RIYADH: A knowledge-based economy is pivotal in achieving sustainable development as envisioned in Saudi Vision 2030, said Dr. Abdul Aziz Alsebail, the secretary-general of the King Faisal Prize. The KFP, he added, has been making efforts for the past 40 years to attract global attention to outstanding researchers and scientists.
As the prestigious award celebrates four decades of its inception, Alsebail in an interview with Arab News shed light on the key role KFP plays in encouraging scientists and research scholars to enrich knowledge and how the prize provides an innovative platform for researchers, scientists and intellectuals in the Kingdom to gain access to scientific achievements.
The King Faisal Foundation launched the KFP in 1979 with three categories: service to Islam, Islamic studies and Arabic language and literature.
In 1981 and 1984 medicine and science respectively were added to the list. “International prizes are key in promoting and localizing knowledge through immense contributions that strengthen innovation and creativity,” said Alsebail. “KFP has played a major role over the past 40 years in creating a conducive environment for knowledge-based economy in the Kingdom and other parts of the world.”
The KFP chief said: “This year holds particular significance as the award celebrates its 40th anniversary.”
He said KFP stands out as one of the most distinguished awards in the world due to the high standards it applies for the evaluation of nominees and selection of winners.
KFP recognizes intellectual minds and encourages innovative solutions, said Alsebail adding that Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, chairman of King Faisal Prize Committee, closely follows up on the work of KFP to ensure the prize contributes to the creation of a knowledge-based community.
Alsebail said the KFP General Secretariat organized a series of lectures in cooperation with leading Saudi universities and knowledge entities to share the expertise of its 40th session winners with local and regional researchers and scholars.
The lectures delivered by the KFP 2018 winners have contributed to generating interest at the local and regional levels, he added.
The KFP lectures this year featured Prof. Irwandi Jaswir from Indonesia, who highlighted the importance of Halal sciences in developing the Halal sector; Prof. Chokri Mabkhout from Tunis shared his thoughts on autobiography in contemporary Arabic literature; while Prof. Bashar Awad from Jordan highlighted research on critical editions of historical and biographical Islamic texts; and eminent immunologist Prof. James P. Allison explained how the latest advances in the field of immunotherapy can help harness the human immune system more effectively to beat cancer.
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