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Saudi Digital Library among winners of 2018 Knowledge Award

Published: Updated:

The fifth edition of the Dubai Knowledge Summit began on Wednesday at Dubai World Trade Centre with the theme “Youth and the Future of the Knowledge Economy”.

The Saudi Digital Library (SDL) was among the winners of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award which was announced during the inaugural session.

The other winners were the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation, the Institute of International Education (IIE), and the Amersi Foundation.

The Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation is an Egyptian charity NGO founded to establish a medical centre of excellence and international standing in Egypt dedicated to cardiovascular surgery, treatment and research, while the Institute of International Education is a non-profit global education organisation with 18 offices worldwide seeking to advance scholarship and promote cultural understanding.

The Saudi Digital Library has largest collection of digital information resources in the Arab World, with more than 680,000 digital books and 174 international and Arab databases for academic articles and multimedia materials.

The Amersi Foundation supports causes and charities for education and youth empowerment.

Digital services for Saudi universities

In a session bringing together the winners, moderated by David Bennett, Member of the MBRKA Advisory Committee, Dr Saud Al Salahi, Director General of the Saudi Digital Library, said: “The SDL was launched in 2015 to provide digital services for all Saudi universities. We have partnered with more than 300 publishers to serve over 6 million users and reach Vision 2030.

“In the past, Saudi students sometimes needed to go abroad for research, now they can do it instantly from their devices or their phones. Before the Saudi Digital Library was established, each university was running its resources from its own budget. Now, with financing from the Saudi Ministry of Education, the SDL can provide whatever is necessary for each university. Saudi Arabia went from third place in the Arab world in terms of university research, we are now first.”

Sir Magdi Yacoub, Founder of the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation, said: “Encouraging intellectual freedom is essential if we want to make a leap in science. We must support crazy ideas.”

“The Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation is dedicated to advancing knowledge in Egypt and the region,” Sir Yacoub continued. “We are generating knowledge; we look at research into inherited heart diseases conducted by people in Egypt and the region. That is important because when you look at disease variants, you have to find out what is specific to a certain population. We must study the genome of the population in the region and we now have 1,000 genomes from Egypt.”

Meanwhile, Maxmillian Angerholzer III, Executive Vice President of the Institute of International Education, noted: “Our mission is to promote the exchange of knowledge, bringing scholars and students to the US from around the world and take Americans abroad. We have administered several programmes, including Fulbright, for several years. We believe education is the key instrument to combat all the global challenges we are facing. If you’ve ever watched two students work together, they immediately overcome any cultural barriers to focus on the task at hand. Empowered with knowledge, the youth can change the world.”

The Knowledge Summit 2018 brings together more than 100 speakers including experts, decision makers and stakeholders from around the world in more than 45 discussion panels, exploring topics related to the youth, the knowledge economy, and ways to transform societies from knowledge consumers to knowledge producers.