KAUST between two epochs

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KAUST between two epochs

Okaz

WHILE on a visit to King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), I recalled the days of its establishment. In those days, the hardliners trained their guns to this fledgling university, openly raising their objection to setting up of such a world-class university. The hardline faction launched verbal salvos and unleashed a campaign of accusations against everyone who supported the establishment of such a premier institution.

Those days were the beginning of the end of radicalism, and the state was insistent on moving vigorously toward the future, irrespective of the objections raised by the hardcore elements. The move to establish KAUST was considered to be a historic and social blueprint to proceed toward the openness of society, keeping pace with the changes of the time.

I have absolutely no doubt that the opening of KAUST will not be overlooked by history as an enlightening act done by the state similar to many other things it did in the past such as making radio and television transmission a reality; allowing women’s right to education and employment in vital areas and permitting operation of banks.

Dozens of these actions would not have happened, had there not been decisive initiatives by the state for the advancement of the society, which had a predominant sentiment of reluctance to embark on anything new. All the societies need to embrace changes from time to time in order to keep pace with the developments. As a matter of fact, our society had been slow in embracing the new movement of changes.

Let us return to the topic of KAUST, of which the country is proud at present and will be in future. It makes a mark every year with innovations in its scientific research and global partnerships in all leading technologies related to science and civilization. This is possible because our country is witnessing a renaissance in all fields and eventually emerging as the first in the world, and of course KAUST was the seed for the feat.

I totally agree with Professor Suleiman Al-Thunayyan, vice president of KAUST, when he said in an interview that I carried out with him for Okaz newspaper. He said: “We can say that what KAUST has achieved in just one decade is considered to be a miracle by all standards and I am confident that the outputs of this university, which is not only looking for success but also seeks change, will be a cornerstone in building the future of our country after the integration of the university’s research projects with the innovative and challenging requirements of the Vision 2030 for the whole world.”

In general, all the achievements of the university at the local and international levels are the best testament for a bright future and regaining what has been missed. We are absolutely certain that accurate scientific research requires a time period in order to show its results and fruits, and I think that the university will be one of the most significant pillars at the global level in the field of scientific research in all its manifestations.

KAUST has specialized in scientific research, and it has scored progress in this regard not only at the local level but at the international level too within a short span of time. Therefore, we must show our gratification on every accomplishment that we have achieved in our homeland and disseminate this renaissance of civilization to other parts of the world.

As Prof. Al-Thunayyan put it: “Because we are living in the period of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman... our ambition is beyond borders.”


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