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RIYADH - The International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education opened in Riyadh, Tuesday under the patronage of King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

About 400 national and international educational institutions that include universities, colleges and training centers are participating in the three-day event held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.

According to an official, 16 experts representing some of the leading institutions from within and outside the Kingdom and educationalists from well-known universities will address the seminars and 34 workshops organized on the sidelines of the exhibition.

The success of the first such event organized last year has motivated the Ministry of Higher Education to hold the exhibition on an annual basis, announced Dr. Ali Attiyah, Deputy Minister of Higher Education.

“Thanks to the success of the event in 2010, the ministry has decided to make this an annual affair,” said Dr. Attiyah, adding that some 371 world-class universities – 37 from the US, 55 from the UK, 36 from Canada, 35 from Australia, 17 from Japan, 32 from China, 16 from France, seven from Germany, five from The Netherlands and others from Italy, Finland, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa are taking part in this year’s exhibition.

About 250,000 visitors came from all over the Kingdom, neighboring Gulf states and other Arab countries last year.

According to sources, the International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education serves as a platform for the signing of a number of agreements between international and national universities.

“Some 40 agreements were signed during last year’s exhibition that benefited national universities,” said Othman Al-Thabit, Supervisor-General of the exhibition.

The ongoing event will offer opportunities to the Kingdom’s universities to gain expertise from the participation of international universities and it will help them establish ties that in turn will assist them in developing regulations and admission processes, he said.

A large number of visitors, mostly students, university professors and lecturers, thronged the event.

Source Saudi Gazette (www.saudigazette.com)