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Sultan hails the bonds between AUS and its graduates
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), has praised the strong bonds developed between the university and its graduates, considering it a key sign of the university's success. He stated that during the Sixth Annual Alumni Reunion Dinner held at AUS on January 17, 2013, and attended by over 2,700 alumni. Organized by the AUS Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, this annual event is a homecoming celebration where alumni from all over the world convene back at AUS, one of the world's top 500 universities. The event also witnessed the announcement of 12 master's scholarships awarded by the AUS Alumni Association to the AUS graduates and the opening of a new AUSAA Chapter in UK.
Addressing the alumni, His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah said, "When we see you here, you remind us of the old days. It makes me happy to remember that I have shaken hands with each one of you (during their graduation ceremony). I consider these ever-stronger bonds as a key sign of the success of our wonderful university; the university is dynamic and vibrant with your presence and your continuous return."
The Sharjah Ruler said that AUS has become renowned for its academic excellence as, since its inception, it has been committed to maintaining high standards and accepting only the very best of applicants. His Highness also appreciated the hard work and dedication of the university's board members as well as its faculty and staff members.
The ceremony started with the arrival of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. Present at the event were Alumnus Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, Director General of Sharjah Statistics Centre; Salim Al Owais, Chairman, Bee'ah & Municipal Councils Authority; Dr. Amr Abdul Hameed, Advisor to His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah for Higher Education; AUS Trustees and senior AUS representatives.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Peter Heath, AUS Chancellor, welcomed the alumni and said, "You alumni are the spirit of AUS. Your boldness in doing things the right way and your accomplishments are the reason for our high reputation. Thank you for all that you have done for AUS and thank you for returning to campus."
"AUS is also on a roll moving ahead with a burst of energy. I am pleased to report with a sense of pride about our achievements during the past year, which speaks to unbridled optimism for our future. While the overall economy throughout the whole world is hampered by uncertainty, AUS continues to thrive. We continually look for ways to improve the university to attract the best students, give the best education with the best facilities possible. I like to call this an instinct for improvement that has been in AUS's institutional DNA from its very beginning. This assertive march forward is the reason for our excellence, which will be even better tomorrow," said Dr. Heath.
Chancellor Heath thanked AUS Trustee Riad T. Sadek for his unwavering support of the AUS Alumni Association's endeavors as well as his continued personal contribution to their many undertakings including his support to the Alumni Reunion Dinner since its inception. He also thanked the university's partners UAE Central Bank, Unilever, Hyundai and Construction Machinery Company (CMC) for their continued support.
Chancellor Heath elaborated that, "Partnerships with private corporations are the lifeblood of any modern university and we at AUS feel blessed with those among us this evening. We thank all of our corporate partners who are here today for their incredible generosity and their support to the institutional mission and vision."
"His Highness transformed Sharjah into the educational and cultural oasis of the Gulf, which has welcomed all those who wish to perfect the skills of the mind," said Dr. Nada Mourtada-Sabbah, AUS Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs. "You, our successive distinguished cohorts of graduates, embody the vision of His Highness to generate the knowledge, build the fabric of the societies, and produce the trained professionals and human capital for generations to come. Cultural heritage and education will continuously fortify our people in a sea of global changes."
Vice Chancellor Mourtada-Sabbah also emphasized that, "To put all of this into perspective, AUS provided the 'road map' on how to prepare students to be the shapers within the globalized market. As the global market is multi-ethnic and culturally pluralistic, AUS was a model of cultural plurality from its very inception. Every entering class has students from at least 60 different countries, which come together in the classroom, in discussion groups, in the dormitories and even on athletic teams. And its alumni conjoin into a very proactive Alumni Association that further strengthens its impact every day across the world."
In celebration of the sixth reunion, the AUS Alumni Association presented His Highness with an artwork by the UAE renowned artist Dr. Najat Meky. The AUS Alumni Association also announced names of winners of 12 scholarships awarded to its members to attend graduate school at AUS in the fields of their choice. The awardees were Dana Taleb, Ahmed Al Mani, Hiba Nasser, Thouraya Ghalayini, Adnan Tasneem, Mustafa Kashif, Bahaa Awni Shehadeh, AlHaytham Al Qudsi, Naser Al Sughaiyer, Mohammed Taher, Wesam Belal and Mai Muhtaseb.
Ahmad Al Jabouri, President of the AUS Alumni Association, also spoke on the occasion and thanked His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan for his continuous support to the association. Al Jabouri said that the association had recently launched a UK chapter at a special ceremony attended by the UAE ambassador to the UK. The new chapter will be headed by alumnus Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum. Many more regional chapters in the GCC are also slated to open shortly, Al Jabouri said.
Among the alumni present at the reunion was Ansar Babu, Senior Manager of Global Marketing Promotions at Etihad Airways and member of the AUS Class of 2001, the first graduating class. "It's been more than a decade since I left this campus as an undergrad student but every time I come back here for an alumni event, memories of four amazing years flash in front of my eyes," said Babu. "Even though I meet friends from university regularly, it's quite a nostalgic feeling to catch up with everyone back on campus. I will always strive to be part of these events. Thank you AUS for being such a wonderful host."