JEDDAH: Saudi students who study at UK universities create one of the strongest bonds between the two countries, according to British Consul General HM Barrie Peach.
Speaking exclusively to Arab News at the launch of the 2019 UK Study Alumni Awards, which he hosted at the British Consulate in Jeddah on Tuesday evening, he said: “I am delighted to welcome so many graduates from British universities to the consulate this evening.
“The UK and Saudi Arabia enjoy a very strong relationship but one of the strongest bonds that exists between our two nations is that which is created by the Saudi students who have studied at British universities. They really are a bridge for our two nations. So, over the past few years, we have sought to build networking events so that we can utilize those relationships and friendships for our mutual benefit. In doing so, we established the annual Study UK Alumni Awards.”
The awards, which are staged globally, recognize outstanding achievements by international alumni of British universities, as well as the reputations of their alma maters, to honor and celebrate the rewards and influence that can result from higher education in the UK. The 2019 Saudi event, the fourth edition in the Kingdom, is organized by the British Council and the British Embassy in Saudi Arabia. Nearly 10,000 Saudis return to the Kingdom each year after studying in the UK.
The nominees are leaders in their fields who have built on their experience of studying in the UK to have a positive effect on the world and in their communities. There is an emphasis on honoring those who develop and implement creative solutions and business opportunities with the potential for strong growth, and those with a commitment to generating positive social change and improving the lives of others. This is reflected in the three award categories: professional achievement, entrepreneurial, and social impact.
“These categories really highlight the breadth of subjects that Saudi students have studied in the UK.” said Peach.
The professional achievement category honors alumni who distinguish themselves through exemplary leadership in their industries. Prof. Turki Althubaiti was the recipient of the award this year. After earning a master’s degree and a doctorate in English literature from the University of Essex, he returned to Saudi Arabia and became a professor at Taif University, as well as establishing many educational and social outreach programs.
The 2018 entrepreneurial aware went to Dr. Abdallah Adlan, an alumni of the University of Birmingham and the University of Bradford, where he received doctorates in biomedical science and bioethics/medical ethics. He is now the head of biomedical ethics at King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre.
This year’s social impact award recipient was Dr. Nouf Alnumair, a Saudi scientist who earned a master’s degree and doctorate from University College London, where she specialized in molecular genetics and bioinformatics – one of the first Saudis to do so. She is now continuing her research in these fields at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center. Other projects she is involved with include a study of hereditary bleeding disorders, in which she is a principle investigator. In addition, she is an assistant professor at Alfaisal University College of Medicine in Riyadh, where she helps to inspire a new generation of Saudi scientists.
The Study UK Alumni Awards are open to anyone living outside the UK who with the past 15 years graduated from an officially accredited UK college or university, or was awarded a full UK degree-level qualification equivalent (or higher), by a UK university through a local institution overseas.
The finalists for the 2019 awards will be announced in January and the winners honored at a gala event in Riyadh in March. Candidates can apply themselves or be nominated by their institutions. The application process opened on September 11 and the deadlines are October 28 for institutions, November 11 for individuals.