Amir Ramzan, the British Council’s country director for Saudi Arabia, told Arab News the UK is committed to strengthening its cultural ties with the Kingdom by improving academic and career opportunities for young Saudis.
Britain already runs a language-training program that teaches English to 30,000 students across Saudi Arabia. Now it wants to promote new initiatives, including a Saudi-based British film festival and a UK Education Week to improve relations between universities in the two countries.
Ramzan said the British Council’s “biggest contribution” in the months and years ahead “will be to support the skills development of young people and enhance their career opportunities.”
As part of these efforts, a delegation from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage will travel to the UK later this year to learn about British art. The trip will mark the second stage of a cultural exchange. A British delegation visited Saudi Arabia last November.
According to Ramzan, the UK has trained more than 100 Saudi sports teachers — half of them women — and dozens of Saudi teaching assistants. He said the continued development of cultural and vocational projects would help Saudi Arabia reduce its reliance on foreign workers by improving the skills and education of young people in the Kingdom, a key aim of Vision 2030.
There are now more than 9,000 Saudi students in the UK, the largest contribution to Britain’s student population by any Gulf Cooperation Council member.