Saudi citizenship granted to leading scientific, religious, medical and educational figures

The citizenship list included religious and academic figures who have helped supply libraries with works, books and research papers focused on Shariah sciences and Islamic history. (Supplied)
The citizenship list included religious and academic figures who have helped supply libraries with works, books and research papers focused on Shariah sciences and Islamic history. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 November 2021

Saudi citizenship granted to leading scientific, religious, medical and educational figures

The citizenship list included religious and academic figures who have helped supply libraries with works, books and research papers focused on Shariah sciences and Islamic history. (Supplied)
  • List includes scholars who approved the historic Makkah Document, specialist doctors and researchers

RIYADH: Renowned Islamic scholars, eminent physicians and well-known academics are among a group of 27 leading figures in various fields who have been granted Saudi citizenship following the issuance of royal approval.

Citizenship was granted in recognition of the recipients’ distinguished service and outstanding contribution in all major walks of life, according to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The recipients’ dedication and relentless efforts over decades allowed them to attain a distinguished status in Saudi society.

Along with national initiatives, attracting experts is among the Kingdom’s pillars to address future challenges, achieve the objectives of Vision 2030, boost local competitiveness, and stimulate the nation’s economic and scientific sectors.

Based on the list Asharq Al-Awsat acquired, Saudi citizenship was granted to distinguished figures in the religious, medical, educational and academic fields.

Scholars included those involved in framing the historic Makkah Document presented by King Salman to an international conference organized by Muslim World League in 2019. The document, which promotes religious tolerance and equality, was signed by Islamic scholars and intellectuals from around the world.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The recipients’ dedication and relentless efforts over decades allowed them to attain a distinguished status in Saudi society.

• Based on the list Asharq Al-Awsat acquired, Saudi citizenship was granted to distinguished figures in the religious, medical, educational and academic fields.


The citizenship list included religious and academic figures who have helped supply libraries with works, books and research papers focused on Shariah sciences and Islamic history.

The recipients are:

Mustafa Ceric

Member of the Supreme Council of the Muslim World League (MWL) and one of the leading scholars who endorsed the Makkah Document. He previously served as the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is influential in the field of Islamic ideology. He is widely respected by Islamic and non-Islamic scientific, religious and intellectual institutions, and is an important and influential speaker. 


Mustafa Ceric

Hussein Al-Daoudi

Chairman of the Scandinavian Council for Relations and a member of the Supreme Council of the MWL. He was one of the figures who endorsed the Makkah Document, and is interested in building bridges among religions and spreading the culture of moderate Islam. An esteemed intellectual with an influential presence.

Mohammed Nimr Al-Sammak

Secretary-general of the Islamic-Christian Dialogue Committee and a member of the MWL Supreme Council. He is considered one of the leading Arab thinkers in his area of expertise and was one of the senior scholars who endorsed the Makkah Document. A distinguished writer and academic who has published political and cultural theses, as well as literary works focused on the dialogue between East and West.

Abdullah Saleh Abdullah

Prominent Iraqi academic who has written extensively on the history of the Gulf region and the Kingdom.

Radwan Nayef Al-Sayed

Islamic researcher, member of the MWL Supreme Council and one of the senior scholars who endorsed the Makkah Document. He is also the winner of the King Faisal International Prize in the category of Islamic studies. A respected figure at conferences related to Islamic studies and ideology.


Radwan Nayef Al-Sayed

Mohammed Al-Husseini

Secretary-general of the Arab Islamic Council in Lebanon. A Shiite scholar with a distinguished media presence both inside and outside the Muslim world, especially in Europe. He supported efforts aimed at ensuring the moderation of centrist propositions, denouncing sectarianism, and rejecting attempts to politicize the Shiite sect from within for political and ideological purposes.

Mohammed Al-Husseini

Imad Mohammed Tlaygeh

US Infectious Disease Board certified infectious diseases consultant. He holds a medical management and leadership certificate from King’s Fund in Britain, a certificate in international health consultancy from the University of Liverpool and a healthcare excellence certificate from GE Healthcare, along with a number of other healthcare certificates. He has published more than 87 scientific research papers and received numerous local medical and medical research awards. Between 2007 and 2012, he was head of the expert group on infective endocarditis, Global Burden of Disease.

Farouk Oueida

Cardiac surgery consultant who holds a Ph.D. in cardiovascular surgery and is certified by the European Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery. He served as a cardiac surgery consultant at Riyadh’s National Guard Hospital between 2002 and 2004, and has been a cardiac surgery consultant and head of Cardiac Surgery Department at the Saud Al-Babtain Cardiac Center since 2004. He has performed more than 5,000 open-heart surgeries and written more than 20 scientific research papers during his time at the center.

Farouk Oueida


Imad Uddin Najeh Izzat Kanaan

Head of the neurology department at King Faisal Specialist Hospital. He is considered one of the leading neurosurgeons in the world and was named among the best 16 surgeons by the Canadian Academy. He has published 115 research papers, given 230 scientific lectures and written eight scientific books. He is certified by the German Neurological Society. He is also director of the neurology program at Alfaisal University, director of the advanced clinical neurology program, a member of the medical advisory board at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and a member of many scientific committees, including the World Federation of Neurology. 

Khaled Hamawi

Vice president of clinical excellence at the First Health Cluster in the Eastern Province. He is an American Board of Internal Medicine certified internal medicine and kidney transplant consultant. He was granted a fellowship by the American College of Healthcare Executives, along with a nephrology fellowship. He served as a transplant nephrology consultant and the medical director of the pancreas transplantation program at King Faisal Specialist Hospital. He was also the medical director of pancreas transplantation at Mayo Clinic in the US between 2008 and 2012. Between 2012 and 2018, he was director of the organ transplantation center at King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Dammam, while also serving as the hospital’s co-medical director between 2017 and 2018. His contributions include 20 scientific research papers and several reference books.

Khaled Hamawi

Mouhamad Ghyath Jamil

Intensive care consultant, certified by the American Board for Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Disorders. He is the medical director of the organ transplant intensive care unit, the medical director of the virtual care unit and the former medical director of the sleep medicine unit at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital. He established the first virtual tele-care unit to virtually care for patients and reduce the trouble and risk of traveling, and launched the first home ventilation project for patients suffering from chronic respiratory insufficiency. He is the former chairman of the Saudi Sleep Medicine Group, former head of the Sleep Medicine Department, the clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of North Dakota, an assistant professor at Alfaisal University, the director of the virtual care program, and the director of the organ transplantation and oncology intensive care unit.

Walid Khaled Rasheed

Hematology and stem cell and bone marrow transplantation consultant at King Faisal Specialist Hospital. He has 32 published scientific research papers, and worked in several hospitals and healthcare centers in New Zealand and Australia for almost eight years. He supervised the treatment and stem cell transplantation for patients suffering from various blood diseases. He has made significant comprehensive contributions in the fields of stem cell and bone marrow transplantation, blood stem cell transplantation and cord blood stem cell transplantation. He has also published many medical scientific research papers.

Mustafa Abdalla Salih

A doctor with 235 scientific papers in specialized international scientific fields, while his work has been cited 7,761 times. He contributed to the advancement of children’s health. He received his Ph.D. in medicine from the Swedish Uppsala University in 1990 and a Ph.D. from the University of Khartoum in Sudan in 1982.

Saudi citizenship was also granted to a group of educational figures with significant contributions in their field:

Nesar Merah

Faculty member and professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM). He specializes in the engineering of materials, its applications and metal alloys. He supervised a research cooperation center between KFUPM and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has more than 90 published research papers, 50 research papers in international conferences, 11 registered patents and three other patents in the process of registration. He has also received several distinction awards.

Mohammed Abdul Aziz Mustafa Habib

Faculty member and professor at KFUPM. He specializes in thermodynamics, inhibitors, combustion and corrosion of industrial equipment. He supervises the carbon sequestration research center. He has more than 200 published research papers, 50 research papers in international conferences, 24 registered patents and 20 other patents in the process of registration. He has also received several distinction awards and applied more than 70 research.

Bekir Yilbas


Faculty member and professor at KFUPM. Specializes in the engineering of materials, its applications, metal alloys, manufacturing, thermodynamics, inhibitors, laser applications and power generation. He wrote more than 13 books and a large number of chapters in other books. He has more than 400 research papers published in refereed journals and 26 registered patents. He has also received several distinction awards.

Mohammed Abdulkareem Antar

Faculty member and professor at KFUPM who specializes in water desalination technologies and has implemented supported applied research projects. He has more than 70 published research papers, 40 research papers in international conferences, eight registered patents and eight other patents in the process of registration. He has also received several distinction awards.

Tawfiq Abdo Saleh Awad

Faculty member and professor at KFUPM who specializes in chemistry, particularly manufacturing materials, secondary materials, polymer compounds, catalysts and photolysis. He has more than 340 published research papers, 30 research papers in international conferences and several registered patents. Among the most cited researchers in the world in published research papers in the field of chemistry.

Ali Hussein Muqaibel

Faculty member and professor at KFUPM. He specializes in communications, signal propagation and analysis, along with the specifications and engineering measurements of communication channels. He has more than 40 published research papers, 70 research papers in international conferences and several registered patents. He has also received several distinction awards.

Azzedine Zerguine


Faculty member and professor at KFUPM. He specializes in jammed communications technology, self-adjusting filters, digital signal analysis, channels and artificial intelligence. He has more than 80 published research papers, 130 research papers in international conferences and 18 registered patents. He has also received several distinction awards and has numerous applied research projects.

Samir Mekid

Faculty member and professor at KFUPM who specializes in modern manufacturing technologies, product and precision machine design, smart materials and mechatronics. He has more than 70 published research papers, 100 research papers in international conferences and has co-authored books, along with 20 patents between registered and in the process of registration. He has also received several distinction awards.

Aiman Helmi Al-Maleh

Faculty member and professor at KFUPM. He specializes in computer engineering, particularly in designing, manufacturing and testing digital systems and highly integrated electronic circuits. He has more than 40 research papers published in refereed journals, more than 50 research papers in international conferences and seven registered patents. He has also received several awards and implemented a number of applied projects in his specialist field.

Bassam El-Ali

Faculty member and professor at KFUPM who specializes in chemistry, particularly industrial chemistry, and homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts. He has more than 90 published research papers, 15 research papers in international conferences and 12 registered patents. He has also received several awards.

El-Hadi Mohammed Aggoune

Holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Washington in the US. A professional engineer registered in the US and has trained a number of undergraduate and graduate students in several universities in the US and abroad. He has served as a full professor, vice president and president of universities. He received the Boeing Excellence Award and the Professor of the Year Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was also named among the inventors in Boeing’s main patent. Research interests include power systems, wireless sensors networks, scientific visualization and neuro-computing. He wrote a book about sensor networks and has 36 distinguished research papers published in international journals, 37 scientific research papers in international conferences and nine research papers in higher education.

Salaheldin Mahmoud Ahmed Elkatatny

Faculty member and professor at KFUPM who specializes in petroleum engineering. He has more than 77 published research papers, more than 100 research papers in international conferences, 23 registered patents and 13 other patents in the process of registration. He has also received several awards.

Mohammed Ahmed Nasr Eldin Mahmoud

Faculty member and professor at KFUPM. He specializes in petroleum engineering, particularly in increasing the productivity and efficiency of oil and gas wells. Has more than 130 published research papers, 170 research papers in international conferences, 60 registered patents and 25 other patents in the process of registration. He has also received several awards.

Musa Qari Syed

Born in the Kingdom, Syed gained his bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine from the University of Incarnate Word in Texas, his master’s degree in radiochemistry from the University of Iowa, a Ph.D. in radiologic sciences from Ohio’s University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently working as a health sciences professor at the University of California and has previously served as the dean of all four faculties at the same university. His American higher education administration experience includes serving as the director of the health profession programs and the director of the Nuclear Medicine Institute at the University of Findlay for eight years. He was also the head of the diagnostic radiology department at Thomas Jefferson University between 1998 and 2002.

Syed served as the dean of the College of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and worked as an assistant professor and diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine consultant. He was also the academic director of the University of Sciences in Philadelphia. In addition, he worked at Riyadh’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital, where he served as the head of the radiation doses division and acquired its accreditation from the International Atomic Energy Organization.

He has conducted numerous innovative scientific research focused on the preparation of diagnostic dyes for magnetic resonance imaging of breast cancer that spreads to the liver. The research funding he received amounted to more than $6 million, most of which came from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

He received the US Fulbright Certificate for Senior Scientists, the sash for the best professor from the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, and the human services sash from the University of Incarnate Word. He was elected chairman of the American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine, the first Middle Eastern person to hold this position.

In addition, he served as the chairman of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine and the American National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Syed also worked as a consultant for universities in Germany, Malaysia, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and was invited as a speaker, or chairman of scientific boards, to more than 187 scientific conferences.

This story was originally published in Arabic in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat


Film Commission launches its strategy to develop Saudi film, cinema sector

The Film Commission launched its strategy at a ceremony in Riyadh, held under the patronage of Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan. (SPA)
The Film Commission launched its strategy at a ceremony in Riyadh, held under the patronage of Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan. (SPA)
Updated 28 November 2021

Film Commission launches its strategy to develop Saudi film, cinema sector

The Film Commission launched its strategy at a ceremony in Riyadh, held under the patronage of Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan. (SPA)
  • The strategy aims to increase direct GDP contribution, increase job opportunities, and increase the number of locally produced feature films

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Film Commission on Sunday launched its strategy to develop the Kingdom’s film and cinema sector at a ceremony in the capital, Riyadh.
The ceremony was held under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, the minister of culture and chairman of the commission.
Hamed Fayez, the deputy minister of culture and vice chairman of the commission’s board of directors, said that the strategy, with its diverse and comprehensive programs and initiatives, represents a first step toward developing the sector and supporting and empowering Saudi filmmakers.
Fayez said the Kingdom has great potential in the industry due to creative Saudi talent winning awards at regional and international film festivals, Saudi films that have achieved remarkable recognition locally and internationally, and the growth of the production movement in recent years.
The Film Commission’s CEO Abdullah Al-Ayyaf said the strategy contributes to achieving the goals of the Ministry of Culture and the Kingdom’s Vision 2020 National Culture Strategy, by achieving growth in the Saudi film production sector and transforming it into a competitive industry.
It includes producing local cinematic content to attract Saudi and international audiences, and presenting the Kingdom as a leading global center for film production in the Middle East, he added.
The strategy was based on a benchmark comparison with the 20 most important countries in the film industry.
It includes six strategic pillars, including talent development, infrastructure, local production in the Kingdom, international production in the Kingdom, regulatory framework, film distribution and screening.
According to the strategy, the Film Commission will work on 19 strategic initiatives aimed at creating a large movement in the Saudi film sector, providing an infrastructure for film production, and empowering Saudi talents and capabilities.
The commission said its strategy was designed to increase direct contribution to the gross domestic product, increase the number of job opportunities in the film sector, and increase the number of locally produced feature films. 
The Film Commission is one of 11 cultural bodies affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and was established in February last year.


Kaspersky, Saudi Technology Control to combat cyberattack

Dr. Bandar Al-Haqbani, Dr. Abdulaziz Alhussain, Engineer Mohammad Alwashmi and Mohammad Hashem at the conference. (Supplied)
Dr. Bandar Al-Haqbani, Dr. Abdulaziz Alhussain, Engineer Mohammad Alwashmi and Mohammad Hashem at the conference. (AN photo by Rahaf Jambi)
Updated 28 November 2021

Kaspersky, Saudi Technology Control to combat cyberattack

Dr. Bandar Al-Haqbani, Dr. Abdulaziz Alhussain, Engineer Mohammad Alwashmi and Mohammad Hashem at the conference. (Supplied)
  • Saudi Arabia is currently developing digitization and advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, fintech and 5G across its public and private sector

RIYADH: Global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has signed a strategic agreement with Technology Control Company, a security services, digital services and big data company in Saudi Arabia, at the @Hack Infosec Conference 2021.
The managed security service provider agreement was marked at the conference, one of Saudi Arabia’s most anticipated information-security events of the year.
The move is in line with Technology Control Company’s commitment to providing its customers in Saudi Arabia with enhanced managed security services.
Mohamad Hashem, country manager at Kaspersky, told Arab News how new technologies increased the risk and exposure to cyberattacks by opening new avenues of attack.
“Taking this into account, Kaspersky is delighted to expand and strengthen Technology Control Company’s portfolio and offer customers in Saudi Arabia the most effective prevention, detection and response capabilities to the market,”  he said.

Dr. Abdulaziz Alhussain from TCC and Mohammad Hashem singing the agreement in @hack conference. (AN photo by Rahaf Jambi)

“Our innovative solutions and extensive expertise will ensure that our customers in the region receive the best data protection possible via a trusted local technology and service provider,”  he said.
Technology Control Company will be offering Kaspersky’s resources and services such as Security Operations Center consulting, security assessment, awareness and training.
The Kingdom is currently developing digitization and advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, fintech and 5G across its public and private sector.

Taking this into account, Kaspersky is delighted to expand and strengthen Technology Control Company’s portfolio and offer customers in Saudi Arabia the most effective prevention, detection and response capabilities to the market.

Mohamad Hashem, Country manager at Kaspersky

As the country continues its road to digitization and adoption of these technologies, Kaspersky expects a steady rise in cyberattacks.
The partnership will play a key role in navigating these risks by helping Technology Control Company deliver security monitoring, incident response, threat hunting, threat intelligence, managed detection and response, security assessment and security awareness services in a cost-efficient, scalable and flexible way.
Technology Control Company’s customers in Saudi Arabia will be able to subscribe to next-generation SOC services based on solutions in line with global industry standards. Providing training such as incident response, malware analysis and digital forensics is another essential element of the alliance.
Hashem expressed his excitement about participation at @hack event and said that this was the first time the event was being held outside the US.
“Of course, we had to be a part of this great event because Kaspersky is one of the leading companies in the cybersecurity realm, and we are glad to be here,”  Hashem said.
He said that the company had signed an initiative with Cyberkids to help promote a better understanding of cybersecurity.
Muhammad Alwashmi, security services director at Technology Control Company, said that they were glad to partner with an international company with worldwide exposure and intelligence specific to the region.
“This agreement will support and provide our customers with premium protection to their businesses through the best solutions available in the market. Having Kaspersky on board will contribute to our success, and we are looking forward to a prosperous collaboration,”  Alwashmi said.


Saudi Arabia to chair anti-human trafficking forum

Awwad Al-Awwad. (Supplied)
Awwad Al-Awwad. (Supplied)
Updated 29 November 2021

Saudi Arabia to chair anti-human trafficking forum

Awwad Al-Awwad. (Supplied)
  • The forum will discuss the challenges and developments in the field in order to enable national committees to develop joint action plans to address crime

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday will chair the third government forum to discuss the challenges of combating human trafficking in the Middle East.

The two-day forum will be held virtually under the theme “National and international coordination on combating trafficking in persons in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.”

The forum will involve the heads of anti-human trafficking committees of Gulf Cooperation Council countries, a number of Arab states and international representatives.

It will be inaugurated by the president of the Human Rights Commission and chairman of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Awwad Al-Awwad.

The forum will discuss the challenges and developments in the field in order to enable national committees to develop joint action plans to address crime.

Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the forum affirms the important role of the Kingdom in tackling human trafficking and supporting victims. It comes as the Kingdom marks continued progress in the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report.


Who’s Who: Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin, chair of the UNESCO Executive Board Program and External Relations Commission

Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin. (SPA)
Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin. (SPA)
Updated 29 November 2021

Who’s Who: Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin, chair of the UNESCO Executive Board Program and External Relations Commission

Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin. (SPA)

Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin was recently elected to chair the UNESCO Executive Board Program and External Relations Commission for two years.
During the 213th session of the UNESCO executive board in Paris, the executive council named Princess Haifa, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to UNESCO, for the position.
The Kingdom’s presidency of UNESCO’s programs and external relations committee reflects its pivotal role in UNESCO to support the decision-making process in a systematic and fair way.
Commenting on the election, Princess Haifa posted on Twitter: “Glad to announce that Saudi Arabia will continue its pursuits to ensure a better future for all as chair of the Executive Board Program and External Relations Commission.”
Princess Haifa received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Riyadh-based King Saud University in 2000 and a master’s degree in science in economics with reference to the Middle East from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 2007.
In 2009, she briefly took up a part-time role lecturing at King Saud University, before starting work with the UN Development Programme. In 2013, she was promoted to the role of program analyst there, covering social development and human rights.
She joined the Ministry of Economy and Planning as head of the sustainable development goals sector in 2016 and was appointed assistant deputy minister for sustainable development affairs in 2017.
She also served as the assistant deputy minister for G20 affairs under the Ministry of Economy and Planning from 2018. That same year, she was a speaker at the Second Urban Planning Forum — a testament to her expertise in the empowerment of youth and human rights advocacy.


Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh

Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 28 November 2021

Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh

Saudi falconry festival starts in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • The festival holds a competition to select the most beautiful falcons in seven rounds, two are allocated for the Farkh category and five are for the Qirnas category

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival 2021 started on Sunday in Malham, north of Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It runs until Dec. 16 and is being organized by the Saudi Falcons Club, which has allocated more than SR25 million ($6.66 million) for winners.

The festival, the largest of its kind in the world, opened with the qualifying runs for Saudi falconers. These started with the Shaheen Farkh category of Saudi owners, with strong competition for a place in the final rounds for the King Abdulaziz Cup.

There will be runs for international falconers in the categories of owners and professionals.

The festival also holds a competition to select the most beautiful falcons in seven rounds, two are allocated for the Farkh category and five are for the Qirnas category.

Through these events, the festival aims to preserve Saudi heritage, pass on the hobby of falconry to future generations, educate children about their history and values, and enhance the spirit of competition among falconers.

The festival continues to register falcons in some categories until Dec. 9 to accommodate the largest number of falconers wishing to participate.