The 2023 Rawabi Holding Awards honour exceptional individual efforts performed in fostering friendship, understanding and positive relations between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The award ceremony was held on the 23rd of November, and we are pleased to announce this year’s well-deserved winners below.
Basil Al Ghalayini
Basil Al Ghalayini is Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group. His charitable foundation, BMG Foundation has over the past 24 years worked to promote cultural and sporting ties between Saudi Arabia and the UK, and the West and East in general whilst at the same time raising money for needy children mainly in Saudi Arabia and the UK.
The BMG Foundation holds an annual equestrian event in the UK which has included HRH Prince William leading a UK team against the Saudi Polo team in a friendly match. The event has been graced by Her late Majesty the Queen and His Majesty the King on several occasions. In 2022 in the latest in a series of classical concerts sponsored by the BMG Foundation an evening of classical music was held at London’s St John Smith’s Square which brought together the sounds and melodies of Saudi Arabia and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sir Derek Plumbly
Sir Derek Plumbly is a former British diplomat who has served throughout the Arab world, including three tours in Saudi Arabia. He was British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2000 to 2003, having previously served as Deputy Head of Mission (1988-1992) and Second Secretary in the Embassy in Jeddah (1975-1977).
Since retiring from the Diplomatic Service he has had several prominent international roles including Chairman of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission (2008-2011), charged with monitoring the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan, and UN Under Secretary General and Special Co-ordinator for Lebanon (2012-2015). After that Derek returned to his long-term interest in promoting UK/Saudi ties as Chair of the Saudi British Society (2016-2019) and also served for six years as Chair of the Arab British Centre which works to promote understanding of the Arab world and its culture in the UK. The Centre hosts like-minded charities and NGOs as well as running cultural programmes of its own including the UK’s largest festival of Arab cinema, SAFAR, which has showcased Saudi film and filmmakers.
Mohammed Faisel Alawami
Mohammed Faisel Alawami is a PhD student at University of Cambridge developing cutting-edge biosensors for pathogen diagnostics and single-molecule analysis. He is currently developing the fastest blood test for sepsis. This is exciting work since sepsis is a time-sensitive disease and every hour treatment is delayed can increase probability of death by 8% and he combines research and entrepreneurship to help bring the test to patients in the near future. For this work he was selected in the top 21 innovative people to watch in Cambridge and East England, among other awards and recognitions.
He is the founder and president of ReachSci a global research outreach initiative he recently started. Through this initiative he has delivered numerous research and innovation programmes in more than 49 countries. ReachSci now has 18 branches in 17 countries in four continents, and has collaborations with more than 200 professors in 92 countries to scale its impact.
Sarah Abdullah Aldaweesh
Sarah Abdullah Aldaweesh is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Computer Science (CS) at the University of Oxford. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Master’s degree in Software Engineering. Her accomplishments include the acquisition of a United States patent and a number of publications across interdisciplinary fields. Her PhD research explores how technology can help in promoting the mental well-being of young populations.
Sarah received The SABIC National Award for Mental Health Promotion. During her PhD journey, Sarah engaged in a number of research activities in the UK held by the Alan Turing Institute, Open Data Institute (ODI) and Oxbridge Women in Computer Science and she was approached to be a reviewer in well-recognized conferences in CS. Sarah has actively engaged in mentorship roles, offering her guidance and knowledge within programs tailored to gifted and talented students including guidance on how to acquire patents.