Your Australian University in Dubai

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Excelling academically is a family affair

Monday, 27 December, 2010

The Karam brothers have defied the odds and completed multiple degrees, MAKING THEM THE FIRST in their family to go to university From left: Abdul Aziz, Ahmad and Abdul Rahman Karam are the first three brothers in their family of 17 siblings to go to university and reach the pinnacles of higher education The odds were stacked against the Karam brothers from the get go but they have managed to become the first in their family to attend university. Living in Fujairah means their university commute to Dubai is a total of four hours. In addition, the UAE nationals hold down full time jobs and have families to tend to. Despite these obstacles the Karam brothers — Ahmad, 28, Abdul Aziz, 27, and Abdul Rahman, 26 — have managed to attain multiple degrees at various universities. They are all currently pursuing doctoral and master's programmes at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD). An example to the family "I'm the first one in my family to join university — I was the inspiration for the others, even for my sister who studies dentistry at the Ajman University [of Science and Technology]," said Ahmad who has 17 siblings. All three brothers work in Fujairah and Ahmad is a computer engineer with the Fujairah finance department. He is currently doing a five-year PhD programme at the UOWD where he is researching the UAE's e-government management information system. Ahmad completed his bachelor's and master's degree in computer science at the University of Sharjah (UOS) and then did another master's degree in international business at UOWD. Ahmad's younger brother, Abdul Aziz, was already at UOWD when he joined for his second master's degree. "I was looking for a part-time PhD and UOWD had not yet launched their PhD programme, so instead of sitting at home, I did another master's degree there." He says taking on several degrees in quick succession was tough but somehow manageable. "It's the highest priority and my family understands this — we all live together and we support each other." Abdul Aziz is also pursuing a doctoral programme but unlike his brother he does not see himself as an academic, rather one who is looking for practical solutions to the UAE's problems. Exploring emiratisation He is enrolled in a Doctor in Business Administration (DBA) programme and also holds two master's degrees in quality management and human resources from UOS and UOWD respectively. He is the head of the strategic development department at the Fujairah municipality. "I'm a lot more focused while doing a DBA because I'm researching the topic of emiratisation," said Abdul Aziz. "Till now we don't have a good strategy for implementing emiratisation; and I want to come up with practical ideas and new strategies to help solve this problem." Commuting up to four days a week to Dubai means time away from work but Abdul Aziz says the company's management is very supportive. "They have given me some free time to leave work early for university." With no plans of being an academic, Abdul Aziz wants to become an expert in the area of emiratisation. Abdul Rahman, the youngest of the three, has also given top priority to furthering his education. He is completing a master's degree in information technology at UOWD and plans to do a DBA in information technology in a year's time. He primarily wants to further his education to climb up the career ladder. "My brothers are a good example and they have helped inspire me to study," he said. "I have some work to do and much experience to gain; but I want to marry and will give that first priority and then continue with my studies." By Amelia Naidoo, Campus Notes Editor Published December 26, 2010 in Gulf News Image Credit: Arshad Ali@gulfnews