On April 22, SQCC opened two unprecedented, interactive exhibits featuring the Omani falaj irrigation system in Tucson, Arizona. The exhibit was constructed at the Biosphere 2, a research facility owned and operated by the University of Arizona. The Biosphere 2 is a 3.14 acre facility dedicated to the purpose of serving as a center for research, outreach, and education about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the Universe. Its name is derived from the idea that the facility is modeled on Earth, the first biosphere.
Dr. Peter Smith, Senior Research Scientist at the University of Arizona and Principal Investigator of the Phoenix Mars Lander mission, visited Oman in 2009 at the invitation of His Excellency Sultan Al Harthy and was captivated by the falaj irrigation system in the interior of Oman. He returned there at the invitation of SQCC for a VIP trip, and conducted more thorough research on the system with a colleague from the Biosphere 2.
The weekend’s festivities included a symposium on 20 April at the University of Arizona, featuring scholars on water resources from both Oman and the United States, a banquet that evening hosted by Her Excellency Hunaina Al Mughairy, and ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the Biosphere 2 on 21 April.
The Omani delegation also included His Excellency Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthy, Chairman of the Muscat Municipality and graduate of the University of Arizona, His Excellency, Dr. Ali Al Bimani, Vice Chancellor of the Sultan Qaboos University, Sayyid Nasr Al Busaidi of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and a delegation from the Million Date Palm Project, a program of the Diwan of the Royal Court.