Opinion

KAUST: A ‘Scientific Saudi Embassy’ at Cairo International Book Fair 2021

July 12, 2021

By Lutfi Fuad Nu'man,

CAIRO —
The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) participation in Cairo International Book Fair 2021 has evoked an overwhelming interest of the fair visitors.

The energy and the inspiration of captivated audiences, who flocked to KAUST’s booth, was evident throughout the fair, whether it was grabbing of the quarterly publications or listening to the university media, public relations and communication representatives.

The representatives Ali Makki, Abdullah Al-Sobahi and Abdulaziz AlKurdi, talked about KAUST’s 12 years of contributions to science and technology, its diverse community and unique life and work culture.

The KAUST’s booth in this fair could be described as a "mobile scientific embassy”, since it is similar in importance and function to the rest of the embassies and diplomatic representations, but in some way surpass them in presenting a distinct mental image of the "new Saudi Arabia" and its ambitious Vision 2030.

The university succeeded in showing all the visitors on the grounds of Cairo International Book Fair that KAUST is not only an academic fortress, but also a towering castle for the world’s innovators who compete globally in innovating new ideas and scientific discoveries fueled by their curiosity and thirst for knowledge.

It is worth mentioning that the contribution of Saudi researchers in KAUST research outputs witnessed a staggering increase since its inception from 5% to 40% today. These researches cover a wide spectrum of important subjects aimed to tackle global challenges such as climate change, reducing carbon emissions and circular economy.

Such specialized studies will enable the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to make wise environmental decision and renewable energy resources assessment and place the country in the forefront of the world largest contributors in these fields.

All these research and studies happen inside the KAUST campus by a unique community of students, researchers and faculty members to assist the country leaderships in transforming the economy of “the new Saudi Arabia” to a knowledge-based economy: one that fosters innovation, economic development, industrial engagement, entrepreneurship, and technology transfer.

Speaking of technology transfer, KAUST’s participation in Cairo International Book Fair 2021 is a great example of such concept. Here you see KAUST technology is being transferred to an Arabic market outside Saudi Arabia. Showcasing KAUST’s scientific research and innovation to large audiences in Cairo in a simplified manner expresses the Kingdom’s transition to a productive economy that depends on more than one resource.

Is KAUST isolated from its surroundings? Is this what distinguishes the university?

The simple answer is no. KAUST is never isolated from its near surroundings or from the distant world. It is all due to its vivid community who works diligently across 11 research centers, seven laboratories, central workshop and three departments to publish thousands of papers in international scientific journals, invent solutions to address environmental issues, explore new energy resources, develop advanced technologies and share it with the world.

You cannot brand a community as “isolated” when sharing and collaboration is in its DNA. This is what qualifies KAUST to take part in the Kingdom's latest major projects such as NEOM, Red Sea project and smart health initiatives, to name a few.

The KAUST’s booth was an amazing journey at the fair and it is worth visiting for those who have not visited the exhibition yet.

— The writer is a journalist and political researcher and president of the Nu'man Youth Cultural Forum

lutfifanoaman@gmail.com

Twitter: @LutfiNoaman


July 12, 2021
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