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Basma El Zeinm | Director General

Dr. Basma EL ZEIN: Uncovering the Gateway to Success

Transforming Lives Through Knowledge, Skills, and Science

Imagine yourself as a curious explorer embarking on a thrilling journey toward the ultimate gateway of success – knowledge.

It’s the ultimate key to unlocking the doors of success. Whether you’re a scholarly ace who sailed through every math test in high school, a collegiate genius who spent countless hours absorbed in books, or someone who gained wisdom from real-life experiences, each incremental push makes way for an unprecedented comprehension of our world.

But what if I told you that not everyone is fortunate enough to access such valuable wisdom? In this modern age of rapid growth, it’s imperative to equip ourselves with a vast, dynamic pool of knowledge to stay ahead of the competition.

Meet Basma, a determined soul on a mission to make a meaningful impact on the world. With her unwavering focus on the betterment of society, she aims to create a lasting impression on young minds. Through her efforts, she strives to foster a spirit of empowerment in students, enabling them to develop newfound skills and abilities to conquer today’s challenges. For Basma, leaving behind a positive fingerprint on the lives of others is not just a goal – it’s a passion that fuels her every move.

She was raised in an ethereal atmosphere where intellect and curiosity reigned supreme – a place where profound discussions and academic marvels echoed continuously. The epitome of academic excellence, her father was both the enigma behind complex mathematical enigmas and the head of the esteemed College of Business Administration at the esteemed Lebanese University. Her mother, a renowned Arabic philologist, instilled a boundless affection for literature and language. Surrounded by an enchanting world of limitless ideas and intellectual ecstasy, it’s no surprise that she developed an insatiable passion for learning that still forms the foundation of her worldview today.

Today, Dr. Basma is a distinguished Director General at the esteemed University of Business and Technology and a true exemplar of magnificence in education. Her mission is to not only impart knowledge but empower individuals to be the best version of themselves. With a deft touch, she cultivates her students to master their materials, honing their innate talents and empowering them to leverage their acquired knowledge and skills. Adding to her impressive track record, she also contributes to the scientific community by showcasing her skills in Nanotechnology, Renewable Energy, and Photovoltaic Applications. Her unwavering dedication to development and pursuit of excellence make her an inspiring figure who leaves a lasting impact wherever she goes.

With resplendent majesty, her tireless endeavors in the domains of erudition, inquiry, societal benevolence, and commerce in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were met with exaltation and accomplishments through prestigious accolades and honorariums.

Let us dive into the depths of her incredible journey, exploring every twist and turn along the way.

Achieving Phenomenal Success – From Academia to Director General

With an impressive 23 years of experience spanning the realms of academia, research, and consultancy, Basma stands tall as the Director General of the UBT Techno-Valley. She has had a diverse career, having been the director general of the Governance and Sustainability Center, the founder and dean of scientific research at UBT, a research scientist at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and an associate researcher at the Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics, and Nanotechnology (IEMN) in France. Not to mention she also served as a faculty member for 12 years at Dar al-Hekma University.

Throughout her years of experience, she has made a remarkable impact with her ongoing research efforts, projects, and dedication to progress. In addition to her research, she has been actively involved in curriculum development, strategic planning, quality and development, the advancement of women, entrepreneurship, and technology transfer. As a part of this, she has played an instrumental role in the expansion of the curriculum, academic projects, industrial projects, and research, all of which are geared toward the Kingdom Vision 2030 and the Transformational Plan 2020. She has further accomplished this through the establishment of numerous international collaborations, programs, workshops, and seminars with multiple institutions and universities in Europe, England, and the USA.

Basma is exhibiting her leadership capabilities through various roles she has held and is actively involved in the advancement of science within the renewable energy sector, particularly in the use of nanotechnology for solar energy. She is demonstrating her abilities by exploring new subjects and creating innovative strategies in order to bring about positive change in the world.

Her extensive knowledge in multiple scientific disciplines, combined with her extensive teaching, managerial, and research experience (in nanotechnology, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, and computer vision) over the past 23 years, has enabled her to build up a range of abilities.

She has authored a textbook and published numerous articles in the field of solar cells, in addition to owning a patent related to materials used in this field. Furthermore, she is a grand Judge at Intel ISEF- USA, an examiner at KACST, and a highly sought-after speaker at many worldwide conferences on renewable energy and nanotechnology.

In her past roles, she has overseen a substantial number of Ph.D. students and roughly 250 projects (which include final year projects for bachelor and master students, as well as development and strategic projects). Furthermore, she is a reviewer for numerous international peer-reviewed publications and the chair and co-chair of committees at international conferences. She is a member of different international associations too.

Basma’s current focus of research is on energy transformation and preservation. The primary aim of her studies is to assemble an ecologically sound solar cell with high effectiveness and long life. Furthermore, she is researching new materials such as kesterite, perovskite, and proteins which could be utilized as light absorbers for solid-state sensitized solar cells. Lastly, she is examining printed metal oxide batteries.

Her past studies encompassed Telecommunications, Artificial Intelligence, automated control, and programming through Programmable Logic Controllers and Computer Vision.

She has released a textbook titled “Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Applications” and composed a book chapter concerning printed electronics. Furthermore, she has numerous publications in this field, including in international journals. Additionally, she was granted a patent in 2021 from the US, UK, and Europe in connection with materials for Solar Cells.

From a communal standpoint, she has supplied numerous services, and she is currently the aide to the leader of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace for scholarly and scientific affairs, where she is directing various projects, for example, the formation of the Master of Arts in Tolerance Studies and worldwide peace with noted educators from across the globe (Texas Austin University, University of Maine, University of Sussex, University of Lisbon, University of Guadalajara, and the University of Elbdr).

Basma was brought up in an atmosphere that highly values education, with her father being a Professor of Mathematics and the Director of the College of Business Administration at the Lebanese University and her mother being an Arabic Lecturer. Her mission is to make a lasting impression on the lives of others by empowering them and helping them to acquire more abilities to equip them to face today’s difficulties.

Her vision is to be a catalyst for transformation, to find solutions to issues, and to motivate others to create a better planet, particularly in the areas of research and renewable energy. While her mission is to act as a leader and inspire creativity and progressive ideas to make a positive impact on the economy and society.

Her life philosophy is to Discover, Transfer, and Make a Difference, which involves researching, uncovering, and understanding new ideas, approaches, and systems, then transferring that knowledge and technology to her peers to have a beneficial effect on society and the community.

Power of Critical Thinking and Experienced Leadership

At the University of Business and Technology (UBT), Alumni develop key abilities such as critical thinking, problem-solving, determination, teamwork, creativity, innovation, and curiosity. UBT is dedicated to cultivating these specific aptitudes and cultivating experienced leaders of the future through interdisciplinary instruction, applied research, and community service that is of superior quality.

UBT works to link the knowledge generated in universities to the requirements of the job market by creating new courses and majors, in partnership with international universities, that benefit the public and contribute to the Saudi economy in light of Vision 2030. It achieves this through research and communication of its findings, as well as through transferring the technology to the industry, thus having a positive effect. UBT’s research and development activities touch upon various sectors of the kingdom’s economy, particularly in business, law, marketing, science, technology, and education.

UBT was established in 2000 with the aim of providing education that would prepare individuals to seize job opportunities and become capable of tackling global challenges, solving contemporary issues, and positively contributing to their community.

The International Association of Universities, iREG, and the Association of Arab Universities have officially acknowledged the recognition of this institution at an international level, while it is also approved by the Ministry of Education and the NCAAA at the national level.

UBT holds accreditations from CEA, IAA, EDAF, EPASS, and ACCA and is a member of AASCBC, AMBA, and various other organizations. Additionally, it is the first private university to be licensed by the Saudi National E-Learning Center.

Since its establishment in 2000, UBT has been a pivotal part of the western region of Saudi Arabia’s community. Over the past 21 years, it has grown from a business institution to a leading university both in Saudi Arabia and the wider Arab region and the world. UBT is dedicated to its mission of contributing to the global community by fostering creative research, creating new intellectual values, and developing capable human resources which can generate such new values and have a positive impact on the community. To this end, the University has achieved many successes and has been the recipient of numerous international awards. Additionally, UBT is continually exploring new avenues of development to meet the requirements of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

The Astonishing Transformation

In 2015, Basma became the director of the Research and Curriculum Development Unit at UBT’s College of Engineering, tasked with establishing research and designing new undergraduate and graduate studies curricula. By the end of the same year, she was promoted to Director of the Research and Consultation Center to cultivate a research culture at the university level, involving faculty from the College of Engineering, College of Business Administration, and College of Advertising.

In 2017, she was appointed as the inaugural Dean of Research. Her role was to devise the research strategy, devise a plan of action and enable the transition of the university from a teaching-focused institution to one with a teaching-research focus. She has successfully set up research flagships and provided guidance to researchers on how to become better authors, reviewers, and editors and publish in high-impact journals.

She supervised the international connections of UBT and created enduring links with educational institutions at home and abroad, as well as with companies.

She developed a Ph.D. co-supervision program as part of the professional development program for faculty with master’s degrees in order to improve their capabilities. Additionally, she was appointed the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Furthermore, as part of the foundation of the Deanship of Scientific Research, She developed the research ecosystem, set the strategy, initiated interdisciplinary research groups serving the main axes of economic development called research flagships, Established a research Roadmap, and converted research ideas into the market. She also established and initiated a Business and Entrepreneurship Hospital serving SMEs and entrepreneurs to maintain their sustainability, established an industry relationship program to build strategic partnerships with the industry, established the Scientific Chair Program and Funded the research program, as well as delivered an exceptional level of service to each researcher by listening to concerns and answering questions.

Innovation, applied research, and disruptive research are the key elements for constructing the future of Saudi Arabia. She played an important role in creating the ideal environment at UBT to enable research to flourish and excel. The focus was on the kingdom’s demands, restrictions, and possibilities in a variety of industries in the kingdom. Furthermore, UBT was supported in its mission to go beyond teaching to produce knowledge and carry out high-quality research that will contribute to economic growth and meet the requirements of the community in Saudi Arabia and the world.

In 2020, she took on a difficult job as the Director General of the Governance and Sustainability Center. She has since worked towards establishing the governance of the university, with a specific focus on the laws, duties, powers, and obligations of each individual employed there.

In 2022, she was appointed Director General of the newly created UBT Techno Valley. Under her leadership, she has set up incubators, accelerators, Business Centres, Technology Transfer Offices, and a variety of other resources to assist entrepreneurs in establishing their own startups.

She was convinced that through founding and setting up new organizations at the University, she was aiding in the advancement of the university and helping it move towards becoming a third-generation university.

A Force of Nature

She had a distinguished history of successful leadership roles, making her a formidable and powerful transformational leader. Her ambition and vision drove her team and colleagues to think deeply and act boldly; she was self-assured and persistently individualistic, yet she consistently opened her door to communication and interaction with others, showing genuine care and respect for their ideas. Her ability to motivate and inspire the people around her was truly impressive, and the positive impact she made on her peers can still be seen today. She was relentless in her pursuit of success and encouraged those who shared her ambition to strive for the best. Her tenacity and strength of character made her a unique leader and one that will be remembered for years to come.

She had an unshakeable belief in what she taught and demonstrated this through her actions, no matter how small. She was always unafraid to admit mistakes and used them as a stepping stone to success. She was a leader in the truest sense, inspiring others with her example. She was a firm believer in collective and creative thinking and held regular brainstorming sessions to tap into everyone’s potential, often leading to incredible solutions. Above all else, she was an unwavering advocate for the principles she set and was always prepared to stand by them no matter the opposition.

Unlocking the Power of Women in STEM

The STEM fields are incredibly important for us to reach the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – yet, for a variety of reasons, women’s involvement and participation in these areas is still lower than that of men. From societal and cultural norms to psychological barriers – there are so many elements at play that prevent us from fully embracing the fact that all genders should be equally represented when it comes to STEM studies.

As women continue to blaze a trail, leading the charge for social and political progress, the invaluable contributions of female engineers to the energy sector’s ongoing industrial revolution should not go unnoticed. Though women engineers remain a minority, many have already achieved tremendous success and are showing that engineers and scientists of any gender can create a name for themselves in the industry. These trailblazers are shattering stereotypes by becoming beacons of inspiration, proving that anything is possible with courage and determination.

Nanotechnology is an incredibly exciting and powerful technology that has the potential to revolutionize our lives! From medicine to agriculture, water to energy, construction, transportation, and consumer electronics, this incredible technology touches every aspect of our lives. By working on a nanoscale, we can tackle some of the most pressing issues our world is currently facing, like climate change.

In 1959, Caltech physicist Richard Feynman’s revolutionary lecture, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” opened the door to a fantastical world of scientific possibility. Manipulating atoms and molecules to build whatever your imagination can conceive? It’s no longer the stuff of science fiction but the reality of the brave, pioneering women scientists who are leading the charge in nanoscience and nanotechnology projects. These incredible minds are tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges, from sustainable energy production to clean water treatment and cancer treatment.

Engineering should be an inclusive space, and we must all join together to bring forth a movement of empowerment and opportunity for female engineers and scientists. We can do this by providing access to nanotechnology education and professions to women, free from any barriers or restrictions. We must also recognize the incredible achievements of female role models in engineering to inspire and motivate young girls to take up engineering and make a positive impact in their communities.

Women scientists are a veritable powerhouse of knowledge, creativity, and inspiration! Representing half of the population, these women inject an invaluable new perspective into science and the workplace, ultimately leading to a more complete understanding and unrivaled advances in our world.

Achieving Amity and Serenity Through Education 4.0

In this contemporary period of multiculturalism, people from various backgrounds should coexist and collaborate in a spirit of amity and serenity. We have the remarkable capability to use the advances of Industry 4.0, such as automation, artificial intelligence, Big Data, and the Internet of Things, and modify them into solutions that prioritize people’s needs.

As the 5th industrial revolution takes hold, education has become a key focus and top priority across the globe, with the aim of teaching and implementing strategies necessary for us to successfully confront the modern challenges we face. The World Economic Forum’s Education 4.0 study outlined the core components (global citizenship skills, innovation and creativity skills, technology skills, interpersonal skills) and experiences (personalized and self-paced learning, accessible and inclusive learning, problem-based and collaborative learning, lifelong and student-driven learning) needed to make Education 4.0 a reality. Nevertheless, many countries and institutions are now making Education 5.0 their primary target.

As technology continues to develop and evolve, so too will the future of the educational system. With the right integration of technology into the classroom, students will be able to gain a better understanding of the material covered in class. Educational technology can be thought of as an ethical practice that will benefit students in a myriad of ways, from increasing their capacity and productivity to enhancing their performance. Technology integration into education is a surefire way to inspire positive changes in teaching methods.

As we journey towards 2030, she is certain that integrating technology into education is a tremendous asset for advancing instruction in the digital age. We must stay up-to-date with advancements in information technology; drive transformation and creativity in education; examine new teaching approaches and pedagogical methods that are appropriate for the digital age; construct an interconnected, digital, personalized, and lifelong education system; and dedicate our energy to making education more open, appropriate, people-oriented, equal, and sustainable.

As we look to the horizon of 2030, it is clear we must cultivate a new generation who possess the skills and talents to take on the challenges of the fast-approaching 4th and 5th Industrial Revolutions. Education must be modernized to foster citizens who can think creatively, adapt to change, and become problem-solvers who can drive innovation and make positive changes in their communities. The teaching methods of the 1st Industrial Revolution are long outdated and no longer adequate to facilitate this level of creativity and development.

Technology in education has the potential to revolutionize the way we learn! Digitalization, connectivity, smart devices, and multimedia are all tools that can be used to transform the educational experience, leading to higher quality, more efficient learning and overall advancement of education reform.

Chart Your Course to Success

Achieving success is often a matter of learning from those who’ve already accomplished their dreams. Nothing is more beneficial to an entrepreneur than having an insightful mentor, as well as inspirational role models.

I will tell them to:

  • Be creative and innovative; in some cases, you need to be disruptive.
  • Have a vision, Know your strength and your goals and work toward achieving them.
  • Learn from your mistakes and from the feedback of your seniors.
  • Understand the community needs, identify the gap, and work toward identifying the challenges and work to provide solutions where you can contribute to the economic development of your country and serve your community.
  • Always challenge yourself, take risks, and believe in yourself.
  • Take action, and manage your energy and effort.
  • Build a strong network.

Igniting Change and Progress Through Education

The world around us is swiftly transforming and becoming more complex, yet it continues to grapple with a variety of issues, such as environmental, economic, and social.

Education is the key to transforming lives and inspiring change. Through honing knowledge, developing skills, fostering attitudes, and instilling values, we can empower each other to become agents of growth and progress. Learning to set clear objectives, collaborate with diverse minds, uncover hidden potentials, and conceive multiple ways to tackle grand challenges will be a must in the years to come. Education should strive to do more than just prepare youth for the workplace; we must offer them the tools they need to become active, responsible, and engaged members of society.

To scale any academic institution’s services and operations( as per the education vision 2030 set by UNESCO), they need to:

  1. Safeguarding healing and well-being as a cornerstone of education
  2. Engaging youth in educational decision-making
  3. Ensuring all learners’ equitable and consistent access to quality education
  4. Enabling ecological and global concerns in curricula agenda to meet the industry needs
  5. Prioritizing teachers’ well-being and professional development and strengthening Their capacities to facilitate blended learning

Celebrating a Shining Star

Her tireless efforts in the realms of academia, research, community service, and industry in Saudi Arabia were celebrated with aplomb. In 2013 and 2014, her research on Nanomaterials for 3rd generation Solar Cells was rewarded with two funded projects, cementing her place as a leader in her field.

  • Special Recognition Medal by Harvard Business Council 2022.
  • Women of Achievement in Energy by LEWAS 2021.
  • Women of Influence Award by Global Excellence Award 2021.
  • International Businesswomen award by Harvard Business Council 2021.
  • Consulting management award in scientific research by CEO Today magazine 2020-2021.
  • Top Women professional 2020.
  • Featured by Wall Street Journal, May 2019.
  • Featured as a top scientist and top educator by Marquis Who’s Who in 2019.
  • The Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement award in 2018 by Marquis Who’s Who.
  • Solar Pioneer by Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) during the world future energy summit 2015, Abu Dhabi.
  • Distinguished Achievement Award in Solar Energy and Nanotechnology, by:
  • Lebanese Embassy in Emiratis, 2015
  • Business Council in Emiratis, 2015
  • AZM Biotechnology
  • Center, 2015
  • Lebanese University, 2015
  • Cultural Council, 2015
  • Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century in 2010
  • Top 100 educators in 2010
  • Who’s who the world, 2000