The Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in Canada
The Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in Canada was established in 1978 in the City of Ottawa, the Capital of Canada, to meet the educational needs of Saudi students wishing to pursue their higher education in Canadian Universities and Technical Colleges.
The Cultural Bureau also serves to act as a liaison between Saudi Arabia and Canada in the promotion of cultural and educational relations and the establishment of cooperation between Saudi institutions of higher learning and their counterparts in Canada.
For administrative purposes, the Cultural Bureau is attached to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Canada, and on all educationally related matters reports to the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) of the Government of Saudi Arabia.
From the very beginning of the development of modern Saudi Arabia, its government has placed its first priority on the education and health care of its citizens. In order to achieve both these goals, the government began to establish a network of Saudi Arabian Educational and Cultural Bureaus in strategic countries abroad. In this way, Saudi students were provided with access to the very best higher education and medical training the world had to offer.
The Saudi Arabian Educational and Cultural Bureau was tasked with spearheading the government's commitment by providing comprehensive services in all aspects of the process, from advising in university and course selection, admission, academic monitoring, and providing a full range of assistance in the daily life of students and trainees.
The Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in Canada was established in May 1978, to enable Saudi students to take advantage of the high quality of education and training available in Canadian Colleges and Universities, which are considered to rank amongst the foremost in the world.
As a result of the efforts of the Cultural Bureau, the number of Saudi students in Canada pursuing both medical training and non-medical postgraduate education had continued to grow over the years since 1978. Today, for example, close to 400 Saudi physicians are receiving postgraduate medical residency training in hospitals across Canada in most of the specialties accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Many hundreds of Saudi Royal College Fellows have completed their training and certification in Canada and have returned to the Kingdom to assume leading positions in major Saudi health service institutions. In the non-medical field, many Saudi graduates have returned from Canada with advanced degrees in programs ranging from engineering, basic sciences, computer science, social sciences, law, business administration, etc.
From its inception and continuing up to the present, the Cultural Bureau in Canada has placed its primary focus on the postgraduate medical education of Saudi physicians in a vast number of medical specialty programs accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC).
Today, almost 700 Saudi physicians are active trainees in programs of postgraduate medical residency in 13 Medical Colleges across Canada, and this number is expected to keep growing.
Each residency program lasts for a duration of 4 to 6 years, in accordance with the requirements of the RCPSC and the CFPC. Upon completion of their programs, Saudi physicians take both the written and oral examinations of the RCPSC or the CFPC, and every year some 50 or more return to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia having successfully completed their certification examinations and having received the designation of medical specialist and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada in their medical specialty.
At present, more Saudi physicians are receiving postgraduate medical training in Canada than in any other country in the world; while in Canada, Saudi physicians comprise, by far, the largest group of non-Canadians in medical residency training - in fact, totaling more than one-third of the total from all other countries combined.
The Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau is headed by the Cultural Attache, who is responsible for all Bureau activities and provides central supervision over all operations of the Bureau. The current Cultural Attache is Dr. Faisal Mohammad Al-Mohanna Abaalkhail . His predecessors at the Bureau over the years since its founding have been:
Dr. Essam Abid Sheikh: 15/6/1398H (21/5/1978) to 30/4/1405H (21/1/1985)
Dr. Suliman B. Sindi: 1/5/1405H (22/1/1985) to 30/1/1410H (31/8/1989)
Dr. Jasser A. Al-Jasser: 1/2/1410H (1/9/1989) to 30/5/1413H (24/11/1992)
Dr. Mazyed I. Al-Mazyed: 1/6/1413H (25/11/1992) to 24/3/1416H (20/8/1995)
Dr. Ghazy Makky Almakky: 25/3/1416H (21/8/1995) to 29/11/1426H (31/12/2005)
Dr. Ahmad A. Al-Aswad: 22/12/1428H (01/01/2008) to 30/05/1429H (04/06/2008)