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His Excellency Tabare Vasquez, President of the Republic of Uruguay and his accompanying delegation paid a visit yesterday morning to King Saud University, where they met His Excellency Rector Abdullah Al-Othman, and the University Deputy-Rectors. On this occasion, Dr. Al-Othman welcomed the Uruguayan President and his accompanying delegation and referred to the achievements witnessed by the Kingdom at the present time in the field of higher education with regard to the increase in the number of universities and science colleges, as well as the increase in the number of provinces served by the sector of higher education from 15 to 74 provinces. Dr. Al-Othman added that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has recently allocated about 15 billion Riyals to this University, whose outcome was developmental activity witnessed in the sector of higher education throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the number of public universities in the Kingdom increasing from 04 to 22 universities within the last four years, and this reflects the Saudi government's concern for the domain of higher education. Dr. Al-Othman also referred to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques program for sending students abroad, saying that there are more than 47,000 Saudi students (male and female) studying abroad in more than 13 countries, and that the governmental subsidies for those students has risen from 11 billion Riyals in 2005G to about 65 billion Riyals in 2008G. His Excellency also noted that at this moment about 19 universities are being established throughout the Kingdom, not to mention King Abdullah University for Science and Technology, which is a university specialized in postgraduate studies and is expected to be an outstanding international university. King Saud University, which has attained an advanced position in the Spanish and the Australian ranking systems, is expected to be among the best 500 research universities worldwide according to the Shanghai Classification due in August 2009G, and among the best 300 universities according to the Times Classification due in October 2009G. Dr. Al-Othman also explained that King Saud University considers the ranking as an indicator only and not as an end in itself.
On the other hand, President Tabare Vasquez expressed his happiness to visit the Kingdom and King Saud University, stating that this visit comes in the framework of consolidating the relations between the two countries. President Vasquez also referred to his country's concern with scientific research, and invited King Saud University and all other Saudi universities to send students to complete their scientific studies in Uruguay. His Excellency also expressed his confidence that King Saud University will attain an advanced position in research and development in the very near future.
After that, the Uruguayan President and his accompanying delegation listened to a brief exposé by Prof. Ali Al-Ghamdi, King Saud University Deputy-Rector for Knowledge Exchange and Technology Transfer, about the University's history, colleges, and research programs (which exceed 65 programs), in addition to its cooperation with various international universities. Dr. Al Othman then presented the University Trophy and other souvenirs to the Uruguayan President. After that, President Vasquez and his accompanying delegation took a tour of the University.