Oasis of science in the Arabian desert
The brain drain has worked its way through the Gulf States with a vengeance, and Arab émigrés are scattered over the globe. Now one who returned is doing his best to lure his fellow exiles back home.
In this article, Richard Stone profiles an Arabic visionary who is working hard to change the face of science in the Gulf. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qassimi, Shaikh of the tiny Arab emirate of Sharjah, has built two universities, six museums and a science foundation in just a decade. His liberal views are shaking up politics and education, involving women more and encouraging the best in science.
While the Shaikh is racking up science triumphs at home, he has been less lucky beyond the emirate’s borders. An attempt to get a regional science and technology foundation up and running has failed so far. Whether science in the Gulf will truly flourish, or succumb to what some call ‘intellectual tribalism’, remains to be seen.
Reference: Science 302, 1652 (2003)