Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University Selected to Host the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center's 2015 Annual Conference

Sultan Qaboos

Sponsors: Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, Office of International Affairs, and International Center for Arid and Semiarid Land Studies (ICASALS)

Texas Tech University has long been a leader in the study and implementation of techniques for living and producing in arid and semi-arid climates. Recognizing this, the government of Oman teamed up with TTU's Office of International Affairs to organize a three-day Conference onAgriculture in Arid Areas. The conference, featuring speakers from Oman and TTU, was sponsored by the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center and the International Center for Arid and Semiarid Land Studies (ICASALS), and public talks were held at the International Cultural Center (601 Indiana Ave, Lubbock, TX) on Thursday, November 5, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC) is dedicated to educating the peoples of the United States and Oman about the breadth and richness of our two cultures. SQCC promotes mutual respect and understanding between our nations and strives to educate a new generation of culturally sensitive and knowledgeable citizens in each society. Through outreach programs, scholarships, lectures, educational resources, and cultural partnerships, the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington, DC, brings the culture, history, and heritage of our nations to audiences in the US and abroad. An exhibit of pictures of Oman was on display in the east gallery of the International Cultural Center.

In recent years, the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center has held annual meetings at Kennesaw State University in 2014, focusing on Women of Oman: Changing Roles & Transnational Influence, and the University of Chicago in 2013, focusing on Oman and the Indian Ocean: Interaction and Exchange. One new feature of this year's meeting was a series of working group sessions held on Friday, November 6, focused on long-term collaboration between TTU and Omani researchers working in fields related to this year's themes: water and water management use in agricultural and urban areas, agricultural production in arid and semi-arid lands, and current technology in arid lands' agriculture.

The conference this year also included trips to field sites and active participation of collaborators such as the US Agricultural Research Services' Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center and Bayer Crop Science's Seeds Innovation Center. The plenary talk was given by Dr. Barron Orr from the University of Arizona's School of Natural Resources and the Environment and the University of Alicante in Spain. Talks given on Thursday were open to the public free of charge. Organized around themes of water and water management use in agriculture and urban areas, agricultural production in arid and semi-arid lands, and current technology in arid lands agriculture, talks featured experts from Oman and Texas Tech University and were introduced by Ambassador Tibor Nagy, Vice Provost for International Affairs at TTU; Ambassador Hunaina Al Mughairy, the Omani Ambassador to the US and the first Arab woman ambassador to serve in the US; and Dr. M. Duane Nellis, President of Texas Tech University.