May 11, 2010
I’m in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia today at Effat University for a small conference on “Institutional Research in Muslim-Majority Countries.” There are about three dozen of us here from about 20 different countries.
To get to Jeddah, I left the day after Commencement. (The celebration was outside on a cold, breezy, gray day, but it was a wonderful event.) I flew Cincinnati to Chicago, Chicago to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Jeddah over 24 clock hours. I arrived late Monday evening, and the conference began first thing this morning.
Effat University is a most unusual place: a university for women (liberal arts, engineering and business) and the first independent institution of higher education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was started as a school for girls by Queen Effat in 1955, then transformed into a college in 1999, and desiognated a university in 2009.
The university’s core values, Dr. Haifa Reda Jamal Al-Lail (Effat’s President) explained todat are “directly linked to the first word of the Quran, “IQRA” or “read.” Each letter stands for one of the university values: Ibhath (undertake life-long research), Qiyam (ethical, social, and educational values), Riyada (responsible and creative leadership), and At-tawasul (effective communication and reaching out to others).