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Posts Tagged ‘Saudi education’

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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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Have you met many people who say that their work environment is no other than Utopia … the heaven on earth? I know I haven’t!!

For a lot of employees out there, such work environment can only be a dream. But our fellow blogger and my guest for this post begs to differ; she is living the dream, she is working in Utopia.

Maha Noor Elahi, of “A Saudi Woman’s Voice” blog, is sharing her professional story with us, her story about Dar Al Hekma College at Jeddah. In Maha’s post we could see how great leadership can create a distinctive working environment, how a great leader can contains her subordinates, motivates them, and makes them feel like they belong.

This is another example of a Saudi managerial talent … a Saudi managerial success.

Again, thank you Maha for accepting my invitation to share this magnificent post with us … honored to have you here …

Enjoy the post everybody …

Saad

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College of Love

When I first came to Dar Al-Hekma College, I thought it was a utopia. Yes… a utopia on Earth and in Saudi Arabia! Well, after a few months of being immersed into career boom-bam daily realities, I discovered that the college was not a utopia at all. Surprisingly, I found out it was something much better than an ancient Platonic dream. I realized that Dar Al-Hekma is a workplace where professionals lead, think, care, and love. It was a completely new realm for me; a novel definition of the word “professional”, especially in a country like Saudi Arabia. It was a new vision that led me to understand that seeking professional excellence is a humane act rather than a mere mechanic inflexible policy.

At Dar al-Hekma, I’ve seen a genuine representative of the Islamic leadership spirit; a spirit that implements hard work and dedication as acts of worshipping Allah. The exquisite incomparable personality of Dr. Suhair, Dean of the college, has made me love work ten times more than I used to a year ago.

Now, some might be thinking, “What a hypocrite! She is definitely asking for a promotion in an unethical way!” Well, I am sorry for those who don’t appreciate this spontaneous emotional revelation of mine. Dr. Suhair is a rare woman who has an extreme incredible blend of contradictions in her personality. Not just that she is witty, brilliant, and humorous, she is also a person who can read faces and understand different minds in a way that enables her to conduct high-profile meetings with a kind smile on her face and a wise crucial decision in her documents. “Phenomenal” is the precise word that describes the leader of Dar Al-Hekma. Unlike most Saudi authority figures, Dr. Suhair attends the college as early as any one of us, employees, and wanders around to observe and guide while she makes friendly visits and ordinary chit-chats. She is the only Saudi leader whom I’ve known who can make her employees laugh, think critically, and feel spiritual at the same time! She is the only dean I’ve seen that students and employees don’t run away or worry when they see her roaming in the corridors of the college! If Dar Al-Hekma College happens to be something, it is because of the positive energy that Dr. Suhair is spreading among us….it is because our Dean leads and loves each one of us.

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I was just reading this interesting blog post on HBR editors’ blog talking about innovative leaders. After an extensive research, Professors Dyer and Gregersen have come up with what they call ‘discovery skills’ that distinguish innovators. Now let’s go through these skills and then let me comment with something.  

–          Associating:  it is the ability to relate, to find connection between apparently unrelated ideas and situations.

–          Questioning: the innovative leaders do not feel comfortable adhering to the status quo; they like to ask questions to challenge it.

–          Observing details: as we usually say, they have an eye for details. They can catch the pros and cons in processes or behaviors and use them to innovate, to create and to enhance.

–           Experimenting: they do not fear the exploration process. They can deal with failures and turn them into successes.

–          Networking: they can spot the smart people and know how to have them on team.

Now, my comment is that these traits or skills seem to be cognitive in general. And as someone who believe that all human beings have equal mental abilities, then I would argue that one of the reasons we are categorized as a third world (I am talking about Saudi and all the colleagues in the same category as well!) is that we do not nurture such traits in our educations or in our societies as a whole. On the contrary, we educate our children with matter-of-factly information. They are not allowed to suspect it, to ask about it, or to have their own contradicting arguments that they are ready to explore and experiment.

This is only a note to our educators out there; you have our future in your hands!

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