KAUST Mexican students and alumni celebrate establishment of Saudi Arabian chapter RedGlobalMX-Saudi Arabia

Representatives of the chapter's board of directors receive accreditation from Mexican Ambassador Miranda. From left to right: Parsifal Islas, Artemisa Jaramillo, H.E. Alfredo Miranda and Esteban Sánchez Canepa.

- By David Murphy, KAUST News.

As part of the Mexican Flag Day (Día de la Bandera), a national celebration held annually on February 24, the Mexican Embassy in Riyadh held a function to announce the creation of the first Saudi Arabian chapter of the Mexican Global Network (MX Global Network) RedGlobalMX-Saudi Arabia. In the company of current and past KAUST students, chapter members, family, and friends, Alfredo Miranda, the Mexican ambassador to Saudi Arabia, delivered the official accreditation from the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME) to the chapter's board of directors.

The newly-created chapter recognizes the academic, business and industrial contributions of the Mexican community in the Kingdom and is the first of its kind in the Middle East. Dr. Artemisa Jaramillo, chapter president and program director of marketing, innovation and technology - digital at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, outlined the reasons for the creation of the RedGlobalMX-Saudi Arabia chapter.

The founding members of RedGlobalMX-Saudi Arabia include (from left to right): José Luis Rodulfo, Daniela Aguayo, Parsifal Islas, Jesús Félix, Laura Félix, Artemisa Jaramillo, H.E. Alfredo Miranda, Esteban Sánchez Canepa, Patricia V. and Ernesto Sandoval. Photo courtesy of Red Global MX-Saudi Arabia chapter.

"The Mexican community in Saudi Arabia is one of the most numerous in the Middle East with around 260 nationals. It is constituted fundamentally of highly trained professionals who are active in academia, business and industry. The chapter was created as a tool to promote and foster ties of collaboration between Mexico and the Kingdom," Jaramillo noted.

Jaramillo, who is also the head of Tech Saudiya, a company that promotes Saudi women in entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, added,"The new chapter will serve as a space for ideas and actions, inclusive for all who wish to participate and to establish bonds of friendship and cooperation between Mexico and Saudi Arabia."

Building collaboration between nations

The presence of Mexicans within the Kingdom has increased exponentially in recent years, and KAUST remains a pioneer institution in fostering the potential of talented Mexican students and employees. KAUST alumni made up a substantial core element of the new chapter, including students who have gone on to work in companies like Saudi Aramco and the Dow Chemical Company. Alumni involved in the project include Jesús Félix, Laura Félix, José Luis Rodulfo, Ernesto Sandoval, Maria Mosqueira and Daniela Aguayo.

Parsifal Islas Morales, chapter vice president and a master's degree student in the University'sReef Genomics Lab, outlined his conviction in the chapter and his hopes for its future.

"RedGlobalMX-Saudi Arabia is an initiative that Ambassador Miranda put in our hands to develop with plenty of freedom. We received the initiative with great enthusiasm because we are interested in putting the name of Mexico on high," Islas Morales said.

"In less than a month, we have constituted the founding board with members from diverse areas of knowledge. Many of them come from KAUST and prestigious Mexican universities such as the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. We are proud of the interdisciplinary board of directors, which come from academia, private initiatives, government and civil society and entrepreneurship and innovation," he continued.

Supporting the Kingdom's goals

Islas Morales, who is also a former KAUST Visiting Student Research Internship Program student, feels that the presence of his fellow citizens within the Kingdom will aid Saudi Arabia's drive towards its long-term development goals.

"Saudi Arabia is a country with positive changes at all levels. Thanks to a vision of long-term development, the Kingdom is breaking paradigms and positioning leadership in the world. Mexicans in Saudi Arabia are happy to contribute to this process and to link Mexico with Saudi Arabia through scientific, economic and cultural capital," Islas Morales noted.

Members of the Mexican community in Riyadh during Mexican Flag Day 2018. Photo courtesy of RedGlobalMX-Saudi Arabia chapter.

KAUST master's degree and Ph.D. alumnus Esteban Sánchez Canepa, chapter head of innovation and co-founder/CPO of the University's startup company Sadeem Wireless Sensing Systems, echoed the sentiments of his colleague by highlighting the many fields that both countries can collaborate in and influence each other.

"The vision of the RedGlobalMX-Saudi Arabia is to consolidate itself as a space of reference and leadership for the strategic project entrepreneurship between Mexico and Saudi Arabia and to consolidate—in the long term—a permanent bilateral cooperation agenda. The agenda reflects a high scientific, cultural and commercial exchange that both countries as strategic partners can showcase in an international context," Sánchez Canepa said.

For more information, visit the Red Global MX-Saudi Arabia chapter webpage or the Red Global MX-Saudi Arabia chapter Twitter page.

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