Established in 2008, the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program celebrated ten years of prestigious academic achievement at an event held Saturday, February 17 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Abu Dhabi – the site of the program’s first classes upon its launch in 2008.
The anniversary event was attended by distinguished UAE dignitaries including His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, co-chair of the Scholars Program Steering Committee; Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, President of Zayed University; and His Excellency Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, UAE Minister of State.
The Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program was the first academic offering by NYU Abu Dhabi, preceding the welcoming of the University’s inaugural class in 2010. Since its establishment, the program has provided a rigorous cross-cultural and leadership-developing experience to 185 alumni and 23 current scholars.
The program offers a comprehensive educational experience to outstanding and gifted university students in their third or fourth years of college study in the UAE, accepting up to 24 scholars each academic year from the three federal universities in the UAE: Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates University, and Zayed University.
Courses offered through the program include challenging subjects designed to enrich the perspectives of participating students, such as the US Supreme Court’s treatment of the relationship between church and state, US foreign policy, and political power in modern America. The initiative also offers extensive opportunities for scholars to strengthen their skills in critical thinking and public speaking, as well as to travel to New York City and Washington D.C. to meet with distinguished leaders in the United States.
“The 10th anniversary of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program marks an important milestone in the unfolding history of this unique cross-cultural educational and leadership Program for UAE-based students,” said Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“I would like to congratulate New York University Abu Dhabi, the Department of Education and Knowledge, and the staff and faculty of the Program on this impressive achievement. Most importantly, I want to honor our talented Scholars, past and present, who have brought life to this ambitious Program from the very beginning, and contributed immeasurably to its lasting success.”
Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi Al Bloom delivered introductory remarks to alumni at the event, underscoring the significant achievements of the initiative:
“It is a historic privilege for me to be able to participate in the tenth anniversary of this remarkable Program, having seen over the past decade its beautifully and powerfully delivered commitment to rigorous academic work, to precise analysis, to embracing complexity, to deepening societal and international consciousness, and to nurturing leadership so consistently achieved.”
A Youth Circle, also convened as part of the celebration, invited alumni to partake in debates on how alumni from the initiative can support the long-term strategic goals of the UAE, welcoming the participation of His Excellency Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, who gave closing remarks on the discussion.
The gala celebration also featured speeches from alumni of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program, remarking on the impact the program has had on their lives, both personally and professionally. Formal dinner remarks were provided by Diane C. Yu, Executive Director of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program and the NYUAD Summer Academy; John Sexton, President Emeritus of NYU; and Rima Al Mokarrab, Executive Director of Strategic Affairs at the Executive Affairs Authority.