As an Emirati, Ghaya Mohammed Alshamsi’s involvement in student groups represents the colorful cultural diversity and unique internationalism that is found in the UAE.
Since her first year at NYU Abu Dhabi, she has been working with various groups to interact with her peers. Alshamsi became a student cultural ambassador under NYUAD’s Sufara’a program, building connections between students from various communities and cultural backgrounds, and celebrating the different narratives of the UAE.
Alshamsi is also chair of the University’s domestic student advisory board, addressing issues domestic students face from transportation to access to learning support, for example. Some of these domestic students include non-Emirati students who were born and raised in the UAE. “Many of these students consider the UAE home,” Alshamsi said. To her, nurturing dialog around belonging and identity is a calling, and one she plans on pursuing after graduation.
As an undergraduate, Alshamsi also interned at the Office of Strategic Affairs in Abu Dhabi taking care of projects relating to technology, agri-tech, and food waste. It was through this opportunity that Alshamsi sees herself working in the government sector where she can serve all communities in the UAE by finding ways to further integrate the nearly 90 percent of non-Emirati residents in the country. Alshamsi believes it will further establish the UAE as an inclusive nation that celebrates and supports its diverse population. “The way we can flourish and learn more is by moving outside our comfort zone and culture,” Alshamsi explained.
Through a competitive youth ambassador program, Alshamsi was selected as one of the UAE youth ambassadors to Japan. Her commitment saw her taking weekly Japanese classes in preparation for her visit to Japan. The program aims to continue developing the two countries’ ongoing diplomatic relationship through interactions and exchanges with local students. It also allows students like Alshamsi the opportunity to do their post graduation studies in Japan. During her visit, Alshamsi visited top local universities and technological hubs, and networked.
Alshamsi, who is graduating with a degree in computer engineering and a minor in political science, would like to go into tech diplomacy in the future where her passion lies: emerging technology and its policies.