DAH bags fourth prize in MENASAIC 2017 Hackathon


THE Dar Al-Hekma University students emerged as fourth place winners at the MENAISC 2017 Hackathon competition. The Hackathon was held recently on the sidelines of the Fifth Annual Information Security Conference for the Middle East and North Africa region in Riyadh.

The main objective of the Hackathon was to give students a chance to prepare them for future roles in the fields of information security and infrastructure cyber security in Saudi Arabia. Sixty-four students from 10 universities across the Kingdom took part in the competition. The Hackathon provided students with the platform to go from the “topic selection stage” to the “implementation stage” in a short time frame.

The group of students that participated from Dar Al-Hekma University were addressed as the Hekma Collective. The competition originally consisted of 3 winning positions, which were all taken by male groups, however, the Hekma Collective earned a special prize as the fourth place finisher, since they were the highest ranked female group of hackers at the competition. As the group did not have a significant amount of experience in hacking, the fact that they won against people far more experienced than them was worth recognition.

Dr. Suhair Hassan Al Qurashi, the president of Dar Al-Hekma University, while applauding the efforts of her students, said: ‘’We are all extremely proud to see our students translate the interdisciplinary knowledge that they have learned in the classroom into ideas that are useful to society.’’

As the only female university to be among the top four winners, Al Qurashi added, “These students have shown a thirst for knowledge and strong interest to be part of the development process for a more advanced and prosperous future.”

Dr. Sana Saleh Askool, dean of students, highlighted the role of the university's extra-curricular program and its impact on the students’ academic and non-academic achievements. She added, “Hackathon is very valuable in building culture of creativity, creating technical skills and a sense of teamwork and urgency.”

Dr. Askool also commended the role of the private sector in supporting education through these types of competitions and training which provided a practical application in simulated environments for students to interact with people and companies in IT field and to experience new technology tools.

Members of the Hekma Collective were Elaf Shah, Rowaida Haddad, Zeina Adwan, Eman Mohamed and Sarah Al Ammari; all pursuing their Bachelors in Management of Information Systems at Dar Al Hekma.

The Hackathon is a free dynamic competition aimed at Saudi public and private university students, serving as a platform for their inspiration, which utilizes their technical talents through a competition in which they attempt to penetrate the security of a model of a smart city.

Dar Al-Hekma University is a private non-profit institution of higher education for women located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The university offers 12 competitive bachelor’s degree programs in the School of Law and International Relations, the School of Business, the School of Design and Architecture, and the School of Education and Applied Sciences. As for the masters level, it offers an MBA program and International Relations program.

Since 1999, the university has been managed and operated by highly qualified Saudi and expatriate female faculty and staff that provide the highest standards of academic services to graduate accomplished women, leaders, and entrepreneurs. The university is nationally accredited as a degree granting institution of higher education. The academic degree programs of the university are designed to meet national as well as international accreditation standards and DAH has received institutional accreditation from Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) in Washington DC in 2008. On Jan. 16, 2014, the institution received the university status. — SG