‘KAUST Challenge’ seeks tech ideas for Hajj & Umrah

‘KAUST Challenge’ seeks tech ideas for Hajj & Umrah
Located on the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia, KAUST is a catalyst for innovation, economic development and social prosperity in Saudi Arabia and the world. The university currently educates, and trains master’s and doctoral students.
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Updated 03 December 2020

‘KAUST Challenge’ seeks tech ideas for Hajj & Umrah

‘KAUST Challenge’ seeks tech ideas for Hajj & Umrah

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has launched a new campaign to catalyze research, innovation, economic development and social prosperity in Saudi Arabia through new crowdsourcing initiatives that challenge local and international talents to identify ideas and solutions that advance the Kingdom’s national priorities and support Vision 2030. With the “KAUST Challenge,” the university is seeking to develop and support bold science, technology, and engineering initiatives that aim to transform the lives of Saudis and develop Saudi talents.

“We wish to draw on the participative power of crowdsourcing to solve problems faced in the Kingdom and the world with the KAUST Challenge,” said Najah Ashry, vice president for strategic national advancement at KAUST. “The speed, flexibility and scalability of crowdsourcing will bring us new science-based ideas and solutions that can be further developed through deep collaboration with players in the Kingdom’s research-development-innovation ecosystem.”

The focus of the inaugural 2020 edition of the KAUST Challenge is on improving the Hajj and Umrah experience for pilgrims from all over the world and on advancing efforts to make Makkah a smart city. The KAUST Challenge will play an active role in advancing one of the Kingdom’s national priorities of better serving the increasing number of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and improving their experiences in the two holy cities. It will identify and support science- and technology-based ideas and solutions that can move quickly into the market for SR1 million ($266,000) in cash and other prizes. The challenge spans three themes: Healthcare, to increase preventative measures to ensure health and well-being for all pilgrims, a concern augmented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; mobility to ensure adequate availability and access to public and private transportation; and crowd management, to enhance infrastructure to meet capacity requirements for large crowds.

To gather valuable inputs from this challenge, KAUST is targeting a wide group of national and international participants to submit their ideas and solutions, including startups (growth stage startups or scaleups with solutions proven by the market), innovators (seed startups and IP-holders with ideas or solutions yet to be fully market tasted), and general public (students, academics, entrepreneurs and individuals in society).

“Advances in high technology can assist in solving the challenges that Hajj and Umrah pilgrims face. We know that people here in Saudi Arabia and across the world have great solutions to contribute,” said Ashry. “We are excited to receive their submissions and to offer our neighbors in Makkah creative and unique ideas that we hope will serve all pilgrims.

Submission to the KAUST Challenge is now open and will run until Jan. 5, 2021 with a virtual final event that will take place on an immersive platform at the end of February 2021, where the three best ideas, one for each theme, will be selected by a panel of qualified judges and one grand prize will be awarded.


Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla
Updated 28 November 2021

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant, which specializes in international cuisine, has announced the opening of its third Saudi branch in AlUla, in line with its ambitious expansion plan for the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site was chosen as the restaurant location because of its growing importance on the regional tourism map as it continues to receive an increasing number of visitors every year.

The interiors at Acme’s latest outlet represent a mix between the past and the present, taking inspiration from its surrounding desert. The dining tables are designed in a unique shape and the outdoor seating is comfy and traditional.

Acme in AlUla will offer guests a unique gastronomic experience that blends international flavors with a touch of AlUla’s deeply rooted ancient history. Dishes can be made to order as well.

The restaurant can accommodate more than 100 persons at a time.

Abdulelah Al-Naddaf, CEO and owner of Food Concepts Company, said that the opening of the AlUla branch is an important step in the growth of the Acme restaurant chain. He said the region is attractive in all aspects and motivates to achieve success, especially in F and B projects.

“The city of AlUla has begun to strongly flex its muscles in the field of domestic tourism during the past few years, as we have noticed after studying the success that can be achieved in this region, especially in restaurant projects,” he added.

“We are ready to receive visitors and tourists on all upcoming occasions, as Acme is eagerly waiting for them in this charming and natural picturesque location.”


Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid
Updated 28 November 2021

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance, constructive dialogue and peace will be the engines that drive economic and social growth, said Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan, minister of tolerance and coexistence, UAE, at the second hybrid edition of the ABLF Talks at the Dubai Cares Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

The monthly leadership series, held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahayan and in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organization, saw a lively discussion by world leaders on the virtues of tolerance and inclusivity, and their role in meeting the sustainable development goals.

In the keynote address, Sheikh Nahayan highlighted how the UAE was driven by its belief in constructive dialogues and concern for each other’s welfare. “Tolerant societies are more open, innovative and economically prosperous while tolerant businesses are more successful. We in the UAE, consider ourselves to be the example of the truth of these statements,” he added.

The role of the Expo 2020 Dubai was also spotlighted as an event that not just motivated people to redesign and reshape their future but also served as a platform to learn, discover and appreciate the relationship between individuals and the world around them. “Our country is a land of opportunities. We will continue to be a dynamic hub of a vast, vibrant and ever-accelerating global market that serves over 2 billion people in the Middle East, Africa and beyond,” Sheikh Nahayan said.

The panel discussion that followed focused on the impact of the pandemic on the UN SDGs, especially in the education sector. Featuring Dr. Tariq Al-Gurg, commissioner general for the Dubai Cares Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and chief executive of Dubai Cares; Dr. Dena Assaf, the UN resident coordinator, UAE, and the deputy commissioner-general, UN; and Majid Al-Usaimi, UNICEF national ambassador and president, Asian Paralympic Committee; the conversation veered on the need to democratize technology to bridge the huge gaps in society.

“COVID-19 has accelerated united efforts toward SDGs, but at the same time, it has also created a huge digital divide. If you have a shared vision and a global agenda but not enough technological connectivity or adequate force or funding, these goals cannot be achieved. Therefore, universal access to connectivity is critical,” said Dr. Al-Gurg. While listing out the various initiatives by Dubai Cares that aim to enhance children and youth’s access to education and creating opportunities for youth empowerment, he also announced the objectives of the upcoming RewirEd Summit, which is led by Dubai Cares in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and a host of global stakeholders. Taking place at Dubai Exhibition Centre from Dec. 12-14, the largest education summit of its kind aims to rewire education for a prosperous and sustainable future.

Delving deep into the UN’s efforts to tide over the challenges posed by the pandemic, especially in poorer economies, Dr. Assaf spoke about the need to engage with communities in a multi-level, multi-cultural and holistic manner while ensuring that technology is not used in a one-size-fits-all approach. “From the UN’s perspective, we work on the principle of — ‘no one should be left behind,’” he added, outlining the huge difference in access among various groups in different countries.

Meanwhile, Al-Usaimi brought the issues faced by people of determination to the forefront and the role of sports in building opportunities and communities.

Stressing on the need to use technology and research to identify the needs and customize programs for their benefit, Al-Usaimi said: “Our aim should be to get everything — money, technology and expertise — toward the achievements of the same goal.”


Mawani scoops top accolades at maritime awards

Mawani scoops top accolades at maritime awards
Updated 28 November 2021

Mawani scoops top accolades at maritime awards

Mawani scoops top accolades at maritime awards

Underlining the prominence of Saudi Arabia’s maritime logistics sector in the region and beyond, companies from the Kingdom have received a number of top accolades at the Maritime Standard Awards 2021. The Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) and Bahri were presented with a total of five awards during the Annual Maritime Standard Awards Gala Dinner, which was hosted at Dubai World Trade Center in the UAE on Nov. 22.

Now celebrating its eighth edition, the glittering awards ceremony was held under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group.

President of Mawani Omar bin Talal Hariri received the Maritime Standard Excellence Award in recognition of his contribution to the growth and development of Saudi Arabia’s seaports and maritime logistics sector.

Musaad Al-Driss, vice president of Mawani, was the recipient of the coveted Maritime Standard Lifetime Achievement Award, reflecting his tireless dedication to the shipping and maritime industries throughout his career.

Meanwhile, Bahri triumphed in the Tanker Operator of the Year, Shipping Company of the Year, and Ship Manager of the Year categories.


Bahri reinforces industry leadership with award wins

Bahri reinforces industry leadership with award wins
Updated 27 November 2021

Bahri reinforces industry leadership with award wins

Bahri reinforces industry leadership with award wins

Bahri, a global provider of logistics and transportation services, bagged three prestigious awards at The Maritime Standard Awards 2021 and one award at the All India Maritime And Logistics Awards 2021. The award successes further strengthen the Saudi shipping company’s reputation for building market-leading capabilities and delivering excellence.

Bahri was awarded “Ship Manager of the Year,” “Tanker Operator of the Year,” and “Shipping Company of the Year” at TMS 2021, held on Nov. 22 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE, and “Shipping Line of the Year — Multipurpose Vessel Operator” at MALA 2021, held on Nov. 18 in Mumbai.

Abdulaziz Sabri, president of Bahri Ship Management, accepted the TMS awards on behalf of Bahri, in the presence of nearly 500 senior executives from shipping, ports, shipbuilding, and other maritime sectors, along with decision-makers and senior officials from governmental agencies from across the region.

Bahri CEO Eng Abdullah Aldubaikhi

Commenting on the awards, Abdullah Aldubaikhi, CEO of Bahri, said: “We are delighted to be honored with four coveted awards and thank The Maritime Standard Awards and MALA Awards for recognizing our efforts to transform Bahri into the undisputed leader that sets new benchmarks in the world of logistics and transportation. These accolades reflect the success of our wide-ranging initiatives to create excellence in our operations and services, in pursuit of the fullest satisfaction of our customers, superior value for our partners and shareholders, and sustainable impact on the industry and Saudi Arabia’s economy.”

The “Ship Manager of the Year” award was presented to Bahri for demonstrating particularly high levels of effectiveness in managing vessels and, especially, in ensuring outstanding levels of operational performance, quality and safety, and business growth over recent years.

Bahri was awarded the “Tanker Operator of the Year” title in recognition of its most exceptional level of performance over the year, based on the assessment of a range of criteria, including a commitment to customer service and efficiency, investments in vessels and related shipping services, diversification into new trades, expansion of service networks, financial performance, and social and environmental commitment.

Meanwhile, the “Shipping Company of the Year” award recognized Bahri for indicating a significant process of change and improvement and showing activities that have had a particularly significant effect on the region’s maritime sector.


Danube and F1 champion spread the word on healthy diet

Danube and F1 champion spread the word on healthy diet
Updated 25 November 2021

Danube and F1 champion spread the word on healthy diet

Danube and F1 champion spread the word on healthy diet

The Danube supermarket and hypermarket chain in Saudi Arabia has joined forces with two-time F1 champion Mika Häkkinen in a drive to create awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. As part of the initiative, Danube Online will launch the “Racing Kitchen” on the Danube App during the upcoming F1 season. The feature will host an array of healthy recipes that could be part of a healthy diet and help in reaching an optimized lifestyle. Racing enthusiasts will also have the chance to enter a competition on Danube Online to meet the legendary driver Häkkinen in Jeddah. 

Häkkinen is also bringing his own “INZDR” app to racing fans across the Kingdom. The app aims to redefine the fan experience and provide exclusive content from their favorite driving stars, including high-quality content such as the type of diets and exercise programs maintained by an elite athlete like an F1 driver. 

Ahmad A.R. BinDawood, CEO of BinDawood Holding, the owner and operator of Danube, said: “We are thrilled to partner with such a legendary champion and athlete to help create awareness on the importance of maintaining a healthy and high-quality diet in order to support an optimized lifestyle. Our Danube stores stock a huge range of organic fresh produce and high-quality products that our customers can avail of to help them maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. We encourage our customers to try out the recipes in the Danube Kitchen section of our Danube App and of course, enter the draw to win a chance to meet Mika Hakkinen.”

The names of the winners will be announced on Danube’s social media handles. 

BinDawood Holding is one of the leading grocery retail operators of hypermarkets and supermarkets in Saudi Arabia. The company has a total of 76 stores, of which 52 are hypermarkets and 24 are supermarkets, each located strategically across the Kingdom, and operating under two complementary brands: BinDawood and Danube.