The King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for the Gifted will receive a $55,000 grant this year under the U.S. government's Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). The grant is part of a scholarship program to help gifted students from the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) attend summer camps. MEPI represents the U.S. government's initiative to reach out to the Muslim world through partnership in trade and education as well as fostering freedom of expression.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Oberwetter made reference to the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistance (FLTA) program under which scholarships have been awarded to eight Saudi English language teachers. The one-year scholarship helps them upgrade their teaching skills, enhance their language proficiency and broaden their knowledge of the cultures and customs of the United States while strengthening the instruction of Arabic language in American colleges and universities.
The Foundation’s Secretary-General Dr Hamad Al-Baadi gave a briefing on its activities, saying 22 summer camps have been held since its inception in 2000. Its objective, he said, is to identify and nurture gifted students, encourage their creative genius, and help young inventors obtain patents and market their products.
At an event scheduled for early next year, Saudi Aramco will distribute to gifted students 36 prizes totaling SR2.5 million [U.S. $0.67 million]. The Foundation has also organized art exhibitions featuring the works of talented Saudi girls.