King Abdullah's speech at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Inauguration Ceremony

September 23, 2009



In the name of God, most Graceful, most Merciful.

Your Majesties, Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses, Distinguished Guests:

The idea of this university has been a dream of mine for more than 25 years. It has been a persistent desire that has lived with me ever since. And I thank God, the Great, the Merciful, that he enabled us to embody it as a reality that stands mightily, with God’s will, on our soil today. On behalf of the Saudi people, I would like to express our deepest thanks for your presence here and your participation in the birth of our dream.

Historically, the Islamic civilization has played an enormous role in serving humanity. After God, the great Islamic scholars have contributed to many areas of scholarship, such as the role played by Ibn Al-Nafees in medicine, the impact Jaber bin Hayyan had on chemistry, and Al-Khawarizmi’s pivotal role in algebra. Similarly, the study of sociology benefited immensely from the genius of Ibn Khaldoon.

For all of that, the university, whose inauguration we celebrate today, did not emerge from nowhere. It is a contribution of what distinguished our civilization in its golden age. This is, first of all, what the university stands for.

Throughout history, power has attached itself, after God, to science. And the Islamic nation knows too well that it will not be powerful unless it depends on, after God, science. For science and faith cannot compete except in unhealthy souls. And God has graced us with our minds, which we use to understand and recognize God’s laws of nature. For He, the Almighty, said: “Of his faithful, God is feared by scientists.” And this is the second meaning of the university.

Brothers and Sisters:

Humanity has been the target of vicious attacks from extremists who speak the language of hatred, fear dialogue and pursue destruction. We cannot fight them unless we learn to coexist without conflict – with love instead of hatred and with friendship instead of confrontation. Undoubtedly, scientific centers that embrace all peoples are the first line of defense against extremists. And today this university will become a House of Wisdom to all its peers around the world, a beacon of tolerance. This is the third meaning of the university.

Finally, I would like to thank Saudi Aramco, which supervised the development of this university in an extraordinarily short period of time, and I wish the entire university community continued success.

May God bless you all.