Ashraf A. Al Ghazzawi was appointed as the vice president of strategy and market analysis at Saudi Aramco on April 1, 2022.
Since July 2021, Al Ghazzawi has served as executive director of Strategy and Market Analysis, following his assignment as group treasurer, which began in January 2020.
Al Ghazzawi began his career with Aramco in 1995. Throughout his career, he has led various departments, including engineering, capital projects planning, and research and development, where he was responsible for establishing global R&D centers in North America, Europe and Asia.
In March 2018, he moved to the finance, strategy and development department as the general manager of the Planning Budgeting and Performance Management division, where he played a leading role in the development of Saudi Aramco’s IPO. He was also instrumental in Saudi Aramco’s inaugural corporate bond program, representing the company’s first-ever entry into the debt capital markets.
Al Ghazzawi is the chairman of the board of Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Co., also known as Wa’ed, and the Finance and Accounting Excellence Academy.
He also serves on the boards of Aramco Ventures, the Sadara Chemicals Company, and Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare.
Al Ghazzawi holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School program for leadership development.
Saudi cabinet urges international community to halt Israeli attacks on Palestinians
During a session chaired by King Salman, ministers also reaffirmed the Kingdom’s support for action that guarantees the security and stability of Yemen
Updated 6 min 35 sec ago
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers on Tuesday called on the international community to take action to stop repeated attacks by Israelis against Palestinians, and other violations of their rights, and to make every effort to help resolve the long-running conflict.
King Salman, who chaired the cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, reiterated that the Kingdom continues to stand with Palestine and condemned the recent Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people.
The ministers reviewed a number of reports on the latest regional and international developments. Issam bin Saad bin Saeed, the member for Shoura Council affairs and acting minister of media, said the cabinet reaffirmed the Kingdom’s firm support for all action that can help to guarantee the security and stability of Yemen and its people.
Cabinet members expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the UN to improve the adherence to the cease-fire in Yemen, in line with the Saudi initiative, announced in March last year, to end the crisis in the country and reach a comprehensive political resolution.
Ministers also reiterated the Kingdom’s assertion, made this month during the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, of support for international efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and place its nuclear facilities under a comprehensive system of safeguards under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The council said it considers the stability and balance of oil markets as one of the pillars of the Kingdom’s energy strategy. It described oil as an important element in supporting the growth of the global economy, as reflected in Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in establishing and maintaining the OPEC+ agreement on production quotas. Members stressed the importance of full compliance with those quotas by all OPEC+ member nations.
The ministers also expressed their hopes that the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum, which is being organized by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center in partnership with the UN and will take place in February, will contribute to efforts to find innovative and practical solutions that can help provide humanitarian aid to the highest standards and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The council session concluded with the approval of a number of decisions. The chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence was tasked with negotiating with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development a draft administrative agreement between Saudi Arabia and the bank on a multi-donor trust fund for a digital development partnership.
The minister of energy and the minister of tourism were asked to draft and sign a cooperation agreement between their ministries and their counterparts in Thailand in the fields of energy and tourism.
A memorandum of understanding on labor cooperation between the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population was approved, as were two MoUs for cooperation in the transport and logistics sector between the Kingdom’s Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services and the French Ministry of Ecological Transition. Ministers also approved an MoU for cooperation between the Saudi General Authority for Statistics and the British Office for National Statistics.
Leading tech experts discuss future of XR technologies at Riyadh forum
The XR industry was valued at $27 billion a mere three years ago and is expected to reach around $300 billion by 2024
Currently, only 1 percent of locally produced video games are consumed in the Saudi market
Updated 09 August 2022
RIYADH: Local and international leading tech experts took to the stage at Riyadh Boulevard City on Monday to discuss the future of extended reality technologies in a panel discussion.
XR technologies are now more affordable than ever, which has led to their adoption in many industries globally such as education, film and industrial design.
The XR industry was valued at $27 billion a mere three years ago and is expected to reach around $300 billion by 2024.
One of the goals of the panel, hosted by Gamers8, Ithra and the Saudi Esports Federation, was to spread awareness about Ithra’s Creative Solutions program, which has now hosted two cohorts of tech creatives, some of whom have been nominated for the Virtual Reality Awards in December.
It also aims to educate the public about the newest XR technologies and their implementations.
From VR arcades back in the 1990s to PlayStation Move in 2010 and portable VR headsets today, these technologies have been in development for years. Now, they are slowly being integrated into our daily lives.
The panel was moderated by marketing communication specialist Adel Al-Megren, while many questions about AR, mixed reality and artificial intelligence were answered by Simon Benson, inventor and tech consultant; Faisal bin Homran, head of esports at SEF; Rodrigo Terra, co-founder of ARVORE Immersive Experiences; and Dr. Ali Al-Shammari, managing director of NEOM Academy.
Esports education is one of the main goals of the biggest gaming and esports festival globally, Gamers8, and aims to create a greater market for local production and consumption.
Currently, only 1 percent of locally produced video games are consumed in the Saudi market.
“We see the program as a window, as a gate, that connects Saudi to the world and the world to Saudi,” said Filipe Gomes, curator of the Creative Solutions program.
Benson, who is also on the advisory board for Ithra’s Creative Solution program, said: “Instead of using the keyboard and mouse or a touchscreen as a tiny thing in our phone or our smartwatches to interact with digital content, we can actually do it in a much more intuitive way.”
Diego Terra, chief technology evangelist at ARVORE, said that now films and games can become more immersive as these technologies interact with the body itself and are also more user-friendly to older generations.
“When we have the real-time content and you have interaction, you can explore one thing that is crucial, which is the senses,” he said.
While headsets are currently on the market, smart glasses are a growing trend.
Smart glasses can instantaneously translate a restaurant menu instead of typing it into a translator app.
“If we were to have a video call, instead of you just appearing as a flat person, you could be in 3D, like a hologram in front of me,” Benson said, describing another use for the technology.
“It’s very much on our horizon now…definitely within our lifetime,” he added.
The newly charted territory of the metaverse goes hand-in-hand with XR technologies.
The metaverse, accessed through these technologies, will allow us to enter places and not just links.
“We’re going to [be] doing all the things that we do now but in a different way…Websites will not be websites, [they] will be places…The vision is that gaming is just a place you go, not something that you download and use,” said Terra.
Solar panel design and fitting training for Saudi students
KAUST and SESP ink skills pact for two programs
Updated 09 August 2022
RIYADH: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Electric Services Polytechnic on Monday to train local students to design and install solar panels.
The pact focuses on photovoltaic energy design and installation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
After completing the two programs, trainees will have to pass SESP’s exams to become certified for the work.
Dr. Kevin Cullen, KAUST vice president for innovation, said one of the university’s key innovation goals is to build technical capabilities and a skilled workforce in Saudi Arabia.
SESP Director-General Dr. Khaled Al-Somali said the institute was capable of producing highly qualified, productive graduates while also recognizing the need for skilled junior technicians in the Kingdom’s renewable energy sector.
My stories tell the story of every Saudi woman: Elham Dawsari
The artist works to explore Riyadh in the 1980s and 1990s through the portraits of middle- and lower-class women
Updated 09 August 2022
RIYADH: As interdisciplinary Saudi artist and writer Elham Dawsari sits with an iced Spanish latte in hand, a sweet combat to the heat outside, she recalls one of her first sketches: a younger version of herself sits on the front stoop of her house watching barefoot boys her age play around in the grass, free of social decorum. She holds a walkman in hand, her own personal bubble at the press of a button.
“I drew that because I wanted to not only answer questions, but to articulate the questions first: What is this about spaces? About women? About gender?” she told Arab News.
As she was simultaneously the subject of the sketch and the background to the playing boys, she made a visceral connection to the space around her and where women fit into it.
Subliminally, she bagan to make the forgotten women the center of her work.
Dawsari works to explore a pre-Internet Riyadh in the 1980s and 1990s through centering middle- and lower-class women, investigating how it influenced their behavior and how they were shaped by the spaces around them.
“I think this is my way of coming to terms with a lot of things that happened in my life, including the stories of women because I still carried questions for the longest time, trying to understand it,” she said.
• Dawsari wanted her work to represent the women, and help view them in the simplest of forms: As humans.
• The work hopes to appreciate where they are now and ‘hopefully have them more included’ in our fast-paced and youth-focused lives, she says.
• The sculptures are a personal embodiment of memories and people, designed on a smaller scale to physically and emotionally pull the viewer in.
While Saudi culture has been slowly loosening its control on the societal expectations of women, some find it is still difficult to think critically of the past.
She has found that artistic pursuits are a more palatable way to honestly pursue without the societal backlash.
“Art is a way for me to clash, but indirectly,” Dawsari said.
Subabat, women who serve coffee and desserts at all-female events, have become the subject of her most popular work.
The figures evoked mystery and curiosity for viewers, which is what inspired the pursuit, she said.
While she grew up in the US until high school, she still went to Saudi weddings and recalls seeing her first Subabat at an early age.
“Around 12-years-old, I began associating Subabat with muted beauty,” she wrote in her essay, titled “Documenting Subabat: A Tribute to Sisterhood.”
While they had a certain status and prestige at weddings, their presence was evidently invisible to the attendees. Their job was to serve and never chat.
“Classism was apparent, but they still looked similar to the grandmothers (at the weddings), the way they dress. Eventually 25 years later, I learned through research that they took that style from the women they worked for,” Dawsari said.
That contrast stuck with her and her determination to document these women and their process, despite their prominent evasion, culminated in her photo series, essays, and docu short under the title “Subabat.”
While the notions of lamenting and nostalgia are prominent in many Saudi artworks, she chose to stray away from them.
“What joy does that give to anybody?” she thought. Instead of highlighting the problems of the current age, she decided to uplift the stories of the past.
In her artwork “Nfah,” Dawsari has created a series of five miniature sculptures showcasing how women utilized their time at home. In the secluded nature of their lives, either in their own home or in someone else’s, they sculpted who they are and searched for open spaces.
The work, most recently showcased at Jax Arts Festival in Riyadh, aims to analyze the relationship between urban landscaping and specific behavior of 1990s Saudi households.
The two sculptures that showed the voluptuous houseworking women, one cleaning the yard and the other squatting as she does laundry, reflect how they maintained their physical strength in rural Saudi Arabia.
Dawsari told Arab News that she hoped to start a conversation where she, and her audience, can look at these anchors as more than just houseworkers and parents, “to rewire ourselves and really think about all the other things that were in their lives, and the heavy burden of responsibility that society imposed on them.”
She wanted her work to represent the women, and help view them in the simplest of forms: as humans. The work hopes to appreciate where they are now and “hopefully have them more included” in our fast-paced and youth-focused lives, she said.
The sculptures are a personal embodiment of memories and people, designed on a smaller scale to physically and emotionally pull the viewer in.
“‘Nfah’ is more of these collective stories of people that I get to listen to, that I get to share, that fall into the essence of the artwork … it’s about breaking these barriers through these women,” she said.
Dawsari explores the theme of urban landscaping by tracing women’s movement inside these traditional households. In her work, she often wonders what these box-like spaces are meant to protect us from.
“It’s more like an emotional kind of fort you are in that protects you, another barrier in this society… Why is it so revolting? Why is it so depressing?” she said.
She connects the effects of these spaces we have built and how we impose ourselves on our architecture in return. What would happen to the next generation when they live in this so-called “utopian” home of their ancestors?
“How did it affect those women who, today, are also living in a different renaissance?” she questioned.
In a time where hustling and striving for the future defines our daily lives, it is easy to disconnect with our seniors who might not be running at the same pace.
“Everybody who came and interacted was affected, which means that we share the same story despite our differences,” said Dawsari.
Everyone has a similar memory of a mother figure applying lemon juice on their knees or making the afternoon coffee.
An Indian onlooker came to Dawsari once expressing how her work reminded her of her aunts and her family. The universality of her work is what speaks to the audience.
“Every passing day, we are losing stories that are undocumented…the thing is (to create more of a) habit, have people interact with more and more artworks about this generation,” added Dawsari.