His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, was admitted to the Degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by the Chancellor of the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), Michael Codd, AC, during its summer graduation ceremony held at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, today.
H.E. Sheikh Nahayan received the doctorate and delivered the graduation address at the ceremony, in the presence of His Excellency Jeremy Bruer, Australian Ambassador to the UAE, Professor Rob Whelan, President of UOWD, other dignitaries, faculty members, graduating students and their families.
Degrees were conferred upon 284 undergraduate and postgraduate students by the Chancellor in the first of the two graduation ceremonies of 2009.
In opening the ceremony, Michael Codd, AC, Chancellor of UOWD and University of Wollongong in Australia, said, "Over the past 16 years, UOWD has produced more than 3,400 graduates. After this ceremony today, that number will exceed 3,700. That is a significant achievement for an institution which started with an enrolment of only eight students!
"UOWDs student-centred approach to learning ensures that our graduates go out into the world armed with much more than technical knowledge. They also have skills in analysis, problem-solving and communication. This sets them apart from their counterparts at other institutions, and explains why so many of our graduates are widely acknowledged by business and industry as UAEs Employees of Choice, securing senior, responsible and exciting positions in a range of prestigious organizations around the world.
Delivering the citation for His Excellency, Sheikh Nahayans award, Professor Whelan said: "Universities have a long history of awarding honorary doctoral degrees to recognise outstanding contributions to a specific field and to society in general. It was in the 1470s that the first honorary degree was awarded by Oxford University.
"For the University of Wollongong in Dubai, over 500 years later, this is a momentous occasion, because today we bestow our first honorary doctorate. It is a matter of great pride that this award is to His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan, especially as he himself studied at Magdalen College, Oxford.
The citation hailed H.E. Sheikh Nahayans contribution to Education since 1990, both as Minister for Higher Education and as Minister for Education from 2004-2006. It described him as "a compassionate man, supporting many charitable institutions, especially those dedicated to special needs. A gifted falconer, horseman, helicopter pilot and patron of cricket, he is also well-known for his hospitality and ability to relate well to people in all walks of life.
"This award is to a visionary leader who has made, and continues to make, an outstanding contribution to the development of higher education and research in the UAE, to a great many areas of this society added Prof Whelan. "He has also been, and continues to be, a strong supporter of UOWD.
In accepting his award, His Excellency, Sheikh Nahayan said, "UOWD was one of the first international universities to come to the UAE. It has now become one of the largest and most culturally diverse. Your accomplishments over these fifteen years are remarkable and your graduates have contributed significantly to the growth and development of the UAE.
I congratulate you on these achievements, and thank you for honoring me with this degree from the University of Wollongong in Dubai.
In his Occasional Address, Sheikh Nahayan listed "Economic Sustainability & Growth, Health, Environmental Sustainability, Education and World Peace & Prosperity as "critical issues that face communities around the worldâ€¦.As new University graduates, it is your generation that must take up the banner of peace and preservation of human dignity and protection of our global environment. He went on to say "No individual, no institution, no country can successfully work in isolation. We must all work together to create and preserve a world order that promotes peace, hope, understanding, stability, cooperation and prosperity.
"As you prepare to join the world of work, I urge you to be realistic but not conservative, ambitious but not limited by current practices, and creative without reservation. Probe deeply and challenge. Do not let your imagination be constrained by traditions or established assumptions. Your education at the University of Wollongong in Dubai has prepared you well to meet your personal and professional expectations and aspirations. I am confident of your success and that you will take these challenges and responsibilities seriously.
UOWD also honored His Excellency, Jamal Obaid Ghubash, a long serving member of the Universitys Board of Trustees and Sponsor by awarding him with a Fellow of the University.
Dr Khaldoon Walid Monir Nabhan, graduating from a Master of Strategic Marketing, his second degree at UOWD, proposed the Vote of Thanks on behalf of his fellow graduates.
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This is the second time in its 16-year history that UOWD is holding two graduation ceremonies in a year to accommodate the increasing number of graduates. UOWDs winter graduation ceremony will be held on 11th November 2009.
The graduation ceremony concluded with a reception hosted by the University of Wollongong in Dubai.
Awards to Top Students
Faculty of Business and Management
Bachelor of Business Administration
Haneen Niaz Khan
Bachelor of Commerce: Management
Master of Business Administration
Master of International Business
Avinash Chandu Jham
Master of Quality Management
Master of Science (Logistics)
Nehal Khalil Al Sayegh
Master of Strategic Human Resource Management
Poornima Rai Jarkala
Master of Strategic Marketing
Khaldoon Walid Monir Nabhan
Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering
Bachelor of Computer Science
Anoop Kumar Rachamadugu
Faculty of Finance and Accounting
Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting
Sonia Ajit Manek
Master of Applied Finance and Banking
Murtuza Hatim Sutarwala
Top Graduating UAE National Student across all Faculties
Hassan Ghazi Hattab
Welcome Address made by the Chancellor, UOWD
Doctor of Letters citation read by the President, UOWD
Occasional Address made by His Excellency, Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan
Vote of Thanks