Development and University Projects in Qatif
(Pixabay)

Development and University Projects in Qatif

Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 21

Although I’ve lived away from Qatif since 2004 – and have moved around between Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco during all these years – I always love returning to my hometown. Walking through the streets of Qatif brings back sweet memories. It’s like an embrace of a mother, or a loyal friend. Of course, nothing gives me greater joy than witnessing how the city developed and how the kingdom’s Vision 2030 is transforming life in the Eastern Province. One of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 is sustainable development and the idea of turning various Saudi governorates into lively hubs of tourism, economic and cultural activity, heritage sites and industrial production. This is intended to improve the quality of life for citizens and residents alike. The Qatif Governorate is core to this plan. Nowhere more was this apparent than in the recent visit made by the deputy governor of the Eastern Province, Prince Ahmed Bin Fahd Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz, to the governorate earlier this month. The visit was meant to send a clear message to the public that the Saudi government is invested in Qatif and the region, and is looking for unique ways to improve relations between government and civil institutions, companies and academic institutions. An issue that has come up time and again in this context is the need to establish a university in Qatif. This institution of higher education will propel the region forward and contribute greatly to the local economy. Indeed, higher education is a right for all citizens, and it is important that sufficient academic opportunities will be made available for the region’s younger generation. Hence, the idea to establish a university in Qatif is a great idea, provided that this academic center provides a high level of education and training, and that it offers both degree as well as vocational programs that promote Vision 2030. At the same time, it’s important that the doors of this university will be open to qualified students from other cities and villages across the kingdom, and won’t be limited to students of the Eastern Province only, even if they receive some priority in enrollment. After all, mixing young people together, across different regions, allows them to gain genuine knowledge of each other and instills in them a sense of national cohesion. In addition, the arrival of students from outside the Eastern Province will generate even more economic activity that will bolster local economic activity. There are many ideas worthy of experimentation and testing, and the visit of Prince Ahmed Bin Fahd Bin Salman came to push these conversations forward by giving them a greater level of attention. This is what we all aspire to see happen in Qatif, and what we should all collectively work toward. – Hassan Mustafa (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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