Initiative targets camps in Mauritania, Zimbabwe, Jordan, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh.

Ithra Calls on Best and Brightest from Around the Globe to Support Refugee Relief

Ithra, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, is using the power of creativity to design sustainable solutions that improve the quality of life for refugees around the world.

It’s all part of Ithra’s Tanween 2023, the largest creativity platform in the Kingdom designed to celebrate and inspire the creative process for architecture, fashion, digital media, product and graphic design professionals from around the globe who will gather here on Nov. 1-4 for the sixth edition of the annual event.

This year, 75 global innovators have been selected from a list of 300 applicants to participate in Ithra’s first Mega Challenge, which is designed to support humanitarian efforts to improve the lives of disenfranchised people. The Mega Challenge targets three tracks in need of innovative solutions: education, food security, and power.

Knowledge experts in the fields of humanitarianism, innovation, education, food security, power, and business development from the Kalimat Foundation, ACWA Power along with independent consultants have been secured by Ithra as mentors and jurors to curate the process and select three ideas (one for each track) that best meet all three criteria.

Winning ideas will be submitted by Ithra to a list of qualified sponsors for evaluation and, pending approval, implementation in selected refugee camps in Mauritania, Zimbabwe, Jordan, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh.

“The global refugee crisis continues to grow with every conflict. With limited basic resources, refugees face uncertain futures and struggle to lead secure lives. We want to help. We want to make a difference.”

Mizna Al Zamil, head of Creativity and Innovation at Ithra

“That’s why we chose this theme for this year’s Mega Challenge, and it’s why we are bringing in the best and the brightest from around the globe to design sustainable solutions that help alleviate suffering and improve the quality of life,” added Al Zamil.

In another conference track, Italian design firm Isola, in collaboration with Ithra, will present the ‘Routes to Roots’ exhibition that features live demonstrations and the works of 20 international designers that explore the power of scale in design to preserve cultural heritage and protect the environment.

Bringing Creatives Together

Since its inception in 2018, Tanween has brought together more than 75,000 creatives, innovators, and global subject matter experts to redefine what design means in a rapidly changing world. Centered on the theme “scale,” this year’s event, held in collaboration with Gulf International Bank Saudi Arabia and the Architecture and Design Commission, will continue to provide a platform for emerging and established designers from across the globe to showcase their work, engage in critical discussions and collaborate on innovative projects that make tangible contributions to society.

“Ithra was built to transform today’s possibilities into the realities of tomorrow by providing year-round purpose-driven programming that enriches, educates and inspires,” said Al Zamil. “Tanween 2023 continues that tradition by connecting risk-taking creatives, change-making innovators and global subject matter experts to expand ideas, create new opportunities and nurture creative potential.”

For more information on Tanween and Ithra’s ongoing programs, visit

— The Arabian Sun: October 26, 2023