US Ambassador Salutes King Abdullah Scholarship Program

Published: June 24, 2012

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Abdul Hannan Tago | Arab News
May 26, 2012

The US ambassador to Saudi Arabia has said in remarks on the King Abdullah Scholarship Program that his country is proud to be helping King Abdullah succeed in implementing his vision that will also help create the kind of interconnected and tolerant world President Obama called for in his Cairo speech almost three years ago.

U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James B. Smith

“I would like to salute Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for his vision and stewardship of this forward-looking educational program,” Ambassador James B. Smith said in a statement on Friday, adding: “And I would like to salute Khaled Al-Anqari for his leadership at the Ministry of Higher Education.”

He continued, “I also salute my dear friend and esteemed colleague, Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel Al-Jubeir, and Justice Minister Mohammed Al-Issa for their leadership and commitment to your success. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the great work of the Saudi cultural mission and its dedicated staff.”

In his congratulatory message, the ambassador said: “Mabrook to all the 2012 graduates, your families, and all the participants and institutions cooperating with the King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP). And thank you for allowing me the honor to be a part of this celebration.

“My friends, this is a joyous occasion and a memorable day for both our countries. As the United States ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I am proud to see that you have opted to study in our country and to be open to new ideas and perhaps new ways of looking at the world.”

The ambassador said there were more than 66,000 Saudi students studying in the US today. “Partly because of your positive experience here, another 6,300 of your fellow students are now part of the seventh wave of the KASP coming to America this year. I salute your success.”

He said, “We are honored that you have entrusted us with your most valuable assets: your sons and daughters. We feel honored, but also feel we are shouldering a weighty responsibility — a responsibility that we don’t take lightly. I thank you for your trust in the United States. My pledge to you is we will never betray this trust, and we will treat your children with the same care we do our own.”

“King Abdullah,” he pointed out, ” is looking to US universities to play an important role in educating his country’s youth, and has already sent a large number of students and their families, including you, to the US to study in our best schools.”

Noting that their graduation should encourage and inspire others,” the ambassador said: “And with this education and experience, you will make a better future for your brothers and sisters, and family and friends, and eventually to your country.

“I sincerely hope you have had a rewarding experience in the US and that you got the quality education you came for and you deserve. But I also hope that you have made American friends, enjoyed your time here, that you have made the time to explore and ask questions. I hope you have been good ambassadors for your great country. We are all part of the exchange between our two nations. This exchange works because it is a two-way exchange. While you may be leaving our country this month, I know that you will always be the bridges and the bonds that will draw our countries together, and for that I can’t be more grateful.”

Ambassador Smith said that whether they pursued a job in the government, education, medicine, industry, or as an entrepreneur, they would find Saudi Arabia moving forward in a booming economy but looking for a diversified economy. He observed: “Your country needs your brains. Your country needs your hard work. Your country needs you to succeed. Let me close by offering my warmest greetings to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, for his vision and leadership in this scholarship program.”

Source: Arab News

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