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FaceOf: Deemah Al-Yahya, executive manager of Misk Innovation

Time: February 12, 2019  

Deemah Al-Yahya
  • Specializing in digital transformation, digital economy, and literacy skills, Al-Yahya serves to develop an innovative ecosystem that enables Saudi talent to thrive
  • Al-Yahya obtained her bachelor’s degree from King Saud University

Deemah Al-Yahya is the executive manager of Misk Innovation, which is part of Misk Foundation.

Specializing in digital transformation, digital economy, and literacy skills, Al-Yahya serves to develop an innovative ecosystem that enables Saudi talent to thrive through the development of entrepreneurial and tech businesses and communities.

On Saturday, the Misk Foundation celebrated the completion of the second edition of Saudi Codes at an event in Riyadh. 1,025,971 participants ranging from ages eight through 65, 53 percent of which consisted of women, completed courses in the MakeCode, JavaScript, and Python programming languages.

The courses were available in 192 provinces, cities and villages across Saudi Arabia, as well as to Arabic-speaking participants in 139 countries worldwide.

Saudi Codes is a partnership between Misk, the Saudi Ministry of Education, the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Saudi Telecom Co. It is an educational initiative designed to teach people computer programming in an accessible and relevant way.

Speaking at the event, Al-Yahya welcomed the collaboration between different sectors, saying: “This partnership has brought new skills and opportunities to a wider array of people than ever before.”

Al-Yahya obtained her bachelor’s degree from King Saud University, after which she obtained her master’s degree from INSEAD. Currently, Al-Yahya is pursuing her Ph.D. at Harvard Business School.

Along with her work with Misk Foundation, Al-Yahya is a member of the Global Future Council for Digital Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum, a member to the advisory board at STC Academy, and a member of the board of directors of the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security and Programming.

This article was first published in Arab News

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‘Saudi Codes’ attracts over 1 million participants

Time: February 10, 2019  

  • The second “Saudi Codes” event taught 1,025,971 Arabic speakers in Saudi Arabia and 139 other countries how to code in three programming languages: JavaScript, Python and MakeCode

JEDDAH: The Misk Foundation — a nonprofit charity established by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — celebrated the completion of the second “Saudi Codes” at an event in Riyadh on Saturday.
Saudi Codes is a partnership between Misk, the Saudi Education Ministry, the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Saudi Telecom Co. (STC). It is an educational initiative designed to teach people computer programming in an accessible and relevant way. The second “Saudi Codes” event taught 1,025,971 Arabic speakers in Saudi Arabia and 139 other countries how to code in three programming languages: JavaScript, Python and MakeCode.
The courses were made available online and through a series of roadshows across the Kingdom, and consisted of four elements.
The daylong celebrations at Al-Raidah Digital City saw 60 coders participate in an “Ideathon” to develop solutions for improving lifestyles in the Kingdom. The winners of this final challenge were announced in an evening ceremony.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Sawaha and the chairman of the board of the Misk Initiatives Center, Bader Al-Asaker, attended the event, along with representatives from partner organizations.
Deemah Al-Yahya, executive manager of Misk Innovation, the foundation’s training initiative, welcomed this collaboration between sectors.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Misk Innovation partners with 500 Startups to encourage entrepreneurism

Time: January 28, 2019

Around 500 applicants of young MENA-based companies have applied for the program, 21 of which were selected to start the program. (Misk Innovation Twitter account)
  • Misk Innovation has previously signed the partnership with 500Startups which has contributed in establishing 2,000 new companies in 60 countries

JEDDAH: Misk Innovation has announced that it is partnering with 500 Startups to launch an accelerator program for entrepreneurs.

The program, starting on January 27, 2019, will work on encouraging innovative ideas to help create jobs and raise the contribution of entrepreneurship to GDP, a statement on the Saudi Press Agency has said.

Around 500 applicants of young MENA-based companies have applied for the program, 21 of which were selected to start the program, and move forward with their emerging companies into the global business community.

The internet-based mobile travel app Mosafir is also a partner in the program to facilitate traveling.

Misk Innovations has previously signed the partnership with 500Startups which has contributed throughout 8 years in establishing 2,000 new companies in 60 countries around the world.

The agreement offers an important chance where both parties work on creating a stimulating environment for entrepreneurship.

Speaking on the occasion, Misk Innovation Executive Director Dima Al-Yehia stressed that the program is a real beginning to discover promising young talent that can lead companies capable of strengthening the economy of the future.

On his part, Essam Bin Saleh Al Dhokair, Deputy Governor of 500 Startups: “We are working in establishments to prepare, implement and support programs and projects to spread the culture and thought of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial spirit, entrepreneurship and innovation.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Misk Forum to hold panel discussion

Time: January 22, 2019  

Riyadh — Misk Global Forum of Misk Initiatives Center of Prince Muhammad Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz “Misk” is participating in the four-day Davos Economic Forum 2019 which started on Tuesday.

The participation includes highlighting Global Misk Forum’s goals and trends by holding panel discussions and an independent and integrated pavilion showcasing Saudi culture and providing an exchange of ideas among young business leaders.

The discussion session will be held on Friday under the title “Architects of Future Economy.”

It will discuss the role that youth can play in building a better economic reality in the light of globalization. Discussions will also be held on entrepreneurship as a way to encourage youth-led new solutions and ideas to face challenges in education and employment.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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Sabic backs youth empowerment at MiSK forum

Time: November 23, 2018   

Sabic a Saudi diversified manufacturing company participated as an exclusive innovation and knowledge partner in the recently concluded MiSK forum in support of youth empowerment in Riyadh. Sabic joined…

Sabic, a Saudi diversified manufacturing company, participated as an exclusive innovation and knowledge partner in the recently concluded MiSK forum in support of youth empowerment in Riyadh.

Sabic joined global leaders, representatives from the public and private sectors, international and local media, and thousands of students from Saudi Arabia and around the world in support of redefining what young people must do to future-proof themselves with 21st century skills.

The MiSK Global Forum is an ongoing platform that brings young leaders, creators and thinkers together with established global innovators to explore experience and experiment with ways to meet the challenge of change. The theme of this year’s MiSK Global Forum was “The Skills for our Tomorrow” and focused on 5 key skills—novel thinking, social intelligence, judgment & decision-making, adaptability & resilience and initiative & self-direction.

Abdulaziz Al-Oudan, executive vice president, Corporate Human Resources, Sabic, participating at a Future Global Skills Panel said: “Sabic’s transformation in workforce development is advancing Vision 2030 objectives through its focus on preparing the next generations with the right skills for the future. We want to ensure that they are not only able to compete in an evolving job market, but to solidify their place as an essential part of it.”

“Sabic is an industry leader whose success rests on the shoulders of its employees. We are dedicated to creating a positive and lasting impact around the subjects of novel thinking and adjusting to the human-machine partnership while inspiring one another to continue to develop competencies for tomorrow,” he added.

During the Forum Sabic signs MOU with the MiSK Foundation in an effort to spearhead cooperation to continue to elevate levels of education, innovation and environmental sustainability. The collaboration underscores Sabic’s commitment to social responsibility for Saudi citizens in general and the youth sector in particular, driving and enabling the right mix of skills for a better tomorrow.

Sabic Also took part in the Lab Experience portion of the forum where Saudi students showcased the prototypes they built as part of the Sabic Summer Innovation Program. In total, Saudi students created 123 innovative projects in areas ranging from mobile applications to renewable energy and smart home systems (IOT). This is one example of how Sabic is providing opportunities to stimulate constructive communication among inventors and innovators in the Kingdom and how it is preparing future scientists and business leaders to ascend the value chain.

This article was first published in Arabian Business Community

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Misk forum connects global youth

Time: November 16, 2018   

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High-tech passes allow participants to connect and swap contact details at the touch of a button.
  • It was the old-fashioned, face-to-face connections that many delegates said they valued the most
  • More than 3,500 delegates received insights from more than 50 speakers from around the world

Young leaders, entrepreneurs, students and inventors mingled in innovative ways at the Misk Global Forum, with name tags that sent delegates’ connections to an app at the press of a flashing button.

But at the end of the day it was the old-fashioned, face-to-face connections that many delegates said they valued the most.

IN PICTURES: View the Third annual Misk Global Forum in Riyadh photo gallery

“I’m seeing people from all over the world gathered here in Riyadh, which has become the center of opportunities,” said Jomana Khoj, a 26-year-old animator from Makkah, before the forum wrapped up on Thursday.

“Thanks, Misk, for helping us, the youth, gather here and connect with other youth from around the world.”

The forum included “Skills Garages,” workshop spaces with whiteboard tables that could be written on during group brainstorms, with sessions on “The Art of Persuasion” and “Landing Your Dream Tech Job.”

Top left: Paintings displayed in a 360-degree fashion. Bottom left: Participants had a chance to learn about every aspect of the Misk Foundation’s work. Right: Young people exploring their skills, potential and passions during workshops.

The workshop spaces served as a hub for visitors from North America, Africa, Asia and Europe, with many attendees commending the amount of innovation the forum provided.

“I feel this year’s content is well chosen,” said Faisal Al-Sudairy, a 24-year-old participant. “We really need to prepare ourselves for the future, especially in this fast-changing era, and to know more about what skills we should acquire.”

The workshops catered to developing youths’ skills for the future economy. More than 3,500 delegates received insights from more than 50 speakers from around the world.

It was the third annual forum organized by the Misk Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded in 2011 by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In the main hall, called the “Skills Factory,” Thursday’s opening session included a speech by Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, the UAE’s minister of state for higher education and advanced skills.

“Misk Majlis,” another designated area, provided a relaxed and informal setting that focused on helping delegates build their personal brands. Traditional floor cushions and couches represented traditional Arab social gatherings.

In the majlis, Misk Innovation held a talk to publicize its new brand and partnership with the Silicon Valley venture capital firm 500 Startups.

The accelerator program for tech startups in the Middle East and North Africa will last 16 weeks starting from Jan. 27, 2019. Applications close on Dec. 15.

The Misk Art area introduced visitors to works by many renowned Saudi artists, such as Taha Sabban and Safia bin Zager.

The vibrant hall displayed a large image of a sophisticated woman from Hijaz wearing the traditional Hijazi headdress and sitting on a beautiful ornamental wooden chair well known in the Saudi region. The image provided a transcendence between the past and present.

The Misk Art Institute had a unique section at the forum that was divided into two rooms. One was to showcase paintings and drawings of four pioneering Saudi artists.

The other room had huge LED screens that gave people a 360-degree experience. The screens displayed paintings in an interactive way and synchronized with tailored music.

The halls were lined with inspirational quotes and the faces of well-known figures. It should come as no surprise that the most popular one was of Misk’s founder, with delegates taking selfies alongside the crown prince’s smiling face.

 

This article was first published in Arab News

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Misk Global Forum: Panelists spoke about future skills, AI and social intelligence on the first day

Time: November 15, 2018      

Youth empowerment was a key topic at the forum. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)
  • Princesses and politicians, entrepreneurs, an Olympian and football legend joined forces to power a skills revolution

“What does the future look like, in a world where everything is changing?” This question rang out as a video montage played at the “Skills for Our Tomorrow” Misk Global Forum on Wednesday.

From the vantage point of  the third annual forum in Riyadh, the future buzzed with possibilities as more than 3,500 delegates were treated to sessions with political ministers, princesses, inventors, entrepreneurs and athletes. They had all assembled to share their vision of what is needed to deliver the skills that will be needed in future.

Weam Al-Dakheel, the first woman to anchor the main evening news on Saudi Arabian TV, introduced the forum’s executive manager Shaima Hamidaddin. “We want you to be inspired, not just by our speakers, but by your fellow guests,” said Hamidaddin, as she welcomed delegates.

Hamidaddin asked for a show of hands from different parts of the world, showing that there were delegates from every continent except Antarctica — the forum would work on that for next year, she promised. She then asked for a show of hands for those under the age of 35 to demonstrate that this was the youngest Misk Global Forum yet.

She added that thanks to technology, we are already more connected than ever before, but urged people to interact with the speakers and guests from different cultures. “We must seize the opportunity for uniquely human collaboration,” she said.

As the moderator of the first session, “It’s All About Skills,” Arab News’ editor in chief Faisal J. Abbas began by holding up the morning’s newspaper: “Two years ago people used to read the news like this,” he said.

But as he pointed out, the news industry has changed drastically, with digitally connected audiences increasingly using online platforms such as Twitter.

With media tweeting out his comments, Abbas introduced his guests: Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, the Kingdom’s minister of labor and social development; Shaima Hamidaddin; Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka, the UN Secretary-General’s envoy on youth and Sue Siegel, chief innovation officer for General Electric.

Abbas asked Al-Rajhi how the government was tackling the challenge of finding jobs for young people. “With Vision 2030 programs … we have a lot of initiatives and there is potential,” the minister said. “We all need to work together and collaborate with the education system, employers who create the jobs and the ministry to give a clear direction of where we are going today.”

Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas hosted a panel on skills. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)

Asked whether job creation is considered to be an issue worldwide, the UN youth envoy said: “It is not a national or regional issue but a global one: Our world is younger than it has ever been before.”

Wickramanayake said that by 2030, South Asia and Africa will supply 60 percent of the world’s workforce. “We have a large majority of young people who are working but still live in poverty,” she said, adding it is important to invest in them. “If we are serious then this is the time to make those investments to be productive citizens and employees and employers.”

A group that has been making just this sort of investment in Saudi Arabia is the forum’s organizer, the Misk Foundation, which. was founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2011.

Abbas asked the question that is on everyone’s minds these days: Are machines going to take our jobs? Siegel answered that while everybody looks at artificial intelligence and has this fear, actually AI will create new jobs and be used for more mundane tasks.

AI was the topic of another session later in the day. Julia Glidden, general manager, global government industry for IBM Corporation in the US, said it is really important to know what AI is not. “It comes back to you and what you bring to your societies, which is your humanity, your passion, your vision and creativity, because machines will never replace that,” she said.

Another panel on the topic of social intelligence stressed that technology could sometimes hinder people from interacting with the world around them.  Adeeb Alblooshi, the UAE’s youngest inventor, said it is important to develop social intelligence.

He advised young people: “You have to start simple by understanding little things people do and that’s how you can gain experience. You don’t need to have the best equipment and the latest technology to develop. Just don’t give up … always have faith.”

Princess Reema bint Bandar, deputy of planning and development at the Saudi General Sport Authority. (Basher Saleh/Arab News)

The day wasn’t just about skills and intelligence. Athletes led the afternoon sessions, including a panel on the Future of Sport moderated by Princess Reema bint Bandar, deputy of planning and development at the Saudi General Sport Authority.

Lubna Al-Omair, the first Saudi female Olympic fencer, interviewed Amir Khan, the Olympic medalist and light-welterweight world champion, who appeared wearing traditional Saudi clothes. He said that he hoped to help the next generation of Saudi boxers to become Olympic champions, and the only way to do this is by opening academies here.

British boxing legend Amir Khan. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)

Khan said he believes there is a reason Saudis are good boxers: “Maybe it is in their blood — they are warriors.”

Winding up the day, Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho appeared on stage to a chorus of cheers and gave a talk entitled “The Discipline — and Fun — of Teamwork. ”

His advice for the audience? “Prepare yourself and help your colleague or team member,” he said. “Humility is important. Try to stay humble.”

He also said to train hard, read as much as you can and don’t fear failure. “I failed a lot of times,” he said. “Football is like that. You can’t always win. You have to seek lessons from the defeats and not lose hope.”

Now retired, Ronaldinho is more concerned with giving back. “After I stopped playing, I have soccer academies. That’s what I’m proud of, and it has given me pleasure. To give something back (as a) thanks to football and everything it has given me.”

The forum was continuing at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center on Thursday.

Brazilian soccer great Ronaldinho. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)

This article was first published in Arab News

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FaceOf: Shaima Hamidaddin, executive manager of the Misk Global Forum

Time: November 15, 2018      

Shaima Hamidaddin
  • Before joining Misk, Hamidaddin worked as the business development manager at King Salman Youth Center between 2012 and 2015
  • Hamidaddin said that the Misk foundation plays a complementary role by bridging gaps and working with partners to help equip young people with skills 

Shaima Hamidaddin has been the executive manager of the Misk Global Forum since its inception in 2016.

Hamidaddin is the first woman to work at the Misk Foundation, where she served as the business development manager between 2012 and 2016 before becoming the executive manager of the global unit. She joined the foundation in 2011.

Before joining Misk, Hamidaddin worked as the business development manager at King Salman Youth Center between 2012 and 2015.

She also worked as an assistant brand manager for two years at Al Safi Danone, a market leader in dairy products in Saudi Arabia and across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. She was also a business development executive at Bin Hendi Enterprises.

Hamidaddin holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Sharjah. She also attended the management acceleration program in business administration and management at INSEAD graduate business school.

The third annual Misk Global Forum, a two-day event, opened on Wednesday in Riyadh, with opening remarks by Hamidaddin.

“We want you to be inspired, not just by our speakers, but by your fellow guests,” Hamidaddin said. She said that people were already more globally connected than ever before through technology, but urged collaboration and interaction between speakers and guests from different cultures at the forum. “We must seize the opportunity for uniquely human collaboration,” she said.

Hamidaddin said that the Misk foundation plays a complementary role by bridging gaps and working with partners to help equip young people with skills.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Misk Foundation, NEOM join hands for training, internship

Time: November 15, 2018   

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — The Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (Misk) Foundation and NEOM Project signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the sideline of Misk Global Forum here on Thursday.

The two-day Forum, which is an annual event designed to bring young leaders, creators and thinkers together with established global innovators to explore, experience and experiment with ways to meet the challenge of change, concluded on Thursday.

The MoU was signed by Chairman of Misk Initiatives Center Bader Al-Assaker and Chief Executive Officer of NEOM Nadhmi Al-Nasr. Under the MoU, which will be in effect for three years, both parties are entitled to provide internship opportunities and a joint-training program targeting talented Saudis using Misk’s platforms and will initiate crowdsourcing programs for creating solutions to be implemented in future cities within NEOM.

As part of its effort seeking solutions for humanity’s future challenges, NEOM has identified 16 economic sectors that will create a sustainable economy. These sectors will not only create job opportunities but also unlock human innovation and creativity at all levels.

The 16 sectors are the future of energy, future of water, future of mobility, future of biotech, future of food, future of manufacturing, future of media, future of entertainment, culture and fashion, future of technological and digital sciences, future of tourism, future of sport, future of design and construction, future of services, future of health and well-being, future of education, and the future of livability as the foundation of all sectors.

Meanwhile, Misk Foundation announced plans to hold Entrepreneurship World Cup as its latest initiative to develop a largest group of next-generation entrepreneurs in the world.

This competition would be conducted, in collaboration with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), aiming to support more than 100,000 organizations and emerging companies every year.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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1st day of Misk Forum focuses on entrepreneurship, future skills, employment and global citizenship

Time: November 14, 2018   



Participants take photos next to a picture of Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, during the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday. — Reuters
First Saudi female Olympic fencer Lobna Al-Omair speaks with British professional boxer Amir Khan on the panel “What defines me”. Amir attended the session wearing the traditional Saudi attire. — SG


Neil Harbisson is a cyborg artist, who has created an app to allow people to hear the sound of colors. Harbisson’s built-in antenna has been mistaken for everything from a hands-free telephone and a GoPro camera to a Google Street View lens! — SG

Saudi Gazette report

Riyadh — The third edition of the Misk Global Forum opened here on Wednesday to a packed house with representations from more than 80 countries and with the participation of more than 3,500 delegates.

The two-day forum will have more than 60 sessions where audience will have the opportunity to listen to more than 100 world-renowned speakers.

The four main topics and areas of focus discussed on the first day of the forum were entrepreneurship, future skills, employment and global citizenship.

Addressing a plenary session on “What Skills will be needed in 20 years’ time?”, Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi said he believes adaptability and innovation is the key.

“Always try to be innovative, embrace the spirit of creativity and be adaptive to it,” he urged the youth.

Al-Rajhi said there is a ministerial committee, comprising five ministries of commerce, education, economy, civil service and labor, which discusses every two weeks the challenges and employment opportunities for the young people.

“Young people want to be part of an organization that will help them grow and create impact,” said Abdulaziz Al-Oudan, EVP of Corporate Human Resources at SABIC, discussing how workplaces need to change to appeal to young people.

“While IQ is important, EQ and PQ are even more crucial.” Fahad K. Al-Dhubaib, General Manager of Public Affairs at Saudi Aramco, leading a debate on the different types of skills needed for the future.

The top three skills one needs for networking, according to Laurent Bernard, VP of Talent Management at Steelcase, are: 1) you need to be patient; 2) you need to be authentic; 3) you need to listen.

The audience were pleasantly surprised to see British professional boxer Amir Khan talking to first Saudi female Olympic fencer Lobna Al-Omair attired in the tradition Saudi thobe and headgear.

In the panel “What defines me”, Amir said, “Boxing teaches you to be disciplined.”

One of the sessions explored what the widespread adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) means for jobs and the skills needed for the future.

“AI is an attempt to model aspects of human cognition,” said Stephen Lew, director of S. Lew & Co., opening the session on “AI – Your Frenemy?”

“AI is bringing fundamental changes to our society, and may even lead us to ask questions about our own identity in the future,” said Lew.

As a global policy-maker, AI is the best worst nightmare!” Lee Jaeyoung, President of KGMLab, Republic of Korea, on the huge challenges that AI brings at a government level.

Discussing the Future of Sports, Princess Reema Bint Bandar, deputy of planning and development at General Sports Authority, said, “The future of sports is bigger than the athlete; it’s about the community.”

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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