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AUS celebrates International Women’s Day
An increase in women being recruited, retained and promoted in organizations in the Middle East was the main focus at a special event held to celebrate International Women's Day at American University of Sharjah (AUS) today, March 8. Women leaders from the private and public sectors convened at the university to commemorate the day at an event hosted by Dr. Tania Kjerfve, wife of Chancellor Dr. Björn Kjerfve.
The event focused on "Be bold for change," the theme for International Women's Day 2017, with participants brainstorming ways to recruit and retain more women in business. The event was attended by the Chancellor and senior administrative members, faculty and alumni.
Welcoming the guests to the luncheon, Dr. Tania Kjerfve congratulated them on International Women's Day and said, "Here at AUS and in the UAE, we have many reasons to celebrate. The UAE has in the last decades provided many opportunities for the advancement of women. Education always has the power to change the world; girls and women in the UAE have benefitted tremendously from plentiful educational opportunities in the Higher Education. Colleges and universities now enroll and graduate more women than men; many of the brightest graduates of universities in the country are now women."
Dr. Tania Kjerfve also spoke of how the UAE has supported women in the highest positions in political life, with eight out of 29 ministers in the current UAE cabinet being women, including AUS alumna Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State of Tolerance.
"At AUS, our students, both men and women, are provided with solid and rich educational and leadership opportunities. Our female students feel valued, respected, and become confident women, equipped with knowledge, skills, and assurance to embark in their professions of choice. AUS graduates are known in the region for their superior education, critical thinking skills, global outlook, and strong social skills. AUS women graduates are poised to change their lives and that of their families, and to help improve their societies and the region," added Dr. Kjerfve.
The lunch also promoted the new Women and Leadership website launched by Dr. Linzi Kemp, Associate Professor of Management, Dr. Norita Ahmad, Associate Professor of MIS; and Linda McLoughlin, Senior Lecturer of Marketing and Placement Director. The web portal is a research-backed initiative of professional women residing in the Arab Gulf countries and features an Expert Woman List, the first of its kind in the Middle East. The portal contains individual case studies chronicling the achievements of women across the Gulf, a first-of-its-kind living archive. The work is supported by a Faculty Research Grant from AUS.
The event was also a soft launch for the Women for Science Technology Engineering and Math in Arab Gulf States (W4STEM) project by Dr. Kemp; Dr. Ahmad; and Dr. Lucia Pappalardo, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences; and Alison Williams, researcher.
The two-day celebration of women at AUS began yesterday with an event organized to award winners of a poster competition by students from the women in leadership and mass communications courses at AUS. The keynote speaker at the event was Maggie Seeliger, Senior Vice President- Strategy Business Development, SNC-Lavalin. Also presenting at the event was poet, Afra Atiq. Dr. Jorg Bley, Dean of the School of Business Administration, announced the winners of the poster competition. The winners were Yasmien Peck, Amna Bin Dhaher and Asad Hussain in first, second and third place respectively.