Saudi Fund for Development breaks ground for the Library of the University of Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina, 31 July 2023
The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Board of Directors Chairman, H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, laid the foundation stone today, to kick off the construction and equipping of the new library in the University of Sarajevo, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Elmedin Konaković. This important project is being funded through a generous $22 million grant provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through SFD.
Furthermore, attending the groundbreaking ceremony was Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton, H.E. Nihad Uk, the Saudi Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Osama bin Dakhil Al-Ahmadi, the Rector of the University of Sarajevo, Prof. Dr. Rifat Škrijelj, the Deputy CEO of SFD, Eng. Faisal Al-Kahtani, and other officials .
The new library will act as a central hub to connect the university’s 28 sub-libraries, and will contribute towards enhancing its educational and research capabilities. With a total area of 13,590 square meters, it will be equipped with the latest technology and digital learning tools, helping to future-proof the university, and allowing it to better meet the needs of its students. In total, more than 22,000 male and female students will benefit from the new library, alongside 1,618 staff and faculty members, and 10,000 external beneficiaries.
Additionally, the library will play a key role in supporting the advancement of the university’s research and innovation capabilities, while helping to build the research skills of students and graduates. It will also contribute towards realizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 4, Quality Education, and SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities.
On this occasion, the SFD Board of Directors Chairman, H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, stressed that this project is a testament to the collaborative relationship between both countries, stating: “This project reflects the strong and lasting developmental ties between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which began three decades ago. We are confident that the new library will help meet the needs of both male and female students at the University of Sarajevo, and the surrounding community.“
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Elmedin Konaković, stated: “Thanks to a generous grant from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through SFD, this project has become the largest post-war investment in the infrastructure of our University. It will enrich our academic community, while reflecting the strong ties and mutual respect between our two nations. This library will serve as a symbol of our joint efforts to promote education and advance knowledge, and as a place where generations of students and researchers can gather to contribute to the development of our society, country and wider region.”
The Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton, Mr. Nihad Uk, stated in his address: “The building for which we are laying the foundation stone today is significant because it will also be the most visible bridge of friendship between Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bosnia
and Herzegovina. We are grateful to Saudi Arabia for this investment. The library is a symbol of knowledge, cultural upliftment, communication, and I believe that our cooperation and friendship will develop precisely in these directions in the future”.
The Rector of the University of Sarajevo, Prof. Dr. Rifat Škrijelj, emphasized that today is a special day in the history of the University of Sarajevo, and this joyous occasion represents a visionary step towards achieving our commitment to academic excellence and creating a vibrant and sustainable campus for future generations.
“With pride and deep gratitude, we pay tribute today to the generous donation from the Saudi Development Fund, which made this project possible. We extend our thanks to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the royal family for their unwavering support to education, research, and cultural development, as demonstrated through their noble Vision 2030. This significant investment, the largest capital project for our university since the war, testifies to the dedication and friendship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” emphasized Rector Škrijelj.
During the past three decades, SFD has helped to fund 11 projects and development programs in various regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through soft development loans worth a total of $185 million. This latest development cooperation, to construct and equip the Library of the University of Sarajevo, reaffirms the importance of international cooperation and solidarity to achieve sustainable development goals and foster economic and social growth.