The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has successfully hosted the Hegra Conference of Nobel Laureates & Friends, a three-day gathering of 35 Nobel Laureates and their eminent peers in AlUla to discuss the key issues facing humanity under the theme New Openings: Decisive Moments for a Decisive Decade.
The first Hegra Conference of Nobel Laureates & Friends was held in early 2020 as a gathering of Nobel Laureates. Following the success of the inaugural edition, the latest edition welcomed esteemed laureates from a range of prestigious awards.
The conference brought together a diverse mix of intellectuals, including Guatemalan activist Rigoberta Menchu-Tum (Nobel Peace Prize, 1992), former Polish President Lech Walesa (Nobel Peace Prize, 1983), journalists Michael Moss (Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, 2010) and Jeff Gottlieb (Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, 2011); Prof. Omar M. Yaghi, The James and Neeltje Tretter Chair at the University of California Berkeley (King Faisal Prize); and Dominique Langevin, the research director at Europe’s largest fundamental science agency – Centre national de la recherche scientifique, CNRS (UNESCO for Women in Science).
35 Nobel Prize Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awardees, King Salman Prize and King Faisal Prize winners gather in AlUla
HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, led a strong Saudi contingent at the conference that also included HH Princess Noura bint Turki Al Saud, founding partner of Aeon Strategy, and HE Eng. Ibrahim Muhammad Al Sultan, a member of the RCU board of directors.
Key issues facing humanity – from sustainability to the learning gap – take centre stage across three days of discussions and debates
Also in attendance was a contingent of about 20 Saudi high-school and university students, many of whom had benefited from the Kingdom’s Mawhiba program for gifted youths. The students contributed to several discussions at the conference, in particular a final-day forum on young people as the builders of the coming decade.
To highlight the impact of the conference, HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, paraphrased Julius Caesar by saying: “You have come, you have seen, and I hope you were conquered by what you have seen – by the majesty and grace of AlUla.”
The delegation led by HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud contributed to a strong Saudi presence at the event
HE Eng. Ibrahim Muhammad Al Sultan, a member of the RCU board, emphasized the global significance of the conference in his opening address: “The Hegra Conference of Nobel Laureates & Friends is a reflection of AlUla’s legacy of important knowledge exchange and dialogue. It is a powerful attempt to analyse the most critical issues facing humanity today and to create actionable recommendations.”
Over the three days of the conference, curated by Richard Attias, CEO of the FII Institute, and the Royal Commission for AlUla, the group discussed a range of topics, including preventing the erosion of culture; the cost and opportunity of longer lifespans; closing the learning gap and making healthcare accessible to all. Following the discussions, the group will release their recommendations in the coming days to inspire decision-makers around the world – national leaders, heads of international organisations, large corporations, SMEs and MSMEs as well as everyday citizens – to take necessary actions in the coming decade to ensure that humanity thrives in the 21st century.
In addition to interactive dialogues and panel sessions, the group also spent time visiting the key sites and communities of AlUla, gaining insight from the destination’s rich history of creative thinking and problem-solving.