USF Hosts Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al-Faisal Thursday

The prince, who will be in the Tampa area for three days, will visit with students on the Tampa campus.


By Vickie Chachere News Manager


TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 26, 2010) – His Royal Highness Prince Turki al-Faisal, a leading figure in international diplomacy, education and cultural exchanges who has worked for decades to strengthen ties between his nation and the United States, will visit students at the University of South Florida Thursday.


Prince Turki will deliver a public address to the USF community at 10:30 a.m. in the Marshall Student Center ballroom and have a second hour-long educational and cultural event with students at 1:30 p.m., also in the ballroom. The prince’s visit comes on the third-day of his tour of Tampa, where he also will appear at the royal premier of the movie Arabia at the Museum of Science and Industry and visit with Saudi military officers stationed at Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base.


“As we continue to extend our global horizon in better preparing our student to succeed in the world, USF is privileged to welcome an international leader of Prince Turki’s stature to campus,” said USF Provost Ralph Wilcox. “His visit provides a rare opportunity for students and faculty to meet and exchange ideas with a widely engaged and seasoned diplomat.”


A former ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki, 65, is the nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and is the son of the late King Faisal ibn Abdul Assiz al-Saud, who reigned over Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975.


Educated in the United States since the age of 14, Prince Turki was a classmate of former President Bill Clinton at Georgetown University before he went on to become a leading international figure in security and diplomatic circles as well as educational and cultural programs. He serves as chairman of the board of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, which promotes the development and modernization of education in Saudi Arabia, and is one of the founders of the King Faisal Foundation, which is one of the world’s largest philanthropic entities.


USF is the home to 60 undergraduate and graduate students from Saudi Arabia and 191 from the nation who are enrolled in the new INTO-USF.


Prince Turki’s visit comes at a time when USF is developing new connections with universities in Saudi Arabia which have an increasingly international focus. In the past two years, USF has reached research agreements with the newly-opened King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal and King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.


Recently, three chemistry faculty members at USF’s College of Arts and Sciences were awarded a three-year, $1 million grant to develop new materials for energy applications. The program – which will build on USF’s Smart Metal-organic Materials Advanced Research and Technology Transfer (USF-SMMARTT) program, will connect researchers here and at KAUST in collaborative projects, said USF Chemistry Professor Mike Zaworotko. Researchers will travel between the two countries to collaborate, but also will be able to meet regularly through a new high-definition conferencing suite at the Office of Research & Innovation.


USF’s other agreements involved joint research projects in marine science – where ocean acidification, climate change and the effects on marine life will be studied – and a robotics collaboration with USF’s Center for Rehabilitation and Engineering and Technology, which develops advanced technologies for people with disabilities.


Vice President for Research & Innovation Karen Holbrook - who serves on the international advisory council for KAUST and who was on the selection committee for the university's president, provost and trustees - said there are parallels between the challenges facing Saudi Arabia's oil-based economy and Florida's constructon-dependent economy that provide a strong basis for the emerging partnerships. Saudi Arabia has put new focus on developing its education and research capabilities with an eye toward economic diversification, just as Florida is looking toward its research universities to create new high-tech sectors, Holbrook said.




Vickie Chachere can be reached at 813-974-6251.