Thu 15 Feb 18
A leading academic at Taif University in Saudi Arabia has been named as a finalist in the prestigious British Council Awards.
Professor Turki Althubaiti said he was 'thrilled and delighted' by the news which holds a special significance for him due to the impact of his time studying at the University of Essex.
Professor Althubaiti, who is currently Vice-President for Planning, Development and Continued Education at Taif University says his studies at Essex have had a major influence on his career in higher education.
Growing up within a literary family, he was drawn to complete a Masters Degree and PhD in English Literature at Essex.
He said: "It became a dream of mine to complete my postgraduate studies in the UK, the cradle of English language and literature. The University of Essex with its long tradition of academic freedom, inclusivity, and a global outlook held an inescapable attraction to me."
He added: "My experience as a postgraduate student in the UK has been one of the most transformational experiences in my life. I experienced a model for a higher education community that was strikingly different from the one I had known before: a model that fostered academic freedom, inclusivity, and respect.
"The level of academic freedom I experienced in the seminars allowed me to develop my abilities to the fullest. My ideas were never laughed at, no matter how eccentric or bold they sounded."
He had completed his undergraduate studies at Taif University and returned to the university after his studies at Essex to become an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages, where he looked to implement some of the ideas he had seen at Essex.
He said: "At Essex I experienced a model for a higher education community that was strikingly different from the one I had known before , a model that fostered academic freedom, inclusivity, and respect. I have since then been working to achieve here the same level of positive community culture."
During his career Professor Althubaiti has developed a new curriculum for the BA in English Language and Literature, initiated two new postgraduate masters degree programs, worked with the British Council to start an English Language Centre and was responsible for launching the first CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) in Saudi Arabia.
Professor Althubaiti also initiated programmes to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue higher education.
He said: "My studies in the UK made me aware that the most precious resource any country possesses are its people, and that I should do my utmost so that Saudi youth - whether male or female - achieve their full potential."
The British Council Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education. Last year we had the highest number of finalists shortlisted outside the Russell Group.
This year the British Council received 1,700 alumni applications in total from 125 countries representing 140 british higher education Institutes.