What we can learn from Timbuktu

In the Middle Ages, Africa was a leader in the scientific research and knowledge. Now Umar Benna of the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Dammam, in Al-Khoba, Saudi Arabia believes that the lessons of Timbuktu's gradual development approach can teach modern Africa, as well as the western world, how to deal with globalism.

"It was a complex system consisting of people, relationships, values, processes, tools and built environment. Pooling these factors together to produce an enlightened learning community – not just a strong university but also an active community of practice," says Benna about the city, wich reached its peak in the 14th through 16th centuries.