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GUST hosts The Social Life of Dignity with Al-Saad Foundation for Knowledge and Scientific Research

Date: 
25 April 2012

GUST welcomed Al-Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah, the Al-Saad Foundation for Knowledge and Scientific Research for the First Annual Public Symposium “The Social Life of Dignity” honoring the legacy of the Late Amir Sheikh Saad Saad Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabahas an important symbol of dignity. The Foundation’s main objective and dedication is to advancing social discourse.

 The event began with a keynote speech by Shaikha Fadyah Al-Sabah, the late Emir’s daughter stating that without dignity; wealth, working, and education would be without value - emphasizing the importance of dignity in the social life. The debate moderator -Dr. Mark Juszczak from Columbia University, began by introducing the panelists:  Prof. Gerd Nonneman, Dean of Georgetown, Qatar, Edrex Fontanilla, Brown University, Hanaa Helmy, EFG-Hermes Foundation, Cezary Michalczuk from EULUX Commission Kosovo and Professor Tomasz Zarycki from the University of Warsaw.

The debaters were divided into two panels, and each panelist had to answer a certain question in a period of three minutes. The three questions were; “Does material security take precedence over the defense of dignity?”, “Is the dignity of women better upheld by a society that recognizes gender differences?”, and finally “Does personal autonomy take precedence over family/community standards?” Each question was answered by each panelist and the audience gave their piece afterwards.

Whilst the debate took place a slide show was shown showcasing the late Amir acts as a true leader who was influential, a father figure, a man of honor, a prominent figure in society and an unforgettable liberation hero. It was an enlightening experience for the audience and panelists alike proving that listening to different views is the key to the development of a society.

The panelists’ day started early on with a morning meeting with GUST’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Muhailan, Dr. Sabah Al-Quaddoomi, VP for Academic Affairs, Dr. Lee Caldwell, Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Ali Ansari, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Ms. Afaf Al-Rukhayis, President’s Advisor, Dr. Masoud Asad, Director Public Affairs, Dr. Mesfer Mesfer, Student Affairs Consultant and Anwar Al-Sabah, Head of the Student Life Office.

    

Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Muhailan started the meeting giving the guests background on the university, its 10-year journey to where it is today: with over 3,500 students, well underway with its accreditation processes, highest rate of faculty publications in peer-reviewed journals worldwide and an extensive e-library with over 100,000 publications. He also mentioned GUST’s strong partnership with University of Missouri – St. Louis, as well as its growing cooperation with Sun Yat-Sen University in China, the Missouri University of Science and Technology and with Florida International University to work on more Masters Programs and possibly a PhD program in the future. And hopes that these cooperations grow and for many more partnerships to flourish.

Prof. Gerd Nonneman, Dean of Georgetown in Qatar, was particularly impressed with the size of the e-library at GUST since Georgetown Qatar takes pride in its own library, which they have opened to the public and has created a name for itself as the best library in the country.

The group then talked about the issue of dignity, which was the main focus of the symposium. Dr. Juszczak noted that dignity was a foundational issue and that was why the symposium is so important – “to start a discussion and give people the place and context for discourse.” Dr. Al-Quaddoumi said that Sheikh Saad was very interested in education and that he was a “service leader.” Dr. Al-Muhailan talked about many of the Sheikh’s known stories of honor and valor – “he was a gentleman of mission.” GUST is proud of what Sheikh Saad stood for and proud to carry on what he stood for in any way.

GUST gifted the panelists a token of appreciation – a small symbolic dhow – which stands for Kuwait’s glorious past and a symbol for a prosperous future. The token was inscribed with a quote by Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah: “There is no dignity without freedom and no freedom without honor.”