JEDDAH: The King Abdulaziz and Companions Foundation for Gifts and Creativity (Mawhiba) and the Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) on Saturday announced the results of the first edition of the Gifted Arabs initiative, which aims to promote innovation by developing Arab talent.
The announcement was made at a press conference, held at the Hilton hotel in Jeddah. It was attended by the Secretary General of Mawhiba, Dr. Saud bin Saeed Al-Mathami, the Director General of ALECSO, Professor Mohamed Ould Amar and Hani bin Moqbel Al-Moqbel, Chairman of the Executive Council of ALECSO.
In a speech, Al-Mathami expressed his gratitude to the Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, also chairman of the Saudi National Committee for Education, Culture and Science, for supporting the initiative to through various national, regional and international educational programs, cultural and scientific organizations, which has honed the talents of youth in the Arab world.
He added that young talents will contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which will strengthen the position of the Arab region in the world.
Al-Mathami thanked the Executive Council of ALECSO, its member states and the ministers of education of the participating countries for their support for the initiative and their concern for its success, which managed to serve the Arab citizens.
He said 230 Arab students achieved top marks in the 2021 Gifted Arabs initiative, representing 12 countries.
Of these, 57 students were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, 34 from Bahrain, eight from Qatar, 30 from Oman, 12 from Palestine, 20 from Jordan, 15 from Iraq, two from Yemen, 15 from Tunisia, nine from Mauritania and 26 from Libya.
Al-Mathami said these gifted students were divided into three categories: outstanding talents, talented students and promising students.
He added that Mawhiba will provide a set of programs to develop the capacities of qualified Arab talents.
“Mawhiba will also provide ‘outstanding talent’ with several in-person and remote care programs, including an excellence program for enrollment in prestigious universities,” he said, adding that this support will also include counseling, guidance and leadership programs, as well as with the Mawhiba Universal Enrichment and Mawhiba Academic Enrichment Programs, which cover science studies and “21st century skills”.
And for students in the “promising talent” category, Al-Mathami said they will be enrolled in Mawhiba’s academic enrichment program remotely.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Mathami said Mawhiba “strongly believes in the role teachers can play in developing talented students.”
He added: “School teachers are our main partners. Mawhiba has so far trained over 200,000 teachers systemically. These teachers helped train fellow teachers in their schools.
Al-Mathami said most of the talented students Mawhiba discovered were the result of this “fruitful” partnership.
“All of our teachers should learn more about discovering talented students in classrooms so that we don’t lose talent that should have been spotted and nurtured,” he said.
It is to be noted that the secretary general of Mawhiba attended the meeting of the 116th session of the executive council of ALECSO, held in the city of AlUla, during which he announced that the next session of the initiative would take place in February with the participation of all Member States.
Meanwhile, Al-Mathami revealed that Mawhiba is collaborating with the Saudi Ministry of Culture to launch a nationwide project that focuses on finding creative people in the Kingdom.
For his part, the Director General of ALECSO thanked Saudi Arabia for its interest, support and sponsorship of the initiative, and congratulated the Member States for their participation.
Amar said the discovery of Arab talents and the development of their abilities reflect interest in the scientific, social and cultural challenges posed by the 21st century.
He added that it was an “essential element” in shaping Arab identity to ensure a better future for younger generations in light of global trends to achieve sustainable development.
Amar said ALECSO wants to cooperate with Mawhiba to promote talent and creativity in the Arab world.
He said the initiative represents a qualitative partnership to promote talented people in knowledge building, support sustainable development in the Arab world and encourage a culture of innovation.
Mawhiba offers enrichment programs in more than 20 scientific fields, including mechanical engineering, aviation, robots, electrical engineering, outer space and more.
Its students have won 456 international awards and 83 awards at the International Science and Engineering Fair, including 53 medals and certificates of appreciation awarded in 2021.