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Told that they are “elite” and that they “carry the hopes and aspirations of a nation that believes in them,” members of King Saud University’s Support Unit for Demonstrators and Lectures (SUDL) met January 2, an assembly held to increase awareness of the University’s scholarship procedures abroad.

The meeting was held in Hamad Jasser Hall on the Dariya campus and broadcast live to the Olaysha Female Center for Girls and Female Center at Malaz. Unit director Dr. Ibrahim M. Al-Harkan presided with several other KSU administrators addressing the large audience.

“You ride on the effort generated by decades of hard work, investment, and creativity,” unit director Dr. Al-Harkan said. “You cannot fail. You cannot disappoint all the fathers and mothers, all the professors and the administrators who never stopped supporting you.”

The Support Unit for Demonstrators and Lecturers was established in 2009 to prepare KSU members to attend abroad after developing their language skills. The organizers implemented four major objectives:

Support, guide, and advise members to secure acceptance at their respective universities, as well as improving the English skills required by international universities.

Activate existing agreements between the international universities and King Saud University, therefore generating faster and lasting acceptance.

Open channels of knowledge exchange and global experience by becoming involved in the international universities activities.

Increase the members’ awareness and knowledge of their mission.

Dr. Ibrahim explained that the unit was created as a national project for elevating standards of education in Saudi Arabia, not as a back-up or a support unit. He said such students are ambassadors of the Kingdom and their religion abroad, serving as a unique and national source of pride, emphasizing that all will be held responsible for their academic performance and behavior,” he said.

He described the situation as an opportunity, one in which the country is making a heavy investment.

“We are paving the way for you to fulfill your country’s aspirations, and not just to be successful faculty members ...this is of secondary importance to us,” he said. “We can always enroll superbly-qualified faculty from the finest universities abroad, as we are doing now.

“Your role is different. We want academics of the highest caliber with a sense of citizenship, who use their talents to serve their country in every opportunity.”

Mr. Faisal bin Masoud Al-Harbi, the unit’s human resources director, explained the procedural steps scholars need to take in studying abroad, from the start, through working toward a foreign university degree and ultimately to ones return home. He outlined some of the main problems they may encounter and offered the possible solutions.

Mr. Al-Harbi assured them that any questions or concerns would be addressed and said that in turn the administration would welcome any feedback.

An hour-long Q & A session followed the administrators’ addresses, with members of both the Hamad Jasser Hall and female center audiences asking a variety of questions ranging from scholarship limitations, available academic support at international institutions, language studies abroad, to personal issues and concerns.

At the meeting’s conclusion, Dr. Al-Harkan lauded the support of KSU Rector Abdullah Al-Othman and Vice Rector Ali Al-Ghamdi for their unyielding support.

“My fervent hope is that you prove worthy of the aspirations of our Rector and Vice Rector Al-Ghamdi, who are concerned for your future,” he said. [Dr. Al-Othman] spares no effort to launch you on the best possible career. Please stay the best possible course of your success.

“Please prove to your university’s leadership and to your people that richly deserved this care and concern.”