The Kingdom will terminate all scholarship funding by the end of August, according to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau
Saudi nationals studying in Canada on scholarships, grants or bursaries from their government have less than a month to leave the country.
On Thursday, Aug. 23, the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau (SACB) in Ottawa announced that all government-funded students must leave the country by Sept. 22. Furthermore, the SACB said that Saudi Arabia will cease all scholarship funding on Aug. 31.
“We would like to confirm that we are very keen to provide all what we could [sic] to our students to facilitate the decision of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the statement read. The SACB could not be reached for comment in time for publication.
According to its website, the SACB supports Saudis seeking education in Canada by “administering scholarships and providing comprehensive support services to ensure the cultural, educational, and social welfare of Saudi students and their families in Canada.”
Mary-Jo Barr, Concordia’s Director of Public Relations, said that there are “more than 60” Saudi students at Concordia studying with aid from their government.
“We are actively liaising with different academic organizations to receive more clarity on the situation,” she said. “We are committed to assisting our students through this challenging time.”
Concordia’s International Students Office has been holding information sessions for affected students, and has been advising them in person.
The Saudi Government first announced it would withdraw all of its funded students from Canada on Aug. 6, following a tweet by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, calling for the “immediate release” of Raif and Samar Badawi. Raif Badawi, a blogger and activist, has been in prison in Saudi Arabia since 2013, and his sister Samar, a women’s rights activist, was arrested on July 30.Saudi Arabia also expelled Canada’s ambassador, Dennis Horak. Furthermore, it recalled its own ambassador and froze “all new businesses transactions and investments linked with Canada,” according to Vox.
Graphic by Wednesday Laplante.