• All is not well in KAUST, apparently. I don’t want to talk about their last-minute cancellation on Saudi Barcamp last month because I don’t know all the details, but here is a view from the inside by a student there. Noah J.D. DesRosiers called it a “black hole,” where people are too afraid to say anything:

    I worry about being asked to leave KAUST. I worry that I will be booted in exchange for a student who will not speak their mind – or worse, a student who will not care either way for the vision of KAUST. Speaking your mind seems offensive and standoffish here; behaving, being grateful, and accepting what has been given appears to be all that was anticipated of us students. We can’t tell; the lack of transparency leaves our questions unanswered.

  • If you want to make something great then you need to be passionate about it. That’s true for almost everything in life. But there are things in life where passion is crucial, and one of these things is teaching. You must have some much passion just to be a decent teacher, let alone a great one. As we go through school, we are being taught by many different teachers, and usually very few of them truly stand out. Those who stand out will have a tremendous impact on our lives. Fatima is no exception, and that’s why she decided to become a teacher.
  • Fellow blogger Ahmed Ba-Aboud introduces Alternative Saudi Voices. His vision is to make the blog one of the best available windows to life aspects, issues and dreams in Saudi Arabia, and it will be will be open to any Saudi who would like to contribute. I think the new blog offers a good opportunity for people who feel they have something to say but don’t want to start a blog of their own. At least it’s much better than pouring your ideas in the comments section of blog like mine where they will eventually be buried or get lost in the noise.
  • A nice op-ed in the NYT by Tim Sebastian, host of Doha Debates. Talking about Egyptian bloggers, he quotes an influential editor in Cairo saying: “these young bloggers are the real bridge to a better, freer future in the Arab world. But, like the traffic, it may take a few years to arrive.” (via GB)
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  1. Ahmed,

    Thanks for informing your blog visitors about the new blog “Alternative Saudi Voices”. You perfectly explained why I started the blog. I just hope it works.

    I should have informed you and got your wisdom on the matter. It was nice of you to mention it here. I’ll be in touch with you to discuss some thoughts related to the new blog.

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