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GUST Provides Insight into British Icon who made Kuwait her home for 61 years

17 December 2018

Gulf University for Science and Technology’s (GUST) Global Studies Center (GSC) announced today that a lecture was held by Alison Shan Price MBE, one of Kuwait’s most prolific theater personalities, Founder of One World Actors Centre, UK, and Creative Director of TAQA Productions, Kuwait. The lecture was part of the GSC’s ongoing effort to bring outstanding speakers and stimulating topics to GUST and the wider community.

The lecture portrayed the story of Colonel H.R.P. Dickson and his wife Violet who moved to pre-oil Kuwait. The couple lived in Kuwait for 61 years and became an inextricable part of the fabric of Kuwaiti society.  They saw the country overcome wars, natural disasters, and even witnessed how the discovery of oil transformed the country into what it is today. What’s more, it was Ian Fleming himself, the creator of James Bond, who persuaded Dame Violet to write her autobiography ‘Forty Years In’. It is through recent interviews of surviving friends and authors, access to academic and personal archives, and this autobiography that this unique account of the life of, Dame Violet Dickson, known locally as Um Saud, was told.

Director of the Global Studies Center, Dr. Fahed Al-Sumait said, “It is such a treat having someone like Alison helping to bring our local history alive for younger generations. The life of the Dickson’s is not just a story about expatriates in Kuwait, but rather a tale about the transformation of our society as illustrated through the experiences of one of our most prominent visiting families.”

The presenter, Alison Shan Price, has lived in Kuwait for 33 years working with multi-national artists to bring cross-cultural history to life through original performances. Later this month, Shan Price will portray Dame Freya Stark in a mono-drama entitled 'Freya: Chasing the Horizons', which will include Stark’s journeys in Arabia. In 2017, Shan Price was awarded the MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire - a grade within the British order of chivalry) by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year’s Honors List, for her Services to the Dramatic Arts in Kuwait and the Middle East.

The GSC is a leading research center on global studies, and a vehicle for engaging both internal and external communities through stimulating events and lectures on global issues. The center aims to conduct cutting-edge research on cross-national political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental issues of critical importance, and share research output and information regionally and globally.  The GSC seeks to foster public understanding of global issues with local significance.

Dr. Al Sumait added, “We continually try to find new ways of enhancing the GUST academic experience by organizing events that bring together great minds and present unique viewpoints to learn from. The GSC provides the university with another outlet to showcase its prowess in contributing to academic research.”

GUST continues to build on its mission to become a knowledge-hub that benefits and engages students, academics, and the wider Kuwait community as a whole.