(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi students at King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for the Giftedness and Creativity (KACFGC) interacted with astronauts who visited them last week as part of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) weeklong program during its 25th Planetary Congress in Riyadh.
The astronauts dwelt on the importance of motivating minds for scientific discovery. They showed a film on their space flights and the tasks they had to perform. They shared their experience with students and answered their questions. The astronauts expressed their admiration for various projects and initiatives aimed at promoting an environment conducive to the growth of the creative community.
Mahmoud Naqadi, deputy secretary-general of the foundation, pointed out that KACFGC's top priority is sponsoring talented and young creative youths as part of their program for capacity building and identifying youth leaders talented in the areas of science and technology.
He said one of the goals of KACFGC, also known as "Mawhiba", is to make the Kingdom a creative community wherein leaders and officials support the transformation of the country into a knowledge-based society and achieve sustainable development.
The delegation toured the permanent expo at the foundation's headquarters in Riyadh during which Naqadi briefed the guests on a number of Saudi inventions and international medals that inventors won.
Mawhiba was awarded last Thursday in Dubai the Golden Order of Merit with a certificate of invention as one of the leading institutions in the field of excellence and quality in the Arab world.
Naqadi said that this award highlights the tireless efforts of Mawhiba to build a knowledge-based society along scientific lines.
"The foundation is trying hard to support the country's vision to advance its rank among countries of the world by working with various national institutions in the knowledge industry, and support research and development that would increase the number of patents. It recognizes that the modern economy is based on knowledge and application in various economic and social activities," said the deputy secretary-general.
He pointed out that realizing the mission requires quality gears to travel long distances in record times to make the Kingdom one of the leading beacons of knowledge and progress in the world.
He stressed that the qualification of Saudi students in the international competitions have become the focus of attention of many countries. However, building a role model for their professional growth calls for training students in coordination with the Ministry of Education.
He added that discovering and nurturing talent and fostering a climate of creativity in society is the most important phase of the strategy, which seeks to promote talent, creativity and innovation for five years. The goal during the first phase is to sponsor about 40,000 gifted and talented students and take advantage of more than 80,000 students - approximately 3 percent of the Saudi society.