Final preparations are under way at Saudi Aramco for the launch of the 2013 Ithra Knowledge Program, which promises to again inspire and educate thousands of people from Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

The event will take place in Dhahran from Oct. 16 to Nov. 28 and is expected to attract about 500,000 visitors.

Serving as a stunning showcase for talents from across the Kingdom and around the globe, the popular program — formerly the Saudi Aramco Cultural Program — is one of the most successful outreach programs in the company’s history.

Developed in conjunction with Saudi Aramco’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, the Cultural Program welcomed two million visitors Kingdomwide in 2012.

“Saudi Aramco realizes its social responsibility in the service of the country is not restricted to managing natural resources but extends to supporting the national efforts concerned with the development of human resources and the building of a knowledge society,” said Mohammed Al-Qahtani, vice president of Saudi Aramco Affairs. “We are extremely proud of this program.”

The 2013 Ithra Knowledge Program builds on past successes and on Saudi Aramco’s efforts to enhance the cultural enrichment of the country for future generations. This year’s focus on knowledge also contributes to the implementation of the newly announced national strategy designed to transform Saudi society into a knowledge society.

A new exhibit on 101 Inventions That Changed the World, original home-grown and international performances and an engaging learning exhibit featuring carefully selected art masterpieces — including a Picasso — from the world-renowned Centre Pompidou of France are inspiring highlights of the 2013 program. 

Additional attractions include exhibits such as interactive shows exploring Islamic and Arab scientific heritage, the Energy Efficiency Pavilion and the Traffic Safety Village for teaching children the rules of safe driving — all designed to contribute to enhanced knowledge, safety and family enrichment.

Families and children, including 30,000 visiting school children, will enjoy the hands-on kids’ Traffic Safety Village, children’s art contest, kids’ energy activities and the 1001 Inventions (“World of Light”) interactive experience. 

More than 500 volunteer opportunities will help local boys and girls acquire valuable knowledge and management and life skills.

After its six-week run in Dhahran, the Ithra Knowledge Program will continue in various regions in the Kingdom.

Note: The Dhahran program runs from Oct. 16 to Nov. 28 from 5 to 10 p.m. daily. For events, parking and site location information, visit
Key Events

  • Centre Pompidou Mobile Art Exhibit: This first-ever international art exhibition will show 20 original artworks brought to Saudi Arabia by France’s famed Centre Pompidou in cooperation with the Cultural Center. For the first time in the Kingdom, 20 top modern art masterpieces — many of them designed to stimulate discussion — will be displayed, including works by Picasso and Olafur Eliasson. This is the first time the prestigious Pompidou Centre has brought its mobile exhibition to the Middle East.
  • 101 Inventions that Changed the World: This new, unique, immersive and highly interactive exhibition focuses on the top 101 Inventions as selected by a respected panel of experts. All inventions are showcased in a dynamic countdown from No. 101 to No. 1.
  • Traffic Safety Village: This newly expanded attraction will educate youth on responsible driving techniques and allow them to apply their new knowledge, using battery-operated cars in a simulated city environment. The village (formerly the popular Traffic Safety Park) reflects Saudi Aramco’s focus on creating awareness and forming positive behaviors at an early age and is created in cooperation with the company’s Eastern Region Traffic Safety Council.
  • 1001 Inventions and the World of Light: The producers of last year’s “1001 Inventions” introduce a new, first-of-its-kind, interactive experience, uncovering the inspirational journey of young Arab scientists 1,000 years ago. The show explores the scientific heritage inspired from the Islamic civilization and its innovative pioneers, and it contributes to fostering the cultural identity and promoting dialogue between the Islamic Arab civilization and world civilizations.
  • Energy Efficiency Pavilion: This new interactive exhibition addresses the importance of energy and the necessity of reducing consumption and avoiding energy waste. The Pavilion was developed in cooperation with the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program and is in line with the company’s vision for 2020 toward building a deep social awareness directed toward safety and reducing energy consumption, which constitutes a major national challenge.
  • Children’s Art Contest: This year’s theme, “Let’s Green It,” inspires children to draw pictures related to issues such as air pollution, recycling and green planting. The contest for children ages 6 to 12 is designed to educate and remind children and families of their responsibility to protect their environment.
  • School visitation: A comprehensive school visitation program will create an educational and inspiring experience for children and youth, bringing the “learning through play” concept to teachers and children and introducing the benefits of educational exhibits and museums. The program is expected to educate 800 students daily, targeting 30,000 area students in all.
  • Live performances: An inaugural temporary theater hall will accommodate lectures and creative shows for all ages, selected and produced in line with the values and aspirations of the Kingdom and highlighting the cultural diversity in the country and the world. The hall will also host the new iRead Competition, one of the core programs within Saudi Aramco’s iThra Youth Initiative.

Our esteemed partners: 1001 Inventions; Pompidou Centre; Saudi Energy Efficiency Center (Kafa’a); Grande Exhibitions (101 Inventions).

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