Misk offers Saudi students chance to enroll in top global universities

06/10/19

  • Applications are open until Nov. 9, and this includes providing reference letters and TOEFL iBT results

RIYADH: The Initiatives Center at the Mohammed bin Salman Charitable Foundation (Misk), represented by the Fellowship and Traineeship Initiative, has reopened applications for the College Prep Program, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.
The program seeks to meet the aspirations of students who wish to enroll in one of the world’s top universities. It offers an intensive preparation program carried out throughout secondary school years.
The program aims to improve students’ chances of receiving offers at some of the world’s top universities, including Columbia and Stanford in the US and Oxford and Cambridge in the UK.
Students are enrolled in a series of intensive programs that prepare them in terms of character-building and enabling them to pass safely toward university education and start a productive academic life.
The first stage of the College Prep Program targets grade 10 students. During the summer vacation of their first year as secondary students, they are enrolled in a training program that simulates the future academic experience in one of the world’s prestigious universities. It runs for seven weeks, during which students live a typical university life and engage in many academic activities.

HIGHLIGHT

Misk’s Fellowship and Traineeship initiative has over 70 partnerships with international and local universities, institutes and organizations. It offers preparation programs in various fields, benefitting more than 9,000 young men and women in the Kingdom.

In the summer of the second year, students join a series of training courses aimed at improving their academic skills and helping them overcome the obstacles they may face when applying to one of their target universities. During this stage, academic advisers prepare students to sit for a series of university entrance tests, train them to write personal statements and help them choose universities in line with their interests.
In the final stage, the program assigns an adviser to each student to help them apply to the target universities and choose a course upon graduating from secondary school.
There is a set of requirements for enrolling in the College Prep Program, including attending the first year of secondary school (grade 10) this academic year (2019-2020), graduating intermediate school with a total average of at least 90 percent, and the ability to speak and write in English.
Applications are open until Nov. 9, and this includes providing reference letters and TOEFL iBT results. Candidates are selected after attending an interview, and results will be announced in January 2020.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Misk Academy launches 14 programs to train young Saudis

02/09/19

Over 1,900 people ready to develop skills in digital world
RIYADH: The Misk Academy, part of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk), has launched the third round of the Misk Udacity Program, in partnership with Udacity which aims to develop and build skills in the digital world.

Over 6,000 people have applied to the program, with 1,966 accepted to 14 online programs in programming, data, digital marketing and artificial intelligence.

In addition to the online course, students based in Riyadh and Makkah will attend a weekly session with their trainer, with seminars also being held at other locations across the country, in other areas, in order to initiate debates about the subjects and review contents and ideas raised.

The Misk Udacity Program is considered a proactive step to develop technological pioneers’ skills in the Kingdom.

HIGHLIGHTS
• The Misk Udacity Program is considered a proactive step to develop technological pioneers’ skills in the Kingdom.

• It aims to build and raise the knowledge and technical skills of Saudi job seekers, and also aims to develop their employability in the data and technology sector.

It aims to build and raise the knowledge and technical skills of Saudi job seekers, and also aims to develop their employability in the data and technology sector.

The program reflects Misk’s academic methodology which aims to present a comprehensive educational system that starts with training and ends with empowering graduates to become successful in the job market and compete at an international levels; 65 percent of graduates achieve progress in their career six months after the end of the program.

Misk is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and providing opportunities for the Kingdom’s youth and leading them to a bright future through Vision 2030 in transforming and diversifying the Saudi economy.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Hajj Ministry, Misk launch program for volunteers to serve pilgrims

Time: July 24, 2019  

1 / 2
The program encourages the culture of voluntary work and gives individuals greater space to participate in charitable work. (SPA/Photo)
  • It aims to raise the level of volunteer performance in providing a professional service and high-quality practice

RIYADH: The Initiative Center at the Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk Foundation) has launched a program to prepare volunteers for the Hajj season in 2019, in cooperation with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

The program, called Misk Al-Mashair, which launched its first workshop in Jeddah, encourages the culture of voluntary work and gives individuals greater space to participate in charitable work.

The program includes workshops in Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif, Dammam, Alkhobar, Jazan, Al-Jouf, Al-Ahsa, Abha, Tabuk and Qassim, as well as other cities across the Kingdom. The one-day program is attended by volunteers to learn about volunteering in Hajj.

The workshop includes an introduction to dealing with emergencies, problem-solving, communication skills, dealing with pilgrims of different cultures, working together in crowd management, and the ethics and values of voluntary work, all linked to the honor and value of participating during Hajj.

Thousands of registered volunteers and several other official bodies are taking part in the training program through the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Health, and the Directorate of Civil Defense to unify efforts to support young volunteers, improve the quality of services provided and benefit from the expertise provided by the program.


IN NUMBERS

673,000 – The number of pilgrims who have arrived in the Kingdom since the start of the current Hajj season.

650,000 – pilgrims came by air.

15,000 – pilgrims entered by land.

7,735 – pilgrims arrived by sea.


Through this program, the Initiative Center aims to raise the level of volunteer performance in providing a professional service and high-quality practices that reflect positively on pilgrims and contribute to improving their experience in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 to promote volunteering and increase the contribution of Saudi youth volunteers in the service of their community and their country.

Volunteer work in this initiative is centered on the reception of pilgrims, guidance, translation, medical volunteering, honoring the elderly, helping people with disabilities and volunteering to monitor and document the feelings and attitudes of the pilgrims.

So far, the number of pilgrims who have arrived in the Kingdom since the start of the current Hajj season has reached 673,104, according to statistics issued by Saudi General Directorate of Passports. Most pilgrims — 650,294 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 15,075 entered by land and 7,735 arrived by sea, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

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Dr. Badr Al-Bader, CEO of the Misk Foundation

Time: July 23, 2019  

Misk Foundation CEO Dr. Badr Al-Bader

Dr. Badr Al-Bader was appointed CEO of the Misk Foundation on Monday.

The charity was founded in 2011 by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to develop youths’ leadership skills, and to focus on education, technology, media and culture to empower society through knowledge according to the best international standards.

Al-Bader thanked the crown prince for his appointment as CEO, saying it is a huge responsibility.

Al-Bader received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Dhahran, and holds a master’s and a Ph.D. in the same field from Washington University.

He has participated in leadership programs at several universities such as Oxford, Cornell and George Washington.

Al-Bader has founded several companies, and was CEO of Dur Hospitality Co., where he led its transformation and launched its expansion strategy.

He was also managing director of CISCO Systems in Saudi Arabia for two years, before occupying the same role for Asia and Africa.

He was a member of a number of committees in chambers of commerce and industry, a member of the board of trustees of the Prince Salman Prize for Young Entrepreneurs, and a member of the advisory board of the faculty of business administration at King Faisal University, and of the faculty of information technology at KFUPM.

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Misk’s Manga Productions opens branch in Tokyo

Time: July 02, 2019  

1 / 2
The Tokyo branch will encourage joint collaboration with Japanese creative entities in the industry. (SPA)
  • The Tokyo branch will encourage joint collaboration with Japanese creative entities in the industry

RIYADH: Manga Productions, an affiliated company of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Misk Foundation, has opened a branch in Tokyo, a move that reflects the company’s international growth as well as its successful Japanese partnerships in recent years.
The opening of the branch on June 28 was followed by the signing of memorandums of understanding between Manga Productions and Kadokawa Corp., Tokyo University of Technology, Mizuho Bank, and Misk Foundation’s Initiatives Center.
Badr bin Mohammed Al-Asaker, chairman of Manga Productions, said that strong Saudi-Japanese relations over decades “allow us to maintain, encourage and stimulate an environment suitable for cooperation in various fields, especially creative ones.”
The Tokyo branch will encourage joint collaboration with Japanese creative entities in the industry, he said.

“It will also reinforce our partnerships in Japan offering creative production and training programs for youth in gaming and animation,” Al-Asaker said.

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GEA and Misk launch ‘Entertainment Pioneers’ program

Time: June 26, 2019  

RIYADH: The General Authority for Entertainment (GEA) launched its “Entertainment Pioneers” program, in partnership with the Initiatives Center at the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation (Misk).

The program aims to prepare citizens, and especially fresh graduates, to work with the most renowned international companies in the field of entertainment, to gain experience, develop their skills in the field, and enable them to integrate this sector and contribute to its development and prosperity.

The program is part of GEA’s strategy to develop the sector of entertainment in accordance with the best international standards, and to provide it with qualified national competencies in this field, to meet the objectives of the Quality of Life program, a basic part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

The first stage of the program will kick off in collaboration with a leading American entertainment company that employs 44,000 people worldwide, and that has a record of more than 30,000 entertainment programs and 100 festivals, with its sales surpassing of 500 million tickets per year.

In addition, various international companies are participating in the event, in order to train Saudis in the tasks of planning, organization and management of entertainment programs and projects.

As part of its plans to develop and increase the size of local content in the entertainment sector, GEA is launching several other initiatives to train Saudi cadres develop their skills, and to integrate the job market especially in small and medium enterprises in the field of entertainment.

For registration a webpage was set on the link: https://misk.org.sa/fellowship/services/live-nation/

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Misk Foundation participates in Youth 20 Summit

Time: June 25, 2019  

The Youth 20 Summit (Y20) is a global youth conference bringing together young experts from the G20 to discuss global youth issues. (Twitter)
  • The center also organized a workshop for young ambassadors from the G20 countries, which reviewed “Future of Work” research

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, represented by the Initiatives Center at the Misk Foundation, participated in the Youth 20 Summit (Y20) in Tokyo.
It adopted recommendations to be presented to G20 leaders meeting in Japan at the end of June, after agreeing on the development of three main areas including global trade, environment and business, and future work.
The Youth 20 Summit (Y20) is a global youth conference bringing together young experts from the G20 to discuss global youth issues through several proposed policies for G20 leaders.
The Initiative Center at Misk Foundation selected four young men and women representing civil society in the Kingdom to participate in the summit, where the sessions witnessed the consensus of all participants on the importance of developing these fields according to scientific and technical developments.
The center also organized a workshop for young ambassadors from the G20 countries, which reviewed “Future of Work” research.

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Misk Schools introduce artificial intelligence into Saudi classrooms

 Time: April 18, 2019  

Misk Schools will revolutionize learning with the aid of the world’s most pioneering classroom technology, while empowering teachers to deliver an even stronger education. (Misk Schools photo)
  • Misk Schools is the first school in Saudi Arabia to adopt AI
  • It seems that we will reap the fruits of Saudi Vision earlier than expected: Saleh Al-Ghamdi

JEDDAH: Saudi students will soon be learning with the aid of artificial intelligence, as Riyadh’s leading Misk Schools become the first in the country to introduce AI into the classroom.

From this September, students at Misk Schools will learn through and be assessed by artificial intelligence, providing a personalized education for each child and giving teachers greater insights into their performance. The school will use CENTURY, an award-winning teaching and learning platform that uses AI to adapt learning to each student’s individual strengths, weaknesses, behaviors and habits.

Founded by Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s Misk Foundation, Misk Schools is a state-of-the-art day school in Riyadh offering a new paradigm in education based on the best practices of international and progressive education.

Misk Schools says that the move will ensure that students are learning with the aid of the world’s most pioneering classroom technology, while empowering teachers to deliver an even stronger education.

Artificial intelligence — where machines are programmed to perform tasks traditionally associated with humans — is transforming education across the world. It is used to tailor learning to each student, while freeing teachers’ time to teach by automating admin tasks such as marking and planning. It also provides them with extensive data on each child’s performance, allowing for more effective targeted interventions to support or stretch students.

While Misk Schools is the first school in Saudi Arabia to adopt AI, the Middle East is leading the way internationally in using AI and technology to improve education.

Director General of Misk Schools Peter Hamilton said that they were excited to be partnering with CENTURY as its breaks new ground in ways to embed technology to transform the learning experience for students. “We seek to both support and challenge our learners, and by partnering with CENTURY we will empower our students to take ownership of their learning. Moreover, CENTURY will allow our teachers to have better insight into the daily work of each student, and to better plan future work in the classroom.” Hamilton said.

Founder and CEO of CENTURY Tech Priya Lakhani said: “AI is transforming schools across the world by providing a more personalized education to students, while simultaneously empowering teachers with precise data so that they can perform even better as educators.

“AI is the only way we can move from the failed, outdated ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to ‘one-size-fits-one.’ It allows each student to learn at their own pace, with lessons and tests tailored to maximize their strengths and rapidly address their weaknesses,” she said.

“I am delighted to welcome Misk Schools to the CENTURY family. From children in leading independent schools to Syrian refugees in the Middle East, CENTURY is being used across the world to improve the lives of children and young adults from all backgrounds.”

Saleh Al-Ghamdi, an English language teacher, told Arab News that introducing AI into classrooms was a major leap forward in the Saudi education system.

“It seems that we will earlier than expected reap the fruits of the promising Saudi Vision before 2030 falls. It is an important step that will entirely change education in Saudi Arabia. I see the step as a road map to a bright education future,” Al-Ghamdi said.

He added that Saudi Arabia is looking forward to putting its citizens on the path toward first-world countries. “Introducing AI in our schools is one of the ways that can significantly help in achieving our Vision 2030 goals. It is true that this process may require big efforts, but with determination nothing is impossible,” Al-Ghamdi said.

Introducing AI in schools would greatly help students to feel successful and educators more productive. “It will also assist in promoting active learning and deeper engagement. What is more, it will make educators’ jobs more focused and much easier,” he said.

Al-Ghamdi said that some teachers might fear that the introduction of AI in education would threaten their jobs, but “the truth is that this revolution in education will hopefully make robots and computer programs and technology, in general, a supporting element to their indispensable profession,” he said.

Research involving more than 11,000 students using CENTURY showed that the platform improves understanding of a topic by an average of 30 percent. It also frees teachers from admin tasks such as marking and planning — saving an average of six hours a week and allowing them to focus on teaching itself.

Last month CENTURY Tech agreed a landmark agreement with the Belgium government. As a leading teaching and learning platform that uses artificial intelligence in its design, CENTURY Tech is rapidly spreading across the world, from English independent schools to schools in Lebanon educating large numbers of Syrian refugees.

This article was first published in Arab News

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TheFace: Jana Yamani, trainer with Misk Foundation

Time: April 12, 2019  

Jana Yamani and her children. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)

Life is not a race to see who achieves more. It is a marathon in which you try to outpace and outgrow the version of yourself from yesterday. Every single day.

When I was a young girl growing up in Saudi Arabia, my parents cultivated in me a strong passion for science, technology and constant learning. My father, a Harvard-trained nuclear physicist, would share with me the latest articles from scientific journals and explain to us over our daily family dinner the latest scientific discoveries from around the world. My mother would spend hours with us each day going over schoolwork and encouraging us to read books from outside our curriculum — proving to me that learning is not something that is tied to degrees or institutions, it is a lifelong mindset.

Upon graduating from high school I earned ninth place in the national academic standings. I went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University, double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. I was class summa cum laude, the highest honor in a US academic institution. During my four years of study, I completed a co-op at Microsoft Corporation’s headquarters and worked on two research projects, one of which won the university’s Best Undergraduate Research award.

I got married during my late teens and gave birth to our first child, Leen, soon after I graduated. Motherhood was, and still is, my biggest challenge. Although I took a year and a half off to take care of my daughter, I still felt she deserved more of my time and attention; concurrently, I felt the need to develop and invest in myself. This led me to apply to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I was accepted by the computational science master’s program.

I moved to the US and was a single mother during the two years I spent at MIT, while my husband supported us from Saudi Arabia. The motherly feeling of guilt continued and I discovered later that more than 60 percent of working mothers feel the same. In fact, woman should be encouraged to work, as research shows that the children of working moms have higher chances of success in their professional lives.

I was blessed with three other kids after Leen. Each of them came at a different stage in my career. Salman, my second-eldest, was born soon after I graduated from MIT and before I started work for management consulting firm McKinsey. A consulting career and two toddlers to take care of left me with no free time at all. Frankly, what I learned in the year and half I spent there was more than I had learned during many years previously.

When my husband was relocated by his employer to Mountain View, California, it gave me an opportunity to develop my consulting skills in the Silicon Valley ecosystem, so I joined Medallia, a unicorn technology company that builds customer experience solutions for some of the world’s top brands, including Apple, IBM, Adidas and Four Seasons. I gave birth to my third child, Badr, during this time.

As Saudi Arabia began to embark on a journey of massive transformation, my husband and I felt the urge to be part of that change and so we decided to return to the Kingdom.

As soon as we got back, we realized there was an abundance of opportunities. I noticed a clear gap in the market for the supply for high-quality art and culture programs, so I took matters into my own hands and organized Saudi Arabia’s first international classical-music event. We used the proceedings from that to fund a scholarship program in one of the top five music schools in Europe for 20 Saudi musicians. That was the kind of change I wanted to be part of.

I was then approached to join Misk Foundation to do similar things across a number of sectors for many more young people. The goal is to build the next generation of leaders, innovators and creators in our beloved country. We have trained more than 30,000 youths as part of our program, and I have come to believe that we have extremely talented and ambitious young people who are passionate about realizing the Saudi Vision 2030. They merely need to be guided and exposed to opportunities so that they can transform their passions into action. •

This article was first published in Arab News

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MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program

25/03/19

  • Interns will work on entertainment mega-project
  • Program open to university seniors and new graduates

RIYADH: A new internship program for young Saudis has been launched in the Kingdom, following a partnership between Misk Foundation and the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).

The program runs from June 16 to Aug. 31, 2019, and provides an opportunity for university seniors and recent graduates to be part of Qiddiya, an entertainment mega-project located 40 minutes from Riyadh.

Interns will have the chance to work at Qiddiya’s corporate offices alongside professionals from around the world and will be placed across 12 departments.

They will learn and develop skills that are required to succeed in their professional lives.

They will also gain exposure to QIC’s culture and learn from executives with over 20 years of experience across several sectors.

QIC CEO Mike Reininger said: “We are contributing directly to the Saudi Vision (2030 reform plan) by creating a richer lifestyle for Saudi citizens while spurring innovation in the creative, hospitality and entertainment sectors. This unique opportunity allows students and fresh graduates to experience what it takes to be part of the change in Saudi by giving them the chance to work alongside a group of both local and international seasoned professionals. Thanks to this partnership with MiSK, we will be training the next generation of industry leaders.”

Application to the program is open for those with fewer than two years of professional experience. Candidates must show strong academic credentials and submit a short video as part of their application.

King Salman led the Qiddiya ground-breaking ceremony in front of a global audience last April.

The project is aimed at helping to stem the $30 billion a year which Saudis currently spend abroad on tourism, and has the backing of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.

It targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s preeminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination.

It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq. km.

This article was first published in  Arab News

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