Saudi Arabian University Pays Big Bucks To Recruit Brazil's Best And Brightest

Founded in 2009, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is vying to become one of the world's top universities. It is trying hard to attract students from overseas, notably Brazil, by showering them with perks that are unheard

KAUST: an ultra-modern oasis in the Saudi desert (AT Service)
KAUST: an ultra-modern oasis in the Saudi desert (AT Service)

SÃO PAULO - How do a $1,700 monthly scholarship, a three-floor apartment, free medical assistance and return-home trips to Brazil sound? School never sounded so good! These are some of the selling points the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), is using to attract Brazilian students.

Located in Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil producer, KAUST aims to become one of the world's Top Ten technology universities by 2020.

Founded in 2009 by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud with an initial investment of more than $20 billion, KAUST focuses on research and technology that applies to both local issues, such as oil dependence and lack of water, as well as global issues. Some of its partners include University of California and Cambridge University.

Fifteen Brazilian students have already graduated from the Master's and PhD programs at KAUST. "I enjoyed my experience, even though there are culture differences with Brazil," admits Rafael Coelho Lavrado, 25, who studied Electrical Engineering.

Before he left for Saudi Arabia, he was awarded a $1,200 monthly stipend *for a year* to buy books and supplies, as well as take trips to other countries to improve his English skills.

Oil engineer Guilherme Ribeiro, 26, did his Master's degree on Earth Sciences. He now lives in Saudi Arabia and works for state-owned Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company. "I was hired as soon as I had finished my studies, which is quite atypical, considering that the company usually retains people with over ten years of experience," says Ribeiro.

KAUST offers a $20,000 to $30,000 annual scholarship, depending on the candidate's CV. There are about 800 graduate students from around the world, with classes in English only. Course subjects range from Life Sciences, Engineering, Computer Sciences to Physical Sciences.

The Saudi university has a very international feel, starting with the school's dean: Shih Choon Fong, former dean of the National University of Singapore.

Read more from Folha. Original article by Venceslau Borlina Filho.

Photo - AT Service

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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