Erasmus+ Information Day in Riyadh highlights opportunities to foster closer EU-GCC academic cooperation
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 31 October 2023 – The European Union Delegation to Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Education organised the first Erasmus+ Information Day to highlight cooperation opportunities in the field of higher education and research. Held on the premises of the Ministry of Education in Riyadh on 30 October, the event brought together European experts as well as representatives of all the main universities in Saudi Arabia.
The Erasmus programme is the world’s first large-scale international action to promote mobility of tertiary education students and is funded by the European Union. Since its inception 35 years ago, over 13 million students have benefited from it so far. This programme is centred around life-long learning that supports education, training, youth and sports in Europe and internationally, including in the Gulf region and has a budget of €26.2 billion for 2021-2027.
Erasmus+ opportunities are now open to the Gulf region with Saudi universities able to establish partnerships with their European peers to perform student and staff exchanges. The Erasmus+ Information Day in Saudi Arabia served as a platform for sharing information on those opportunities with Saudi universities and institutions.
Speaking at the event, the EU Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, H.E. Christophe Farnaud said: “The European Union is accelerating international cooperation in the academic field, offering tremendous opportunities for young Saudi students to study and live in the EU. Erasmus+ is designed to enhance two-way exchanges and also enable more Europeans to come to study in the Gulf, further bolstering our people-to-people contacts and our bilateral relations.”
Several expert speakers attended the event including Erasmus+ National Agency of Ireland as well as representatives of some leading European universities from Germany and Italy, among others.
The event was organised with the support of the European Commission’s Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX).
In May 2022, the European Union introduced its Joint Communication on a Strategic Partnership with the Gulf, aiming to broaden and deepen the EU’s cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council and its Member States. The Communication presents concrete proposals to strengthen cooperation on energy, green transition and climate change, trade and economic diversification, regional stability and global security, humanitarian and development challenges, and closer people-to-people contacts. It also puts an emphasis on the importance of encouraging mobility opportunities for the region’s young people in the fields of higher education and research, including through the Erasmus+ programme.
About the European Union Delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Bahrain opened in Riyadh in 2004. The EU Delegation is also accredited to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank. The EU Delegation works on many areas of cooperation between EU and Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain as well as the GCC, including political dialogue, economic and trade issues, regional security, education as well as climate change and transition to green energy/economy.