More scholarships for Saudi students in Pakistan to boost ties

New scholarships to increase the number of Saudi students studying in Pakistan will strengthen interpersonal and cultural ties between the two nations. (Shutterstock)
Updated 19 February 2019
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More scholarships for Saudi students in Pakistan to boost ties

  • Both countries exploring new educational avenues, says Kingdom’s cultural attache in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: New scholarships to increase the number of Saudi students studying in Pakistan will strengthen interpersonal and cultural ties between the two nations, Saudi Arabia’s cultural attache to Pakistan said. 

The scholarships are among a wide range of education initiatives to bolster links between the two countries.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have been staunch allies with the Kingdom assisting Pakistan financially in recent decades. In recent years, efforts have also been made to strengthen cultural ties. About 3 million Pakistanis currently live in Saudi Arabia. 

“We plan to bring Saudi students to study here in engineering and medical colleges since there are excellent universities here,” Dr. Ali Mohammed Hawsawi, the Kingdom’s cultural attache, told Arab News in an interview.

The cultural envoy said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were exploring new educational avenues, including more scholarships for Saudi students to study in Pakistan, joint research ventures and faculty exchange programs between universities in both nations.

“I have visited some universities and will visit more in Lahore,” Hawsawi said. “We hope to build relationships and collaborations between our universities in research and across academic operations.”

Last year, Saudi Arabia announced 583 fully funded scholarships for Pakistani students in all disciplines, except health and medicine, at 23 leading universities in the Kingdom. The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan will process all applications and award 400 scholarships for bachelor’s degrees, 100 for master’s degrees and 83 for Ph.D. students wanting to pursue an education at Saudi universities.

“I expect a list of Pakistani students will arrive at my office within two to three weeks. We will send applications to the ministry of education in Saudi Arabia,” Hawsawi said. “Then we will be happy to welcome Pakistani students from next year.”

Hawsawi said students coming to Saudi Arabia would receive monthly stipends as well as accommodations and study materials.

“Everything will be free for them,” he said. “Scholarships between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have a long history, and you see many graduates of Saudi here today in Pakistan,” he said.

Previously, students from Pakistan were limited to pursuing Islamic studies and Arabic languages in Makkah, Madinah and Riyadh, but now they can study all subjects across universities in Saudi Arabia, Hawsawi said.

“Now studies are open in everything — science, biology, all the subjects. Similarly, the whole country is now open to Pakistani students. Through my office, we have found universities across Saudi Arabia that can give scholarships.”

The envoy said the Kingdom was home to a large Pakistani diaspora, and cultural similarities had created lasting bonds between the two nations.

“In Saudi Arabia, there are almost 3 million Pakistanis and nobody feels out of place,” he said. “Especially with Makkah and Madinah — Pakistani students are very happy when they find a chance to go there.

“A Pakistani student in Saudi Arabia will feel like they are in their own country; there is comfort in this,” Hawsawi said. “In eating, drinking and worship, our mosques, masjids — the student won’t find or feel that he is in a strange place.”

Amna Shahnawaz Qureshi, a Pakistani university student in Riyadh, said: “Saudi Arabia appreciates cultural diversity. The educational initiatives being taken are going to make the Saudi-Pakistan bond stronger and longer lasting.”


MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

Updated 25 March 2019
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MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

  • Interns will work on entertainment mega-project
  • Program open to university seniors and new graduates

RIYADH: A new internship program for young Saudis has been launched in the Kingdom, following a partnership between Misk Foundation and the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).

The program runs from June 16 to Aug. 31, 2019, and provides an opportunity for university seniors and recent graduates to be part of Qiddiya, an entertainment mega-project located 40 minutes from Riyadh.

Interns will have the chance to work at Qiddiya’s corporate offices alongside professionals from around the world and will be placed across 12 departments.

They will learn and develop skills that are required to succeed in their professional lives.

They will also gain exposure to QIC’s culture and learn from executives with over 20 years of experience across several sectors. 

QIC CEO Mike Reininger said: “We are contributing directly to the Saudi Vision (2030 reform plan) by creating a richer lifestyle for Saudi citizens while spurring innovation in the creative, hospitality and entertainment sectors. This unique opportunity allows students and fresh graduates to experience what it takes to be part of the change in Saudi by giving them the chance to work alongside a group of both local and international seasoned professionals. Thanks to this partnership with MiSK, we will be training the next generation of industry leaders.” 

Application to the program is open for those with fewer than two years of professional experience. Candidates must show strong academic credentials and submit a short video as part of their application.

King Salman led the Qiddiya ground-breaking ceremony in front of a global audience last April.

The project is aimed at helping to stem the $30 billion a year which Saudis currently spend abroad on tourism, and has the backing of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.

It targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s preeminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination.

It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq. km.