Press Release

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has announced the selection of the fifth class of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars for the 2012-13 academic year. Twenty-four students currently in their third and fourth years of their bachelor’s study at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Zayed University (ZU), and United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), have been selected to participate in a rigorous intellectual, cross-cultural, and leadership enrichment program from September 2012 to April 2013. The Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program (SMSP) was established in 2008 by NYUAD in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

This year’s class will join a distinguished group of 74 SMSP alumni, some of whom have gone on to pursue graduate degrees at international or UAE-based institutions, in addition to a number of others who have pursued professional careers at prestigious organizations, including Mubadala Development Company, The National, Abu Dhabi Tourism Development and Investment Company, and NYUAD. Two Scholars have also been nominated for Fulbright Scholarships.

Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, co-chair of the program's steering committee, said: “As we enter the fifth year of the program, it is gratifying to see our graduates developing into young leaders who are motivated to continuously succeed, and who are committed to their ongoing intellectual, creative, and personal growth.”

The program’s rigorous course of study includes:

  • Critical thinking, writing, and public speaking courses;
  • One of two political science classes: a course taught by NYU President John Sexton that examines the relationship between religion and government, or a two-part class covering the topics of US presidential politics and foreign policy taught by political strategist Robert Shrum and journalist James Traub;
  • A course of study in leadership, taught by SMSP Executive Director Diane Yu, in which Scholars examine theories of leadership and meet with thought leaders in politics, economics, the arts, and philanthropy.

In past years SMSP alumni and Scholars have met with the Right Honorable Gordon Brown, MP, Former Prime Minister of the UK and Distinguished Global Leader in Residence at NYU; Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy; US Ambassador to the UAE Michel Corbin; UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba; Chief Justice of the UAE Supreme Court Dr. Abdul Wahab Abdul; and UAE Presidential Advisor HE Zaki Nusseibeh, among others.

In addition to course work, Scholars gain cross-cultural experiences and international exposure during a 10-day trip to New York and Washington, DC. The trip provides an opportunity for Scholars to visit major historical and cultural attractions, meet international leaders, and visit important government locations such as the Supreme Court, Congress, and the White House.

The program also provides counseling for graduate school admissions to prepare Scholars for continued study at institutions of their choice, and supports scholarships for those admitted into NYU graduate and professional schools.

Diane C. Yu, executive director of the Scholars program and the chief of staff and deputy to NYU President Sexton, said: “This program has been designed to provide a platform for talented students from the UAE to engage academically and independently with the world around them, while empowering them with the tools and confidence to engage as future leaders in their field of choice.”

This year’s students underwent a competitive three-stage selection process, and were selected on the basis of demonstrated intellectual curiosity, creativity, intelligence, leadership capability, self-awareness, and enterprise.

This program is one of two significant community outreach programs operated by NYU Abu Dhabi. The other is the Summer Academy for recipients of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholarships for Outstanding High School Students; participants are Abu Dhabi high school students entering their 11th year, who hope to attend top-tier English-language universities.

The 2012-13 Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed University Scholars are:

  • Abdulrahman Medhat Salem Ahmed Alhebsi (ZU);
  • Ahlam Qasem Ahmed Mal Alla Alhammadi (ZU);
  • Ali Ahmed Abdul Mohsin Ahmed H Alsayegh (ZU);
  • Amal Yousef Saifalla Mohamed Alkhouri (ZU);
  • Amena Sakher Abdulla Ali Saif (ZU);
  • Asma Abdulla Humaid Dalmooch Alnuaimi (HCT);
  • Ayisha Hassan Mohamed A Khansaheb (ZU);
  • Aziza Gaouda (UAEU);
  • Hadjer Benkraouda (UAEU);
  • Hamad Mohamed Hassan Ali Al Ali (ZU);
  • Hazza Ali Ahmed Almatar Bani Malek (HCT);
  • Heba Abubaker Mohammed Ali Alhashmi (ZU);
  • Ibrahim Ahmad Ismail Ibrahim Shukralla (HCT);Jaffar Mahmoud (ZU);
  • Khalid Mohammed Rashid Abdulla Ali Al Noaimi (HCT);
  • Munira Mohamed Abdelhameed A. Alhammadi (HCT);
  • Nasra Arif Nasser Saleh Alrahma (UAEU);
  • Rushna Quddus (UAEU);
  • Saeed Mohd Amin Abdulla Mohd Alnazari (HCT);
  • Saif Ali Ahmad Awadh (UAEU);
  • Sarah Ebrahim Abdulla Beddah Alawadhi (HCT);
  • Shamma Eid Khamis Thani Almheiri (ZU);
  • Sheikh Salem Mohd Salem Sultan Alqassimi (HCT);
  • Youssef Babana El Alaoui (UAEU).