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Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland−Medical University of Bahrain
الكلية الملكية للجراحين في ايرلندا- جامعة البحرين الطبية
Motto Consilio Manuque
Motto in English Scholarship and Dexterity
Established 2004
Type Private
Endowment US$65 million[1]
President Sameer Otoom (Interim President)[2]
Academic staff 53 (2012)[3]
Admin. staff 70 (2012)[3]
Students 1,186 (2013)[4]
Undergraduates 992 (2012)[3]
Postgraduates 36 (2012)[3]
Location Busaiteen, Bahrain
Campus Urban

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - Bahrain (RCSI-Bahrain) also known as the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - Medical University of Bahrain (RCSI-MUB; Arabic: الكلية الملكية للجراحين في ايرلندا- جامعة البحرين الطبية‎) is a constituent university of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

It was founded in 2004 as a medical school, the third such school in Bahrain. In 2006, the college opened its doors for nursing students and established the School of Postgraduate Studies. Until 2008, the campus was located in the Seef district of Manama. The current 15,750m2 campus is located in Busaiteen, in Muharraq Island next to King Hamad University Hospital, the main clinical facility for student teaching. Other hospitals that the college work with include Salmaniya Medical Complex and Bahrain Defence Force Hospital.

RCSI-Bahrain medical school shares the same curriculum and examinations with RCSI (Dublin) and costs BD13,000 a year. The college produced its first medical graduating class in June 2010 awarding them with Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery as well as other degrees. In 2013, the student body grew to over 1,100 students coming from over 40 different nationalities. About 200 staff work with the college, most of them Irish or Bahraini.

Since the start of the Bahraini uprising in 2011 and subsequent government crackdown, RCSI-Bahrain has been caught in controversy. The college was criticized for not supporting its graduates or students who have been victimized by the Bahraini government. In May 2011, the college questioned three students who had taken part in the protests at the request of Bahrain's Ministry of Education and in March 2013 its newly appointed president resigned over the alleged government cancellation of an ethics conference. More recently, in late May 2013, a group of Irish lawyers called upon the Medical Council in Ireland to deny accreditation to the college due to human rights violations occurring at hospitals connected with it.


  • History 1
  • Purpose 2
  • Academic profile 3
    • Student body 3.1
    • Degree 3.2
  • Campus 4
  • Bahraini uprising 5
    • Background 5.1
    • RCSI-Bahrain controversy 5.2
      • Student questioning 5.2.1
      • Irish fact-finding delegation 5.2.2
      • Medical ethics conference 5.2.3
      • Irish Medical Council accreditation 5.2.4
  • See also 6
  • References 7


Students gather at White coat ceremony in the lobby of the new campus in 2013

The relations between RCSI and Bahrain date back to the 1970s in the form of first aid training courses and setting examinations.[5] The establishment of the university in Bahrain was part of a greater €60−70 million 10−year development plan, which was officially launched in September 2003.[6][7] A memorandum of understanding was previously signed by the president of RCSI and the then-Bahrain ambassador to the UK, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.[8]

The university was formally opened on the 4th of May, 2004 by the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Ireland's Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, with the first batch of medical students being admitted in October of the same year.[9] In 2006, the college opened its doors for nursing students and established the School of Postgraduate Studies.[10] In June 2010, the college produced its first medical graduating class.[11]

As of March 2013, the college was US$50 million in debt, while making US$2 million a year.[12]


The purpose of the university, as stated on their website, is listed below:

Building on the heritage of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland which was founded in 1784, we will enhance health in Bahrain, the other GCC countries and beyond through endeavor, innovation and collaboration in education, research and service. The primary mission of the RCSI Medical University of Bahrain is to inspire, educate and train competent and caring graduates who are well prepared to enter specialty training programmes and assume leadership roles in their profession. We undertake these activities to internationally recognised standards of excellence in teaching and research for the benefit of the health of the nations
—RCSI-Bahrain mission statement, [13]

Academic profile

RCSI-Bahrain is one of three other medical schools in Bahrain, the others being Arabian Gulf University and AMA International University.[14] The college is also the second nursing school in the country, the first being College of Health Sciences.[14]

As of February 2012, staff number is about 200, more than half of them are full timers.[3] Most of the staff are either Irish or Bahraini.[8]

RCSI-Bahrain medical school shares the same curriculum and examinations with RCSI (Dublin).[15] It has a five-year curriculum (six years if the student has to take foundation year)[5] costing BD13,000 annually.[1] A maximum of 120 students are accepted into the medical school annually.[5] The first batch in 2004 had only 35 students.[5] Officials said the small number of students is important for stronger inter-relations and to provide high quality education.[5][16] Students are provided with laptops and can view lectures before they are delivered.[5]

RCSI-Bahrain works with public health care facilities such as Salmaniya Medical Complex and military hospitals[17] such as Bahrain Defence Force Hospital[15] and King Hamad University Hospital.[18] The latter is the main clinical teaching hospital for college's medical students.[19]

In May 2013, the college reached a Memorandum of Understanding to share content relating to diabetes with, a Bahraini website "dedicated to increasing diabetes awareness and prevention".[20]

Student body

Third year students taking a group photo following the 2013 White coat ceremony

In 2013, the student body was estimated at over 1,100[4] most of whom were in the School of Medicine.[3] In 2009, Bahrainis composed 90 percent of nursing students and 40 percent of medical students,[1] and in 2013, students belonged to more than 40 different nationalities.[4]


Graduates of the medicine course obtain a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree and Bachelor of the Art of Obstetrics from both the National University of Ireland (NUI) and RCSI-Bahrain.[15][21] Medical graduates are also awarded with the Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (LRCSI) and the Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (LRCPI).[21] Graduates of the nursing course obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the RCSI-Bahrain and from the NUI as well.[22]


The college's campus, upon its establishment, was temporarily in the Seef district of Manama, the capital city.[19] It was opened in 2004 by the Bahrain Prime Minister and the then-Premier and Ireland Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.[1][4] In 2005, the government of Bahrain donated a tract of land located in Busaiteen on the neighboring island of Muharraq where construction of a new permanent campus began.[19] In October 2008, students and staff moved to the new 15,750-m2 campus.[10][19] Official opening was in February 2009, by the then-president of Ireland, Mary McAleese and presence of Bahrain Prime Minister, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.[1][19]

The campus, located next to the newly constructed King Hamad University Hospital,[19] can accommodate up to 2,000 students[1] and has "fully integrated IT system and wireless access" that covers 80 percent of the area.[10][19] The campus is composed of a six-story building and a 900-m2 sports hall.[10] The building contains "three lecture theaters, three laboratories, nine tutorial rooms and a large library with several group study rooms"[4] as well as "offices, [and a] cafeteria."[10] The total investment in the campus is estimated at US$65 million.[1]

Bahraini uprising


Protests at Pearl Roundabout in February 2011

Beginning in February 2011, Bahrain saw sustained pro-democracy protests, centered at Pearl Roundabout in the capital of Manama, as part of the wider Arab Spring. Authorities responded with a night raid on 17 February (later referred to by protesters as Bloody Thursday), which left four protesters dead and more than 300 injured.[23] Health workers played an important role in documenting the injuries, which were at the time downplayed or denied by the government of Bahrain.[24] At Salmaniya Medical Complex, doctors joined the protests themselves, speaking to protesters and media from the hospital stairs, after authorities blocked ambulances from bringing injured protesters there for care. The military responded by naming the hospital an opposition stronghold, taking it over on March 16.[25] In March and April 2011, more than seventy health workers were arrested during night raids for their actions during the protests, many of them alleging to have been tortured in custody.[17][26]

At least three of the arrested medics had studied in RCSI[7][12] and Bahrain Centre for Human Rights reported that over 30 RCSI-Bahrain nursing graduates were "denied work placements [in King Hamad University Hospital] on the basis of their religion."[27][28]

RCSI-Bahrain controversy

A record for a meeting conducted with a student in May 2011

RCSI-Bahrain was caught in controversy since 2011 following the start of government crackdown and arrest of some medics who had been trained by RCSI (Dublin).[29] Prior to that, the college "seemed a model of medical education excellence. It had an enviable record of producing well qualified medical professionals."[17] The college has come under criticism for not supporting its graduates or students who have been victims of the crackdown against the uprising and who have been arrested,[30] and for not speaking against government crackdown.[12] The issue was raised in the Irish Seanad.[31]

Student questioning

According to the Irish Medical Times, RCSI-Bahrain questioned three students who had participated in anti-government protests in February 2011.[32] Students were asked to "swear an oath of loyalty to the Bahraini Royal Family and sign a declaration that they would not participate in further protests."[33] The questioning took place while the country was in a state of emergency and was at the request of Bahrain's Ministry of Education, which also provided the college with photographs.[32] The aforementioned ministry withdrew sponsorships from three other students, but restored them later.[32]

Describing the action as "wholly inappropriate" RCSI (Dublin) CEO said the questioning was undertaken by a senior officer "without the knowledge or authority of the College" and that they only had known about it from an Irish barrister.[33] In October, professor Tom Collins, who had been recently appointed president of RCSI-Bahrain, apologized to the questioned students.[32] The incident was highlighted by Ceartas (Irish lawyers for human rights) as an example of the "restrictive environment that RCSI-MUB operates in".[34]

Irish fact-finding delegation

Irish delegation press conference in Dublin on 15 July 2011

In July 2011, a group of Irish doctors, politicians and human rights representatives led by orthopedic surgeon Damien McCormack traveled to Bahrain and met with medics and their families as well as some government officials.[35] They also visited RCSI-Bahrain campus.[36] Among them was professor Eoin O'Brien of University College Dublin.[17] Following his return to Dublin, he said he was told by the then-president and vice president of RCSI to "tone down his criticism as it was damaging the reputation of RCSI".[17] "I said that the college by its silence was seen as being complicit with the Bahrain regime and I urged them not to compromise principle for the sake of financial involvement," O'Brien added.[17] The RCSI CEO, professor Cathal Kelly, rejected "accusations that the RCSI was allowing financial considerations trump human rights."[7]

Medical ethics conference

Professor Tom Collins, who served as the president of RCSI-Bahrain between October 2011 and March 2013

In March 2013, Collins resigned from his position as president following cancellation of a conference on medical ethics.[12] According to Collins the conference titled "Medical ethics and dilemmas in situations of political discord or violence" and co-sponsored by RCSI-Bahrain and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was given verbal approval from Bahrain's Crown Prince in the Autumn of 2012.[12] However, Collins added that "the written permission never arrived" and thus the conference was cancelled.[12]

Bahrain's government spokesperson, Samira Rajab accused Collins of "utter lies" adding that the government of Bahrain had sent a written permission since December 2012.[7] Rajab also criticized the way Collin's resignation was announced, describing it as "media and political stir" that is not in line with the academic standards of "prestigious educational institutions".[37] Bart Janssens of MSF said they had indeed received a written permission, but added that there was a "clear message" against holding the conference.[38]

In the wake of Collins' resignation, a delegation from RCSI headed by its CEO and president visited Bahrain and met several government officials including the Prime Minister.[39] According to Bahrain News Agency, the delegation "expressed regret over the circumstances that surrounded the resignation of former president of RCSI-Bahrain".[39] The government of Bahrain was satisfied with the response with the Prime Minister reaffirming support and expressing appreciation to RCSI.[39]

MSF said they had chosen Bahrain, because of its "own recent experience with the politicization of medicine".[40] "It's a fact that in many countries, as in Bahrain, hospitals have become forefront places for political struggles, and people who are injured can not find in any way a sort of neutral space where only clinical medicine is practiced and not find political discussions," they added.[40] Collins said in late May 2013 that the cancelled conference was "one way the RCSI could address the situation in Bahrain as an academic institution".[41] He criticized government of Bahrain for its "heavy-handed oppression" and said the college was "extraordinarily powerless in Bahrain".[41] "If the price of being there is compliance [with oppression], then that is to compromise the very essence of higher education," he added.[41]

Irish Medical Council accreditation

Since it started teaching in 2004, RCSI-Bahrain was not accredited by Medical Council in Ireland as required.[42] A visit to Bahrain is scheduled in the second half of 2013.[43] In May 2013, Ceartas, a group of Irish lawyers issued a report asking the Medical Council in Ireland to deny RCSI-Bahrain of its accreditation.[17] The report argued that Irish jurisdiction applied to RCSI-Bahrain, since it was completely owned by RCSI (Dublin).[17] "[RCSI-Bahrain has] an education programme integrated with health systems connected to torture, discriminatory conduct in the provision of healthcare and employment of medical staff, and consistent violation of the rights to freedom of expression", the report added.[17] Initially, RCSI refused to give any responses "until [they] have seen and studied the report",[17] later they rejected its conclusion that "[RCSI] Bahrain campus was not fit for accreditation."[41]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "$65m campus for RCSI university.". TradeArabia (via HighBeam Research). 3 February 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "RCSI Bahrain – Management". RCSI-Bahrain. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f RCSI-Bahrain 2012, p. 5.
  4. ^ a b c d e "About RCSI Bahrain". RCSI-Bahrain. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Ali al-Mosawi (8 January 2009). "كلية الجراحين" في فبراير.  
  6. ^ Healy, Alison (6 September 2003). "College of Surgeons to get €60m development". The Irish Times (via HighBeam Research). Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Mary Fitzgerald (26 March 2013). "College of surgeons Bahrain head quits over conference permit".  
  8. ^ a b Ceartas 2013, p. 1.
  9. ^ "Medical University to be launched". Info-Prod Research (via HighBeam Research). 15 April 2004. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d e RCSI-Bahrain 2012, p. 4.
  11. ^ "First NUI medical and nursing degrees conferred in Bahrain". National University of Ireland. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f  
  13. ^ RCSI-Bahrain 2012, p. 3.
  14. ^ a b RCSI-Bahrain 2012, p. 9.
  15. ^ a b c Ceartas 2013, p. 2.
  16. ^ Thomas Collins (18 March 2013). RCSI Bahrain (Video). Bahrain:  
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bill Law (30 May 2013). "Irish medical campus in Bahrain challenged". BBC. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Ceartas 2013, pp. 19, 27.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g "RCSI Bahrain".  
  20. ^ Website Admin (23 May 2013). "RCSI Bahrain to support". Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "MB BCh BAO (Medicine) course". RCSI-Bahrain. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Nursing". RCSI-Bahrain. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "Bahrain protests: Police break up Pearl Square crowd". BBC News. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  24. ^ "Bahrain military court finds medics guilty". Amnesty International. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  25. ^ "Health Services Paralyzed: Bahrain’s Military Crackdown on Patients". Doctors Without Borders. April 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "Under the Gun: Ongoing Assaults on Bahrain’s Health System". Physicians for Human Rights. May 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  27. ^ Gearoid O Cuinn (30 May 2013). "Ceartas urges Irish Medical Council not to accredit Bahrain facility linked to rights abuses". Ceartas (Irish lawyers for human rights). Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  28. ^ Ceartas 2013, p. 19.
  29. ^ Mary Fitzgerald (30 May 2013). "Call for Irish Medical Council not to accredit RCSI-Bahrain campus". Irish Times. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  30. ^ Scores disappear as Bahrain's uprising continues The Irish Times, Monday, March 28, 2011
  31. ^ Human Rights Issues Seanad Éireann Debate Vol. 208 No. 9, Thursday, 16 June 2011
  32. ^ a b c d Dara Gantly (12 October 2011). "Exclusive breaking news: RCSI says treatment of students in Bahrain ‘unacceptable’".  
  33. ^ a b Dara Gantly (12 October 2011). "Exclusive: ‘Wholly inappropriate’ actions taken without College’s knowledge". Irish Medical Times. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  34. ^ Ceartas 2013, p. 17.
  35. ^ Mary Fitzgerald (12 July 2011). "Irish delegation travels to Bahrain". Irish Times. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  36. ^ Ceartas 2013, p. 3.
  37. ^ سميرة رجب: تبريرات رئيس الكلية الايرلندية للاستقالة محض افتراء. Al-Wasat (in Arabic).  
  38. ^ Mary Fitzgerald (29 March 2013). "RCSI delegation to visit Bahrain after resignation". Irish Times. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  39. ^ a b c Joe Humphreys (3 April 2013). "Bahrain government welcomes improved relations with RCSI after ethics row". Irish Times. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  40. ^ a b Dan Murphy (25 March 2013). "US-ally Bahrain blocks medical ethics conference".  
  41. ^ a b c d Mary Fitzgerald (1 June 2013). "College of Surgeons ‘powerless’ in Bahrain, says former campus head". Irish Times. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  42. ^ "Call over Bahrain medical college".  
  43. ^ Sharmila Devi (30 May 2013). "Rights abuses linked to Irish surgical college in Bahrain".  


  • Ceartas (30 May 2013). Submission to the Irish Medical Council: Human rights law and the accreditation of RCSI-Bahrain. (Report). Ceartas (Irish lawyers for human rights). Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  • RCSI-Bahrain (2012). RCSI Bahrain Strategic Plan 2012–2017 (Report). RCSI-Bahrain. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
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