Saudi Tourism Development Fund partners with prestigious hospitality institute

Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education and Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of Tourism Development Fund at the partnership agreement ceremony. (Sommet Education)
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Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education and Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of Tourism Development Fund at the partnership agreement ceremony. (Sommet Education)
Ecole Ducasse Paris Campus. (Beogly Grazia)
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Ecole Ducasse Paris Campus. (Beogly Grazia)
Les Roches Campus. (Sommet Education)
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Les Roches Campus. (Sommet Education)
Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education. (Thierry Arensma)
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Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education. (Thierry Arensma)
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Updated 08 October 2021

Saudi Tourism Development Fund partners with prestigious hospitality institute

Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education and Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of Tourism Development Fund at the partnership agreement ceremony. (Sommet Education)
  • Sommet Education, which specializes in hospitality management and culinary arts, will help boost the Kingdom’s tourism sector
  • TDF aims to raise the tourism sector’s GDP in Saudi Arabia to 10 percent and reach 1 million jobs by 2030

RIYADH: The Saudi Tourism Development Fund signed an agreement with one of the most prestigious hospitality institutes in the world, Sommet Education, to boost the Kingdom’s tourism sector.

Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education, told Arab News that the partnership with TDF is highly aligned with Saudi Vision 2030 as tourism will play a vital role in the future for the Kingdom.

The partnership will help develop the fund’s employees and clients’ knowledge, skills, and competencies in tourism, hospitality, and entrepreneurship through dedicated programs, training courses, workshops, conferences, and consulting.




Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education. (Thierry Arensma)

“The TDF initiative is all about lifelong learning education and continuous education ... We will train the executives of TDF and their young talents because specialized education is essential. This is the future of education,” Domenget said.

“Of course, you need a solid foundation, but you also need a solid lifelong learning education. Those who are going to invest in lifelong learning and continuous education will win the race to find the right talents. That is what will contribute to the future of tourism in the Kingdom.”

According to Domenget, Sommet Education is the broadest and the largest education company group in hospitality management globally. Sommet Education has five schools and is present in eight countries, including Switzerland, France, South Africa, and India. The Swiss-originated hospitality business schools, Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches, along with the culinary and pastry arts school, École Ducasse, are also under the Sommet Education umbrella.

“We have 18 campuses and some others to come very soon. We have around 400 programs starting from vocational to foundation education, bachelor’s and master’s, MBA, specialized education, and lifelong learning. We are present in all the fields of hospitality management, training, and culinary arts education,” he said.

“We have more and more students coming from Saudi Arabia to our campuses in Switzerland. Today, we have around 150 Saudi students already in the bachelor’s and master’s programs. And that started nearly 20 years ago with the first student coming to our campuses.”




Les Roches Campus. (Sommet Education)

The Saudi Ministry of Education recognizes both the Glion and Les Roches Institutes.

“We are proud to be the only education group to have two institutions that are accredited by the ministry of education, which only attribute to the long-lasting relationship that we have in the Kingdom,” Domenget said.

During the signing ceremony, Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of TDF, said that the tourism sector is a key driver of Vision 2030. 

“In order to facilitate its rapid growth, it is essential to have the right talent leading the way,” he said. “Through our partnership with Sommet Education, we look forward to enabling TDF’s valued clients and employees by providing them with the best-in-class training. They need to realize their tourism ambitions during this exciting phase in the Kingdom’s history.”

Domenget said TDF is a major player as it supports the tourism sector in the Kingdom with massive funds. They also support the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises along with private businesses. 

“In that respect, we are starting our project with TDF to train their executives and the future leaders and that’s the first phase,” he said. “And obviously, we will extend that to the clients that TDF is investing in to support them in having the right skills to further develop the tourism sector. So, the main objective with TDF is to train professionals who are already active in the tourism industry in the next few years.”

Domenget highlighted that today the tourism sector’s GDP in Saudi Arabia is around 3 percent of the GDP and TDF aims to raise that to 10 percent and reach one million jobs by 2030.




Ecole Ducasse Paris Campus. (Beogly Grazia)

“We are very proud in supporting TDF and Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 to help create a generation of talent which will groom future leaders of that industry,” he said.

Sommet Education has tailor-made special programs for TDF, ranging from one-week to nine-week intensive courses. Domenget pointed out that there will be face-to-face interactions with professionals as applicants come to Switzerland’s campuses.

According to Domenget, one of the biggest challenges facing the tourism sector is finding the right talents for tomorrow.

“I always say that creating a great hotel is not that complicated,” he said. “You need access to capital, a great location, good engineers, and great architects. But when you have the hotel, what is going to make the difference is the people working in it. And that is the most difficult challenge that every person working in the tourism and travel industry is facing: finding the right people.”

Domenget said the bond between Sommet Education and the Kingdom has grown throughout the years. They signed a memorandum of understanding last year with the Human Capital Development, the Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Tourism. 

“We are also a solid partner with the UN World Tourism Organization, which recently opened its offices in Riyadh. So, many things are happening, and I am sure some other projects will come in the future,” he said.


UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony

UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony
Updated 21 October 2021

UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony

UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony
  • The Study UK Alumni Awards 2022 call for applications is open until Oct. 29, 2021

RIYADH: The British Embassy and British Council announced the recipients of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2020-2021Study UK Alumni Awards 2020-2021 in Saudi Arabia at an awards ceremony hosted by British Ambassador in Riyadh, Neil Crompton, on Wednesday.

UK alumni from Jeddah, Riyadh, Dhahran, Qassim and Thuwal were recognized for their outstanding achievements as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders, and for their important contributions in strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Saudi Arabia.

The Study UK Alumni Awards 2022 call for applications is open until Oct. 29, 2021.

The awards were developed by the British Council and UK universities, and are open to alumni residing in any country outside the UK who have studied in the UK, at an officially recognized provider of UK university degree level study for a minimum of a term or semester, or who have been awarded a full UK degree level qualification (or higher) by a UK university in the past 15 years.

Speaking at the awards ceremony the British envoy said: “I am delighted to host the 7th Study UK Alumni Award ceremony in person this year, and have the chance to meet many of bright Saudi women and men who are driving economic success and social impact through their work, in their professions, and in their communities to achieve the vision set out by their leadership.”

He added: “This prestigious international award celebrates UK higher education and the achievements of outstanding Saudis who studied in the UK and are using their education to make a positive impact. It reflects the wider partnership between our two countries.  My congratulations to all our finalists and winners. I encourage many more Saudis who have studied in the UK to apply to the awards so that more of these amazing stories can be shared, not only to celebrate their success but also to inspire others.”

Eilidh Kennedy McLean, British Council country director, said: “The remarkable individuals we celebrated today at the awards have all taken their UK education as a starting point to excel in their chosen careers and shape the world around them. This year’s awards ceremony is testimony not only to the diversity of UK alumni and their endeavours, but also to the transformative impact of a UK education. With more than 100,000 alumni of a UK education, there is much to celebrate.”

The award received around 1,300 applications from international UK alumni in more than 100 countries, representing more than 120 UK higher education institutions across the UK. Following interviews with a judging panel, recipients were selected for the three award categories: Professional achievement, entrepreneurial, and social impact.

The professional achievement award, which recognizes alumni who have displayed exemplary leadership in their professional field, was presented to Dr. Roua Alsubki , alumna of University College London. 

Roua is vice dean of skills and development deanship at King Saud University, the first woman to hold this position.

The social impact award, which acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change, was presented to Dr. Bandar Alosaimi for establishing COVIDAT, a website that provides scientific information on COVID-19 in Arabic. 

He saw a need to translate developments in medical research to the everyday Arabic reader to avoid misinformation and misconceptions about the coronavirus. 

A graduate of University of Manchester and University of Salford, where he earned his master’s and Ph.D degrees, Alosaimi is assistant professor of virology at the faculty of medicine, the head of the virology research team and chairperson of Research Laboratories at King Fahad Medical City.

The entrepreneurial award was presented to Dr. Wail Mousa, graduate of the University of Leeds. 

Mousa is the founding dean of the Entrepreneurship Institute and professor of electrical engineering at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He was the first Saudi to be sponsored by Dhahran Techno Valley for a Ph.D in electronics and electrical engineering from the University of Leeds.  

Sir Steve Smith, the UK prime minister’s special representative for education, attended the awards ceremony and told Arab News: “I am here for strategic partnership between the UK and Saudi Arabia in the education sector. The role was set up following a meeting between the two governments in 2018 and the aim is to build on over 60 years of collaboration between our two countries.”

He added: “Since I was appointed a year ago, we have started lots of initiatives, some really exciting announcements in areas of special educational needs and skills in colleges and universities.”

On progress of the Saudi-UK education partnership, Smith said that the partnership is developing well. 

“The key is to have deep relationship. We are trying to make sure we have momentum for the activities, and get the partners in the UK and Saudi Arabia to see it can benefit each other.”

Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh and Smith discussed ways to enhance educational, academic and research cooperation, and share best practices and expertise between the two countries.

The meeting addressed efforts by Saudi Arabia and the UK in education, fields of cooperation in public education, developing curricula, the program of the courses system for the secondary education, in addition to the education of talented students and students with disabilities.

The talks also covered cooperation in the university education, scientific research, accrediting academic qualifications, as well as academic and research partnerships among both countries’ universities, and enhancing cooperation in integrated education and remote education.

He said that universities from the two countries are coming closer to work together. The University of Birmingham on Tuesday signed an agreement with King Saud University, he added.


$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched

$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched
Updated 21 October 2021

$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched

$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched

PARIS: A Saudi-backed global award to encourage young talents in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics has been launched at the UN.
Al-Fozan Foundation, in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and with the support of the Saudi permanent delegation to UNESCO, made the announcement during the 212th session of the organization’s executive council.
The first international award at UNESCO to be offered by the Kingdom, it will celebrate the outstanding achievements of five young researchers from the UN agency’s five regions around the world and will offer prize money totaling $250,000.
Five jurors specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, will oversee the selection process and winners will be announced every two years.


Saudi women empowerment conference to focus on 7 themes

Saudi women empowerment conference to focus on 7 themes
Updated 21 October 2021

Saudi women empowerment conference to focus on 7 themes

Saudi women empowerment conference to focus on 7 themes
  • Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University will host the 2-day event, which will bring together more than 60 experts and ministers

RIYADH: Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University will hold a two-day conference to shed light on how Saudi Arabia has helped empower women through national reforms, government policies, and private initiatives.
The conference, which will be held on Nov. 22-23, will bring together more than 60 experts, ministers, and Saudi universities. It will explore seven themes and indicators of women empowerment in local and international organizations.
Prof. Nouf bint Abd Al-Aly Al-Ajmi, the vice-rector of Female Student Affairs, who is also the head of the organizing committee, told Arab News that many prominent female figures will participate in the conference.
“Saudi women have taken great strides towards empowerment, thanks to the legislation and laws issued to enhance women’s position and protect their social and personal rights and ensure their participation as decision-makers,” Al-Ajmi said.
The themes will focus on legislative reforms in the era of King Salman and how they have helped meet the demands and needs of women towards more vital social participation.
There will be an emphasis on national identity and citizenship through women’s empowerment in education and training.
The rector of the Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University, Prof. Ahmed Salim Al-Amiri, said the royal approval to organize this conference reflected the interest and support of the Kingdom’s leadership for Saudi women.
“Saudi women have enjoyed many rights while many historic and key decisions were issued to enhance women’s role in society and empower them to be an active partner in national development,” Al-Amiri said.
The rector said various governmental and non-governmental sectors will participate in the event, including Saudi universities, to explore women’s empowerment on different levels.
The conference will also focus on government projects and initiatives that support the empowerment of Saudi women, key indicators of women’s empowerment, and new functional areas.
The successes and achievements of women in the era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques will also be highlighted.


Who's Who: Waleed Al-Khayyat, head of marketing and corporate communication at LogiPoint

Who's Who: Waleed Al-Khayyat, head of marketing and corporate communication at LogiPoint
Updated 21 October 2021

Who's Who: Waleed Al-Khayyat, head of marketing and corporate communication at LogiPoint

Who's Who: Waleed Al-Khayyat, head of marketing and corporate communication at LogiPoint

Waleed Al-Khayyat is head of marketing and corporate communication at LogiPoint, the Kingdom’s pioneering logistics real estate company, which builds and operates bonded and re-export zones, logistics parks and economic zones across Saudi Arabia.

Simultaneously, Al-Khayyat holds the portfolio of the head of communications and PR at the Red Sea Gateway Terminal, which is recognized among the most state-of-the-art container terminals not only in the Kingdom, but also across the region.

He joined the RSGT team as workplace service manager in March 2013 and won the employee of the year award the same year.

Al-Khayyat spent five years immersed in the logistics ecosystem at RSGT and gained hands-on practical experience in leadership, logistics, facilities management and operations.

He was entrusted with the portfolio of head of marketing and corporate communication at LogiPoint in October 2016 and took on the additional mantle of head of communications and PR at RSGT in February 2020.

He relishes the challenge of his dual roles and has spent the past eight years making his mark in the Kingdom’s logistics and supply chain industry, during which he has developed a passion for engaging with internal and external clients.

Al-Khayyat’s remit is to ensure that both companies communicate their value proposition to the local and international markets effectively, consistently and comprehensively.

Al-Khayyat completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cape Breton University, Canada, in 2010 and attained a master’s degree in engineering management from the Catholic University of America, US, in 2012.

He believes in the value of growth through constant learning and has attended a variety of training, workshops and short courses which have enabled him to evolve as a professional.


Saudi Arabia to lead presidency of UNOCHA donor countries in 2022

Saudi Arabia to lead presidency of UNOCHA donor countries in 2022
Updated 21 October 2021

Saudi Arabia to lead presidency of UNOCHA donor countries in 2022

Saudi Arabia to lead presidency of UNOCHA donor countries in 2022
  • The UNOCHA work will aid advocacy, coordination, policy, and information management

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will lead the upcoming presidency of the group of donor countries for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs from 2022-2023.
Assistant Supervisor General Director for Planning and Development at the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center Dr. Aqeel Al-Ghamdi met with Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Wasel, to discuss the Kingdom’s presidency, its plan, and upcoming meetings in Geneva.
The two sides also discussed issues of common interest in humanitarian and relief affairs.
Along with the Kingdom’s humanitarian aid and rapid response efforts, the UNOCHA work will aid advocacy, coordination, policy, information management, and humanitarian financial tools and services.
During the meeting, Al-Ghamdi highlighted the role of the Saudi government in leading humanitarian and relief work around the world, focussing on KSRelief’s 1,700 projects in 75 countries at a total cost of $5.5 billion. Neighboring Yemen receives the most aid provisions due to its current political turmoil, with Palestine, Syria and Somalia following as top beneficiaries.
Last March, Supervisor-General of KSRelief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah announced the Kingdom’s pledge of $430 million to fund the UN Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021. The Kingdom has been the leading donor of humanitarian assistance to Yemen for the past six years.
Al-Wasel praised KSRelief and its vital role in serving those affected around the world.