Sharjah, UAE. August 28, 2023 –Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), applauds the exceptional achievements of AUS Emirati female alumni, students and staff on UAE Emirati Women’s Day 2023. With the theme “We Collaborate for Tomorrow,” this occasion mirrors AUS’ dedication to fostering innovation and empowerment at its core.
Sheikha Bodour expressed her pride in Emirati women, saying: “It is a day when we honor the incredible achievements and contributions of Emirati women to our society. Emirati women have broken through glass ceilings and demonstrated their prowess in every field imaginable. They have excelled nationally and globally, inspiring many new generations of women in our region. Education has been the cornerstone of this remarkable journey. Education has given Emirati women the courage to dream big and the tools to turn those dreams into reality… Every Emirati woman plays a vital role in shaping the UAE’s trajectory.”
Dr. Susan Mumm, Chancellor of AUS, shared her perspective on the event: “Emirati Women’s Day is an occasion of great importance for the AUS community and the UAE as a whole. This day serves as a tribute to the achievements and contributions of Emirati women across various fields. At AUS, we are immensely proud of our Emirati female alumni, students and staff, who have consistently demonstrated their dedication, leadership and commitment to shaping a brighter future for our society. We stand united in our efforts to empower women and promote collaboration, as we believe that their success is integral to the progress of our nation.”
Spotlighting exceptional Emirati female alumni, AUS embraces visionary leaders across diverse fields. Among them, Dr. Wafa Khalfan stands out, symbolizing impactful collaboration and progress. Holding a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (2008) from AUS, and serving as an Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at University of Sharjah, Dr. Khalfan’s journey mirrors the transformative power of education and the evolving role of Emirati women.
“Emirati Women’s Day offers an opportunity to reflect on my mother’s legacy as an educator. The significance of education for women’s empowerment was evident as she passionately taught the Arabic language and literature,” she said.
Addressing evolving roles, Dr. Khalfan noted: “Education remains the cornerstone for Emirati women’s success, irrespective of their chosen paths. A decade ago, postgraduate classrooms showcased a different landscape.Today, Emirati women form the majority, embodying the UAE’s education-driven empowerment.”
Encouraging young Emirati women, Dr. Khalfan advises: “Never give up on education. Embrace lifelong learning, both online and offline, irrespective of traditional educational avenues.”
Notably, Dr. Khalfan’s achievements include obtaining a PhD from the University of Glasgow and spearheading initiatives like the international TEDxSharjah event. She also chairs the Emerging Scholars Network at the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), in addition to serving on the AUS Alumni Association council.
Aisha Deemas, the Director-General of the Sharjah Museums Authority, represents the embodiment of Emirati women’s achievements. With a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (2005) and a Master of Business Administration (2017) from AUS, Deemas’ journey exemplifies the transformative power of education in shaping leaders who drive positive change.
Sharing her thoughts on Emirati Women’s Day, she stated: “Emirati Women’s Day symbolizes the remarkable achievements of women in the UAE, reflecting our nation’s commitment to strength, resilience and intelligence.”
Deemas highlighted her own achievements, stating: “My journey is characterized by a commitment to knowledge sharing and cultural enrichment. Having worked in the cultural field for more than 15 years now in Sharjah, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the cultural landscape of the emirate.”
She further elaborated: “My AUS experience expanded my perspective on women’s multifaceted roles. It aligns seamlessly with the broader vision of equality, innovation and collaboration. Emirati Women’s Day celebrates our determination, creativity and leadership, with each achievement being a stepping stone toward greater excellence.”
Encouraging young Emirati women, Deemas advised: “Believe in yourselves, work hard, learn from mistakes and engage with your community. Approach your journey with an open heart, resilient mind and compassionate spirit.”
Another exemplar, Fatima Al Shuweihi, Head of Cultural Guidance at Heart of Sharjah – Sharjah Investment and Development Authority “Shurooq,” embodies AUS’ impact. Holding a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (2008) and an Executive Master of Business Administration (2016), Al Shuweihi’s journey reflects the bridge AUS forms between education and careers.
“Emirati Women’s Day holds the significance of appreciating and empowering Emirati women, supporting their contributions to family, society and the nation’s success. Their leadership roles across sectors are driven by capabilities and knowledge, with AUS playing a pivotal role in bridging education and careers. Initiatives like the Student Council offered on-campus jobs and labor market skills, further supported by the AUS Alumni Association’s post-graduation assistance in enhancing leadership skills.”
She highlighted Emirati women’s pioneering roles, including the first woman to preside over an Arab parliament. Notably, Emirati women’s representation on the Board of Books for Young People is a significant milestone. She advised aspiring Emirati women to transform theory into practical facts, as applying knowledge practically leads to success not just in courses but in life.
She also noted her accomplishment: “After graduating with an Executive MBA from AUS, I established the Cultural Guidance Department to offer authentic experiences to visitors of the Emirate of Sharjah. As the first official Emirati Tour Guide, I trained Emirati women in the department to lead and share our history, culture and lifestyle with visitors.”
AUS has demonstrated its prowess in nurturing outstanding students who shine not only within the borders of the classroom but also in roles that extend beyond. The student Maryam Al Ansari stands as a testament to this achievement.
Al Ansari, majoring in integrated marketing communications and minoring in business administration, currently represents Emirati affairs and culture in the AUS Student Council. Emirati Women’s Day signifies UAE’s appreciation for women’s authenticity, motivating Emirati women to excel continuously. Al Ansari’s own journey reflects this dedication. On the significance of Emirati Women’s Day, she emphasized: “It highlights how much the UAE values women for being authentic. It reminds us to push ourselves to excel, bringing pride to ourselves and the nation.”
Beyond academics, Al Ansari’s journey includes excelling in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a male-dominated martial art. This personal achievement not only demonstrated her strength but also pushed her to thrive further.
She advised: “Embrace your voice; each day of learning contributes to personal growth and resilience. Dream big; education empowers self-discovery and UAE’s progress.”
The accomplishments of AUS Emirati female alumni, students and staff serve as evidence of their dedication and achievements in diverse fields. These successful women showcase the university’s dedication to innovation, reflecting the UAE’s vision for a prosperous future.
American University of Sharjah (AUS) was founded in 1997 by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah. Sheikh Sultan articulated his vision of a distinctive institution against the backdrop of Islamic history and in the context of the aspirations and needs of contemporary society in the UAE and the Gulf region.
Firmly grounded in principles of meritocracy and with a strong reputation for academic excellence, AUS has come to represent the very best in teaching and research, accredited internationally and recognized by employers the world over for creating graduates equipped with the knowledge, skills and drive to lead in the 21st century.
AUS values learners not driven only by academic success, but by those that embrace our dynamic campus life and embody our ideals of openness, tolerance and respect. This combination of academic excellence and community spirit ensures AUS is filled with world-class faculty and students, poised to become the innovators, thinkers, contributors and leaders of tomorrow.