A NEW WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF THE OLD

Kuwait 2018 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rana A. Al Nibari, General Manager of The Scientific Center Kuwait (TSCK), on rousing people's curiosity for science and technology, connecting with students and their families, and encouraging sustainability.

 Rana A. Al Nibari
BIOGRAPHY
Holding an EMBA degree from London Business School, Rana A. Al Nibari is the General Manager of TSCK. Prior to assuming this position, she was CEO of INJAZ Kuwait for five years during which time the organization flourished. She also served at Global Investment House for nearly eight years, rising to become vice president of business development and responsible for the company’s MENA region subsidiaries. She has also served on the boards of Kuwait domiciled funds and was a board member for Saudi, Egyptian, and Omani companies.

What is your role in Kuwait's education and tourism sector?

TSCK has always played a key role in tourism and education through its exhibits and facilities, which rouse people's curiosity in science and technology. We are located in one of the most beautiful areas of Kuwait, which plays an important part in tourism as well.

How do you promote science among young people?

We promote it through touch and feel experiments in addition to outreach programs. We go to schools, do live examples, and have people visit us here, not to mention other programs that bring things to life. This is the way we portray science. As for involving the community, TSCK attracts families. We target youth in schools, while our doors are always open to families to interact through our exhibits and the aquarium. That is how we connect. Over the years, we have had different exhibits that encourage parents to bring their children somewhere they can learn. We have become part of the quest to expose children to science education. Though mostly for people living in Kuwait, it is not just for Kuwaitis. We have been receiving tourists for the last 17 years; when people come to visit the Amiri Diwan or the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS), they come our way. Of course, part of the reason is to see the largest aquarium in the region.

What could be done to make TSCK more attractive to tourists?

Tourists coming to Kuwait want to see something cultural or unique to Kuwait. We are working on an expansion plan for the center that includes a larger space and exhibits. It will be more interesting for tourists, nationals, and people living in Kuwait to see something new. Tourists in general need more facilities. We could, therefore, attract them better by expanding the services available in the center, not to mention more restaurants and better transportation options.

How do you educate people about the culture and history of Kuwait?

The idea behind TSCK is that it was built like a souk, which can be seen in the architecture. The second aspect was the idea behind the aquarium and desert, which is unique to Kuwait. We wanted to showcase the environment in Kuwait and all its local animals. We have a boat in the Dhow Harbor, the only one its kind in the country. We are developing ways to bring it alive and build stories around it.

What is the current strategy for the years ahead?

We fall under KFAS, which is keen to drive innovation in Kuwait. One arm is the scientific center. Today, we have a larger role to play in driving people toward STEM and possibly the arts. The world today is looking at where the jobs are tomorrow. This is partially why TSCK wants to do what is necessary for millennials and subsequent generations. One is more likely to understand STEM through a beautiful exhibit rather than sitting in a class and reading a book. Over the years, all scientific centers have played a role, working hand-in-hand with curricula, schools, and government policy to drive these key education subjects. We also fall under Kuwait's 2035 Vision in these sectors. As far as education goes, TSCK satisfies part of the vision for Kuwait to be less of a consumer and more of a contributor in tomorrow's world. We also want to be a driver for a better environment, which is why we show marine life and stress sustainability. For example, we engage artists to showcase the situation of marine pollution. We also showcase researchers and scientists, bringing them to the center to talk about these important subjects. As we see humanity overeating, overfishing, and so on, we need to be leaders in driving sustainability.