A former student of Al Maktoum College of Higher Education in Dundee has urged young Emirati girls to seize the wealth of opportunities that are being created for them through scholarship programmes at the historic Scottish university.
Sarah Al Hashemi, Senior Manager, University Development and Alumni Relations at Abu Dhabi University, one of the many participating academies at the 2017 Summer School, believes the whole experience has enriched her life and fuelled her dreams.
“I would say to them, the world is your oyster. You have many opportunities, much more than your predecessors. The chances are all there for you to take,” she said.
“You have to seize them and make the most of them. You only get one chance. Grab it to create more opportunities for yourself and press on through whatever challengers and uncertainties may come your way.”
Al Hashemi, who said her dream was to become a minister in the UAE, described the current generation of Emirati students as the “hope for the future”. “Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance] has invested in youth, which is a key factor to continue the development of the country,” she said. “Having been here in the past, as a student and then as a chaperon, I can see the difference.
“Today’s students look more empowered and confident. They don’t fear change, society, different cultures. They are willing to go out and to speak out. They have benefitted from this Scottish experience and the exchange of cultures. They are now global, no longer just Emiratis.
“They can handle change and Shaikh Hamdan’s investment has given us the chance to grow, to be more outspoken, because it makes a huge difference in our personalities and our positioning, as women, in our country.” Al Hashemi also called on the students to be adaptable and to show “resolve and spirit” and to strive to be the best. “Our Rulers believe in us and have given us every opportunity to develop into the woman of the future,” she said.
“If you can do this, then the world is yours. And don’t ever stop dreaming, because one day, you will get what you have dreamt about.
“You have undergone a 360-degree change in your personalities and confidence and I believe that you are now more focused than you ever were. More strategic, more resilient, you will continue to be vibrant and positive as someone who is willing to change and to change the world.”