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* Information concerning affiliation/post/profile of the laureate is current at the time of the Symposium.

International Symposium 2014 in Riyadh

“Partnership for Innovation?The Experience of Saudi Arabia and Japan”

On December 17, 2014, the Honda Foundation and King Saud University jointly hosted a symposium titled “Partnership for Innovation - Experience of Saudi Arabia and Japan,” in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
It was attended by around 70 participants consisting of a delegation from the Honda Foundation, professors and students from science and engineering colleges at the University, representatives of the Japanese Embassy in Saudi Arabia and representatives of human resources development organizations.
The symposium began with a presentation of case studies on industrial development, technological innovation and human resources development in Japan. This was followed by sessions on the role of innovation in national and industrial development and on the importance of corporate culture and philosophy in the course of development. In the last session, speakers representing the two countries gave presentations on ideal forms of cooperation between the industrial and academic sectors. In human resources development, lively exchanges of opinion took place, including the suggestion that “enriching the education of university students who are to become future educators is important for both nations in the development of future leaders.”

*The main contents of the lecture are described below.

Session 1: Industrial and Human Development
Dr. Fumio Kodama, Professor Emeritus, the University of Tokyo and Shibaura Institute of Technology

“Behind Japanese Industrial Development:  Firms’ Absorptive Capacities of Innovation” 
Dr. Kodama spoke on how Japan achieved dramatic industrial development by not only making use of advanced technologies from foreign countries but also by aggressively adopting technological innovation, demonstrating this with a presentation of case studies from the past. He argued that Saudi Arabia should not simply repeat what advanced countries have done, but should gain a scientific understanding of the nature of industrial progress in those countries, through which truly valuable information can be obtained. The most effective means to achieve this objective is joint research.
Session 2: Innovation, Culture and Spirits
Dr. Eng. Essam Bukhary, Cultural Attaché, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

“Challenges of Innovation and Future Design in Saudi Arabia and Japan”
Dr. Bukhary emphasized the need to examine issues from various aspects and to take the initiative to change and design the future, rather than waiting passively for change to happen. He stated that, in order to design the future, it is necessary to build relationships, not in terms of winners or losers, but in order to create “happy-happy” relationships for the peace and happiness for all humanity. To this end, he stated that Saudi Arabia and Japan need to become strategic partners in the areas of human resources development and innovation.
Session 3: University-Industry-Government Collaboration
Dr. Kazuko Matsumoto, Senior Director, R&D, Vision Development Co. Ltd.

“Saudi Arabia and Japan Cooperation in Science and Technology:  from Universities to Industries”
Dr. Matsumoto spoke on recent Japanese atmosphere of industry, in which industry-university collaboration is leading to growth in innovative technologies and the development of venture businesses, but at the same time is generating greater pressure on the industries to practical commercialization. Further, she referred to the attendance at an international conference of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who asked many questions, and spoke on the importance and potential of bilateral collaboration between two countries.

Commemorative photo of the speakers

Attendance of the symposium

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