-its-kind 16/13 initiative, documenting the diversity of Saudi culture and art through a visual library.
The library will display 16 aspects of culture and heritage through photography and videography that represent the 13 regions of the Kingdom.
Researchers will go around Saudi Arabia to meet creatives, and study their work, for inclusion in the initiative.
“This is an important step for the Kingdom, and it’s a global one to document visual art, whether works of art or cinema,” Dia Aziz Dia, Saudi artist and sculptor, told Arab News.
He added: “It’s important because this creates a database and can be used as a reference to study and compare paintings, photography, sculpting and various types of art, how they differ from one region to the next.”
It could also let government bodies discover art worthy of being put into museums for display, said Dia.
“It’s a good way to document history as well, and to study works of art and the standards of art here,” he said. “It’s on a global level and it’s done everywhere in the world, from England to the US.”
Dia hopes the documenting process will be done professionally and without bias.
He also said it was not easy to compile these works. “It’s an elaborate process to be able to get hold of all the works across the Kingdom. It’s an operation that requires organization, extensive studying and the cooperation of the Society of Culture and Arts and artists as well.”
Saad Tahaitah, documentary filmmaker and photographer, told Arab News that the initiative was promising. He was exposed to it through Saudi photographer Nawaf Al-Shehri, who has been traveling to help with the documentation process.
“The ministry’s been doing an incredible job; they’re (Nawaf and his team) going around the Kingdom and filming content for an actual library,” he said.
Tahaitah has worked on numerous short films on his own to depict the culture and heritage of Asir region, in the southwest of the country. He said he would not trade it for any other place and wished only to film in his hometown.
“I got into documentaries because I wanted honest storytelling. I didn’t want to write a script and hire actors, although that works for some,” he said. “The way I’ve been doing film is to let the person I’m filming go about their day and I let my camera roll.”
Tahaitah started documenting Asir because he wanted to dispel the misconceptions about it, and the stereotypes created through media like “Tash Ma Tash,” the famous Saudi comedy show.
“Asir is full of natural beauty and scenery to capture. It’s diverse in its sights and the people who live in it. Every once in a while, I realize there’s a thing I never noticed before and I film it, and I’ve lived here all my life. The way of life here, simply, can inspire you,” he said.
He added: “We don’t have one particular dance or only sit and dine in a huddle. In a way, I just wanted to showcase the reality of Asir because I love it.”
He said that this initiative could correct inaccuracies shared about certain areas in the Kingdom.