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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Over 35 Saudi students who picked up 22 awards at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia, landed in Riyadh on Sunday and were greeted with a celebratory reception at King Khalid International Airport.
The ISEF 2022, held from May 7-13, saw the participation of pre-college students from over 80 countries in the biggest competition showcasing innovation in scientific research and advancement.
Student Abdullah Al-Ghamdi won two prizes in energy for his project on the production and storage of hydrogen, earning him the award for “Best Research Scientist,” in which he competed against over 1,700 submissions from students across 65 countries.
“The happiness I’m feeling for my son Abdullah can’t be described,” 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 realizing this vision is a feeling that truly can’t 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 how to store hydrogen efficiently. “The fruits of his hard work are seen today,” he said.
Five other first-place prizes were awarded to Dana Al-Eithan and Maria Al-Ghamdi, who won in chemistry; Tahani Adel, who won in material sciences; and Yousef Khoja, who won in embedded systems.
Al-Eithan’s uncle, Abdulmunim Al-Eithan, told Arab News that the family was sitting on the couch when they heard the news and sprung into the air in excitement, cheering. “This is a result of her dedication to this field,” he said, adding that the 14-year-old had also previously won an award with SABIC for chemistry.
Six students — three Saudis and three Americans — were also granted scholarships to participate in an international enrichment program organized by King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, known as Mawhiba.
Thirteen students from the US, India and China were also awarded scholarships to study bachelor’s programs at King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals in chemistry, embedded systems, energy, physics and astronomy, robotics and material sciences.
The Kingdom was represented by the Ministry of Education and by Mawhiba.
Saudi Minister of Education Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh tweeted on Saturday: “I proudly congratulate my sons and daughters who won the International Science and Engineering Fair 2022. The Kingdom has won an unprecedented 22 awards with the support of our wise leadership — may God support it — and the unremitting efforts of their teachers and families. I am pleased to announce the provision of scholarships to the winning students in appreciation of this national achievement.”
Mawhiba Secretary-General Dr. Saud bin Saeed Al-Mathami said that he is encouraging innovative students worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the world’s problems and preserve these resources for future generations.
He stressed that the Kingdom takes pride in its students, saying the country had harnessed its great potential to qualify them to compete effectively in international forums.
“When the crown prince said that the Saudis’ strength was like that of the Tuwaiq Mountain, unbreakable, Mawhiba saw in his words a road map for its initiatives,” he said.
“Our talented students are the true wealth of Saudi Arabia and the solid building blocks of our society. They are the real future that we are looking forward to, and their familiarity in all disciplines and specializations will push forward Saudi Vision 2030,” 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 underwent extensive training for long hours and rigorous testing under the supervision of competent committees to honor Saudi Arabia in international forums.”
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