KAUST Challenge selects finalists for three Hajj and Umrah prizes

The KAUST Challenge is focused on improving the Hajj and Umrah experience for pilgrims from all over the world. (SPA)
The KAUST Challenge is focused on improving the Hajj and Umrah experience for pilgrims from all over the world. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 25 March 2021

KAUST Challenge selects finalists for three Hajj and Umrah prizes

KAUST Challenge selects finalists for three Hajj and Umrah prizes
  • The winners, who could receive up to SR1.3 million ($346,645) in cash and other prizes, will be announced at the award ceremony to be held on March 28 at the Emarah Foyer in Jeddah

JEDDAH: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), alongside strategic partners the Makkah Cultural Forum, Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and the Doyof Al-Rahman Program (DARP), confirmed on Wednesday that 1,306 applications from 34 countries were submitted to the first edition of KAUST Challenge – Ideas and Solutions for Hajj and Umrah.

The comprehensive multi-stage selection process, lasting over a month, resulted in the shortlisting of 33 finalists.

In line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the first edition of the KAUST Challenge focused on improving the Hajj and Umrah experience for pilgrims from all over the world, and advancing efforts to make Makkah a smart city.

The challenge is focused on three themes: Healthcare, mobility, and crowd management, which were all selected after extensive research on the most pressing issues facing Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.

Eleven finalists for each theme were selected for the finalist pool.

An expert panel of over 30 judges evaluated the ideas and solutions proposed by the finalists. The winners, who could receive up to SR1.3 million ($346,645) in cash and other prizes, will be announced at the award ceremony to be held on March 28 at the Emarah Foyer in Jeddah.

Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, governor of Makkah, along with Dr. Tony F. Chan, president of KAUST, and Dr. Najah Ashry, vice president for strategic national advancement at KAUST, will host the award ceremony.

Speaking on the success of the inaugural edition, Ashry said: “We are proud that more than 1,300 innovators were inspired to submit applications to this first KAUST Challenge and that more than 300 of them are based in Saudi Arabia.”

She added: “Many of the out-of-the-box hi-tech solutions that the applicants proposed are viable ideas that could enhance the experience of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. The winning ideas and solutions will require cultivation across Saudi Arabia’s research-development-innovation ecosystem. By encouraging continued collaboration of KAUST Challenge winners with ecosystem players in the Kingdom, we will ensure that the outcomes from the KAUST Challenge have real-world impact for the people for whom they are designed.”

KAUST also announced the selection six sponsors for the challenge: Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) for the healthcare prize, SAUDIA (formerly Saudi Arabian Airlines) and the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) for the mobility prize, and Saudi Ground Services (SGS) for the crowd management prize. 

Microsoft was selected as the technology sponsor, and Arab News as the event’s media sponsor.


Saudi aid agency discusses education efforts at UN conference

Dr. Hana Salem highlighted the efforts made by Saudi Arabia  to support education. (SPA)
Dr. Hana Salem highlighted the efforts made by Saudi Arabia to support education. (SPA)
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi aid agency discusses education efforts at UN conference

Dr. Hana Salem highlighted the efforts made by Saudi Arabia  to support education. (SPA)
  • The conference tackled the importance of improving the quality of education, spreading knowledge, exchanging experiences and innovation in times of crisis

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center recently participated virtually in the “Leaving No One Behind: Benefiting from Innovation to Access Quality Education and Information” conference.

This comes within the framework of the annual program “Innovate Now … Live Tomorrow” and the Regional Digital Inclusion Week for Arab States organized by the International Telecommunication Union and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Speakers from the regional offices of UNESCO and concerned authorities participated in the two-day conference.

During the conference, KSrelief was represented by the director of the community support department, Dr. Hana Salem, who highlighted the efforts made by the Kingdom to support education — 89 educational projects were presented in more than 14 countries, at a budget amounting to nearly $200 million.

She touched on the educational projects provided during the coronavirus disease pandemic, indicating that the center works closely with local and international organizations to meet people’s needs and search for appropriate and sustainable solutions to ensure access to education.

She also stressed the center’s keenness to support innovation in educational projects.

For his part, the head of initiatives at the International Telecommunication Union, Alex Wong, discussed the Giga initiative, which aims to connect every school to the internet and ensure access to education for every child.

The conference tackled the importance of improving the quality of education, spreading knowledge, exchanging experiences and innovation in times of crisis, especially in light of the challenges the world is witnessing during the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on education.

It also touched on the use of artificial intelligence systems in education and intellectual property rights and the importance of developing educational cadres to keep pace with the need in digital education.


Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant

Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant. (SPA)
Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant. (SPA)
Updated 36 min 59 sec ago

Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant

Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant. (SPA)
  • Having a fully vaccinated status on the app allows people to take part in any social and commercial activities

RIYADH: The committee in charge of implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia has held its 283rd meeting, chaired by Minister of Health Fahd Al-Jalajel.
During the meeting, which involved 25 government bodies, the participants reviewed the situation regarding the new omicron COVID-19 variant.
As of Feb. 1 next year, all those above the age of 18 will need a booster jab to keep their fully vaccinated status on the Tawakkalna application, an Interior Ministry source said.
Having a fully vaccinated status on the app allows people to take part in economic, commercial, cultural, sports or tourist activities, attend any cultural, scientific, social or recreational event, enter any government or private establishment, and travel on planes and public transport.
Those exempt from taking the vaccine against coronavirus as listed on the app do not need to take the booster dose.
The source stressed the need for everyone to adhere to all preventive measures and approved health protocols.

 


Who’s Who: Muteeb Al-Sulaimani, general director at the General Real Estate Authority

Muteeb Al-Sulaimani. (Supplied)
Muteeb Al-Sulaimani. (Supplied)
Updated 56 min 34 sec ago

Who’s Who: Muteeb Al-Sulaimani, general director at the General Real Estate Authority

Muteeb Al-Sulaimani. (Supplied)

Muteeb Al-Sulaimani is currently working in the General Real Estate Authority as general director of partnerships and business development, a role he has held since August 2019.
He established the Saudi Real Estate Arbitration Center in 2019.
Al-Sulaimani has a wide range of skills acquired over 20 years. During his experience in the private sector, he developed and managed many residential, commercial, industrial and hospitality projects.
He began building his experience at a law firm between 2001-2003, before joining a property development company for three years, then working as a consultant for real estate funds in 2007, then as a branch manager for a joint stock-property development company from 2008-2009, before moving on to a vice presidential position for wealth management at an investment bank between 2010-2018, and working as general manager for a joint stock-property development company from 2009-2019.
He is working to achieve what the authority was established for, regulating the real estate sector by stimulating investment and raising capabilities and empowering national cadres.
He is a member of the Saudization Steering Committee and the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises Committee in the real estate sector.
He holds an executive master’s and a global governance diploma from time spent studying in Berlin, a bachelor’s degree in MIS from the University of Business and Technology.
He passed many courses in leadership, management, development, information security, anti-money laundering and digital transformation from Monsha’at, the Financial Academy, King Abdulaziz University, the Institute of Public Administration and the World Bank Group.
He is also licensed as a certified mediator by the University of Strathclyde, Scotland.


Diriyah, Jewel of the Kingdom: Almotasem Alkhamis — a young star at Diriyah

Almotasem Alkhamis. (Supplied)
Almotasem Alkhamis. (Supplied)
Updated 12 min 41 sec ago

Diriyah, Jewel of the Kingdom: Almotasem Alkhamis — a young star at Diriyah

Almotasem Alkhamis. (Supplied)
  • Alkhamis was first introduced to the DGDA and their ambitions when he ventured on a tour of the UNESCO world heritage site of At-Turaif in 2019 when he was senior in Al-Yamamah University

Almotasem Alkhamis has been a part of the Diriyah Graduate Development Program since January 2021. He executed and planned multiple events and strengthened government relations through community collaboration.
As a young star in his division, Alkhamis has excelled in holding true the values and missions of DGDA.
As a part of its mission of empowering and supporting young talents, many driven and bright young students have emerged from DGDA training programs, one of those young leaders being Alkhamis.
He began his journey with DGDA as a COOP trainee on July 5, 2020. In his role as a trainee, he served and contributed to the progressive development of Diriyah as the jewel of the Kingdom and one of the largest culture and heritage projects in the world.
The DGDA was established in July 2017 to preserve and celebrate the historic site of Diriyah. Since then DGDA has signed multiple memorandums of understanding and deals to advance the mission of making it a hub for local and international visitors whether on business or for leisure.
Alkhamis began his journey working in the human capital department under the people experience division. After completing his COOP training Alkhamis joined DGDA’s graduate development program under the community engagement department.
He has consistently been dedicated to working alongside the community to give back and drive impact through events. Some of Alkhamis’s responsibilities include quick thinking, innovating and creating new concepts, and establishing and strengthening relations with vendors.
As a native of Diriyah, he takes pride in interacting closely with the community he was raised in. As a member of the community engagement department, he also planned and executed multiple initiatives that strengthened bonds and celebrated the historic community through town hall meetings to present DGDA master plans.
Alongside the master plan presentations, he has also worked on numerous community celebrations in the past such as Eid Al-Adha and National Day for Autism celebrations.
Alkhamis was first introduced to the DGDA and their ambitions when he ventured on a tour of the UNESCO world heritage site of At-Turaif in 2019 when he was senior in Al-Yamamah University. From that point on, Alkhamis knew that he had to be part of creating and preserving the jewel of the Kingdom.
Alhkamis aims to enhance the quality of life for the community of Diriyah. He also participated in the dates market for local farmers in Diriyah.
He gained his bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Al-Yamamah University in Riyadh in 2020 and is a native speaker of Arabic and fluent in English.
He was also one of the founding members of the marketing club in Al-Yamamah University and held the position of vice president of the club.
Alkahmis also holds a King Abdulaziz Medal of The Third Degree for his work for his contributions and continuous efforts in supporting local blood drives by donating blood.


Around 25,000 babies born prematurely in Saudi Arabia per year 

Around 25,000 babies born prematurely in Saudi Arabia per year 
Updated 03 December 2021

Around 25,000 babies born prematurely in Saudi Arabia per year 

Around 25,000 babies born prematurely in Saudi Arabia per year 
  • Approximately 15 million babies are delivered preterm worldwide each year, accounting for about one in 10 of all babies born
  • Dr. Sawsan Hussein Daffa, consultant neonatologist and head of pediatrics at Aya Specialist Hospital, said that nearly four percent of the total yearly births in Saudi Arabia were preterm

JEDDAH: World Prematurity Day, which is observed Nov. 17 each year to raise awareness of preterm birth, was recently celebrated in a Saudi hospital with parents accompanied by their children who were born a little earlier than expected.

Some 25,000 babies are born prematurely in Saudi Arabia each year, according to a mid-2020 report from the General Authority for Statistics. Approximately 15 million babies are delivered preterm worldwide each year, accounting for about one in 10 of all babies born.

According to a 2018 report by the World Health Organization, more than 60 percent of preterm births occur in Africa and South Asia, but preterm birth is a global problem. In lower-income countries, on average, 12 percent of babies are born too early compared with 9 percent in higher-income countries, the report said. Poorer families are at higher risk, the report added.

Dr. Sawsan Hussein Daffa, consultant neonatologist and head of pediatrics at the Aya Specialist Hospital, told Arab News that nearly four percent of the total yearly births in Saudi Arabia fell into this category. 

Daffa said that a prematurely born child can cost the Health Ministry or an insurance company up to SR100,000 ($26,667), adding that a preterm may need to stay in an incubator for 2 to 4 months.

Speaking during World Prematurity Day 2019, the consultant noted that any child born before 36 weeks of the gestational age is called premature.

“The particularly small babies are placed in incubators for a period of time ranging from 30 to 60 days,” she said. “This can cost government hospitals/insurance companies around SR60,000. Some others are placed there for longer periods and can even cost SR100,000.”

However, Daffa said that up to 28 percent of premature babies die due to complications.

She added a special vaccine given to premature babies could protect them against the respiratory syncytial virus, which normally hits premature infants from October to March.