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Student Spotlight: Bakur Madini


Bakur Madini, a rising Junior majoring in Physics at the University of California, Los Angeles, was nominated by the UNESCO National Commission in Saudi Arabia to be part of the Youth Advisory Group (YAG), which will help in writing the regional report led by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States.

The YAG will provide high-level consultation on the development of the Report and be invited to participate in periodic brainstorming meetings to provide their insights. The Report aims to determine how youth in Arab countries are able to acquire relevant and important information regarding environmental issues, and how they are able to compile and spread the information for climate activism in the region. Within the YAG, Bakur is part of a 50-member subset group called the Youth Working Group (YWG). Their role is to gather information for the report by conducting surveys of focus groups and interviews targeting both individual youths working in the field and active participatory entities. At the conclusion of his work on the YAG, Bakur and the other members will receive a Letter of Participation from UNESCO Cairo and be recognized for their contributions in the final regional report.

“Through working in this report, I have learned more on the work around climate change and more importantly how research is connected (or is disconnected) to government policies around the matter,” Bakur explained. “Thus, feeding into my interest in the intersection between scientific research and public policy in general.”

Bakur enjoyed working alongside diverse groups with people throughout Arab countries on an important and global issue while also learning of the many ways in which governments, activists, and experts seek to solve and tackle environmental problems in the region and the world.

His KGSP Adivsor, Cynthia Cox, applauds him for obtaining such a rewarding and advantageous enrichment opportunity, stating “Bakur has a very strong interest in politics and scientific research, and this opportunity has been the perfect chance to utilize his strengths in both. This is very relevant to his education as a KGSP student, as he is gaining knowledge and experience in a field that is very relevant to Saudi Arabia. His dedication to enrichment is admirable and he’s very proud to have been nominated to this group.”

Through their professional and scholarly achievements, KGSP students like Bakur are making great progress in their academic studies and career aspirations, which will undoubtedly prepare them to become talented and highly skilled innovators for Saudi Arabia’s growth and development.


KGSP students represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s future scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders. As both individuals and as a community, they reflect the KAUST mission of driving scientific discovery through excellence in education and cutting-edge research, and share a commitment to fostering innovation, economic development, and social prosperity throughout the Kingdom and the world.  


Selection to the KGSP is extremely competitive, and currently by invitation only. Successful applicants are Saudi Arabian students in their final year of high school who demonstrate impressive academic credentials within STEM fields, meaningful extra-curricular achievements, and who share the KAUST ethos of continuous discovery.  Learn more here.


The KGSP is administered by the Office of Strategic National Advancement at KAUST, under the direction of Vice President & Senior Associate to the President, Dr. Najah Ashry. Strategic National Advancement directs the university's strategy to serve Saudi Arabia's transformational priorities: Through initiatives in young talent and Saudi workforce development, social responsibility, and national engagement, the Office contributes to a thriving innovation ecosystem by building knowledge capacity, creating opportunities, and strengthening impact.