Dear KAUST Inauguration Symposium Visitor:

Inaugurations are celebrated in many ways. What better way to celebrate the inauguration of a new university than to hold a symposium? And what better topic for a symposium at KAUST than sustainability?

King Abdullah’s vision for KAUST combines several elements that meet under the theme of sustainability, including contributing to scientific discovery, transforming the regional economy, and improving human lives around the world. Facing the possibility of climate change, concerted global effort will be required simply to sustain the quality of life the inhabitants of the Earth now enjoy, let alone advance it.

Voices that lay the blame for our environmental threats at the feet of technological advance fail to address the bigger picture. Technological advance, backed by scientific discovery, is essential to set humankind on a course that can successfully absorb the bulges in population at the youthful end of the age spectra in many nations today. Technological advance not only provides hope and aspirations for our youth, but for many of them, it will provide career fulfilment, through their work as engineers and scientists.

To the youth of the world, especially to the graduate students who make up the inaugural class at KAUST, we therefore dedicate the KAUST Inauguration Symposium. We do not pretend to solve any problems at its podium. However, we hope to leave with inspiration and perspective that will empower the semester to follow – on all campuses to which we scatter – and inform choices of research topics for years to come.

It is a thrill to bring to our podium twelve scientific and academic leaders who have for hours on end while younger stood in lonely laboratories and studied in lonely libraries to become the influential administrators and policy setters that they are today. Their job is not to entertain, but to cajole, inspire, instruct, and above all challenge us.

This website is an archive of a snapshot of sustainability priorities at KAUST's founding. It is a privilege to welcome you to the first symposium of many international symposia hosted by KAUST.

Sustainably yours,

David Keyes, Symposium Chair
Dean, Division of Mathematical and Computer Sciences & Engineering

Symposium Agenda

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:40 – 1:50 p.m. Opening Remarks by
HE Ali I. Al-Naimi
Chairman, Board of Trustees, KAUST
(Courtesy of pre-recorded video)
1:50 – 1:55 p.m. Welcome Remarks by
Choon Fong Shih
President, KAUST
1:55 – 2:00 p.m. Welcome Remarks by
Symposium Chair

David Keyes
Dean, Division of Mathematical and Computer Sciences & Engineering, KAUST

Session I

Role of Science and Technology in Sustainability

2:00 – 2:10 p.m. Opening Remarks by
Session Chair

Dr. Frank Rhodes
Trustee, KAUST
2:10 – 2:30 p.m. Keynote Address 1
Dr. Samuel Bodman
2:30 – 2:50 p.m. Keynote Address 2
Lord Alec Broers
2:50 – 4:00 p.m. Panel discussion and Q&A
• Dr. Frank Rhodes


• Sir Roy Anderson
• Dr. Samuel Bodman
• Lord Alec Broers
• Dr. Steven Sample
• Dr. Chen-Ning Yang
4:00 – 4:30 p.m. Break

Session II

Food and Water in a Changing Climate

4:30 – 4:40 p.m. Opening Remarks by
Session Chair

Dr. Elias Zerhouni
Trustee, KAUST
4:40 – 5:00 p.m. Keynote Address 3
Dr. Nina Fedoroff
5:00 – 5:20 p.m. Keynote Address 4
Dr. Wolfgang Kinzelbach
5:20 – 6:30 p.m. Panel discussion and Q&A
• Dr. Elias Zerhouni


• Dr. Nina Fedoroff
• Dr. Robert Grubbs
• Dr. Tony Haymet
• Dr. Wolfgang Kinzelbach
• Dr. Kazuhiko Takeuchi
7:00 p.m. Appreciation Dinner hosted by
Choon Fong Shih
President, KAUST

Distinguished Speakers