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Sultan meets Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah and President of American University of Sharjah (AUS) met with Kai Mykkänen, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Finland, at the Ruler's palace in Sharjah Late Wednesday, January 17, 2017. Also present were representatives from Finnish educational, research and business organizations; AUS Chancellor Dr. Bjorn Kjerfve; Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of AUS Enterprises (AUSE); and other members of the Sharjah government.
His Highness discussed various topics of bilateral interest with the visiting minister. He also briefed the minister and members of the delegation on the history of AUS as well as the programs the university offers. Sheikh Dr. Sultan also discussed the future development plans of the university and the establishment of the Research, Technology and Innovation Park by AUSE adjacent to University City.
Al Mahmoudi said, "His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah discussed with the visiting Minister several ways of collaboration that would enable Sharjah and Finland to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of the other, whether it be in research and development or business and commerce. Some of the ideas that were discussed were potential partnerships between private sector entities in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship and the potential establishment of a Finland Innovation Center at the Research, Technology and Innovation Park."
During the meeting His Highness witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between AUSE and the Council of Oulu Region (Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland). The agreement was signed to facilitate mutual cooperation in the fields of research and development, education, innovation, trade, science and technology, and business. Al Mahmoudi, and Tiina Rajala, Director of the Council of Oulu Region, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations in the presence of senior representatives from both parties.
The objective of the five-year agreement is to facilitate the improvement of innovation in education, research and industrial development in Sharjah and the Oulu region with both party administrations sharing experiences. At the university and research level, innovation challenges will be addressed by universities and applied research institutes. One of the underlying objectives of the agreement is the networking of companies and research organizations to develop and create new business.
His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah also attended a presentation by Dr. Marti Launonen, CEO of Hubconcepts, a leading innovation development consultancy firm. Dr. Launonen spoke about the pathways of development that could benefit the AUS RTI Park using his innovation ecosystem framework and highlighted several examples of global best practice and the close collaboration between industry, government and academia to create successful science innovation hubs.
Earlier in the day, the Finnish minister and accompanying delegation visited AUS and took a tour of the campus.