MAKKAH: Each year, researchers at Umm Al-Qura University carry out studies focusing on Hajj and Umrah, the results of which are used to improve and enrich the experiences of pilgrims during their spiritual journeys.
The work is carried out by the university’s Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research. The institute’s dean, Turki Sulaiman A. Alamro, said that it studies current pilgrimage procedures and conditions, collects data on pilgrims’ needs and the services they require, analyzes the data, compiles progress reports and implements new initiatives as required.
The results of the research it carries out, and the database it builds, help authorities enhance the services they provide to pilgrims and better manage their operations.
“The institute is an exclusive research center,” said Alamro. “It has so far carried out 740 specialized pieces of research and has trained more than 6,000 trainees in the field of Hajj and Umrah.”
The university also offers comprehensive medical and administrative courses, in addition to voluntary-service programs.
“The university has exerted major efforts in the field of volunteer work during Hajj by providing volunteers with the necessary skills and training, in coordination with the concerned authorities,” said Alamro.
“We have nearly 2,000 volunteers this year because the university believes they play an important role.”
Sumaiya Al-Sharaf, an associate professor at the university, is in charge of its voluntary operation. This year, she said, about 11 organizations are offering volunteering opportunities, including the General Directorate of Civil Defense, the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, and the Health Volunteer Center.
The university provides the use of its campus as a venue for Hajj-related meetings and a transportation hub. It also develops and provides technology and innovation services through the Wadi Makkah Technology Company, an investment company fully owned by the university. The company actively contributes through the forging of partnerships between educational and research institutions and the business community, by investing in joint projects and supporting research and technical projects designed to benefit pilgrims.
Nayla Jad, a graduate student at the university who is specializing in Hajj and Umrah studies, said: “The Hajj and Umrah major is one of the most important specializations for building the financial and business sector by providing qualitative services to pilgrims every year.”