Representatives from the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission are on the campus of West Virginia University this week to see first-hand what it is like to be a Mountaineer.

While they are here, Cultural Attach� and head of the mission Dr. Mohammed Aleissa, Director of the Social and Cultural Affairs Department for the mission Dr. Moby Alkhalaf and Dr. Musaid Assaf, director general of the IT Department will recognize University officials for their support of Saudi Arabian students.

Currently, there are approximately 160 students from Saudi Arabian at WVU.

“We are so grateful that the Cultural Mission has entrusted the education and support of so many Saudi students to the faculty and staff of West Virginia University,” said Tom Sloane, senior associate dean of students. “The students add so much diversity and global perspective to our classrooms and our social life here; it’s a tremendous honor for us to be able to try to return the wonderful hospitality Dr. Aleissa and his staff have shown us not only in Washington but in Saudi Arabia.”

The Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the United States was created by the Saudi government in 1951 to administer programs and policies that meet the educational and cultural needs of Saudi students studying in the United States. The mission also serves as an intermediary between educational institutions in the U.S. and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as it pertains to issues of culture, education and science.

Aleissa, Alkhalaf and the WVU Saudi Students’ Association will recognize several University officials for their service and support of Saudi students on campus at a dinner held by the association at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday (Sept. 16) in the Ruby Grand Hall at the Erickson Alumni Center.

The awards will be presented to: President James P. Clements, to be accepted by Chief of Staff Jay Cole; Vice President for Student Affairs Ken Gray; Associate Vice President for International and Global Outreach David Stewart; Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars Michael Wilhelm; Professor of Community Medicine Dr. Chris Martin; and Sloane.

“We have developed a very close working relationship with the Saudi Cultural Mission over the last few years and it is indeed an honor to have Dr. Aleissa visit our campus,” Stewart said. “He is a highly respected member of the Saudi Arabian government and we are grateful for the support he has given to West Virginia University.”

While on campus, Aleissa and Alkhalaf have plans to meet with Saudi students, visit with several of the University’s top administrators and view the film “Seeing Through the Sand” – a documentary about a group of Harvard Business School students who traveled through Saudi Arabia – during a special lunch event.

For more information about the mission, visit .



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