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AUS is a symbol of tolerance and diversity, says former Portuguese prime minister
António Guterres, former Portuguese prime minister and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has described American University of Sharjah (AUS) as a wonderful center of knowledge that honors Sharjah. He said this during a visit to the university today, October 16, 2014. He also described AUS as "a symbol of tolerance and diversity in today's world."
Guterres was received at AUS by members of the Board of Trustees, Hamid D. Jafar, Chairman and CEO, Crescent Petroleum Company, Sharjah; Maroun Semaan, Chair, Alcazar Capital Limited, Dubai; and Varouj Nerguizian, Executive Director and General Manager, Bank of Sharjah, UAE; as well as AUS Chancellor, Dr. Björn Kjerfve; and senior AUS officials.
Guterres visit to AUS coincided with his participation in the conference entitled "Investing in the Future Conference- Protecting Refugee Children in the Middle East and North Africa (IFFMena)." Held in Sharjah, the conference aims to offer support to refugee women and children by devising innovative solutions for the refugee crisis.
During his visit, Guterres was briefed about the AUS commitment to refugee-related issues through academic-related programs. These include courses on "Shelter and Settlement in Post-Conflict Societies" which focuses on the provision of housing and settlements for those affected by conflict or disaster and "Trauma and History" which explores the impact of mass traumatic events from both historical and psychological perspectives. Based on experiences at AUS, a number of alumni have pursued graduate work in refugee studies, disaster planning and food and water security.
Guterres briefed the AUS officials on the services the UN High Commissioner for Refugees offers. "There are different levels of caring for refugees but the number of people that we helped, more or less directly, was 34 million in the last year," said Guterres.