Recently, I have been really overwhelmed with many blog posts, articles, and tweets that were only negatively looking at many, especially social, aspects of Saudi Arabia. I would give those writers the benefit of the doubt and say that they are in love with this country, and they want to see it the best country in the world; so out of love, they get really harsh on it sometimes.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=Saudi+Arabia&iid=5131620″ src=”a/5/f/0/closeup_of_the_2a42.jpg?adImageId=9467495&imageId=5131620″ width=”234″ height=”327″ /]The fact of the matter that it seems much easier to spot shortcomings rather than qualities. I do not know, maybe it is human nature; we perceive advantages as normal and sometimes as basic rights while on the same time we tend to overreact to imperfections. I am saying these words and I am not trying, in any way, to pretend to be the most positive person in the world. I am just trying to be objective as much as I can 🙂
Let’s move to the post which you could’ve guessed by now that it will be about something positive; actually it is … but not totally!!
Corporate social responsibility (CSR), let’s face it; a lot of management practitioners do not totally grasp this concept. The truth is that it is a vague concept with a lot of ethical backgrounds and dilemmas. Saudi companies, as many others around the world, are suffering from this lack of understanding in addition to the fact that most of them are mixing between the concepts of social responsibility and charity.
Despite all that, two Saudi companies just provided an interesting example about how to be socially responsible companies; Saudi Aramco and Siemens Saudi Arabia. According to this article in Arab New, the two companies are initiating a very interesting program to improve Saudi youngsters’ enthusiasm for science. The program that has already been implemented in many countries around the world, by the Siemens international I believe, will be available for 400 students in the Eastern region of the country in the first phase or the pilot of the program. Those 400 students will receive what the program call ‘Discovery Boxes,’ different materials are available in these boxes for the students to conduct different experiments in different scientific disciplines. By any means, this is a really bright example of social responsibility.
However, there is only one remark that could make this program a bit less than perfect; will it be available to any school in the Eastern region and the whole Kingdom in later phases, or it will be exclusive to the schools where the children of Saudi Aramco staff are receiving their education!!
Finally, I have to mention my ‘free spirit’ statement; although I have many friends working in Aramco, and a brother in law working in Siemens, this post has not been influenced by them in any way …