After reviewing the 226 candidates nominated for the fourteenth session of the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Award for Cultural and Scientific Achievement, and after holding several meetings to examine the contribution and achievements of all the candidates, the Board of Trustees, in its meeting on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, has decided to grant the Cultural and Scientific Achievement Award for the current session to King Faisal Foundation.
The decision to grant the Cultural and Scientific Achievement Award to King Faisal Foundation, which was founded in 1976 (1396 Hijri) comes in recognition of its contribution as one of the world’s most well-established philanthropic organizations and its pioneering role in serving culture, science and societies. Moreover, the King Faisal Foundation has established a number of pillars to help fulfill its goals; which include recognizing scientific achievement and honoring scientists at the local, regional and international levels, enriching scientific research as well as the advancement of the educational process in Islamic societies. Some of these pillars established to achieve these goals include:
The King Faisal Foundation launched the King Faisal International Prize, which was granted for the first time in 1979 (1399 Hijri), to reward individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement in five main categories: “Service to Islam”, “Islamic Studies”, “Arabic Language and Literature”, “Medicine”, and “Science”. The Prize aims to be beneficial to Muslims in their present and future, encourage them to actively participate in all fields of civilization, as well as enrich human thought and contribute to the advancement of humankind.
Established in 1983 (1403 Hijri), the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies serves several functions that go in line with the King Faisal Foundation’s vision. The Center aims at supporting and developing research and studies and promoting knowledge on topics related to Islamic studies, politics, sociology and heritage.
The King Faisal School, which was established in 1991 (1411 Hijri) is keen on offering its students the knowledge they need to guide them after graduation. For this purpose, the King Faisal School has set up the College Admission Office, where students have access to career-related books and study material and can consult an advisor about overcoming obstacles as well as setting goals. The Office also organizes educational summer camps. The School boasts a well-trained and highly qualified staff of educators.
Al Faisal University was established in 2008 (1429 Hijri). Scientific research and studies are considered a top priority at Al Faisal University, which boasts generous funding and state-of-the-art-labs equipped with the most advanced technology and methods that aim at enhancing the ability to produce high- quality and multi-disciplinary research papers that are published by faculty and students in highly reputable academic journals.
Effat College was established in 1999 (1419 Hijri) and began with two academic departments. Next, the College launched three new programs before becoming an independent educational institution working under the umbrella of the King Faisal Foundation in 2005. In 2006, Effat College launched three new majors including the first department of Engineering for women in KSA. In 2008, the College was granted University status, becoming “Effat University for Girls”, which comprised three colleges. In 2009 the University launched its Master’s degree program in Islamic Financial Management and in 2012 the University became fully accredited by the Saudi Arabian National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAAA). Effat University has contributed to the education of a great number of women who have now become active participants in their society.
6) The Library
The Library boasts a wide range of books in the fields of Islamic studies and civilization. At present, the Library includes more than 250,000 titles in Arabic and English, as well as a collection of old and rare journals and more than half a million scientific articles. The Library also comprises a separate audiovisual research center that includes more than 11,000 audio tapes, video tapes, slides and films featuring lectures and documentary material related to the various activities and interests of the center.
7) Manuscripts Library
In light of the efforts made by King Faisal Foundation to preserve Islamic cultural heritage and shed light on the contributions made by Arab and Muslim scholars, the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies has embarked on a mission to locate all known Islamic manuscripts around the world as well as authenticate and acquire them or copy and archive them. In addition to its collection of more than 23,000 handwritten manuscripts, some of which date back more than 1200 years, the Manuscripts Archive includes more than 18,000 microfilms and hundreds of photocopies of various manuscripts.
8) Philanthropic Projects
Since 1977 (1397 Hijri) the King Faisal Foundation has invested hundreds of millions of Saudi Riyals in establishing hundreds of initiatives and philanthropic projects in different parts of the world; which include building schools, universities, mosques, medical centers and research institutes, as well as providing the tools necessary for building the infrastructure needed by Islamic societies to achieve a better standard of living.
To date, the King Faisal Foundation has invested over 60 million Saudi Riyals in its scholarship programs. Hundreds of students from different nationalities, who have met the scholarship eligibility requirements, have been able to pursue different levels of education in various fields of study thanks to the scholarships provided by the King Faisal Foundation.