Besides attending classes, NYU Abu Dhabi students devote hours each week to conducting student organization meetings, coordinating community service projects, and leading other initiatives to better the lives of their peers and members of the Abu Dhabi community. In late April, our students took a brief pause from their various endeavors to celebrate their leadership contributions at the first annual Al Khayr Student Leadership Awards Gala.
Sixteen awards were presented in 12 categories, including Fostering Dialogue, Sustainability, and Entrepreneurship. Nominations were accepted from NYUAD faculty and staff, as well as students who wished to recommend their peers. After reviewing some 110 nominations, the committee — comprising staff, students, and faculty — determined the finalists for each award, with the winners announced during the gala.
The idea for the awards and gala was based on my own experience at Ohio University, my alma mater. I remember the feeling of seeing my friends and other student leaders receiving leadership awards — as well as the feeling of winning one myself. As the University's residence director, I resolved to bring that feeling to NYUAD's students too. And with the support from the University, we now have the Al Khayr awards as a cherished annual tradition.
The Arabic term Al Khayr means "good," which each of the award finalists and winners has exhibited in their time at NYUAD. Winners took home award statuettes; miniature versions of Sama Tower to serve as a reminder of our beginnings before our big move to the Saadiyat Island campus.
Our heartiest congratulations to this year's Al Khayr Student Leadership Awards winners!
Fostering Dialogue: Alistair Blacklock, Class of 2014
Entrepreneurship: Mohamed Belarbi, Class of 2016
Spirit: Rend Beiruti, Class of 2017
Sportsmanship: Joseph Juma, Class of 2014
Sustainability: Ecoherence (All of the nominees)
UAE Cultural Ambassador: Maitha Al Mansoori, Class of 2016
The Unsung Hero: Dhia Fani, Class of 2017
Emerging Leader: James Carrington Gardner (Class of 2017), Emina Osmandžiković (Class of 2017), Guillaume Sylvain (Class of 2017)
Community Service: Kimi Rodriguez, Class of 2015
Outstanding Student Program: Woman’s Leadership Network
Inclusivity and Understanding: Tom Taylor, Class of 2014
Senior Leader: Leah Reynolds (Class of 2014), Mohammed Omar (Class of 2014), Darina Gancheva (Class of 2014)