New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) welcomes 19 high-achieving undergraduate students into its sixth class of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program (SMSP) for the 2013-14 academic year. Each year, the prestigious program offers carefully selected Scholars from the UAE's federal universities — UAE University, Higher Colleges of Technology, and Zayed University — an intensive enrichment program that includes critical thinking, writing, public speaking, leadership, and selected academic courses presented by world-renowned experts. In addition to course work, Scholars gain cross-cultural experiences during a 10-day trip to New York and Washington, DC, during which they visit major historical and cultural attractions, meet international leaders, and visit important government locations such as the Supreme Court, Congress, and the White House. Past graduates of the eight-month program have gone on to make strides in academia, business, and many other fields.
"The Scholars who have graduated from this program continue to demonstrate their ambition, confidence, and ability," said Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, co-chair of the program's steering committee. "The achievements of SMSP alumni — many of whom are pursuing master's degrees, participating in artistic and creative endeavors, and pursuing professional careers — illustrate the value of this program."
"As the Scholars program has developed over the years, we have introduced a wide range of professional development activities for alumni, with the aim to support them as they advance in their academic and professional careers," said Diane Yu, executive director of SMSP and deputy president of NYU. "Through workshops and panels on completing graduate school applications, resume counseling, and professional networking activities, we have been able to provide our alumni with the tools and confidence to pursue opportunities through which they can continue to grow both professionally and personally."
Open to students currently in their third and fourth years of their bachelor's study at the UAE's three federal universities, Scholars undergo a competitive selection process and are chosen on the basis of demonstrated intellectual curiosity, creativity, intelligence, leadership capability, self-awareness, and enterprise. Selected Scholars participate in the SMSP concurrently with their federal university studies.
The program 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.
Huda Al Abri, an SMSP alumna from the 2010-11 class, said: "Beyond critical thinking, the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program established how important it is to never stop learning, and that I should always believe in myself and my abilities." Al Abri is currently pursuing a Master of Tourism and Cultural Communication degree, and has also participated as a UAE representative at international events, including the US Middle East Partnership Initiative Student Leaders Program.
This program is one of two significant community programs operated by NYU Abu Dhabi. The other is the NYUAD Summer Academy for recipients of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholarships for Outstanding High School Students, which is open to Abu Dhabi-based high school students entering their 11th year.
The 2013-14 Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars are:
- Abdalla Saeed Juma Musabeh Alsuwaidi (ZU)
- Doaa Mostafa Kazweni (UAEU)
- Fatema Mohammed Ebrahim Hasan Haider (ZU)
- Fatima Hasan Yousef Mohamed Alhammadi (ZU)
- Hamda Ali Ghanim Abdulla Alfalasi (HCT)
- Hamdah Khalifa Sultan Obaid Alsuwaidi (ZU)
- Ibrahim Dedeche (UAEU)
- Ibrahim Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Alhashidi (ZU)
- Jawaher Abdulla Mohammed Ali Alhebsi (UAEU)
- Mahra Hussain Mohammed Meftah Alshamsi (HCT)
- Maitha Hamad Zayed Sulaiman Al Eisaei (UAEU)
- Mohammad Humaid Saeed Khalaf Alghaith (HCT)
- Mohammad Suhail Aqil Mohd A Albanna (ZU)
- Razan Abd Elmagid Ibrahim Elzubair (ZU)
- Shamma Rashed Ibrahim Aldowais Alshamsi (ZU)
- Sharmina Haque Nayeema (ZU)
- Shatha Ghandi Muhsineh (ZU)
- Siraj Ahmed Nasrllah Khan (UAEU)
- Tasneem Ali Khalfan Alrawi Alnaqbi (UAEU)