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KAUST appoints new president - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, greets guests during the inauguration of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) on September 23, 2009 in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia (Scott Nelson/KAUST via Getty Images)

King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, greets guests during the inauguration of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) on September 23, 2009 in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia (Scott Nelson/KAUST via Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s first co-educational university appointed a new president on Wednesday. The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will now be headed by Dr. Jean-Lou Chameau after a unanimous decision by the university’s governing body.

Dr. Chameau, formerly head of the prestigious California Institute of Technology (Caltech), said that KAUST is not simply a university, but also an undertaking of historic importance, thanks to its unique location and its charter as a new international center of learning and research.

Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi, chairman of KAUST’s board of trustees and Saudi minister of petroleum and mineral resources, said, “We could not have found a better President for KAUST. Jean-Lou Chameau’s track-record as a researcher, educator and distinguished academic leader make him uniquely qualified to lead the next phase of KAUST’s development.”

Naimi also thanked the board of trustees, particularly the search committee, “for ten months of hard, careful, and now fruitful work to find and recruit the perfect leader for KAUST.”

Dr. Chameau remarked, “Until recently, I believed I would complete my career at Caltech and retire in Pasadena. I did not expect, however, to be presented with a unique and life-changing opportunity to lead KAUST. Like many other academics around the world, I heard about KAUST not too long after it was founded and was impressed with the clarity of the vision to establish a 21st century university that serves as a beacon for learning and research and for contributions that both make to human welfare.” He added, “As I considered accepting the position at KAUST, and spoke with members of the Board and the academic leadership, I was impressed by the dedication of effort and resources to realize that vision and the attention paid to establishing a culture of excellence.”

Andrew Gould, chairman of BG Group and former CEO of Schlumberger, led the board of trustees’ search committee. He said, “Jean-Lou Chameau quickly emerged as the ideal leader for KAUST and I am tremendously pleased that he has accepted the position.” Another board member, Charles Vest, the president of the US National Academy of Engineering and former president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), added, “Jean-Lou Chameau is one of the world’s most respected academic leaders. He was remarkably accomplished at Caltech and Georgia Tech. He has always been global in his outlook and perspective. I can think of no one better prepared to lead KAUST to fulfilling its goals.”