Saudi Arabia Orders 16,000 Students To Leave Canada Amid Escalating Clash

By Jason Lemon

Saudi Arabia has canceled the scholarships of 16,000 of its students studying in Canada, also ordering them to leave the country and find academic programs elsewhere.

The move comes amid a growing diplomatic row between the kingdom and the North American country, following comments by Canada’s foreign ministry that criticized Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and called on Riyadh to release detained activists. Responding to the criticism, Saudi Arabia also cut diplomatic ties with Canada, frozen all new trade and investment and canceled flights via its national carrier to Toronto.

Now, thousands of Saudi students who were studying in Canada through scholarship, training, and fellowship programs have seen their funding canceled, Saudi Gazette reported. While the kingdom will continue to pay for these students’ academic programs, they will be forced to find new opportunities in other countries. Government sources told the Saudi newspaper this would most likely be in the U.S.

Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi national who has been a political refugee in Canada since 2014, toldNewsweek he was contacted by Saudi authorities, who threatened to arrest his brothers and friends back in the kingdom if he continued to comment on the diplomatic row.

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  1. @OP – Now, thousands of Saudi students who were studying in Canada through scholarship, training, and fellowship programs have seen their funding canceled, Saudi Gazette reported.

    Who knows what those Saudi women students are learning whilst abroad? Horrors!! 🙂


    According to the statistics, Saudi women constitute 51.8 percent of Saudi university students. There are 551,000 women studying bachelor’s degrees compared to 513,000 men.

    The ministry reported 24,498 Saudi women are completing their graduate studies. A total of 16,221 are completing their master’s and 1,744 are completing their PhD.

    The ministry also reported Saudi women studying abroad are dispersed across 57 countries. The US has the largest number with 18,221 students.

    There are 6,754 Saudi women students in Europe, 2,923 in Canada and 1,445 in Australia and New Zealand. The Arab world has 5,369 Saudi women studying in the region.

    (This story was originally reported on the Saudi Gazette
    on May 28, 2015.)

    They might even bring so new modern ideas home!!! – Or they may decide to stay abroad and work abroad as a better option for themselves!

  2. Saudi Arabia is a pissant little country with a gdp that is only 19th in the world. If it was a US state it would still only be 7th in the list. California alone is 4 times the size. But of course it has all that lovely black gold which the west fawns over or no one would pay it a moment’s notice.

    Canada however is now not very dependant on Saudi oil and can eaasily replace the supply from other sources if they break off trading ties. Perhaps it will be the first country to stand up to the Saudi’s appalling record on human rights.

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