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Sharjah Ruler attends Alumni Reunion Dinner at American University of Sharjah
With 2017 marking the 20th anniversary of American University of Sharjah (AUS), His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah and President of AUS, encouraged alumni to consider it as a special year and return regularly to see the progress their alma mater has made in the last two decades. His remarks came at the 10th Annual Alumni Reunion Dinner held Thursday night, January 19, on the AUS campus.
Organized by the Office of Advancement and Alumni Affairs (OAAA), the event welcomed back more than 2,000 alumni and is one of the highlights of the AUS calendar, as it brings together alumni from all over the world.
His Highness said, "Since our pioneers graduated in 2001, our graduates have reached the highest positions and realized the highest achievements, thanks to this university and your hard work. You are our ambassadors, helping us spread the true image of AUS as a leading institution of higher education and research."
Sheikh Dr. Sultan then spoke of the mandate for AUS to become a research university and for this purpose, the doctoral program in engineering systems management and the master's degree program in biomedical engineering have undergone review for accreditation and are expected to be launched during the next academic year. "A doctoral program in business administration will also be planned soon," added His Highness.
In his welcoming remarks, AUS Chancellor Dr. Björn Kjerfve, said, "Since its inception, AUS has been committed to academic excellence. It has earned an exceptional reputation in the Middle East and beyond for the quality of education it provides. Inspired by the premier centers of education during the Golden Age of Islam, AUS has always endeavored to create a stimulating campus environment that is conducive to critical thinking and enquiry. Therefore, as we move forward, we will enhance our focus on research and innovation."
Elaborating on this, Dr. Kjerfve spoke of the work that has begun on establishing a world-class Research, Technology and Innovation Park located adjacent to the AUS campus, where international and local technology firms will collaborate with AUS faculty and students and engage in state-of-the-art research and innovation. "Our aim is to create an environment where research will prosper and enhance the reputation of AUS, helping it attract the best students and faculty," he said.
AUS alumni occupy important positions in many well-known international corporate entities and in government organizations, and some are currently enrolled in graduate programs at leading universities across the globe. "As alumni, you are our best brand ambassadors. Your success and achievements serve as an inspiration to those who follow in your footsteps as students at AUS. I encourage you to keep in touch with us through the Office of Advancement and Alumni Affairs and to assist and support your alma mater with scholarships for deserving students who will attend AUS in the future," concluded the Chancellor.
In an annual tradition, a number of alumni were added to the Alumni Wall of Fame, which recognizes those who made a difference during their time at AUS as well as those who have achieved great success in their careers. The honorees were chosen from a pool of candidates nominated by their fellow alumni. Those selected for this year's honors were Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, Class of 2004 and 2006, and Laaleh Al-Aali, Class of 2004, from the School of Business Administration; Akbar Thumbay, Class of 2007, and Mohamed Al Sharhan, Class of 2011, from the College of Engineering; and Noaf Tahlak, Class of 2004, from the College of Architecture, Art and Design.
Speaking next was AUSAA President Dana Taleb, who thanked His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan on behalf of her fellow alumni and expressed gratitude for the great vision and leadership set forth by His Highness in providing a world-class education at AUS: "His Highness is our father-figure, our mentor and we are the culmination of his dedication and devotion to make of us leaders in our own right, influencers and productive members of society. Your Highness, we are forever grateful.
"As alumni, we are ambassadors of this institution and represent what it stands for and the values it has instilled in us: loyalty, excellence and the pursuit of knowledge. Tonight, we are together where it all started, where friendships, rivalries and great memories were created. Tonight we are together not only to reminisce but also to reinforce these relationships and show everyone how proud we are of our alma mater," she added.
The AUS Alumni Association presented His Highness with a calligraphy art piece by renowned calligrapher Khalifa Al Shimi.
The evening's entertainment included a spectacular light show projected on the AUS Main Building, a short video on alumni legacies, a raffle and a performance of English and Arabic fusion music by the band Harget Kart. Sponsors for the event were Bee'ah, Crescent Petroleum, Dufry, Fast Building Contracting, Henkel, Petrofac and Sharjah Islamic Bank.