His Excellency the UQU Presiden, today at the Deanship of Scientific Research, inaugurated three new research chairs associated with UQU research priorities. The research chairs are as follows:
First Research Chair: Enriching the Experience of the Guests of Al-Rahman
Allah has honored Makkah Al-Mukarramah by making it the cradle of prophethood, the source of light, and the place attracting the hearts of the Muslims from all over the world. It embraces the Holy Makkan Sanctuary and the Sacred Sites, which are the basis of Hajj and Umrah. Over the years, Makkah has received the guests of Al-Rahman. Their journey gave them the opportunity to gain knowledge of their religion and to see the landmarks that they had heard about in history books and seen on TV. They thus acquired a perception of their religious and historical dimension, and their journey had an effect on their behavior and helped them convey their experience to others.
Today, with the Saudi Vision 2030, which aims at hosting more Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and facilitating access to the Two Holy Mosques (for up to thirty million people every year), three sub-goals came under this goal, including enriching the religious and cultural experience of the pilgrims and visitors. Scientific institutions were thus obliged to carry out their duties in this direction. Umm Al-Qura University, by virtue of its location at the heart of the holy sites, sensed this responsibility. Consequently, one of its research priorities became to enrich the experience of the guests of Al-Rahman. As a result, this research chair (which is one of the research chairs of the Deanship of Scientific Research at Umm Al-Qura University) was established to focus on the research projects that will contribute to this field, in order to make of Umm Al-Qura a scientific beacon for the guests of Al-Rahman, with its diverse and complementary scientific colleges, providing information on a variety of topics to the guests of Al-Rahman, in various fields.
Second Research Chair: Infrastructure Research for Makkah and the Holy Sites
Makkah possesses unparalleled characteristics, religiously, historically and culturally, for Almighty Allah has made it the most noble and honorable place in the world. Souls find rest there, worshipers turn toward it, and the first house of worship for people was laid there, which gives it great importance in the life of humankind.
Moreover, because of the readiness of Makkah and the Holy Sites to move to new stages of strategic development and planning to raise the numbers of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims during the coming years (who are expected to reach 30 million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030), one of the most important research priorities is to provide services at international levels to ensure the comfort, safety and ease of transportation for the millions of people who visit Makkah and the Holy Sites to perform Hajj and Umrah. The work consists of improving and developing safe and effective environmental infrastructure and sustainable development for Makkah and the Holy Sites based on knowledge, technology, and innovation. Since scientific institutions are obliged to carry out their duty in this context, Umm Al-Qura University sensed the responsibility to better serve the pilgrims (by virtue of its position at the heart of the holy sites). One of its research priorities (which constitutes one of the three research priorities at Umm Al-Qura University) is to develop research on the infrastructure of Makkah and the Holy Sites. This research chair (which constitutes one of the research chairs at the Deanship of Scientific Research at Umm Al-Qura University) was established to focus on this field. The chair encourages active contributions that provide distinguished research ideas and open up horizons for the exchange of scientific experiences and knowledge. It also develops a readiness to continue to serve the country in pursuit of the aspirations of the Future Vision 203 and to fulfill the right of the place by providing services for the guests of Al-Rahman.
Third Research Chair: Epidemiology Research within the System of Hajj, Umrah and Visits to the Sacred Sites
The Epidemiology Research Chair within the System of Hajj, Umrah and Visits to the Sacred Sites (one of the research chairs at the Deanship of Scientific Research in Umm Al-Qura University) aims at monitoring epidemiological diseases, predicting hotspots where they can spread in Makkah, Madinah, and the Two Holy Mosques, and developing appropriate strategies to preserve the health of pilgrims on Hajj and Umrah and the visitors to the Sacred House by conducting in-depth research throughout the year. This is in fulfillment of the Saudi Vision 2030 and the strategic goals of the "Guests of Al-Rahman" program whose aims are: "Achieving an active and healthy life, improving health services, and promoting protection against health risks".
The idea of the research chair is based on conducting in-depth scientific research and preparing specialized reports on the different categories of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims within the system of Hajj, Umrah and visits to the sacred sites as well as studies on the different districts of Makkah and Madinah.The research is in the field of epidemiology and infectious diseases, emerging and common diseases, and environmental pollution (air, soil, water), linking their impact on the health of the Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. Moreover, the chair relies on mathematical modeling and simulation with the design of (geo-informational) maps to predict the spread and hotspots of epidemics in the districts of Makkah and Madinah. The aim is to come up with effective strategic plans to control and prevent these epidemics, and build a database and also measurement indicators that help decision makers to enhance protection against health risks and maintain the health of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and the visitors to the Sacred House.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by His Excellency the Vice President for Postgraduate Studies and Scientific Research, Prof. Abdul-Wahhab Al-Resini, His Excellence the UQU Vice President, Prof. Farid Al-Ghamdi, His Excellency the Dean of Scientific Research, Prof. Muhammad Al-Soufi, His Excellency the Dean of the Institute of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Hajj and Umrah Research, Dr. Basim Qadi, His Excellency Dr. Atif Asghar, and His Excellency the Vice Dean of Scientific Research for Research Chairs, Dr. Abdul-Ilah Al-Ghamdi.