Saudi launches cultural scholarship program for students

Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud has announced the launch of Saudi’s first cultural scholarship program which will provide specialised learning opportunities for students at prominent international institutions.

Prince Badr stated the initiative which was first of its kind was launched with the support of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who deem education as one of the main pillar on which the Kingdom’s cultural sector was being built.

The cultural scholarship program would enable qualified young Saudi men and women to pursue higher studies in culture and arts specialisations in world-class universities.

He also noted that the courses that come under the cultural scholarship program include archaeology, design, museums, music, theatre, filmmaking, literature, visual arts and culinary arts at PhD, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

He stressed the importance of this initiative in improving the quality of life, empowering national talent, creating opportunities for dialogue, and enhancing the exchange of experiences with other parts of the world.

The minister emphasised that the cultural scholarship program is the first phase of an integrated educational project that starts from general education and does not end with the university education.

Prince Badr stated:

The program aims at developing Saudi culture in accordance with a comprehensive perspective that places education as a basis for the development of national cadres specialized in the cultural and artistic fields and qualifying and training them to develop capacity-building in the Saudi cultural sector, as well as to meet the growing labour market needs.

Reaction towards the launch of the cultural scholarship program

Many Saudi national has welcomed the cultural scholarship program with open arms.

Saudi artist Rashed Al-Shashai in a tweet expressed his joy towards the launch of the program and its ongoing promotion of the arts and culture.

Al-Shashai explained that Saudi Arabia needs more art critics, more curators and individuals who will provide a better understanding of the culture of arts, with experience gained from abroad and applied organically here.

She noted that graduates picked would return with an understanding of new concepts of contemporary art, as their foreign education would open their horizons.

Amongst many others, Rayan Alayesh, a culinary arts graduate from Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London, said the experience he gained from working with top chefs in the British capital provided him with the knowledge to return to the Kingdom and realise his ambition.

Notably, the developing Saudi movie industry also offers growing opportunities for talent through organisations such as the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation, which aims to promote film culture.

Registration for the cultural scholarship program

Registration for the cultural scholarship program will reportedly begin online from January 19, 2020.

The program was initiated within the framework of the comprehensive development being witnessed by the cultural sector in the Kingdom.

There will be three main tracks for applying for the program:

  1. Saudi male and female students who are currently pursuing studies abroad at their own expense in cultural and artistic specialisations. These students will be included in the cultural scholarship program under the program’s regulations and mechanisms.
  2. The program includes those who have previously applied for scholarships to study culture and arts and have obtained acceptance for admission from accredited universities. The ministry will dispatch these Saudis for joining the scholarship program during 2020 as soon as they complete the terms and conditions that make them eligible for the program.
  3. It includes male and female students who want to apply to join the cultural scholarship program for the academic year of 2021. The ministry will set up, at the beginning of 2020, a comprehensive electronic portal to receive applications from those who want to join the cultural scholarship program.