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AUS transforming into comprehensive research university in its third decade, says Sultan at the Alumni Reunion Dinner
American University of Sharjah (AUS) is well on its way to transforming into a comprehensive research university, as it marks its 20th anniversary, said His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of AUS, in his speech at the Eleventh Annual Alumni Reunion Dinner held January 25, 2018 on the AUS campus.
The Ruler of Sharjah explained what this meant for the alumni present at the reunion dinner, as well as their peers:
“It means more focus on graduate study to support research. Our focus will be on interdisciplinary programs such as biomedical technology, smart cities, material science, environment and artificial intelligence. This also means creating an attractive research environment helping AUS to attract distinguished faculty and students.”
His Highness also appreciated the presence of the returning alumni at the event as well as their devotion toward their alma mater:
“You are our true fortune, the future leaders of your nations. I am proud of what you have achieved and the high positions you have reached. You are our best ambassadors, contributing in spreading the image and brand of AUS as a world class institution of higher education and research.”
One of the highlights of the AUS calendar, the annual alumni reunion, organized by the Office of Advancement and Alumni Affairs, celebrates the achievements of AUS graduates and brings the university's alumni back to their alma mater every year.
During his weclcome remarks, AUS Chancellor Björn Kjerfve thanked His Highness for his extrodinary vision in creating an institute of excellence:
“Twenty years ago, your vision for a university as a seat of learning, and the foundation of Sharjah’s knowledge-based economy, started taking shape when this university first opened its doors. Today, as you are surrounded by thousands of its alumni, we have the chance to say ‘thank you,’ for your ambitious dream that has transformed all our lives.”
“We may already be ranked among the world’s top 500 universities, but our journey hasn’t ended yet. To ensure that we continue to grow and mature, we are embarking on an exciting transformation of AUS into a comprehensive research university with many PhDs programs, a shift towards graduate education, but without losing sight of our commitment to excellence in undergraduate education and the liberal arts core of AUS.”
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the university, poet Ali Khawar recited a poem in honor of the university's founder and the institution. His Highness was also presented with a special carpet piece, as a gift from the AUS Alumni Association. The piece of handmade carpet was manufactured in Afghanistan as part of the Sheikha Fatima bint Mohammed bin Zayed initiative, with all the proceeds going directly towards supporting and empowering women in Afghanistan. Similar carpets were given by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to the Pope and Queen Elizabeth II.
Charles Antony Diab, Executive Director of Advancement and Alumni Affairs, praised the community spirit of the AUS alumni and encouraged them to stay connected with the alumni association:
“Stay involved with your alumni association throughout the year, and I guarantee your contributions will make AUS even better for you and for the rest of the community.”
The AUS Alumni Association (AUSAA) Vice President Ahmed Al Riyami also addressed his fellow graduatues, encouraging them to be a part of the AUSAA Council, and represent their graduating class, school or college, or geographic area.
The reunion also honored new inductees to the Alumni Wall of Fame, recognizing graduates who had contributed to making a difference during their time as students and who have achieved success in their careers. This years winners were: Mohammed Al Shehi (2003, electrical engineering); Dr. Mohammed Asaad Ghazal (2004, computer engineering); Iba Masood (2010, finance); Jamal Jama Al-Musharakh (2009, international studies); and Fatma Ahmad Bazargan (2002, computer engineering).
During the dinner, a spectacular light show was projected onto the AUS Main Building and the evening included raffle draws for prizes contributed by Air Arabia and Arada, and a performace by renowned singer Maher Zain.
The event also featured a mosaic wall, a collage of small pictures that formed a photograph of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, in celebration of the Year of Zayed. A time capsule was also created filled with testimonials by alumni and members of the AUS community, the last message included being that of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan, before the capsule was closed. The time capsule will be opened at the university’s celebration of its 30th anniversary.
In addition to the returning alumni, also present at the event were members of the AUS Board of Trustees, senior AUS officials, and a delegation of students from Peking University, led by Professor Wu, as well as a delegation of students from the Beijing Institute of Technology in Zhuhai.
The event was supported by Fast Building Contracting, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arada, Dufry Sharjah, Bee’ah, Crescent Petroleum and Petrofac.