By Sherouq Sadeqi
WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (KUNA) -- The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) signed Tuesday with the US-based Institute of International Education (IIE) an agreement to provide career coaching, job readiness, and skills development services for Kuwait Graduates Program (KGP) Fellows.
The agreement was signed by KFAS' Director-General Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin and IIE's President Allan Goodman.
The deal aims at increasing the employability and competitiveness for Optional Practical Training (OPT) opportunities at leading global companies in the United States.
"Today, we are entering a new phase having found a partner in the Institute of International Education," Shihab-Eldin said in a speech at the signing ceremony, held at the Kuwait Culture Office in Washington DC.
"The objective of the program is to provide opportunities for Kuwaiti fresh graduates to get professional experience before they return home and work in US companies that are relevant to their work when they return to Kuwait," he added.
"The program is part of our effort to ensure that young Kuwaitis are provided with opportunities and resources that foster their personal and professional development," said the Kuwaiti senior official.
He also noted that "we believe we have a very good agreement. We have high expectations. And I believe that we will exceed our expectations." Shihab-Eldin thanked Kuwaiti Higher Education Ministry's Undersecretary Dr. Sobeeh Al-Mukhaizim, Director of the Kuwait Cultural Office Dr. Aseel Al-Awadhi.
He also thanked Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah, noting "he is the patron of this idea and his presence with us today reassures us that he will be monitoring this program." For his part, Goodman said "What you've designed is a model of innovation for what happens after students graduate to make sure that they have a meaningful professional experience while they are able to remain in the US." "We, the American people, are very grateful that you entrusted your students to our care," he added.
"The US is very much the beneficiary of your students," he stressed. "It's an honor to be serving your students." For his part, Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah said "There is no bigger emphasis than what my government has put on educating our young men and women." "My government has put a lot of effort on this," he affirmed, noting "It is a number one priority for our government to educate our youth and there is no better gift that we can give our young people than to educate them." He also mentioned "the US is the premier destination for our students, where through this program we are giving our young men and women work experience also in the US because my government has a plan that's called plan 2035 and that is building our economy." The Kuwaiti diplomat also added that "we need our young men and women to be capable and ready to meet the new challenges that are ahead." "Now, with this agreement with IIE, we found the right partner to do the right thing and we are full of hope that this program is going to be a success," he remarked.
He indicated that "this is the beginning of a program that hopefully would grow to encompass a large number of students." "We look forward toward the day when they go home not only equipped with their degrees but also with the experience to build the modern Kuwait that we aspire to," he remarked.
For her part, Dr. Al-Awadhi expressed deepest gratitude for IIE's interest "to train our distinguished students who graduated from prestigious universities here in the US." She noted the students that will be trained under the agreement "are the best students that we have and it comes as a great opportunity for them to be trained in US companies when they finish their academic studies in the US before they leave to Kuwait to be integrated in the workforce there." "We, in the cultural office are eager to see the fruits of this agreement and we promise to do our best to turn it into a success," she remarked.
Meanwhile, Dr. Shihab-Eldin said, in an exclusive interview with KUNA, that with this agreement signed, young Kuwaiti graduates from the US would have the opportunity for job training in successful large business scale companies.
"Hopefully, that means they have a head start when they start a job, whether it's with a government or with private sector in Kuwait," said the Kuwaiti senior official.
The message to those students is "you are being provided with the golden opportunity, if you take advantage of it you will see remarkable change in your career, so don't lose it don't be distracted. Be persevere for one year and you will see you will be rewarded ten times as much," he stressed.
Goodman, on his part, told KUNA that this agreement is a "model for how exchange and scholarship programs ought to finish their final years for the students in the United States, so we think it will teach many countries, inspire many countries for the wisdom that this new program now represents." Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah thanked, in an interview with KUNA, the Kuwait Ministry of Higher Education, KFAS, and IIE for signing this "very important agreement that will give our distinguished students the opportunity to work in some US companies to attain professional expertise that would be added to their education." "We, in Kuwait, have the 2035 Vision that requires us to equip our new generation to play a role in developing our beloved country and take it to advanced position," he said.
He added that "this agreement is important in the sense that we would add professional experience to our students' education." For her part, Dr. Al-Awadhi told KUNA that she extends her "deepest thanks to KFAS "for giving utmost attention to providing training opportunities to our graduates in the US." "These are valuable opportunities for our distinguished students to be trained in US companies or institutions before they engage in work in Kuwait after they graduate from the most prestigious US universities," she said.
She added "I also extend my thanks to the Kuwait Ministry of Higher Education Undersecretary Dr. Almukhaizim for studying this project and we promise our students that we will back every effort entitled with their education and training." The Kuwait Graduates Program is a three year partnership between IIE, KFAS, Kuwait Ministry of Higher Education and Kuwait Cultural Office (KCO) in Washington, DC, where IIE will be working with Kuwaiti students in their senior year to place them into Optional Practical Training (OPT) opportunities for one year upon graduation, and will be working closely with KCO to ensure the success of the program.
The program will equip students with career, critical skills, knowledge, and guidance that would play a crucial role in increasing job placement rates for recent graduates. (end) si.ma