FaceOf: Dr. Bader Al-Suwaidan, Director of the space institute at KSA’s KACST

Dr. Bader Al-Suwaidan
Updated 05 February 2019

FaceOf: Dr. Bader Al-Suwaidan, Director of the space institute at KSA’s KACST

  • Al-Suwaidan is also the Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 (SGS-1) program director
  • He received his Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo in 2008

Dr. Bader Al-Suwaidan is the director of the Space and Aeronautics Research Institute at King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). 

Al-Suwaidan is also the Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 (SGS-1) program director. The satellite was launched on Tuesday from the French Arianespace complex in French Guiana.

The satellite, developed by a team from KACST, will provide telecommunications capabilities, stronger internet connectivity, TV and secure communications in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

“We had a very accommodating and smooth launch campaign thanks to the team from KACST, Arabsat and Lockheed Martin. We’re ready for the launch,” Al-Suwaidan said. “We’re grateful for the collaboration and service provided by Arianespace.”

Al-Suwaidan has worked in several positions at KACST for more than 18 years, since 2000. Previously, he was the supervisor of the National Satellite Technology Center at the Space and Aeronautics Research Institute of KACST. 

He received his Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo in 2008. He then rejoined KACST as an assistant research professor at the National Satellite Technology Center.

He was a visiting researcher at Stanford University, working on GP-B data analysis and the MGRS project with KACST-Stanford Center of Excellence between 2009 and 2011. 

Al-Suwaidan became the director of the National Satellite Technology Center in 2013.

In 2014, he became the deputy director for scientific affairs at the Space and Aeronautic Research Institute before his promotion to director of the institute.

KACST leads the national strategy of localizing the satellite industry. It is a primary provider of satellite-related services to other government agencies in the Kingdom. It has carried out numerous programs to manufacture satellites locally and to oversee major national satellites programs in collaboration with end-user organizations.


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.