Sharjah: One of the most prestigious academic entities in the UAE celebrated 20 years of its achievement on Wednesday.
The American University of Sharjah (AUS), recently named among the world’s top 60 institutions under 50 years old by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings for 2018 and was the only institution in the UAE to achieve a 4-star rating, marked two decades of its successful journey during a special ceremony.
A total of 20 pioneer members of its faculty and staff were honoured at the event for their 20 years of service.
“AUS is a vision of a remarkable man, a leader, teacher star and a true visionary, His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of AUS,” said AUS Chancellor Dr Björn Kjerfve.
“He was the one who mandated us and those who came before us to create an outstanding university based on merit that would be among the best in the region, and globally.”
With the construction work of AUS completed in only 11 months in 1997, the speed with which the founder of AUS, Shaikh Sultan, translated his vision and plans of a new kind of university into the reality has become a legend in the Gulf, said Kjerfve.
The commemorative event, attended by hundreds of students, alumni, and faculty members, was marked with special performances by students aimed to highlight the diversity of AUS’s student body, which hails from over 100 countries.
“Twenty years ago, AUS started its life as a university, the finest in the GCC. We are now a vibrant university community with 5,700 students, 367 full-time faculty, 510 staff and 13,224 graduates. AUS has succeeded in building a multicultural education environment that brings together people from diverse nations and backgrounds,” he said.
AUS’s alumni were equally proud of the milestones achieved by the university and expressed their gratitude to AUS for enabling them to realise their dreams.
An alumnus of AUS, Aisha Miran, who graduated from the first batch of AUS in 2001 and is now an assistant secretary-general of Executive Council of Dubai, told the audience that she owes her success to the university.
“I’d like to convey special thanks to my professors. AUS is indeed one of the finest universities in the UAE and over the last 20 years, it has been able to nurture many ministers, senior government officials, engineers, businessmen and entrepreneurs,” said Miran.
“I’m proud to be an alumnus of this university, which has equipped me with a great academic background and paved the way for my government career,” said Miran, whose daughter has also joined the university as first-year architect student.
Dr Susan Karamanian, AUS provost and chief academic officer, said it is not only academic rigour that has distinguished AUS, but also the quality of interpersonal interactions among students, faculty and staff.
“The learning experience goes beyond the classroom as a wide selection of extra-curricular activities fosters a rich and vibrant campus life,” she said.
A series of functions planned throughout the year will be recognising the significant accomplishments of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni, the university said.