Saudis who studied in Britain honored for career achievements
RIYADH: Three Saudi Arabian graduates of UK universities have been honored for their career achievements in their home country.
Turki Al-Tubaiti, Abdullah Adlan and Nouf Al-Numair were the recipients of the third annual Study UK Alumni Awards, during a ceremony on Feb. 26 at the residence of UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis. He opened the event by stating how proud he was to be hosting it for a third time.
“I am very happy to see such a large number of candidates every year contributing to the betterment of Saudi society,” he added.
He also paid tribute to this year’s nominees, saying: “I have been Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Saudi Arabia for three years now and I consider it an honor. But I am not the only representative of the UK present here tonight; there are nine others here with me representing the UK and upholding its positive image, as well as that of their own home country of Saudi Arabia.”
The awards, organized by the British Council and British Embassy in Saudi Arabia, celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni who have used the experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their community, profession and country.
Al-Tubaiti received the Professional Achievement award, Adlan the Entrepreneurial Award, and Al-Numair the Social Impact award.
Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas — who received the Social Impact Award at last year’s event — gave a speech during the ceremony that highlighted the importance of education and experience in facing the challenges and changes that both kingdoms are undergoing.
“Such awards, especially in the social impact category, are not — and should not be — ends or goals themselves,” he said. “They are merely an indicator that we are hopefully on the right track of doing something that matters.
“The exciting and challenging times we are living here in Saudi Arabia can only be turned into a success by utilizing the passion, expertise and most importantly, the knowledge that people of the caliber of tonight’s nominees have.”
Amir Ramzan, the British Council director in Saudi Arabia, said that discussions had taken place to ensure that Saudi citizens continue to have opportunities to study in the UK.
“The British Council has been working with various organizations, including the Ministry of Education, to ensure that the number of Saudi students able to go to the UK to study remains consistent,” he said.
He also highlighted the recently established Gulf-wide UK Alumni Network, which already has of over 2,500 members.
“We are always looking for ways to use that network to build connections between both the UK and Saudi Arabia,” he added.
There was also a surprise visit to the ceremony from Alistair Burt, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East and Minister of State at the Department for International Development.
“We’re very proud of our education system, and prouder still of those that come to us to make use of it, and use it for such good,” he said.
To be eligible for an award, candidates must have completed a degree at a UK university within the past 15 years.
The ambassador, Simon Collis, said: “There are no specific criteria for the degree studied. The focus of the prize is not the type of the degree but rather what you did with it when you came back to Saudi Arabia.”
Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas speaking at the Study UK Alumni Awards in Riyadh. (AN photo by Iqbal Hossain)