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)

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