By Hana Jazzar
In a country that is gearing towards innovation and development, Amr Al Madani had a vision to inspire our youth. This drove him to co-found the now multi-awarded National TalentS Company, which earned Amr a name for himself in the field of Social Entrepreneurship and Education. His work recently landed him on the cover of Forbes MiddleEast and we thought it’s high time the city also got to know this inspiring Saudi.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself, your educational background and your current position?
My name is Amr Al Madani and currently I am the director of Mishkat Interactive Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy and co-founder of National TalentS Co. for Training and Education. I carry a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas and currently enrolled in the Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School.
How and why did you start talents?
In 2007, after a four-year successful career at Saudi Aramco, I endeavored in establishing TalentS along with my friend and co-founder Saeed Saeed. Through TalentS, we truly believed that we could support transitioning Saudi Arabia into a technologically competitive country by inspiring youth to become science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) enthusiasts. We both quit Saudi Aramco together and we remain engaged in making our dreams come true.
What is the concept and vision behind talents?
TalentS is a specialized organization that designs and operates value-added educational STEM programs, activities and science centers. TalentS develops its own specialized content and programs to help clients reach out to Saudi youth. Focusing on the field of technology in education, we facilitate the learning experience and help our youth reach their potentials all the while enhancing their skills of acquiring and creating knowledge through creative and inspiring programs.
What kind of services and activities does talents offer?
TalentS mainly offers three types of services:
|CSR STEM programs support companies in shaping and realizing their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) vision through sustainable and highly visible programs and events.
|STEM Museum/Science Center Design and Management offers complete solutions for museums and science centers.
|School STEM programs provide STEM solutions for schools targeting both students and teachers. These programs range from short-term training sessions to seasonal robotics competitions.
Can you give us some examples of where and how you implemented your services in different organizations and companies in Saudi Arabia?
STEM Museum/Science Center Design and Management:
TalentS led the development of Mishkat Interactive Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy, an initiative by King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. TalentS, through its international and local teams, managed content and exhibits design for the museum. TalentS also orchestrated all equipment and scientific tools needed to make the museum exhibit hands-on.
CSR STEM Programs:
|Science and Math Camps:With our in-house expertise and extended local and international network, we
specialize in designing and operating STEM-based camps that provide effective and high quality programs. Such programs are executed with Saudi Aramco, Siemens and other large corporations in the region.
|Fabrication Labs:Extending technology applications by introducing hands-on practical skill training in electronic technology, computing, coding, 3D printing and personal and digital fabrication using computer numerical control machining (CNC) systems.
|Programs for Gifted Students:We collaborated with Mawhiba (King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity ) to design gifted students’ summer programs, robotics competitions and the first national science fair program.
Since 2008, we have been conducting various programs for thousands of gifted children. Our expertise in designing advanced content and operating specialized programs has helped them become more knowledgeable and help them excel in their specific fields of interests.
I understand that talents organized the first annual Lego League. Can you tell us a bit more about time?
Every year, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, TalentS runs the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robotics Competition. Thousands of students from both private and public schools in Saudi participate and compete to qualify for the world finals. FLL delivers a stimulating learning experience. This is by encouraging students to build solutions for challenging and exciting problems using robotics engineering, coding and research. This year, 3,000 students and more than 400 teams nationwide will be taking part in the program.
What’s Next For Saudi Talents?
Over the course of the past years, TalentS has proudly earned the Saudi Fast Growth awards in 2009 and 2011. TalentS’ board and management team will continue to focus on carrying out truly effective programs and services while expanding them into the GCC region in the upcoming years.
We plan to enlarge our internal capacity for creative STEM programs and solutions, in addition to setting up creative project management and operational management systems. We aspire to grow and become the leading creative service providers in the STEM youth education landscape in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region.