The era of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz has created an unprecedented inspirational intellectual atmosphere throughout Saudi Arabia. People have begun to touch on issues that were considered inconvenient in the past. The credit for this goes to the king for his belief in dialogue and the results it would produce. Some scholars, intellectuals, writers and media figures realized the importance and essence of this era and felt a sense of obligation towards this period so they began to interact with it by raising many issues and posing a lot of questions. Despite the existing tension between liberals and conservatives, we must admit that this is part and parcel of the process of interaction. Light eventually shines through the conflict of thoughts. I believe our country has started to reap the benefits of interaction. It has shown more willingness towards assessing fresh developments with greater awareness, insight, speculation and perception.
Some of the issues frequently tackled in the media and within social circles over recent years have been coexistence between different schools of thought, free mixing between the sexes, marriage of minors, women drivers etc. I imagine that this interaction has contributed to broadening the scope of dialogue and its shift from the elite to all circles within society. It is only natural that continuous debate would highlight a difference in opinions within the framework of responsible freedom. This is quite a healthy phenomenon that encourages reflection and the formation of convictions.
Impartial observers would testify that King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz is a leader who has a vision for the future. The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), generous spending on developing education, expanding overseas scholarship programs, plans for the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, and before that he opened the door to opening dialogue; these are all examples and concrete evidence of King Abdullah’s remarkable vision. With his wisdom, King Abdullah realized that keeping up with developed countries with regards to shaping a better future calls for overcoming obstacles, rejecting compromise and forging ahead towards grand ambitions with courage, control and determination. This is what King Abdullah is trying to instil in us.
In the same way that birds spread their wings to fly, great men achieve their ultimate goals with willpower. This is what King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz has done and is still doing whilst leading his country to horizons of ambition, dreams and aspirations.