Building National Resilience

Table of Contents:

An important role of any national university such as KAU is to build national resilience as a hallmark of an excellent education.

National resilience requires first of all a confident self-image. Regardless of the diversity and range of opinions in the world concerning Saudi Arabia, it is important for Saudi citizens to have a consistent self-image that debunks any negativity in the perception of the rest of the world. Such an effect is best developed in the Arts-Science Foundation Courses that all KAU graduates should go through. For example, in studying the religion of Islam, beyond learning of the rules and requirements and studying the Holy Quran, KAU graduates should be able to engage in intellectual discussions on religions other than Islam and if need be, explain to adherents of other religions how Islam serves as guidance for life and contributes to the common good. As another example, students should learn how Saudi Arabia works as a monarchy. They should also understand the benefits and pitfalls of the endowment of rich petroleum reserves and the necessity to create a future Saudi Arabia that plays its role in sustaining the Earth's resources. There is no need to be dogmatic in building national resilience in this manner. It should be structured, not as propaganda, but as objective learning that is helpful for Saudi citizens to ensure kinship with their fellow citizens and solidarity within the nation.


In this chapter we have outlined how educational excellence can be built in King Abdulaziz University. As doctoral education is closely tied to the research enterprise, it is left to the appropriate chapters on research. This chapter therefore focuses on undergraduate and professional education. Another area left uncovered is education in the practice of medicine which is normally the preserve of the university medical sectors and hospitals.

A discussion of national requirements of Saudi Arabia was followed by proposals to build 'excellence in education' from its foundation building blocks upwards. We started with desired attributes of KAU graduates and advocated a strong ArtsScience Foundation for all students. This was accentuated by 'undergraduate research for selected students', 'residential education' and 'international experience'. Life skills were practiced through 'student governance'. Finally, we touched on how we can maximize the societal contributions of KAU and its graduates through 'innovation and entrepreneurship' thereby helping to develop next generation industries and most importantly of all, adding to and reinforcing the 'national resilience' of Saudi Arabia.


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5. Shah, H. et al. (2007). The blue ribbon commission report on undergraduate education. Singapore: Nanyang Technological University.

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