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Saudi Arabia: University dream, a renaissance in the making
Global Arab Network - Dr Mohamed Ramady
A new dream is materialising in the Saudi desert that is planned to rival the glories of the Islamic scientific renaissance of Granada and Cordoba.

Early this month King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) received its first batch of 400 students selected from different parts of the world, ahead of its official opening on Wednesday, which falls on the 79th anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s National Day.
It is a bold plan that many around the world are watching closely to assess whether the grand dream can translate into an engine of change in how modern scientific research results can benefit all mankind, just as the results of the early Islamic universities passed on the torch of learning of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians to future generations.

Superlatives cannot begin to describe KAUST, either in terms of the scale of the project or its intended scope. King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has invited several world leaders to attend the grand opening of the 10 billion Saudi riyal (Dh9.79bn) international research university, his dream project and in which he takes great personal interest, often dropping in unannounced to evaluate the progress of construction.
Born out of the barren desert, KAUST is now a reality, located in Thuwal, a village on the Red Sea, about 80km north of Jeddah. King Abdullah announced his plan to establish the world-class university during a reception given to him by the people of Taif on July 23, 2006.

“The establishment of this university has been a living idea in my mind for more than 25 years and I thank God for helping us to realise it,” the king said during KAUST’s groundbreaking ceremony in October 2007. And what a dream it has been.

Global Arab Network

Dr Mohamed A Ramady is a former banker and a visiting associate professor, finance and economics at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia


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