21.04.2012 - ODG

In Saudi Arabia, the Director-General visits King Abdullah University

© UNESCO/Paola Leoncini-Bartoli

During her official visit to Saudi Arabia, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova discusses scientific education and research at King Abdullah University in Djeddah (KAUST).

Pointing out the extremely advanced high-technology facilities and labs of the campus, the Director-General commended the University’s achievement in advancing education to such high scientific standards combining scientific excellence and research.

The University stands as a centre of scientific excellence in education, research and innovation on water, energy and food. It also covers a variety of related disciplines such as water management and re-use, desalination, genetics, solar energy and the environment.

Irina Bokova welcomed the University's efforts to link scientific research and social transformations in order to diversify the country's industry and economy, combining the educational mission with industrial development. Two-thirds of the University graduate students engaged in postgraduate studies come from the US, Latin America and Europe and there are about 70 different nationalities.

The Director-General highlighted the importance of the sharing of knowledge, experiences amongst the students. During the visit to the campus and its labs for solar energy, desalination and computer visualization for digital archaeological preservation, the Director-General acknowledged the efforts of King Abdullah bin Al Saud pointing out that "spending funds for education, science and research is the best way any leader can be thinking of the future of his country".

"We cannot rely on a single source of energy if we want to ensure a sustainable future," said the President of the University, Mr. Nasr Nadhmi.

The Director-General also applauded the University President and Provost for their collaboration with UNESCO's International Hydrological Institute based in the Netherlands, and UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme on digitalization, the latter in cooperation with the Library of Congress.

The Director-General also visited the Museum on the History of Sciences in Islam which is an integral part of the resources of the University Campus.

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