180 students representing 50 countries met with the Head of the European Union Delegation Ambassador Mihai Stefan Stuparu and the Ambassadors of European Union Member States in the UAE over round table discussions in celebration of Europe Day in Abu Dhabi.
Students from Higher Colleges of Technology, New York University Abu Dhabi, and Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi organized the event held on May 7 at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi campus. H.E Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development gave the welcoming address, which was followed by a speech by HE Dr. Mihai Stuparu, Head of the EU Delegation.
The organizers of the event were inspired to create an environment that would allow students to learn more about European culture and identity through interaction with community leaders and Diplomats from European Union Member States. Ambassadors from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, and Sweden were in attendance, in addition to senior diplomats representing Finland, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom, and a representative from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Each country representative led a round table discussion with students from the participating universities.
“The United Arab Emirates is an important partner of the EU, and considering the strong bilateral relations between both, the commemoration of Europe Day in the UAE comes as a significant event that we are really happy to be celebrating together,” said HE Dr. Stuparu.
Welcoming the guests, Professor Eric Fouache, Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi Vice-Chancellor, underlined the university’s delight in hosting the event for the first time, given its significance for students. “The event is an excellent opportunity for interacting with diverse cultures to gain better understanding of the European Union and its unity under the principles of peace and equality,” he said, observing that upcoming years will see wider activities during the event.
“Education paves the way for a brighter future. It prepares young generations to share in global development and will always be the axis around which the prosperity of nations, the evolution of societies and the building of civilizations revolve,” said Prof. Fouache, highlighting the key role played by Sorbonne Abu Dhabi as a bridge between the European and Arab cultures and a beacon of education and culture across the Middle East.
Through engaging conversations over dinner, students gained a better understanding about the key values pertaining to identity, unity, and peace in Europe. They also had the opportunity to better understand EU-UAE relations from first-hand accounts.
The European Diplomats also had the chance to learn more about the students’ experiences in the UAE and enjoyed watching their musical performances.
Toma Pavlov, Chairperson of NYUAD’s European Society, said: “As we now realize how valuable this partnership between HCT, NYUAD, and PSUAD has been, we hope to create a platform for future collaboration and continue to have intercultural events on a regular basis.”