The Arab Open University (AOU) will open its new campus in Riyadh on Saturday. The ceremony is to be attended by Minister of Higher Education Khalid Al-Anqari, Prince Talal and a number of high-ranking officials. The state-of-the-art campus is located at Hatteen District, located on West King Abdullah Economic Center, covering over 38,100 square meters. The idea of establishing a non-profit open university in the Arab world was initiated by Prince Talal, president of the Arab Gulf Development Program (AGFUND), and has seven branches in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain and Oman. In 1996 Prince Talal officially announced the concept of establishing the university as a nonconventional academic institution and as a foundation contributing to steering development in scientific, social and cultural spheres. This initiative developed into a full pledged Arab Open University in 2002 in a strategic partnership with the Open University in the United Kingdom. The AOU aims to be an umbrella in the Middle East for ambitious individuals keen to pursue their studies and fulfill their aspirations with a vision toward reinforcing a society of learning and knowledge in the Arab Word. According to the university’s latest information, the AOU has more than 30,000 students in seven countries and has celebrated the graduation of more than 12,000 students, over half of them women. In his statement, AOU Rector Musa Mihsein said that the Arab world is witnessing a rise in higher education venues and is constantly assessing their viability and impact on development. “The Arab Open University (AOU) takes pride of being the pioneer in this ambitious project and stands ready to nurture the new concept in university education delivery at the highest standards,” he added. He said since its inception in 2002, AOU has striven to offer blended higher learning programs in strategic partnership with the Open University in the United Kingdom. The university’s board of trustees has created AOU\'s mandate on the premise of offering distinguished educational quality and assurance of equal learning opportunities for all eligible students, he added. The rector added: “AOU cherishes its social contribution, which we strive to achieve through a team spirit in our work environment and an attitude of being one family in serving our students. With that quality, we endeavor to facilitate the relevant affairs of the students and assist them in overcoming challenges they might face in the course of their studies. “AOU is excited to inform its community that it has started offering new graduate and postgraduate programs to accommodate needs and requests. In doing so, we will enrich our alumni database with professionals in all disciplines and thus further fulfill our social corporate responsibility. After all, AOU graduates are our best ambassadors and to them we extend our profound appreciation and attribute the credit for our success.” The university offers the following faculties: business studies, computer studies, education, general studies, language studies and quality assurance. The main paradigm upon which the pillars of an open system of education stand lies in its flexibility to accommodate a wider base of higher education seekers, thereby offering open opportunities of education to many qualified applicants.