The programme involved mountain climbing, water sports and other group activities designed to encourage co-operation between members of the team in conditions of stress.
The Saudis are on a tour of the UK organised by Youth Welfare and hosted by BAE SYSTEMS as part of the company’s involvement in the Memorandum of Understanding agreement on sports and culture between Saudi Arabia and Britain.
The tour has taken the group to centres of interest in London and the North West of England. They have visited the Greenwich Observatory, the Football Museum, the London Central Islamic Mosque, Buckingham Palace, the Tate Modern Gallery, the Tower of London and the North London Muslim Boys Club, among other centres of interest.
The Saudi delegation is headed by Adbul Aziz Al-Dakheel with assistance from Ahmed Al-Khudidi, both from the General Presidency of Youth Welfare in Riyadh. Members of the group, comprised of young students and graduates from different regions of Saudi Arabia, all in their early 20s, include Abdul Aziz Bashraheel, Khalid Al-Mayouf, Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, Tareg Al Jonidi, Mohammed Al-Mansour, Osamah Al-Khudhiri, Abdullah Aloula, Majdi Al-Sulamani, Moslem Al-Abandi and Khudher Al-Khudher.
This cultural exchange tour run by the General Presidency of Youth Welfare and BAE SYSTEMS has been run each year since the middle 1980s, says Bernard Warden, organiser of the UK programme itinerary.
“We bring a group from Saudi Arabia to the UK one year and take a group of young British people to the Kingdom the next, making visits to each country’s cultural and historic centres,” he said. “The emphasis is to encourage Saudi and British youths to learn about each others’ societies, fostering ties of understanding and friendship between our countries.”
Members of the British delegation who visited Saudi Arabia last year also took part in the team building sessions in the Lake District and were able to share experiences of their trip to the Kingdom.
Established in 1987, the Memorandum of Understanding on sport and culture is an initiative designed to develop sports cooperation and understanding between Britain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The overall programme is wide ranging and includes an MSc in sports medicine, the development of sports coaches educational programmes, specialist sports workshops and seminars, Olympic activities, support for disabled sportsmen, and a host of other sporting and athletic events.
BAE SYSTEMS, known as British Aerospace prior to its merger with Marconi Systems in 1999, is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest private sector employers of local nationals. Nearly half of its 5,800 workforce in the Kingdom are Saudis and the company has introduced extensive training and skills development programmes to increase the numbers in management and supervisory positions.
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