DHAHRAN: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) will harness the power of creativity to improve quality of life for refugees around the world as part of a new challenge.

The scheme, which will see ideas handpicked from the world’s top creative minds, will target camps in six countries: Mauritania, Zimbabwe, Jordan, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

It will play a key part in Ithra’s upcoming Tanween event for 2023, which celebrates creativity. The annual event will take place between Nov. 1-4 at Ithra’s Dhahran headquarters.

This year, 75 global innovators have been selected from a list of 300 applicants to take part in Ithra’s first Mega Challenge, designed to support humanitarian efforts and improve the lives of disenfranchized people. The Mega Challenge targets three tracks in need of innovative solutions: Education, food security and power.

Experts in humanitarianism, innovation, education, food security, power and business development from the Kalimat Foundation, ACWA Power, along with independent consultants, have been secured by Ithra as mentors and jurors to curate the process and select three ideas — one for each track — that best meet all three criteria. Winning ideas will be submitted by Ithra to a list of qualified sponsors for evaluation and, pending approval, will be implemented in refugee camps across the six countries.

“The global refugee crisis continues to grow with every conflict. With limited basic resources, refugees face uncertain futures and struggle to lead secure lives. We want to help. We want to make a difference,” said Miznah Al-Zamil, head of innovation and creativity at Ithra.

“That’s why we chose this theme for this year’s Mega Challenge, and it’s why we are bringing in the best and the brightest from around the globe to design sustainable solutions that help alleviate suffering and improve quality of life,” she added.

In another conference track, Italian design firm Isola, in collaboration with Ithra, will present “Routes to Roots,” an exhibition that features live demonstrations and the works of 20 international designers.

The exhibition explores the power of scale in design to preserve cultural heritage and protect the environment.

This year’s Tanween will be held in collaboration with the Gulf International Bank Saudi Arabia and the Architecture and Design Commission.

“Ithra was built to transform today’s possibilities into the realities of tomorrow by providing year-round purpose-driven programming that enriches, educates and inspires,” said Al-Zamil. “Tanween 2023 continues that tradition by connecting risk-taking creatives, change-making innovators and global subject matter experts to expand ideas, create new opportunities and nurture creative potential.”

For more information on Tanween and Ithra’s programs, visit ithra.com.

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