2022 Winter Enrichment Program focuses on 'Resilience' in key sectors

January 19, 2022

THUWAL — The 2022 Winter Enrichment Program at KAUST (WEP) will run from January 9 to 20 under the theme 'Resilience.' Associate Professor Peiying Hong will be the WEP Chair and Associate Professor Derya Baran will serve as the co-Chair. WEP 2022 will be a hybrid program consisting of virtual and physical events on campus.

WEP offers something for everyone—from evening keynote lectures, lunchtime lectures, workshops, performances, and other special events.


WEP 2022 will explore tipping points—stress events such as climate change, pandemics, resource shortage, rapid population growth, and more. What makes tipping points happen? How can we predict when they will occur? And how can we adapt, recalibrate and bounce back stronger?

WEP 2022 aims to explore Resilience through these overlapping topic areas: food, water, energy, environment, digital and health.

WEP 2022 speakers

The keynote speaker is the highly esteemed economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, from Columbia University. Sachs is a university professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed the Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also president of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a UN Broadband Commission for Development commissioner.

In addition, Sachs has been an advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary-General António Guterres. He spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, where he received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. Sachs was twice named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential world leaders and ranked by The Economist among the top three most influential living economists.

Some of the other esteemed WEP 2022 speakers include:

• Angel Leon, Chef: the three Michelin stars chef is one of the most influential chefs of our era, sharing an innate gift that marks those who make gastronomy persevere and take it to the most unexplored place, the sea. He is a vocational fisherman passionate about fishing and the sea. He will share his passion for culinary culture, fish and seaweeds through his most personal vision.

• John Pagano, CEO Red Sea Development: John Pagano is the chief executive officer for The Red Sea Development Company and AMAALA. He brings more than 35 years of international experience from all facets of the commercial property industry from Europe, North America, and the Caribbean.

• Nadhmi Al-Naser, CEO NEOM: Nadhmi Al-Nasr is the chief executive officer of NEOM. In 2006, Al-Nasr was named vice president of engineering services at Aramco. In 2008, he was appointed as KAUST's executive vice president of administration and finance. A few years later, in 2013, Al-Nasr stepped down from Saudi Aramco to devote all his energy to his position at KAUST. In July 2018, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Chairman of NEOM's Founding Board, appointed Al-Nasr NEOM's chief executive officer.

• Alejandro Agag, CEO Extreme-E: Alejandro Agag is a businessman, entrepreneur, and visionary. Extreme E is operated in association with Formula E, the organizers of the world's first fully electric single-seater racing series. With Agag's expertise and experience, he'll help expand electric racing beyond the boundaries of the city streets to the most remote corners of the planet.


WEP 2022 is open to anyone at KAUST: faculty, researchers, community members, and our Research & Technology Park partners. Personal visitors may attend keynote lectures provided their KAUST sponsor accompanies them. WEP may grant special passes to visitors from outside the KAUST community by invitation from our partners' Saudi Initiatives and Innovation and Economic Development.

Hybrid event

WEP 2022 will be a hybrid event, welcoming in-person attendees and speakers onto the KAUST campus, as well as virtually live streaming on KAUST YouTube channel.

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