Across the United States, around the end of the month of May every year, graduating students from high schools and universities join with families and friends to celebrate their achievements in ceremonies held by their respective educational institutions.
But a different kind of graduation ceremony was held in Washington, D.C. this weekend. Thousands of students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia descended on the nation’s capital for the second annual SACM career fair and graduation ceremony.
The sprawling, modern Gaylord National Harbor hotel complex on the Potomac River in Washington hosted the career fair and graduation ceremony for the future Saudi leaders, many of whom are looking forward to returning to Saudi Arabia to apply their new educational and professional skills and to contribute to the Saudi economy.
The two-day event showcased opportunities for the students from a number of major Saudi companies and many other international corporations looking to tap into Saudi Arabia’s growth. Many students voiced optimism at the employment prospects presented to them at the career fair and ceremony. Over 60 organizations and 200 recruiters registered to attend the event.
A number of the students at the ceremony had worked with the Saudi-US Trade Group (SUSTG) as volunteers at the US-Saudi Business Opportunities Forums held in Chicago in 2010 and in Atlanta in 2011 (co-sponsored by SUSTG). The Forums’ organizers relied on large teams of Saudi students to provide operational and logistical assistance and it was rewarding to see them recognized at this event.
The Career Fair and Graduation Ceremony took place under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Khalid Al-Angari, Minister of Higher Education, and H.E. Mr. Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Ambassador to the United States. The Graduation Ceremony celebrated the 5th Class of the King Abdullah Scholarship Program.
The King Abdullah Scholarship Program offers to compensate Saudi students for their education and living expenses abroad in order to educate the future leaders of the Kingdom. Academic disciplines and scholarships are selected based on the needs of government ministries, national corporations and the private sector, according to the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education.
The United States has the most number of Saudi students studying abroad, according to the event, with over 67,000 Saudis. The total is expected to reach 80,000 by this summer.
Khalid Habash, a graduating Saudi student and photography enthusiast, provided photos from the SACM event to SUSTG. SUSTG would like to thank Khalid and congratulate him on his accomplishments.