For Saudi students, KAUST program is just what the doctor ordered

Prof. Khaled Salama
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Updated 23 January 2020

For Saudi students, KAUST program is just what the doctor ordered

  • More than 200 KAUST students will take part in the program along with 1,500 participants from across Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi students will step into the future of health care at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s annual Winter Enrichment Program (WEP), which launched its 10th installation with a focus on personalized medicine.

The two-week program from Jan. 12-23 will feature distinguished speakers, and “will enrich our students’ exposure, thinking and mindset,”

KAUST President Tony Chan said.

Prof. Khaled Salama, co-chairman of the program, said: “We chose ‘Personalized Medicine’ as a theme because it’s where science, technology and medicine intersect. We’ve reached an evolutionary stage in this field where traditional medicine is no longer working.”

Around the world, there is a huge research on how to use technology and machine learning to help doctors improve quality of service, Salama said.

“That can be achieved by improving the treatment to give the required dosage at the right time to the right patient — people are different from each other, and one medicine might work for one individual but not another.”

Researchers are studying errors in cancer treatments and other diseases, and how to use technology to treat these ailments in a personalized way, allowing for genetic, geographical and environmental differences.

“If we can use this technology to solve one of the biggest challenges that humanity faces in health care, it will be helpful not only scientifically but also will serve humanity as a whole.”

More than 200 KAUST students will take part in the program along with 1,500 participants from across Saudi Arabia, including high school and university students, university professors, government officials and health researchers.

“This helps enrich the Kingdom, creating connections where people can write proposals, network and open discussion for further research,” Salama said.

“Through events such as this, a university like KAUST can access expertise offered by visiting researchers, who can teach us things, which in turn helps our leaders and professors figure out what KAUST needs to expand on,” said Salama.

The program will include workshops, sessions and interactive scientific experiments. Saudi biochemist Hussam Zawawi will have his film screened during WEP, based on a microbiology study carried out in Latin America.

The program is a requirement for graduation at KAUST, and is an “important ritual of enrichment,” Chan said.

Sessions and podcast discussions will be broadcast to audiences across the Kingdom and the world on the university website.

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Abdulrahman Al-Asim appointed CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Libraries Authority

Updated 27 February 2020

Abdulrahman Al-Asim appointed CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Libraries Authority

  • The Libraries Authority is one of 11 new bodies launched by the Ministry of Culture

RIYADH: Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan on Wednesday appointed Abdulrahman Al-Asim as CEO of the Libraries Authority, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al-Asim will be responsible for the development of the libraries sector with all the related systems, staff and infrastructure.

The authority’s role will include setting a strategy for the libraries sector, following up on its implementation after it is approved by the Ministry of Culture, establishing regulations and standards for the sector, and coordinating with the authorities to promote reading by developing the library environment and enhancing its services.

Al-Asim served the cultural sector in previous periods through managing book fairs and his relationship with the reading society in the Kingdom. He is currently the manager of the Riyadh International Bookfair. The authority will be the official body that issues licenses for relevant activities. It will also build a database for the libraries sector, encourage financing and investment, organize conferences and events, and provide professional training programs for those interested in the field.

The Libraries Authority is one of 11 new bodies launched by the Ministry of Culture to oversee cultural sectors in the Kingdom.