As the FT reported Monday, the Middle Eastern kingdom expelled the Canadian ambassador, reacting against Ottawa’s support for jailed human rights activists.
Saudi Arabia also said on Monday that it would suspend all its educational exchange programmes with Canada. An official told state television there are more than 12,000 students and their families currently in Canada. They will be transferred to universities and schools in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, he said.
In English-speaking countries, higher education sectors have become highly reliant on flows of international students. China, which provides over 60,000 new students to the UK each year, is the most commonly cited example. The Saudi Arabian episode serves as a reminder that the trend extends further afield.
I also know of examples where (despotic) foreign regimes, seek to use their collective bargaining to influence how a particular university behaves. Money doesn’t talk — it swears.