Diplomatic row: Sweden says sorry

Updated 30 March 2015
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Diplomatic row: Sweden says sorry

Sweden has apologized for the recent offensive remarks by its foreign minister against the laws of Saudi Arabia and hoped for better relations between the two countries.
Hailing the role of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in protecting Islam and its holy places, Sweden said it is looking forward to welcoming back the Saudi ambassador to Stockholm.
The kingdom had recalled its ambassador soon after the uncalled for remarks by Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom.
In a message to King Salman, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven expressed “deep sorrow and regret over the current crisis in the relations between the two countries” while stressing his government’s keenness to maintain healthy relations between the two countries.
Lofven also said the role of King Salman in protecting Islam and its holy places is clear and that his government was concerned over the deterioration of the relations between the two countries following the controversial comment by his cabinet minister.


Misk Global Forum: UAE Higher Education Minister aces ‘job interview’

Updated 47 min 42 sec ago
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Misk Global Forum: UAE Higher Education Minister aces ‘job interview’

RIYADH: The opening session on the second day of the Misk Global Forum began with a brain teaser – how many golf balls can you fit in a school bus? – as part of a job interview, but not just with any applicant.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, talked about higher learning and his career in the format of a job interview, conducted by moderator Razan Alayed, an advisor to the Education and Human Resources Council in the UAE.

Al-Falasi said he was surprised that even though he went to very good schools and had a PhD in engineering, he got rejected when applying to many companies because they said he was overqualified. He realized he was underqualified in consulting, so he started to work on that. His learning? “People appreciated the skills I had, not my education.”  

Still, Al-Falasi said it’s important to have a specialization in higher education. “You need a core major. Academic background is still important.”  

To be successful, he said a person needs to be confident and passionate, and that it’s important to have skills of negotiation and articulation.

“I’m not the smartest person,” he said, rather modestly. “If I have to pick one skill, it will be my capacity to adapt.”

Al-Falasi said technology is helping education evolve: “Today with technology, you can have access to the best classes in the world. Data is also important, many say. A lot of technology is built on understanding.”  

At the end of his interview, when Al-Falasi was asked about his salary expectation. Without pause, he said if it’s for a job at Misk, the figure doesn’t matter.

“We all feel very passionate and positive today, especially with what’s happening in Misk,” he said. “All eyes are on Saudi Arabia today.”