In what’s believed to be a first, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. will be in Iowa later this year. His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal has accepted an invitation from a student group to visit the University of Northern Iowa. Ross Schupbach is U-N-I’s international student advisor. He says the U-N-I Saudi Student Club plans to set up a big cultural display in the ballroom of Maucker Union with posters, banners, interactive displays, handouts and likely several surprises.
U-N-I’s international student program has 70 students from Saudi Arabia this year, the largest group in the program. Schupbach says the ambassador’s visit to the Cedar Falls campus is a monumental honor. He says “It’s a neat way for U-N-I to have a standing ambassador come to campus and see what U-N-I’s all about, see what our Saudi student club is all about and our international student population. I think for a lot of reasons it draws some attention to U-N-I.”
On practically a daily basis, Schupbach says he works to dispel misconceptions people in Iowa have about people who are from somewhere else. He says the ambassador’s visit will help Iowans to better understand a host of things. Schupbach says “Saudi culture and government and Islam and all those things. It’s a great opportunity to find out that these are people just like you and me and they come from a different cultural and religious background. Just to learn is to understand and to understand is to, I think, make the world a better place.”
The ambassador is slated for an all-day visit on November 30th and will give a public presentation at 1:30 P.M. in Lang Hall.