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UOWD reiterates its commitment to boosting UAE-Australia relations

Wednesday, 15 December, 2010

President Rob Whelan tells newly-formed Australia Gulf Council that the university can play key role in cementing bilateral relations

Prof. Rob Whelan, President of University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), has said the university has played, and will continue to play, 'a key role in stimulating and cementing strong Australia-UAE relationships.'

Delivering a keynote speech at the Dubai Summit of the newly established Australia Gulf Council (AGC), Prof. Whelan lauded the booming ties between the UAE and Australia and pledged the university's full support to the initiative.

Prof Rob Whelan said higher education had a role in fostering business connections, and reinforced the words of the Honorable Bob Hawke, the visiting former Australian Prime Minister, who remarked that 'education is at the very heart of building cross-cultural understanding and paving the way for enduring relationships and networks.'

The Dubai Summit of Australia Gulf Council was also addressed by Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade. The AGC Business Mission 2010 included the Honourable Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia and the Honourable Peter Costello, former Treasurer of Australia.

The event was also addressed by Raja Al Gurg representing Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Francis Matthew, Editor-at-large, Gulf News.

Prof. Rob Whelan recalled that, as the first foreign university to establish a campus in the UAE 17 years ago, UOWD has been instrumental in encouraging closer interaction between the two countries through its academic programs. Today, UOWD graduates hold many senior and influential positions in Federal and local government organisations as well as the private sector.

Prof. Rob Whelan explained how the University was constantly finding avenues to promote UAE-Australia ties.

"Students from the University of Wollongong in Australia can do part, or even all, of their degree here at UOWD it is an equivalent program and Australian citizens can study here under the Australian university fee arrangements.

"Students at UOWD here in the UAE can start their degree program at UOWD and then study for a semester, a year, or the whole rest of their degree in Australia and receive a UOW degree.

"In addition, we have recently designed some specific paired courses for selected clients. For example, we ran a Master of Forensic Accounting for the Dubai Governments Department of Financial Audit. Employees of this Department were joined by staff of the Dubai Police and Dubai Courts in the Masters program which started here in Dubai and was completed in Wollongong, Australia.

The Australia Gulf Council is head-quartered in Sydney, with offices in Jeddah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Manama and Kuwait City. AGC's overall objective is to promote increased trade, commerce and investment between Australia and the GCC by harnessing the support of the top companies involved in this dynamic and evolving relationship.

Address by Professor Rob Whelan at the Australian Gulf Council

Prof Rob Whelan, UOWD President welcomes Mr Peter Costello and members of the AGC to the Dubai Summit.

The Hon Peter Costello, former Treasures of Australia, addresses the Australian Gulf Council in Dubai.

The Hon Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia thanks H.E. Sheikha Lubna for her presentation.

The Hon Peter Costello, H.E. Sheikha Lubna, The Hon Bob Hawke, The Australian Ambassador to the U.A.E. and Qatar (H.E. Doug Trappett), Mr Laurie Voger Al Habtoor Leighton, Prof Rob Whelan UOWD President and Mr Alistair Walton, AGC President.