JEDDAH: The relocation of the US Consulate in Jeddah is aimed at making its services more accessible to the people of the city and the region, and to increase educational and cultural outreach, US Consul General Ryan Gliha told Arab News.
“It was such a difficult thing for our guests to come to our old place (in Al-Hamra district), and part of the reason for that was we had to add several layers of security to the compound,” he said.
“Since it (the former consulate building) was built in the 1950s, it had different standards.”
The consulate’s new location is Al-Muhammadiyah district. “Part of the move is to make us more accessible to the people of Jeddah and the region,” Gliha said.
“Because of the accessibility, we’re going to have more opportunity to do more cultural outreach, educational outreach.”
A number of programs available at the new facility include the monthly English Conversation Hour, where people are invited to partake in discussions covering varied topics.
There is also the monthly movie series, where people can watch and discuss films.
In an effort to expand its outreach, Gliha spoke of the facility’s information resource library and student advice center, which provides services to students looking to head to the US for university and graduate school.
There are currently over 100,000 Saudis studying in the US across all 50 states.
“Our hope is that we’re going to increase those numbers by quite a bit. We have a fulltime advisor who works with students to try to find the right university or college in the US,” Gliha said.
“We have almost 5,000 colleges and universities in the US, and it’s hard to make the right choice. We could help people zero in on the right choices if they want to go and travel there.”
The consulate has partnerships with several schools in Jeddah that benefit from this program.