I am indeed back in Saudi or at least in KAUST, which really isn't Saudi at all. Rather, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology is its own little oasis in the middle of the desert of arguably the world's most conservative country. We KAUSTians have drifted to this land like the little green seeds of the mangroves drift to our intertidal areas. We are about 6,000 people and growing, 180 babies were born here last year. We originate from all over the world. Saudi Arabia, China, India, Pakistan, Mexico, Korea, Colombia, United States, France, Germany, Kenya, Norway, Finland, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, and the list goes on.
We have come to this tiny isolated civilization and set up shop. Our labs are running, science is being made. We are a graduate university specializing in applied sciences- engineering, physics, supercomputing, chemistry and biology. We must be one of the most unique small towns of the world, with our diverse population, and the fact that everyone in our community is either a scientist, spouse of a scientist, or education administrator.
Luckily, scientists have hobbies too and we have concerts and art exhibitions and poetry contests, but still the community is lacking a true culture scene. Our community did not exist three years ago. This space we call home was a pile of sand at the edge of the Red Sea. We have no true endemic culture. So, we must create it. And creating culture without true artists is difficult.
I used to think that everyone should focus on science and math because that is how things are made and our society is bettered. But now, I know differently. Without art, music, language, story telling, and food, we are little more than machines and life is lacking. I still think that science is important, but so are those beautiful little things as well.
Make something beautiful today!