Countries grow with a progressive education system, a futuristic infrastructure planning, a highly developed health system and unbiased governance. Above all, countries progress because of their visionary leadership. If we look back into history, we will see famous world leaders were revolutionary in their approach and had the vision to liberate their nations. And it won’t be wrong to say that the significant contributions of such leaders have changed the world in a truly momentous way.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, the fifth son of late Royal Highness Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, is one such leader who is constantly working for the well-being of his people and the people across the region. 

Born in Riyadh in 1982, His Royal Highness (HRH) Abdulaziz bin Talal Al-Saud received his early education in Saudi Arabia and then went on to continue his studies in Switzerland. He had immense interest in numerous sectors during his specialization in conflict resolution and microfinance; hence, he advanced his knowledge in the United States by participating in executive education programs at Harvard and George Washington Universities.

As President of the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal Al-Saud focuses on achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its health and education sector programs. AGFUND aims at the roots of human development problems, targeting all segments of society without discrimination. Having joined hands with 44 international, regional, and governmental organizations, AGFUND has 1,578 projects in almost 133 countries. Moreover, Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal Al-Saud also actively sits as Chairman for four of the five specialized development organizations established by AGFUND, which include Arab Open University (AOU), Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD), and the Center of Arab Woman for Training and Research (CAWTAR).

AGFUND has recently launched Global Partnership Hub along with United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The main aim is to harness education, research, and innovation as tools to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their related 169 targets that are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Moreover, the program has been launched to provide a new capacity-building framework worldwide to fight inequalities, tackle climate change and end all forms of poverty while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Prince Abdulaziz is an advocate of the active participation of youth in the development process, and as the Chairman of Arab Open University, he is fulfilling his duties with utter dedication. For this purpose only, he has interacted with various young individuals through lectures at local and international universities, such as the University of Ankara, the Sorbonne University in Paris and the Arab Open University in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, as well as Brigham Young University, American University and Robert Morris University in the United States. By getting the perspective of the younger minds from across the globe, he understands their needs and skills that can be positively applied to the growth of any nation. He realizes that children should be taught proficiently so that they grow up to be well-informed and adept young individuals. 

Keeping this in mind, AGFUND inaugurated the “Arab Blog for Sustainable Development: The System of Values, Behaviors and Skills,” and “Interactive Education Model…Transforming Our World” earlier this year. The launch of the programs is an achievement in itself, reflecting the continuous Arab contribution to sustainable development and confirming the merit of youth energies and abilities.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal Al-Saud’s great leadership can also be gauged from the fact that he is a staunch supporter of women empowerment. He believes in providing them with equal opportunities in the workforce as implemented through his Center for Arab Women for Training and Research, where he serves as the Chairman. 

Given his substantial investment in humanitarian and philanthropic efforts, His Royal Highness has been associated with NGOs and non-profit organizations. Moreover, he is on the Advisory Board for the New York-based Concordia Summit and co-chair for the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) International Advisory Committee. 

Along with this, AGFUND, in collaboration with UNICEF, has expanded its partnership with COVID-19 response projects in Yemen and Niger. This partnership focuses on the affected children at an unprecedented scale and benefits some of the most marginalized children and communities in Yemen and Niger.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal Al-Saud’s commitment to his homeland has remained a constant throughout his life. Through his various programs, he has stressed on the importance of spreading a culture of sustainability and empowerment among civil organizations. Apart from that, he is working towards achieving a clear knowledge map that enhances the capabilities of Arab civil work entities to support, encourage and sponsor national, regional and international efforts and initiatives in the field of sustainable development.

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