More than 180 students representing some 50 countries met with European Union Ambassador to the UAE Mihai Stuparu, as well as with diplomats of the EU member states, during the first Europe Day celebration in the UAE.
The event, initiated by NYU Abu Dhabi freshman Toma Pavlov, was co-organized by Higher Colleges of Technology, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, and NYUAD. Pavlov, who is also the chairman of NYUAD's European student group, created the Europe Day event to bring diplomats and students from all nationalities together to facilitate dialogue. The Bulgarian student said, "This is the first-of-its-kind partnership between the three educational institutions, diplomats, and local government officials."
His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, graced the event and spoke of the UAE becoming a global crossroads, adding that "diversity defines our population, and the students at NYU Abu Dhabi are a microcosm of that diversity."
Students spoke with some 20 diplomats through informal roundtable discussions — each headed by a particular EU diplomat or UAE government official. In addition to discussing EU-UAE relations and challenges that the EU faces today, NYUAD freshman Zbyněk Stara, who sat with Czech ambassador Jaroslav Ludva, gained insight into Ludva's background. "It was very nice to hear about his experience from all around the world and also to learn about the role of the Czech Republic in the UAE," Stara said.
Fellow NYUAD freshman Oliver Heyn also made a new Emirati friend during the evening. "Mohamed taught me more about this country's culture in one night than I had learned in the eight months I have been here," he said. "I am truly lucky to have participated in such an important event."
Sheikh Nahyan hails UAE-EU relations on Europe Day (The National)
Photos courtesy of Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi