JEDDAH, 11 February 2007 — Fifty students from Jeddah’s Dar Al-Hekma College were received by Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday.
The students are currently on a weeklong educational and familiarization trip to India as part of the college’s educational program which emphasizes exposing its students to the world’s rich and diverse cultures.
During the meeting, Dr. Kalam gave the students an overview of India’s vision to become a developed nation by 2020 through focused actions in women’s education and health care, agriculture and food processing, information and communication technology, infrastructure development and self-reliance in critical technologies.
The president described the challenges of bringing connectivity to 70 percent of the country’s population living in its 600,000 villages.
College Dean Dr. Suhair Al-Quraishi, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Mervat Tashkandi, as well as faculty and staff members including Dr. Chaman Raheem, accompanied the students.
Mehboob Peshimam, Jeddah-based manager of Jet Airways and head of the tourism committee of Saudi-Indian Business Network (SIBN), and Mohammad Muneeruddin Ahmed, sales manager, Kuwait Airways, were also with the students.
Earlier, upon arrival in New Delhi on Feb. 8, the students visited the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and familiarized themselves with the facilities available there.
Before embarking on their visit, the students learned a great deal about India from their general education courses in history and sociology. They also organized an attractive global village exhibition in May 2006 with India as its theme.
The exhibition covered many aspects of India and had several sections, featuring industry, tourism, population, agriculture, education, transportation and communication, arts and crafts and one for two cities — Delhi and Mumbai.
Before their departure, Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed addressed the students, faculty and parents at the college and briefed them about recent developments in Saudi-India relations, particularly after the visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to India as the chief guest at the country’s Republic Day celebrations last year.
The Consulate General of India coordinated the students’ visit in association with the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi.