KAUST, Aeon Collective align goals in sustainable-focused collaboration

Officials from Aeon Collective and KAUST sign a Memorandum of Understanding to advance joint sustainability initiatives. Shown here (left to right): Her Highness Princess Mashael Alshalan, co-founder of Aeon Collective; KAUST President Dr. Tony Chan; Her Highness Princess Noura Turki Al Saud, co-founder of Aeon Collective. Photo: KAUST

​In a move to align and support the advancement of sustainability projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and internationally, President Tony Chan of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Her Highness Princess Noura Turki Al Saud and HH Princess Mashael Alshalan, co-founders of Aeon Collective, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Aeon headquarters in Riyadh on October 25, 2022.

AEON Collective is an inter-disciplinary Waqf (nonprofit endowment fund) committed to advancing sustainability around the globe. Aeon Collective produces, curates and disseminates fact-based & culturally informed knowledge around sustainability, and actively build capacities for a dynamic and knowledgable community through multiple activities and initiatives. As a private research university, KAUST is a think-tank for scientific and technological education and research aimed at solving pressing global sustainability challenges. Both parties are centered on building educational sustainability capacities in support of Vision 2030 and the United Nations’ Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The MoU will pave the way for strengthening cooperation in strategic projects and initiatives across a variety of collaborative actions to advance sustainability education and outreach, the advancement of research communication and emerging sustainability topics, capacity building and the engagement of youth.

“This MoU is a testament to the commitment that both KAUST and AEON Collective have made to advance education, awareness, and research on sustainable development,” said KAUST President Tony Chan. “We plan to build and strengthen collaborative frameworks that translate KAUST’s research into strategic knowledge for policy development, youth empowerment and engagement initiatives around sustainability, both nationally and internationally.”

Princess Mashael AlShalan said, “Sustainability is not a foreign concept to Saudis. Our forefathers lived a life that was sustainable by necessity. Their stories areof resilient and resourceful communitiesthat occupied challenging and seemingly inhospitable lands. It is with that authentic Bedouin spirit that we further cement our collaboration with KAUST, leveraging advanced technical know-how and diverse global expertise, to reclaim our homegrown path to sustainable and equitable development and drive the active pursuit of repairing our planet.”

Princess Noura Al Saud added, “We are steadfastly committed to advancing a Saudi narrative for social and economic development, rooted in our history and rich culture. Sustainability is inherent to our livelihoods and invaluable to our progress as a nation. We are delighted to formalize our long established engagement with KAUST, which will allow us to strengthen our action oriented partnership, and achieve long lasting, positive impacts on the planet and societies around the globe.”

Representatives from KAUST and Aeon Collective gather to celebrate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that sets in motion joint research initiatives on emerging topics of sustainability between the two organizations. Shown at center: Her Highness Princess Mashael Alshalan, co-founder of Aeon Collective (left); KAUST President Dr. Tony Chan (center); and Her Highness Princess Noura Turki Al Saud, co-founder of Aeon Collective. Photo: KAUST

Areas of mutual interest and potential collaboration between the Parties include advancing joint research initiatives on emerging topics of sustainability in areas of impact such as climate action, livability and health; food, water, and energy security; and ecosystem restoration and carbon management; and strengthening strategic engagement with key stakeholders to advance the sustainability mission, including youth engagement. Policy advocacy and the translation of research into sustainable practice are additional areas of intended development.

As a first step under this engagement, the KAUST-Aeon collaboration will see the co-appointments of KAUST Professors Carlos Duarte and Raquel Peixoto as members of Aeon Collective working to advance efforts towards planetary repair, ecosystem restoration and resiliency.

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