RIYADH – Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Khaled, Secretary-General of the King Faisal Foundation (KFF), expressed delight after KFF was announced the winner of the Sultan bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation Award for Scientific & Cultural Achievement.
Prince Bandar said the award was the latest in a series of achievements recorded by KFF, an international philanthropic organization that aims to promote social, cultural, scientific and educational development. The establishment of KFF drew from the humanitarian values of Islam which the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz championed throughout his life.
Prince Bandar praised the similar role played by Sultan bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, led by Secretary General Dr. Muhammad Abdullah Al Mutawa. He said he considered the cultural foundation a real partner in disseminating science and knowledge and also emphasized the strong relations between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation recognized the King Faisal Foundation’s pioneering role in cultural, scientific and social work and for being one of the largest charitable organizations in the world. There were 226 candidates nominated for the award.
The Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Award, established by the poet Sultan Al Owais in December 1987, is an independent and impartial award.
The King Faisal Foundation is a charitable institution established by the sons and daughters of King Faisal in 1976 to maintain the legacy of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz and achieve his visions and aspirations. The Foundation has established, implemented and financed several development projects and scholarships and supported initiatives to help achieve objectives that include honoring scientists locally, regionally and internationally, enriching scientific research, and developing education in Islamic societies. The total spending of the Foundation has exceeded SAR1.9 billion as of the end of 2015.
KFF has funded and implemented hundreds of philanthropic projects in different parts of the world such as schools, universities, mosques, medical centers, research institutes and societies for orphans and persons with special needs. It has also supported charitable and humanitarian organizations, donations and endowments with the aim of helping Islamic societies develop.
Scholarships and scientific initiatives
KFF has invested over SAR76 million as of the end of 2015 in its scholarship program. Subsequently, hundreds of students of various nationalities who met the scholarship eligibility requirements have been able to pursue different levels of education in several majors. In addition, the KFF hosts many scientific initiatives such as a program to prepare students and leaders for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in Saudi Arabia.
King Faisal International Prize (KFIP)
This is one of the world’s most prestigious international prizes. The annual Prize was established by KFF in 1979 and has been honoring the most influential scholars worldwide who dedicate their knowledge, time and efforts for the sake of humanity. There are five main categories for the Prize: “Service to Islam”, “Islamic Studies”, “Arabic Language & Literature”, “Medicine”, and “Science”. Since its establishment, there have been 247 laureates from 43 different countries. Moreover, 17 KFIP laureates have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, underlining the KFIP’s stature within academic circles.
King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS)
One of the Kingdom’s few private centers for conducting and promoting research as well as disseminating knowledge on religious, political, and social subjects, KFCRIS was established in 1983 in Riyadh.
KFCRIS incorporates six major research units that are made available to researchers from all over the world: the Unit for the Study of Contemporary Political Thought, the Unit for the Study of Modernity, the Unit for Maghreb Studies, the Unit for Iranian Studies, the Unit for Saudi Studies and the Unit for Arabic Language Studies. The KFCRIS is also a home to a library containing one of the largest databases of bibliographic references in the Arab World with 1.2 million subject headings.
The Library of Manuscripts in KFCRIS includes over 16,000 handwritten manuscripts, some of which date back over 1,200 years. The KFCRIS also holds different lectures, forums, workshops and exhibitions that help in maintaining a connection with society as well as different institutes and organizations.
King Faisal School (KFS)
The KFS, established in Riyadh by KFF in 1991, is the first national school to apply successful international standards of education to its curricula. It uses International Baccalaureate Programs in all its educational levels, beginning from kindergarten to the high school. It is worth mentioning that fifty-one percent of KFS graduates join Saudi universities, 38 percent join American or Canadian universities and 7 percent join universities in the United Kingdom.
One of the most promising new universities in the Kingdom, Alfaisal University, a KFF project, opened its doors to students in 2008 in Riyadh and promptly formed several partnerships with global academic partnerships to promote its educational goals. It also obtained different academic accreditations. Scientific research is the major engine of Alfaisal University. Abundant funding and advanced laboratories are provided to help the university produce high quality research papers in different specialties. Teaching staff and students have had their research published in different journals and have played an active role in making the university rank among the best universities for research excellence in Saudi Arabia.
Established by King Faisal’s daughters and sons in 1999 in Jeddah, Effat University initially started operating as an independent institution of higher education under the umbrella of the King Faisal Foundation in 2005 before acquiring university status as a private institution of higher education for women in 2008. It only had 25 students on its roll in 1999, but now provides an education to over 3,000 students. It is the first female only university in the Kingdom offering programs and specialties never before available to women such as architecture, electric engineering and computer science. Effat University was founded on deep-rooted fundamentals and has continuously focused on developing students’ skills through the provision of an ideal environment that allows them to discover their interests, harness their energy and strengthen their standing in society.