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AUS launches student lecture series
The Student Leadership Program of American University of Sharjah (AUS), launched a new initiative called the AUS Student Lecture Series with a joint lecture by two outstanding students on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 in the university's Lecture Hall A.
With a passion for mountain climbing, AUS student Adi Al Fardan decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, standing at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) above sea level.
Despite facing serious obstacles on his way to the top, he managed to achieve his goal. "I said to myself, if I endure this climb with all the troubles, obstacles and hardships, then I can overcome anything else in my life," Al Fardan said. "The climb was extremely difficult, but that thought motivated me every time I was tempted to give up. And I know that in the future, every time I face a challenge in my life, I would definitely look back to this experience and tell myself, you did that, you can also do this."
That was followed by a moving lecture by Maram Dalab, the UAE's Ambassador of Hope for people with diabetes.
Diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 8, Dalab, learned at that early age to befriend diabetes as a coping mechanism in order to live a good life in spite of her predicament.
"With my diabetes, life became very challenging with lots of medication, lots of dietary restrictions, frequent hospitalization and many ups and downs," said Dalab. "I celebrated my ninth birthday in a hospital. Then I learned to cope through my predicament."
A peer leader with the Student Leadership Program, Dalab said she always looks at life from a positive perspective and that she aims to spread knowledge about diabetes.
"My advice to people going through challenges is to be optimistic, have a strong will, have faith and have a fair amount of knowledge about your situation. Approximately 366 million people around the world are diabetic. In the Middle East, 30 percent of the population has diabetes, but the sad part is that 19 percent of them don't know that they have diabetes," said Dalab.
"So you see that this is a big challenge, and it has to be properly addressed. Here in the UAE, one in every four Emiratis is diabetic. In fact, the UAE was named the country with the second highest rate of diabetes in 2010."
"Thank you both for your engaging presentations. We have learned from Adi that you can do anything in life you set yourself to do. And from Maram we have learned to cope with challenges and to be helpful to others who may be facing life's challenges," said Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, Director of the Office of the AUS President, who also went on the Kilimanjaro trip.
Commending the students for their engaging presentations, Dr. Moza Al Shehhi, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, thanked both Al Fardan and Dalab for speaking on that inaugural event. "These are the kind of leaders that we want to develop with our Student Leadership Program. We launched the AUS Student Lecture Series to encourage students to share their stories and achievements with their friends, peers and AUS community. It is another step toward preparing our students to be the future leaders who speak up, influence, build, share and motivate others," she said.
Anton Chernyshov, a freshman student in business management, said, "It is a great opportunity to hear my fellow students talking about their personal leadership experience. This motivational lecture shows examples of inspirational leaders at AUS and encourages other students to be active as well."
Sara Samir, a junior student majoring in finance, said, "The lecture was very motivational and I really enjoyed it. When the first speaker shared his experience with us regarding the difficulties and challenges he and his friends faced to climb one of the highest mountains, it made me feel how important it is to keep looking forward in life and keep a strong faith in what we are capable of doing. Further, when the second speaker shared her experience I was amazed by the amount of challenges she faced and what made me even more amazed is how she dealt with the challenges in an optimistic manner. These two speakers represented real leaders. Sharing their experience with us was a gain."