H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan delivered the keynote address at the eighth annual Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program (SMSP) graduation ceremony on Sunday. H.E Sheikh Nahyan congratulated the 24 students as exceptional students genuinely motivated by challenging educational and leadership opportunities.
H.E. Sheikh Nahyan commented on the wisdom and importance of developing and delivering the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Scholars Program in Abu Dhabi, a city that is “anchoring a new model of higher education,” and implored the graduates to use the leadership skills gained during the SMSP program to excel in their chosen fields of study or professional lives.
SMSP draws on high achieving students in their third and fourth years of study in the UAE’s three federal universities – United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Zayed University (ZU), and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) – and aims to further prepare them for success in graduate and professional study. The Program was established in 2008 by NYU Abu Dhabi in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC).
Commenting on this year’s Scholars, SMSP Executive Director Diane C. Yu said: "Each class of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars has been unique and wonderful, and the eighth batch, the Class of 2015/16, was every bit as remarkable and gifted as their predecessors. In particular, these 24 Scholars were noteworthy for their friendliness, their helpful and supportive attitudes, and their sense of delight at the new things they were learning all year. Their progress as critical thinkers, debaters, public speakers, and potential leaders has been nothing short of extraordinary, as noted by their professors – John Sexton, James Traub, Laurie Behringer, and me. We are proud of them for their achievements and wish them the best for what is certain to be a very bright future.”
The Scholars in the Class of 2016 completed classes on religion and government and U.S. foreign policy. In addition, all Scholars were trained in leadership development, public speaking and public presentations, and critical thinking and writing. During the year, the program travelled to the U.S. to visit government sites in Washington, D.C., and held classes at the Washington Square campus in New York while also touring cultural attractions in the cities.
About the graduation ceremony, Yu commented, “Our graduation ceremony this year was especially noteworthy with His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan’s poignant and inspiring address congratulating the Scholars on their selection to and successful completion of the prestigious program."
Previous SMSP graduates have gone on to significant accomplishments, including being accepted to the UAE mission in the United Nations; introducing H.E. Fahad Al Raqbani, director general, Abu Dhabi Council of Economic Development, at the NYU Leadership Conference for the NYU Board of Trustees; being appointed as a member of the UAE Youth Council; and graduating from the Emirates Diplomatic Academy.
More information about The Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program can be found here.