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Sultan attends Alumni Reunion Dinner at AUS
American University of Sharjah (AUS) is well set on its path to progress and plans to continue this growth by developing new master's and PhD programs in the coming year, said His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of AUS. His remarks came at the Seventh Annual Alumni Reunion Dinner held Thursday, February 13 on the AUS campus.
"I am pleased to inform you that your university continues to grow year after year. We hope that in the coming years, our campus will see many more colleges providing new master's degrees as well as doctoral programs," said the Sharjah Ruler during his address. "We hope that our university becomes a research center that will attract qualified graduates from around the world and provide them with the best facilities and scholarships."
His Highness said that he was pleased to see the alumni return to AUS for this event and hoped to see them returning in greater numbers in the future. He wished them all great success in their future endeavors.
The Sharjah Ruler's arrival at the event was marked by a folklore performance by the Palestinian Al Hannouneh Band. His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan inspected the new Alumni Wall of Fame before observing a special light show projected on the AUS Main Building. A short video on alumni legacies was also shown on the occasion.
In his welcoming remarks, AUS Acting Chancellor Dr. Thomas Hochstettler, said, "This annual event is always a very special occasion for us. To see over 2,500 of our alumni return to their alma mater on nights such as this is possibly the most striking manifestation of the fulfillment of His Highness's vision for his university. His Highness's leadership and guidance have been the bedrock of every success we have achieved thus far. And that vision has been ably supported by the commitment and dedication of our Board of Trustees, and by our faculty and staff."
"But it is you, our alumni, who constitute the most compelling evidence of the validity and staying power of His Highness's vision. You are our ambassadors across the region and around the world. We are proud of your success and feel vicarious satisfaction as we watch you put to high purpose the learning we gave you during your time at AUS, and as you preserve and promote the values that you absorbed during your sojourn among us," he added.
Dr. Nada Mourtada-Sabbah, AUS Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs, welcomed the alumni and said, "You can readily see that AUS is not standing still while basking in its well-deserved reputation for excellence. Each year's achievements are surpassed by those of the following year under the aegis of His Highness, who founded this great university, and you our alumni are the most cogent illustration of this university's success so ably represented by you in all walks of life."
For the first time this year, each AUS college and school held its own reception to welcome back its alumni, prior to the reunion. This hour-long gathering gave working graduates the chance to share their work experiences with their faculty mentors and apprise them of the direction their professional lives had taken. The alumni also had the opportunity to meet peers from various other graduating classes and reminisce about their time at AUS.
The alumni reunion is one of the highlights of the AUS calendar, as it allows alumni from all over the world to convene at the university. The event also marked the opening of a new AUS Alumni Association chapter in the US.
On behalf of the AUS Alumni Association (AUSAA), alumnus Ahmed Al Jbori, AUSAA President, congratulated His Highness on the occasion of the crowning of Sharjah as the Islamic Culture Capital by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), and said, "When we combine the AUS intellectual spirit with the esteemed institutions of culture and science found here in Sharjah, it creates an unsurpassed intellectual community. I am proud to have the honor of relating to you all that Sharjah was named the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014 in recognition of its remarkable contributions to science and culture. The research facilities found in Sharjah are a magnet for researchers and scientists. Intellectual development, of course, means innovation in knowledge, and it is at this apex where AUS stands without peer in the Gulf. And we, the standard bearers of our alma mater, demonstrate innovation on a daily basis." He added that he is proud of the many agreements that AUS has signed with some of the finest universities in the world.
The AUS Alumni Association presented His Highness with a painting whilst a group of alumni that work for the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) presented the Sharjah Ruler with a satellite photo of Sharjah University City as well as a model of the satellite.
This year, the AUS Alumni Association invited alumni to nominate graduates who they considered to be the best entrepreneurs by providing testimonials about their respective choices. Peers were asked to nominate those alumni who have shown the most innovation and prowess as entrepreneurs. The winners of the Alumni Entrepreneur title recognized in the presence of His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed Abdulla Al Thani, Abdulla Al Kaabi, Ahmed Owais, Bedour Al Raqbani, Ali Al Suwaidi, Turki Al Yahia, Mona Kattan, Kholoud Kurdi, Iba Masoud, Sachin Gadoya, Farid Esmaeil and Ahmed Nour.
The AUSAA also invited alumni to nominate fellow alumni candidates from all previous classes to be featured on the Alumni Wall of Fame, which recognized the legacies of those who had contributed to making a difference during their time here as students as well as achieving great success in their careers. The alumni declared winners were Eisa Al Ali, Ahmed Al Reyami, Ahmad Al Nabulsi, Ahmed Barghouthy and Anam Shahid.
The dinner was attended by a number of distinguished guests and senior government officials including Sheikh Khaled Bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Chairman of Urban Planning Department; Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of Sharjah Statistics Centre; Sheikh Salem Bin Abdul Rahman Al Qassimi, Chairman of the Ruler's Office; Sheikh Mohammed Bin Humaid Al Qassimi; Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qassimi; Dr. Amr Abdul Hamid, Special Advisor to the Ruler of Sharjah for Higher Education and Scientific Research; as well as AUS Trustees Hamid D. Jafar, Group Chairman, Crescent Petroleum; Riad T. Sadek, Chairman, Al Habtoor Leighton Group; Maroun Semaan, CEO, Petrofac; and Varouj Nerguizian, Executive Director and General Manger, Bank of Sharjah. The dinner was also attended by senior AUS officials.
Also present were Hussein Al Mahmoudi, Director General, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Professor Guillaume Leyte, President of the University of Paris II; Ali Al Zaabi, President and CEO, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Middle East & Africa; AUS Alumnus Samir Khoury, Executive Vice President of Operations, Deputy Executive Chairman and Director, C.C.C; Michele Al Sayegh, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Al Sayegh Group; Dr. Asad Abdul Rahman, Executive Chairman, Palestine International Institute; Dr. Manahel Thabet, Owner & President, Smart Tips Consultants;; Bedour Al Raqbani, Director and Founder of Kalimati Speech and Communication Centre; Alexis de Beauregard, Chief Officer for Marketing and Retail Product Offering, AXA Insurance; Samer Al Sayegh, Managing Director, National Paints; Faisal Yassine, General Manager - Hyundai Sales Division at Juma Al Majid Group and Abraham Togatorop - Human Resources Director, Gulf and KSA at Unilever Gulf.
Platinum sponsors of the event included Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, Bank of Sharjah, Bee'ah, Emirates Telecommunications Company (du), EMAL, Julphar, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, and TOTAL; Unilever, the event Employer of Choice sponsor; Hyundai, silver sponsor, which provided the automobile raffled at the event; Nescafe, as the event's Institutional Advancement sponsor; and Etihad Airways as the Official Airline sponsor, as well as National Paints.