Cambridge, Massachusetts, Asharq Al-Awsat – Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki Al-Faisal gave an address on Saudi Arabia in the global community at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts yesterday.
Prince Turki said that education is critical to success in today’s global economy. “Through improved education and exposure to the world at large, we hope to facilitate continued, mutually beneficial international relations,” he said.
To that end, the ambassador pointed out that Saudi Arabia has not only invested heavily in its own educational system – which is free and available to all Saudis – but also encourages its students to study abroad with full, four-year scholarship programs, many to the United States.
The prince also noted that the King Faisal Foundation, of which he is a founder, is in the process of establishing – with international partners – the first truly private, nonprofit Saudi university for science and technology. Al-Faisal University, which will offer an American curriculum, is scheduled to open in 2007.
Saudi Arabia is changing and developing, but if change is to be lasting it must be deliberate and take into account the Kingdom’s traditions and heritage, Prince Turki said. He noted last spring’s elections for 178 municipal councils, the fact that more Saudi women are being elected to the boards of professional organizations and the increasing number of female graduates from Saudi educational institutions.
Saudi Arabia’s unique role as the custodian of Islam’s Two Holy Mosques gives it a special responsibility to promote cooperation and unity in the Islamic world, Prince Turki said. He cited the recent Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Makkah, which was convened at the request of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to address problems in the Muslim world and offer solutions for a better future.
Turning to oil, Prince Turki said that the Kingdom will continue to supply as much oil as the world market demands, and that it encourages all nations to develop and adopt viable energy policies. The Kingdom, and its partners, will continue to seek ways to ensure market stability.
Prince Turki also remarked that Saudi Arabia and the United States have a strategic partnership in areas other than oil, including trade and the war on terrorism.