UOWD welcomed Australian cricketing hero Adam Gilchrist, on his maiden visit to the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, 13 October.
Professor Rob Whelan, President of UOWD, introduced Gilchrist as an extraordinary cricketer and a strong protagonist of quality education. "We are delighted to have Adam visit us on this brief visit to the UAE.
Speaking to students and staff at UOWD in his role as Ambassador for the University of Wollongong Australia, Gilchrist stressed the importance of education in modern life. He engaged in a lively question and answer session in which he covered a range of issues, including IPL, the state of Australian and Indian cricket, the upcoming Ashes series, and his association with the University.
"Education has played a big role in my life. My parents were teachers. My elder brother Glenn studied at the University of Wollongong. In fact, I was about to join UOW as well, but joined the Australian Cricket Academy instead at the insistence of Rod Marsh, said Gilchrist.
Gilchrist joined Professor Whelan in awarding the UOWD Scholarship for Sporting Excellence to this years winner, Anish Ahuja, who had been a member of the UAE Under 15 Cricket team.
Students and staff of UOWD were thrilled to see crickets greatest ever wicketkeeper-batsman in person, posed for photographs and obtained Gilchrists autograph during the brief visit. Gilchrist also had an exclusive private session with the UOWD cricket team, impressing the budding cricketers with his ease, sense of humour and practical demonstrations of cricketing techniques.
Gilchrists visit was part of a promotional tour to the United Arab Emirates, where he and senior UOW officers met business leaders in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to encourage UAE businesses to consider investment opportunities in Wollongong, Australia.
The University of Wollongong has established a world-class technology research and development precinct called the Innovation Campus (iC) near its main campus in Wollongong, and Gilchrist is encouraging UAE-based companies to form partnerships with UOWs world-class research centres.
Concluding his visit to UOWD, Gilchrist addressed the media at a press conference and said, "It is really exciting to be in the United Arab Emirates in a different role from cricket. Im looking forward to talking to business leaders here about the opportunities for establishing a presence in Australia at the Innovation Campus in Wollongong.
UOW Vice-Principal (Administration), Mr Chris Grange said the University of Wollongong had established UOWD in 1993, and since then had built many strong relationships in the UAE.
"For the past three years The Times Higher Education Employer Review (2007-2009) has ranked UOW in the top 100 of world universities, which means our graduates are among the most employable in the world. UAE firms can tap into our research institutes and our graduates, while establishing an Australian presence at our Innovation Campus said Mr Grange.