Winners of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award, honoured on Tuesday, work in varied fields but share the same goal – building the future.

The award recognises contributions to the production and promotion of knowledge around the world.

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK Foundation, which was among the winners, specialises in developing educational institutions and supporting scientific research.

“Knowledge is vital in this world,” said Ohoud Alarfaj, project manager at the foundation. “We’ve done a lot of initiatives towards encouraging the youth in Saudi and globally in education, media, culture and technology. We have scholarships for Saudi and international youth with Cisco, Bloomberg and many high-level companies and educational institutes to provide scholarships and high quality education for the new generation.”

Youth constitute more than 50 per cent of the Saudi population. “We know the future is the youth as they will be the leaders,” she said. “So we have to focus on how to empower them and (help) them gain the knowledge and skills they will need in the future to lead to more sustainable development.”

Another winner was Wendy Kopp, chief executive and co-founder of Teach For All, who works to address educational inequality and groom future leaders.

“It’s a very deep rooted challenge and we believe the only way to address it is cultivating collective leadership for change at every level,” she said. “Teach For All is a network of independent organisations in 46 countries… brought together by a shared commitment to … ensure all children fulfill their potential. Each of these organisations are galvanising the rising generation of promising future leaders in their countries, whether in Lebanon, India or Peru, to channel their energy into the arena of working with their countries’ most marginalised kids.”

Participants in the Teach For All programme are asked to commit two years to teaching children. Kopp said the aim was to “cultivate a generation of leaders who have the foundational experience of teaching and will go on and exert real leadership for change.”