AUD hosted the Arab Knowledge Forum under the patronage and with the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, U.S. Ambassador to the UAE H.E. Barbara A. Leaf, U.S. Conul General Paul Malik, H.E. Abdullah Bin Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dr. Badr Aboul-Ela, Director of the Commission for Accreditation at the Ministry of Education, and AUD President Dr. Lance de Masi, among many distinguished guests and speakers.
The Arab Knowledge Forum was convened with the participation of the leading universities and key foundations within this annual initiative of the University Leadership Consortium under the theme Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Capacity-Building of the Youth in the UAE.
H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mabarak Al Nahayan conveyed his delight to inaugurate the Forum, mentioning that he could not imagine a group more qualified to discuss technology, creativity, and innovation as pillars of sustainable growth for Emirati youth. He said, “You will be dealing with issues that confront the entire Arab world. I maintain the conviction that until all Arab nations educate their young women and young men well, Arab countries will be marginalized and inadequate competitors in the global society and the global economy.”
The Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development continued, “We must provide an education that empowers our youth to embrace technology and its associated potential, while at the same time unleashing their creativity and innovative capacities. We must provide Arab youth with an education that cherishes their Arabic heritage, particularly the Arabic language, while at the same time enabling them to be critical and nimble thinkers.”
According to H.E., the United Arab Emirates has always moved in the right direction, as “our country is filled with wonderful examples of young Emiratis who are capitalizing on their technical competence, their creativity, and their innovation.”
Quoting His Highness, the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan that work is a true criterion of citizenship; and that our greatest achievement will be the development of the Emirati individual, H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mabarak confirmed that the leaders of the UAE support the national commitment to building and maintaining a knowledge economy and to achieving a much higher rate of employment for our young people, especially in the private sector.
He concluded with directives addressed to the attendees, “providing an effective education plays a vital role and is essential for the future of our young men and women and our nation. As our young people succeed in capitalizing on technology, creativity, and innovation, particularly in the cultural industries, they will reshape Emirati culture. And we will be stronger for their energy, vision, and commitment.”
H.E. Barbara A. Leaf, US Ambassador in the United Arab Emirates addressed the students, saying that “however overused a phrase, you are the future! In a country and in a city that incubates, accelerates, and fosters ideas, talent and enterprises designed to shape the future.” She urged the students not to wait to have reached a certain perch or position of authority in an organization to live up to their potential as leaders. “Your first opportunities to demonstrate leadership are in the classroom. You are all potential leaders, right here, right now!”
The event was opened by AUD Provost Dr. Jihad S. Nader, and Dr. Nada Mourtada, Secretary-General of the University Leadership Consortium who took to the stage to welcome the distinguished guests.
Proud to have hosted the Arab Knowledge Forum on campus, AUD Provost Dr. Jihad Nader commented that the thematic topic of the Forum was particularly germane to the goals of knowledge development set forth as key strategic objectives by the UAE leadership since the very inception of the Union.
He expressed his gratitude to H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahayan for his unwavering support of the joint efforts of both UAE knowledge entities and regional partners in providing the Emirati youth with the sustainable underpinnings of knowledge development, capacity-building, and continued empowerment with culture and the attribute of life-long learning.
A new cohort of Knights, including several AUD graduates, was recognized by H.E. Sheikh Nahayan for their contribution to the BUNYAN Capacity-Building Initiative for the Empowerment of the Youth.
The Forum brought together leading figures from industry, academic leadership, and relevant governmental agencies as well as cohorts of the brightest young graduates and students of the leading universities members of the University Leadership Consortium for a constructive dialogue to enhance the empowerment of the youth within the UAE.