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AUS celebrates 20 years of alumni at virtual reunion event
Over 700 American University of Sharjah (AUS) alumni from around the world celebrated 20 years of AUS alumni at a virtual event held yesterday, April 3.
Held under the theme “20 Years of AUS Alumni”, the event featured sessions for class networking, meeting the deans, and introducing members of the AUS Alumni Association (AUSAA) board. There were opportunities to hear inspirational stories from many alumni, such as Tima Deryan, the first Lebanese and youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest; Basil El Haj, YouTuber and World Food Explorer; Ibrahim Almidfa, Hope Probe Flight Software Lead; Iba Masood and Sayed Ahmed, co-founders of Tara.AI and their entry to Silicon Valley; and Zein Masri, Head of Brand and Reputation Marketing at Google. The evening also included fantastic performances by alumni Sawsan Albahiti, the first female Saudi soprano, Fawaz Al Shaikh, and singer and songwriter Ibby VK.
In keeping with tradition, the AUS Alumni Association invited alumni to nominate fellow graduates for induction into the AUS Alumni Wall of Fame. Nominees are chosen for their significant professional accomplishments, as well as for their contributions to the university. The inductees recognized this year were Khalid AlNaqbi (Chemical Engineering, Spring 2020), Marwa Kaabour (Management Information Systems, Spring 2001), Minyoung Chang (Business Administration, Fall 2016), Tala Alnounou (Interior Design, Fall 2011) and Iman Ustadi (Chemical Engineering, Spring 2011).
Alumni also enjoyed a number of friendly competitions in a social media contest sponsored by Canon, a leaderboard contest sponsored by Arada, a grand raffle by Arada, a virtual Escape the Room game sponsored by Emaar, and a Kahoot trivia challenge. A Bidding for Good initiative sponsored by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons contributed to scholarships awarded through the AUS General Student Support Fund.
Suvina Singh, computer engineering alumna (Class of 2003), and her husband Tarun Kumar, finance and accounting alumnus and a member of AUS’ first graduating class (Class of 2001), found the online event a good opportunity to connect with their classmates.
“Holding a virtual event was a great idea, as it would have been difficult for us to attend the entire event in person, since we have kids. We had a good time seeing familiar faces. My husband and I liked the idea of the games at the end of the event!” said Singh.
Kumar said he had the opportunity to meet colleagues he had not seen in 20 years: “Having the alumni reunion held virtually was a fun experience. During the networking sessions, I had the opportunity to get in touch with some people I had not seen in the 20 years since we graduated. It was really nice to reconnect.”
Speaking at the event, Professor Kevin Mitchell, AUS Chancellor, said:
"AUS alumni are extremely important members of the AUS community and critical to the continued success of the university. They continue to distinguish themselves in their respective fields and make an impact in business, industry, government, non-profit organizations and in arts and culture. We are proud of their personal and professional accomplishments. Thank you also to the AUS alumni who continued to support the scholarship fund that allowed us to expand access to education to students who lack financial means."
Since 2001, AUS has awarded more than 16,000 degrees. AUS alumni represent more than 100 nationalities and occupy senior positions not only in the Middle East, but also in North America, Europe, Australia and throughout the world. AUS graduates are employed by some of the world’s best known and highly respected organizations, and many have earned graduate degrees at highly respected institutions globally.
The event was sponsored by institutional advancement sponsors Bee’ah, Crescent Petroleum, Emaar, Petrofac, Sharjah National Oil Corporation (SNOC); main sponsors Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) and Sharjah Media City (SHAMS); auction sponsor Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons; imaging sponsor Canon; and community partners Arada and Shurooq.