RIYADH: More than 35 Saudi students who won 22 awards at the 2022 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, Georgia, landed in Riyadh on Sunday and were greeted with a celebratory reception at King International Airport Khalid.
Held May 7-13, ISEF 2022 saw the participation of pre-university students from over 80 countries in the largest competition showcasing innovation in scientific research and advancement.
Student Abdullah Al-Ghamdi won two energy awards for his project on hydrogen production and storage, earning him the “Best Research Scientist” award, in which he competed against more than 1,700 submissions from students from 65 countries.
“The happiness I feel for my son Abdullah is indescribable,” said Abdul Aziz Al-Ghamdi, the student’s father. “To see the vision of my Kingdom come true before my eyes and for my son to be a driving force behind the realization of that vision is a feeling that truly cannot be described.”
Al-Ghamdi’s father told Arab News that his son would spend his time at a research center after school, where he became fascinated with the idea of efficiently storing hydrogen. “The fruits of his hard work can be seen today,” he said.
When the crown prince said that the strength of the Saudis was like that of the unbreakable Tuwaiq mountain, Mawhiba saw in his remarks a roadmap for his initiatives.
Dr. Saud bin Saeed Al-Mathami, General Secretary of Mawhiba
Five other first prizes were awarded to Dana Al-Eithan and Maria Al-Ghamdi, who won in chemistry; Tahani Adel, laureate in materials science; and Yousef Khoja, who won in embedded systems.
Al-Eithan’s uncle, Abdulmunim Al-Eithan, told Arab News the family was sitting on the sofa when they heard the news and were blown away in excitement and applause. “It’s the result of her dedication to this field,” he said, adding that the 14-year-old also won an award with SABIC for chemistry.
Six students – three Saudis and three Americans – also received scholarships to participate in an international enrichment program organized by the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, known as Mawhiba.
Thirteen students from the United States, India and China also received scholarships to study undergraduate programs at King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals in Chemistry, Embedded Systems, Energy, Physics and Astronomy, Robotics and materials sciences.
The Kingdom was represented by the Ministry of Education and by Mawhiba.
Saudi Education Minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh tweeted on Saturday: “I proudly congratulate my sons and daughters who have won the 2022 International Science and Engineering Fair. The Kingdom has won 22 prizes without precedent with the support of our wise leadership – may God sustain it – and the tireless efforts of their teachers and families. I am pleased to announce the awarding of scholarships to the winning students in recognition of this national achievement.”
Mawhiba’s general secretary, Dr. Saud bin Saeed Al-Mathami, said he encourages innovative students around the world to create lasting solutions to the world’s problems and preserve these resources for future generations.
He stressed that the Kingdom is proud of its students, saying the country has harnessed its great potential to qualify them to compete effectively in international forums.
“When the crown prince said that the strength of the Saudis was like that of the unbreakable Tuwaiq mountain, Mawhiba saw in his words a roadmap for his initiatives,” he said.
“Our talented students are the real wealth of Saudi Arabia and the strong building blocks of our society. They are the real future we look forward to, and their familiarity across all disciplines and specializations will drive Saudi Vision 2030 forward,” said Al-Mathami added.
“The talented students excelled in all disciplines related to energy, climate change, medicine, biosciences, space, medical and environmental engineering, organic materials, technology, innovation, information engineering and artificial intelligence.
“They have undergone extensive training for long hours and rigorous testing under the supervision of competent committees to honor Saudi Arabia in international forums.”