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March 4th, 2008
Stanford and the University of California-Berkeley are joining a team of international universities to help develop a major science and technology campus in Saudi Arabia, a nation that has fallen far behind in innovation and intellectual achievement.
Both schools announced Tuesday that they will help pick the faculty and develop the curricula for King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST. Saudi King Abdullah has provided $10 billion of his own money to establish the graduate-level university, which the king hopes will showcase his nation's desire to modernize education.
Stanford will help design and build the university's departments of math and computer science. UC-Berkeley will focus on mechanical engineering. Faculty at Berkeley's department of civil and environmental engineering declined to join because of concerns over academic and personal freedom.
King Abdullah seeks to wean Saudi Arabia from its dependence on oil and focus on intellectual development in such fields as petrochemicals and nanotechnology, according to Stanford.
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