AOU celebrates 20th anniversary

By Khaled Al-Abdulhadi

KUWAIT: The Arab Open University celebrated its 20th anniversary at its headquarters in Kuwait on Sunday, November 13, with the inclusion of its other campuses in different Arab countries on a web call. The AOU was founded by Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The anniversary celebration was sponsored by Minister of Higher Education Hamad Al-Adwani as a representative of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

In honor of the occasion, Al-Adwani, said “I am pleased to convey to you the greetings of His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, and the greetings of HH Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Crown Prince of Kuwait.

Hamad Al-Adwani

“We recall the great role played by HRH Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in establishing this university and his keenness to develop it, as the purpose of its establishment and its branches in various Arab countries was to help the underprivileged whose limited income do not enable them to pay the fees of private universities,” he added.

“The university offers them knowledge with exceptional fees or exempts them from it according to what the university and its leadership sees. What we hope is that the Arab Open University, with its various branches, continues to pursue what the late prince’s spreading science and knowledge throughout the Arab world and eradicating illiteracy.

Al-Adwani stated: “What we are proud of is that the Arab Open University now has branches in nine Arab countries, and the university’s statistics show that it provides quality education to 53,000 current students, including 10,000 students in the branch of the Arab League in the State of Kuwait.

Kuwait’s role hailed

“Kuwait will always provide support and assistance to the private sector to contribute to the development of the educational process as well as the establishment of sound academic institutions, with great care to ensure the quality and diversity of education and to improve its outputs, and for programs to obtain academic accreditation, and even to follow up on developments in academic programs and their scientific development.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal

Speaking on the occasion, Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal said, “With great love and appreciation, I would like to thank HH Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Amir of Kuwait as well as HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah as well as Minister Al-Adwani for their support of our establishment.”

“We cannot celebrate without remembering HH the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who opened all doors for this university to be launched and to develop, and then to HH the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who he met with his heart and his thought the late Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz in the love of science, education and human development, as they will all remain in our memories and commemorated in history with pride for what they offered,” he said in remembrance of Kuwait’s role and their leaders in supporting the university.

As for Kuwait’s tolerance of hosting foreign and a diverse set of students he said: “Kuwait played influential roles in the joint Arab action with its weight and wisdom, and it is still an oasis of science and knowledge. The headquarters of the Arab Open University hosted all the facilities from its humble inception until it rose up embracing in its environment more than 260,000 aspiring students and graduates from around 143 nationalities.” “This leadership is not surprising, but rather a natural extension of the cultural and enlightening role of Kuwait in the Arab world,” he added.

The great vision

Prince Abdulaziz also remembered his late father and founder of the university Amir Talal bin Abdulaziz saying “The idea came from the vision of its late founder which makes education a central role for development, and as per this vision, we aspire always to develop and enrich the skills of our students in all Arab countries so they can be an active, developed and sustainable parts in their societies.”

AOU President Mohammed Al-Zakari said in his remarks,  “The university’s work started in October 2002, the launch was intended with a philosophy of human development, and a unique message ‘Every person has the right to contribute to the development of his/her country, but this contribution requires renewed knowledge and skills, and these need educational institutions to establish them.”

“Thanks to the quality of its institutional and academic procedures, the University has obtained international accreditation on six consecutive times, the last of which was this year, due to the strength of its curricula and its continuous updating, as well as for its application of a solid system that evaluates education outcomes,” he clarified.

Audience

“Our students won first places in local and regional competitions including programming, digital media production, business administration and languages. Our graduates have gained the confidence of employers for possessing important skills needed by the market, on top of which are the English language, self-learning, and the ability to use modern technologies efficiently,” he added.

As for the future of the university he said: “The university will continue to serve our learners, and after twenty years of its establishment, we are pleased to launch its new identity, which aims to prepare future makers, through our fifth strategic plan, which will expand geographically, enhance our academic map with its renewable programs, and rapidly prepare our students for future skills by focusing on supporting scientific research, innovation and leadership to achieve the sustainable development goals.”

The ceremony was followed by the inauguration of the exhibition “Talal, A History Read by Generations,” which included seven sections that showcased the developmental biography of Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, his efforts in the field of education, and his close association with Kuwait’s leadership and people, as well as the University’s journey between the past, the present and the future. The exhibition will last until November 19.

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