ARAB OPEN UNIVERSITY LAYS CORNERSTONE
Amman, Jordan; 26 June 2007 Her Majesty Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, and His Royal Highness Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Arab Open University, laid the cornerstone of the new AOU campus in Amman, Jordan; in the presence of government officials, businessmen, academics, members of the international media, and AOU students. HRH Prince Talal also launched the university’s fundraising drive, the fruits of which will chiefly be used for purpose-built buildings, improved internet facilities and Arab World-tailored course materials. The AOU currently has six branches, in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan and Lebanon; with Oman due to open in September. Currently, over 22 000 students are enrolled at the university, which is headquartered in Kuwait. The AOU was established in 2002 and held its first graduation ceremony on Monday 5 March, 2007, at the Sheraton Hotel, Kuwait. 526 students received a variety of degrees and diplomas, from the faculties of Language Studies, Education, Business Studies and Computer Studies. Of the 218 honors students, 177 were from Kuwait, 25 were from Lebanon, 11 from Jordan, three from Saudi Arabia and two from Bahrain. Overall, 49% of the current graduates are female and nearly 40% over the age of 24. The AOU is closely associated with the UK Open University, thus enabling students to graduate with an Arab Open University degree and that of the UKOU; an internationally recognized United Kingdom degree. The AOU recently received full accreditation and validation from the Open University Validation Services (OUVS), for the second time, and is the first university in the Arab world to obtain such a status from a worldwide organization.