KAUST: Helping to spur the Kingdom to a knowledge economy

Dhahran, April 16, 2014

Since its founding in 2009, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has set new standards in research and educational excellence. On April 2, scores of its alumni gathered for the first time in Dhahran to celebrate the success of the university and its graduates.

The dinner for the first KAUST Alumni Workshop was hosted by Amin H. Nasser, senior vice president of Upstream and co-chairman of the Saudi Aramco-KAUST Collaboration Oversight Board, at the Plaza Conference Center. This joint board oversees the various multidimensional collaborative engagements  between the two entities at a strategic level.

About 160 KAUST alumni were in attendance, as well as Dr. Jean-Lou Chameau, KAUST president; Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Aramco’s president and CEO; and other senior members of company management and academic leaders at KAUST.

Nasser told the gathering that the first official workshop was intended to achieve three “essential” goals:

  • To promote the bond among graduates and enlist them as partners in a shared future.
  • To celebrate the world-class education afforded by the premier research university, and its crucial work and role as a key talent source for the Kingdom and the world.
  • To demonstrate the strategic partnership between KAUST and Saudi Aramco at work.

The workshop themes provided alumni with actionable tactics and tips for enhancing their competencies in pursuing their own professional growth and development. Understanding the important ingredients of a corporate culture of excellence and Saudi Arabia’s ecosystem of research and development and innovation were discussed extensively as a part of the workshop themes.

“We strive to continue engaging you graduates in a conversation about honing key competencies — and for those of you who are also Aramcons, making the most of your careers at our company,” Nasser said. “We will continue working closely with KAUST’s efforts to align research and curricula with the energy industry’s evolving needs and help spur the Kingdom’s transition to a knowledge economy.

“We will also continue promoting a culture conducive to innovation, discovery and lifelong learning,” he added.
Since its foundation in 2009, KAUST has integrated research and education, leveraging the interconnectedness of science and engineering, and has worked to catalyze and propel the diversification of the Saudi economy through building a viable and internationally competitive and entrepreneurial innovation base and harnessing human talent to maximum potential.

Nasser said KAUST had started out as a dream.

“The entire hope of KAUST is to generate the breakthroughs that will serve humankind. Now it’s up to you engineers, scientists and researchers to deliver the dream in the field, in labs, in offices and classrooms across the nation and around the globe now and for generations to come,” Nasser said.

Chameau announced that KAUST’s first alumni chapter will be established in Dhahran, and he thanked Saudi Aramco for its continued support and said he looks forward to further collaboration between the two entities.