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Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

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No doubt about it; it is a historical moment for Saudi Arabia that just decided to go nuclear. A royal decree initiated the nuclear era for the Kingdom by announcing the establishment of King Abduallah Nuclear and Renewable Energy City in Riyadh. For a wealthy country that can afford the initiating stage of nuclear facilities like Saudi Arabia, such decision should not come as surprise at all. It could be even said that it’s been an awaited decision for some time now.

Such a move is a step further in many fields and on so many levels. And these are some interesting points:

  • Modernizing the almost expired electricity and desalinated water infrastructure beside reducing the dependance on hydrocarbon resources.
  • Meeting the increasing demands on power and water in a country that besides its huge requirements, it aspires to attract more foreign capital and creates more competitive investment environment.
  • Opening a whole new market with all its needs of manpower, technology, and logistics.
  • Familiarizing the country with the technology that could be later on extended to the medical field applications and scientific research requirements (it seems that because of KAUST, we are now more relaxed talking about scientific researches … and let me tell you, that feels great 🙂 )

I still remember how the nuclear engineering department in King Abdulaziz University (KAU) was not amongst the favorites by us, the engineering students, by that time. I assume that it will be among the most desired majors in the coming few years in the Kingdom and we might see more nuclear sections in both science and engineering within our universities. And that is another benefit of going nuclear.

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What is really interesting about management, and social sciences in general, is that they do not believe in one and unique answer. For each and every topic, there is a number of theories and point of views that sometimes come to be as contradicting to each other as it can gets. There is no equations that should be balanced, but there are interests that should be maintained and situations that should be studied. And if you come to think of it, unless you are talking about mathematics or physics, this is life in general, there is rarely a one answer.

For that, if you are a manager and you, somehow, think that you possesses the answer to every problem. And if you, for some reason, think you can force everybody to follow your brilliant ideas, then you better leave your managerial chair because you do not deserve it.

And if you, by any chance, hold one of those master or PhD degrees (MBA included!!), and you do not know how to engage in a scientific debate and you do not believe in others’s right to have their own opinions about a certain subject, no matter how strongly you believe in your own point of view, you better burn that piece of paper you hang on the wall because it does not mean a thing.

Now, the above concept of being open to different ideas and point of views is a vital corner of answering this important question; why we do not have a number of great leaders? In a matter of fact, it is one of the major problems we have as a whole society.

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It has been three days now since I start noticing some kind of ads on street billboards with few words on them and bunch of logos stating ‘Yes to life … No to cancer.’ Now, I do not know if it is only me … or these few words are bit offensive!

It turned out that these ads are part of the Saudi ministry of health (MoH) cancer awareness campaign. And it seems that a similar campaign with a similar tagline had taken place last year as well. This is something we should all be thankful for and MoH should be credited for their efforts in providing the public with basic information about how to prevent cancer by cutting out bad habits like smoking or considering preliminary medical care to minimize breast cancer. But with this tagline … pleeeeeeease!!!

Cancer is not something that can be easily prevented by covering your mouth while sneezing or running out of a room when someone lights a cigarette. So what about those who already have cancer and happen to see these ads; why should we tell them that they have a disease that is against life. In other words, why should we shout at them that cancer means death (we know that this is not true in all cases)!! I can hardly  imagine how emotionally and psychologically affecting such a message is for those who have cancer or those who lost someone because of it?

The bottom line is that this tagline gives you the impression that you should be blamed if you got cancer. And if you got it, you are an outcast (No to cancer!!). This sense of guilt and responsibility is not the right message that should be communicated in an awareness campaign, or any campaign for that matter. People tend to show resistance to any blames and that usually lead them to take a defensive position and miss the whole point of such ads.

Am I exaggerating; could be! What do you think?

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I am writing this blog post in response to the ‘Blog Action Day 09, Climate Change’.

To be honest, writing about this subject, in Saudi Arabia, is a bit weird!! You know why? Because the whole philosophy of preserving the environment and taking serious measures to fight the climate change is still young in the minds of both; the public and the business world.

For that, thinking about the climate change prevention idea in the Saudi business world will definitely lead you to consider the concept that contains such ideas; that is the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This concept is still new in the Saudi business environment. And even more, it is not totally understood, let alone embraced. Following the subject in the media, you would be encountered with a bunch of articles; most of them are written by Saudi academics trying to explain the concept. I am not saying this is wrong; on the contrary, it is advisable and certainly good to bring such concept to the public attention. But still, most of the examples provided to illustrate the concept are based on employees’ benefits and charity. Yes, these are main elements of the CSR, but they are not everything.

 I believe it is reasonable to claim that preserving-the-environment awareness is a cultural issue before any nothing else. Unfortunately, showing respect to nature, saving power resources, and respecting the green life in general are some things we are not growing up with around here. So any initiatives to address such matters should always consider this cultural lack of understanding.

 Nonetheless, hope is there and it is not all a black picture. There are some companies’ initiatives to promote environmental awareness and practices. ARAMCO and SBIC (Saudi Electricity, to some extent) always come to mind, at least for their fields of interests if not for anything else. However, although the efforts to adhere to modern industrial standards are important, the effort to raise employees’ environmental awareness is something we should concentrate on, at least, to compensate for the lack of it in our normal life. Maybe building this awareness in the corporate culture will be pay its dues and we will start seeing its results in the normal life.

Finally, more regulations, incentives, and programs are required to address this issue. And they better to be real and sincere and not to be used as way of advertisement! Such efforts are needed from both, public and private sectors, to raise the awareness of such critical matters. Critical matters to the essence of our existence on this planet.

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