Education is a vital component of the Kingdom’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. We concentrate our efforts on helping develop the next generation of innovators by focusing on the development of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills in the nation’s youth, laying the foundations for a more innovative and prosperous society.
In addition, we seek to widen intellectual curiosity and cross-cultural awareness, which are also important foundation stones for building an economy based on knowledge and innovation.
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture
Soaring high above the low desert hills near the site of the first commercial oil discovery in the Kingdom is a new source of energy: the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. By fostering a culture of intellectual curiosity and a love of learning, the Center will help shape the next generation of Saudi talent and spur economic and social development through knowledge, creativity and culture.
The Center will host a variety of multidisciplinary educational programs designed to instill a creative ethos and a thirst for learning and knowledge. The Keystone component, for example, is an idea incubator and entrepreneurship hub. A suite of programs within the iThra (Arabic for “enrichment”) Youth initiative engages students and educators across the Kingdom in hands-on learning experiences.
Home to Saudi Arabia’s first-ever children’s museum, galleries for natural science and Islamic culture, and a library, the Center stands at the heart of a cultural park that also features a new Energy Science Center, extensive gardens, and a mosque.
iDiscover Knowledge Incubator
The iDiscover Knowledge Incubator represents the evolution of our successful iDiscover Program, which toured nine cities in 2013-2014 and provided new math and science teaching techniques to 2,000 teachers.
Operating after school hours in the Eastern Province, al-Baha and Tabuk, and envisioned as permanent training labs for male and female students and teachers, the knowledge incubators delivered interactive math and science content developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Math Zoom Academy.
In all, iDiscover has reached 15,500 students in 12 cities across the Kingdom and delivered more than half a million learning hours.
iThra Youth and iSpark
Our suite of iThra Youth programs have reached thousands of young people around the Kingdom, helping the next generation master the skills required to innovate and contribute to the country’s scientific and economic development.
The iSpark program, which offers hands-on workshops in advanced technology, science, and multimedia for ninth and 10th graders, reached over 10,000 students across four regions in 2015. Overall, iSpark has reached 53,000 students and delivered more than one million hours of learning content.
King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC)
We have completed construction of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), an international research and policy center investigating issues related to energy economics, the environment and policy studies.
The residential community received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification — the first of its kind outside of North America and one of a kind in terms of size — reflecting our intent to lead by example in improving the energy efficiency performance of the housing industry.
KAPSARC is positioned to become a foundation for the Kingdom’s research and innovation ecosystem and accelerate its drive to become a leader in developing energy solutions.
Women Development Program
In 2015, for the second consecutive year, our Women Development Program convened more than 350 female university students and faculty members from across the Kingdom for a full-day seminar focused on transitioning from university to the professional workforce. We also hosted a two-day university collaboration forum — the first of its kind — for more than 220 women from 30 universities across the Kingdom to discuss opportunities in our workforce.
Our Female Universities Outreach Program conducted a series of seminars to help bridge the gap between university life and work, reaching more than 4,600 students, including more than 3,200 at Taibah University.