King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz officially broke ground for The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) yesterday. The ceremony, attended by thousands of Saudi and foreign dignitaries in a temporary structure at the construction site at Thuwal, near Rabigh on the Red Sea coast, included brief speeches, a laser show presentation, a luncheon, and a tour of huge models of the envisioned campus.
The University, which the King sees as the the hallmark of his reign, is currently undertaking an international search for its new administration, faculty, and setting up procedures to build a student body. Advisors noted that the university will have to overcome skepticism to recruit faculty, ensuring them academic freedom in an environment not noted for liberality in thought.
The Saudi dailies all lead with stories on the groundbreaking ceremonies:
Saudi Gazette — King: KAUST Lighthouse for Knowledge, Humanity
Arab News — KAUST a Dream Come True: King