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in the Arab World
Ranked in theTop 50
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Students have access to a broad range of degrees programs across 9 colleges taught by highly accomplished faculty. Many of our degree programs are unique to UAEU, and many of them are offered in unique combinations. University College is committed to assisting new students to achieve a successful transition from high school to university life.
UAEU's research focus is aimed at developing innovative and sustainable solutions to many of the challenges facing the UAE, the region and the wider world today.
The UAE has prioritized seven key areas of strategic national importance ... Learn MoreView all research articles
16 January 2021
UAEU offers you the opportunity to build your career with bachelors in engineering. UAEU covers different engineering disciplines which includes Structural Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Construction Management, etc. The careers open to engineering graduates are broad and diverse. Apply Now!
06 January 2021
United Arab University (UAEU) is one of the top universities in the levant region offering both bachelor and master's of science programs. Apply with us for the bachelor of science course.
“Since day one I have been warmly and openly welcomed. I have worked with a top class professor and made wonderful friends during the process. It’s a period of time that I can honestly say has changed my life for the better and opened doors to the future as I continue growing as a researcher.”
Master’s Degree in Food Science,
“Getting accepted to the UAEU has been a true blessing for me. UAEU is the best university in the country and keeps developing in terms of technology, student services and the quality of tuition. I have made many new friends and had many new experiences, all of which has made me realize that UAEU is not just about studying, but it is also a place to prepare for life outside of university."
4th Year English Literature Student,
“Combining beautiful gardens, modern architecture, state-of-the-art learning and research
facilities and an array of extra-curricular activities, UAEU is an inspirational place
to live, work, study and have some fun."
College of Humanities & Social Sciences,
“As part of an agreement between the UAEU and the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, I worked on a research project dealing with the design of FaultTolerant Control Laws for combat aircraft. Besides the academic aspect, working and living in the UAE has been an enriching experience. I discovered a new culture, a new language and met many people from many different countries.”
Post Doctorate in Electrical Engineering,
"Any expert was once a beginner. UAEU graduates experts".
Reem Hesham Mamdouh Hassanin El Sayed,
College of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Major in Public Relations – Minor in Translation Studies
“UAEU prepared me for the work environment, developed my skills and improved my self-confidence.
So thanks to UAEU.”
Mutraf Mohammed M. Al Qahtani,
College of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Major in Mass Communications – Minor Public Relations
Dr. Gurdal Ertek
Associate Professor of Management Department of Analytics in the Digital Era
Dr. Gürdal Ertek received his B.S. from Industrial Engineering Department of Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 1994, and his Ph.D. from School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, in 2001. His research areas include business analytics, data science, artificial intelligence, block chain, supply chain management, and project management.
Before joining UAEU in August 2019, Dr. Ertek served for 13 years at Sabancı University, Istanbul, Turkey, and other academic and research institutions in Singapore, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates (UAE). He has taught 2,000+ students in lecture-styled courses and has supervised/mentored in person 700+ students in project courses or course projects. He has also served as a reviewer for more than 50+ R&D projects submitted to TÜBİTAK (Turkish National Science Foundation) and other research organization.
In September 2020, UAE University received full accreditation for the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Statistics and Data Analytics (STAT), where Dr. Gurdal Ertek was a contributor. This program is the first of its kind in the UAE and the Gulf region, combining traditional and modern methods of mathematics, statistics, and data analytics. The program is positioned to grow highly competent data professionals within the UAE.
Dr. Ertek is recipient of many awards, including Service and Colleagiality Award at Abu Dhabi University and Project Manager Educator Award at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry from Alleeem Business Congress.
In November 2020, Dr. Gurdal Ertek has received Bronze Medal from Ethereum Foundation, Switzerland in the “Medalla Data Challenge”. Dr. Ertek and a NY-based researcher colleague joined the blockchain data science challenge with three technical articles. The articles analyze the data schema of and data propagation delays in Ethereum 2.0. From across the world, 12 teams were recognized for their work with awards. Dr. Ertek was one of the few researchers participating from outside of USA/Europe/China and the only researcher from academia.
Dr. Ertek is an amateur musician, with his music published as an online album, and an amateur ebru (marbling) artist.
Dr. Maria J. Fernandez-Cabezudo
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry
Dr. Maria J. Fernandez-Cabezudo was born in Madrid (Spain) where she graduated in Biological Sciences and obtained her PhD in Cell Biology-Immunology at the Complutense University. To continue her education, she moved to the USA to pursue her post-doctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine. At Yale University, she worked in the lab of the prominent immunologist Prof. Charles Janeway Jr, a leading scientist in the field. It was at Yale University where she also met Basel Al-Ramadi, another postdoctoral fellow in the lab, who became her husband and with whom she moved to UAE and began her long professional and personal career. After her son, Khalil, was born, she dedicated to him the most joyful and rewarding seven years of her life. She formally resumed her professional career in 2001 when she joined the Department of Biochemistry at the College of Medicine & Health Sciences (CMHS), United Arab Emirates University (UAEU).
Maria is actively involved in teaching, supervising research projects and coordinating courses for medical and postgraduate students. Her research interests are focused on different aspects of the immune system, particularly on the relationship between the nervous and immune systems. A key focus of Maria’s laboratory is to understand the underlying mechanisms by which neurotransmitters can regulate the inflammatory response in infectious and autoimmune disease models and the potential of neuro-immune modulation in cancer immunotherapy. These research projects are supported by grants from the CMHS and UAEU. The findings from Dr Maria’s laboratory are published in high impact scientific journals and regularly presented in international medical science conferences.
She enjoys being around family and friends back home. In her spare time she loves to swim, read, listen to music and travel around the world with her husband and son.
Dr. Marina-Selini Katsaiti
Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Finance
Dr. Marina-Selini Katsaiti, who is from Greece, studied at the University of Athens (Greece), Durham University (UK) and the University of Connecticut (USA). She is a Fulbright scholar and has pursued her studies while working full time and with the support of several state scholarships in Greece and abroad. She has worked and taught in Greece, US, Germany and the UAE. She has been in the UAE working for UAEU for nine wonderful and very productive years.
Her research interests lie in the areas of economic growth, corruption, health and happiness. She doesn’t say no to new, interesting research topics while she really enjoys new collaborations. She has published a number of research papers in renowned academic journals, has presented her work in numerous international conferences and has taught university students at the undergrad, master and doctorate levels. Her greatest achievement is the recognition she constantly receives from her students.
She has a wonderful seven year old daughter who laughs a lot and plays the drums. In her free time she reads books, does yoga, see her friends and go to the beach while listening to music.
She aims to be a good person, always does her best and lives by example.
Dr. Adriaan De Man
Associate Professor - Chair of the Department of History and Archaeology
Adriaan De Man was born in the Flemish region of Belgium, and grew up in Portugal. He is a proud former student of Coimbra university, an institution with medieval roots and rich traditions, where he started developing a passion for archaeology that would ultimately lead him to Al Ain. He currently is Associate Professor and serves as Chair of the Department of History and Archaeology. He directed twenty-one archaeological excavations, mainly at Roman and early Islamic sites, and published almost one hundred texts, including five books. From time to time, he also explores other periods; he is now dealing with Bronze Age materials from recent fieldwork, and on the other hand with the Portuguese presence in the Arabian Gulf.
Over the years, different paths led him to Art History, Museum Studies and Cultural Tourism, in the private sector as well as in academia. Part of his academic career has been centered on research evaluation and quality assessment for governments and funding agencies in Europe and North America. Together with the regular attendance of scientific conferences, these evaluations are crucial for keeping up with the latest developments in Higher Education, whilst at the same time giving back to the research community. Adriaan lives a happy life in Al Ain with his wife and his almost three years old daughter. Most of his free time is spent with them. He very recently joined the local rugby club, in a reminiscence of his early student days, when he played for Académica de Coimbra. He is also a UAE Automobile and Touring Club marshal, and is writing these lines during an interval of the 2018 Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, at which he is deployed to the pit lane.
Dr. Hamad Al Jassmi
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
With his passion on Computer Science and Technology, and background on Civil Engineering, Dr. Hamad Al Jassmi is sighting new horizons on the delivery of sustainable and lean construction projects.
Dr. Al Jassmi believes it is time for the construction industry to go digital. Designing a large-scale 3D printer that prints an insulated concrete paste for building structures, using IoT and Machine Learning to remotely control labor productivity at manufacturing and construction sites, digitalizing construction job site safety management using Building Information Models (BIM) and Virtual Reality (VR), and developing a construction claims management system using Artificial Intelligence; are examples of current research projects he is currently engaged in.
Dr. Al Jassmi published 15 peer-reviewed articles, several which appeared in top ranked international journals in the field of Construction Engineering & Management. Throughout his academic journey with UAEU since 2014, Dr. Al Jassmi developed numerous curricula for various civil engineering courses, and developed an interactive e-book that explains the fundamentals of Structural Engineering.
Dr. Al Jassmi is currently the Assistant Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Engineering. He is chairing numerous key committees related to innovation, research, graduate studies, and is leading the university’s industry 4.0 MiniFactory educational project. He is also a member of the Manufacturing Council that draws the strategic plan of the National Advanced Sciences Agenda 2031, and is a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Innovation Award sponsored by HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Dr. Al Jassmi obtained his PhD in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of New South Wales in Australia, ranked 45th worldwide by QS. Before his PhD studies, Dr. Al Jassmi obtained his Bachelors (Hons) and Masters degrees from the United Kingdom at the University of Greenwich, and the University of Cardiff.
Away from academia, he enjoys reading Arabic literature and writes poetry in both classical and local Arabic.
Prof. Sulaiman Al-Zuhair
Professor, Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
Prof. Sulaiman hasbeen working on the development of liquid biofuels since 2004.
He explains, “It all started after completing my PhD, in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Malaya, in 2003. My PhD thesis was on the kinetics of enzymatic hydrolysis of vegetable oils. The enzyme used for oil hydrolysis is the very one used for oil transesterification in biodiesel production. Therefore, it was just a matter of time before I was drawn into the biodiesel research. Working with enzymes has also introduced me to bioethanol (another liquid biofuel) production from lignocellulosic biomass.”
He began studying the kinetics of enzymatic reaction of straight vegetable oils, and his first publication in this field was back in 2006, just before joining UAEU. Since then, his research has focused on using waste biomass, such as waste cooking oils and animal fats for biodiesel production, and lignocelluloses for bioethanol production.
In 2010, he started working with microalgae, which have proved to be good source of oils with several favorable features. Above all, these microorganisms are capable of growing in saline water, which reduces the freshwater loading, and their cultivation does not require agricultural land development. Prof. Sulaiman and his team developed an enzymatic pretreatment process for effective oils extraction from wet microalgae biomass, without the need for drying. The team also studied the oil extraction and reaction using supercritical CO2. The team was able to enhance the oils content in microalgae by several folds by media manipulation, and developed a technique for simultaneous extraction-reaction system from wet biomass.
Concurrently with biodiesel production, the team used microalgae for CO2 removal from flue gas, and for industrial wastewater treatment. They also developed a novel process of using microalgae to regenerate amine solutions saturated with CO2 that comes out from a conventional gas sweetening absorption unit.
As a result of his obsession with enhancing oil content in the microalgae, he came to realize that the proteins, which have been suppressed in favor of enhancing the oils, could be more valuable than the oils which led him to start work on protein extraction and testing for antioxidant and antitumor activities.
Beside biofuels, he works on other fields of research, but biofuels is what he is passionate about. He has published 75 journal papers to date, and authored a book and three book chapter on biofuels. He was also granted a US Patent on using supercritical CO2 in biodiesel production.
Away from academia, he is an avid football fan while his other hobbies include swimming and playing squash.
Prof. Hassib Narchi
Chair of the department of Paediatrics
Dr. Narchi has extensive clinical and research experience in many countries and institutions, and his research interests include all fields of pediatrics extending from the perinatal period to the neonatal period and continuing throughout childhood until adolescence, reflecting his extensive training in all aspects of child health.
Dr. Narchi research projects aim to answer clinical questions about the diagnosis and treatment of his patients, which have not been answered in the medical literature at the time. Many of his publications are now cited in medical journals and pediatric curricula, and have been adopted as guidelines for clinical management in pediatric practice.
Dr. Synan AbuQamar
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
To make a positive impact on someone's life; values, dedication, opinion and productivity are the key! With these words, Dr. Synan AbuQamar climbed the academic ladder to become an Associate Professor at the Department of Biology in the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) since 2014. Dr. AbuQamar completed his Ph.D. from Department of Botany & Plant Pathology/Purdue University in 2007. Following his Ph.D., Synan pursued as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Tesfaye Mengiste at Purdue University. In 2008, he joined the Department of Biology at UAEU as an Assistant Professor.
Since then at UAEU, Synan has established a Plant Molecular Genetics/Plant Biotechnology laboratory at the Department of Biology. His current research area is Molecular Genetics of Plant Immunity. His research focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular factors that control plant defense mechanisms against necrotrophic pathogens – pathogens that kill host tissues/cells to complete their life cycle- using “model” and “crop” host plants. As a translational scientist, Dr. AbuQamar has been able to take forward his basic research using genomics, transcriptomics and gene functional approaches to agricultural and field applications, and back to the lab to know more about basic science. The ultimate goal is to substantially reduce the devastating impact of diseases on plants.
In the UAE, as in other countries in the world, plants fight to survive harsh environmental stresses, including plant pathogens. Synan is striving to improve plant resistance to pathogens/diseases. Traditional horticultural and chemical practices have proven their limitations, or even negative impacts on the environment and human health. Therefore, genetic engineering and biological control can limit the increases of pathogen populations, and often suppress the plant tissue destroying activities of pathogens. In his lab, Synan has extensively been concerned about the plant-microbe interaction, including Arabidopsis thaliana-Botrytis cinerea, date palm-Thielaviopsis punctulata and mango-Lasiodiplodia theobromae pathosystems. For example, B. cinerea is considered the second most important fungal pathogen worldwide that causes diseases in a wide range of crops. T. punctulata and L. theobromae causing black scorch disease (locally known as Medjnoon) on date palm and dieback disease on mango; respectively, negatively affect the agribusiness in the UAE.
Dr. AbuQamar’s lab has efficiently limit chemicals use on plants. So far, the lab has generated several mutations in genes and discovered many biocontrol agents for a highly effective solution against these “nasty” fungi. All research findings are the result of research projects carried out by Dr. AbuQamar’s team including M.Sc. and Ph.D. students. Synan has published over 50 publications in highly impact international journals. This is evident that American Society of Plant Biologist (ASPB) has recognized Synan being one of the most highly cited author in “Plant Cell” and “Plant Physiology” journals published between 2009-2013 in the Middle East and Africa. In addition, he has been recognized in several occasions by UAEU as a “distinguished researcher” with publication in top ranked journals. In 2017, he was awarded the College of Science Award for Excellence in Scholarship.
Synan is married and has one son, Hamzeh, and one daughter, Juwan. Synan enjoys reading, football and traveling.
Dr. Ayesha Al Dhaheri
Vice Dean, College of Food and Agriculture
Taking the Lead in the UAE’s Nutrition
Dr. Ayesha Salem Obaid Al Dhaheri, currently holds the position of Vice Dean in the College of Food and Agriculture at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). Dr. Al Dhaheri earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Nutrition from Oxford Brookes University, England, in 2007 after gaining an M.Sc. in the Environmental Sciences: Clinical Nutrition from UAEU in 2002.
Dr. Al Dhaheri joined the United Arab Emirates University in 2008 as a research assistant. She became an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences in 2015. She also serves as Assistant Dean for Professional Development; President of the Emirates Clinical Nutrition Society and as a coordinator for MEFOODS and GULFOODS – FAO in Rome.
Dr. Al Dhaheri’s research promotes greater awareness of the prevention and treatment of nutrition related diseases. This is the goal of her current Emirates Foundation-sponsored projects where she is the principal investigator. Recently her research team compiled the first authoritative guide to the nutritional composition of traditional Emirati food and the impact such food has on blood sugar levels.
Another research project is ‘Setting up and Running School Gardens.’ This is conducted in cooperation with the FAO; the General Women’s Union and the Abu Dhabi Food Control Agency. Dr. Al Dhaheri edited and published an Arabic version of the teaching toolkit and manual for this project.
Additionally, she has an ongoing project that focuses on the relationship between body mass index (BMI), body circumference and skinfold thickness in terms of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and blood pressure (BP). This is being conducted with female UAEU students.
She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in cooperation with other national and international scientists, and regularly participates in international conferences and interdisciplinary research projects in nutritional and clinical sciences.
Also, she has organized a series of events. These include the International Growth and Development Conference (‘Healthy Ageing: Pediatric to Geriatric’), the first conference of its kind in the region.
One of her many notable achievements has been when the University College London’s (UCL) Division of Medicine – Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, selected Dr. Al Dhaheri to be an Honorary Fellow from the 1st October, 2017 to 30th September, 2020.
Outside of work, Dr. Al Dhaheri enjoys spending quality time with her family and loves to engage herself in activities such as natural soap making, cooking and crochet sewing.
Prof. Basel Al-Ramadi
Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology (CHMS)
Professor Basel Al-Ramadi first encountered immunology during his undergraduate studies at Edinburgh University some 30 years ago. At that time, immunology as a medical discipline was still going through a formative process. Despite the relative immaturity of immunology, Professor Al-Ramadi was fascinated by the intricacies and potential impact of immunology on disease. He decided to pursue a postgraduate degree in the subject. It was a fortunate decision as he was then closely involved with the revolution in immunology that took place. Following his Ph.D at Temple University School of Medicine, he joined the laboratory of Professor Charles Janeway Jr. at Yale University, as a postdoctoral fellow. This shaped Professor Al-Ramadi’s career as the Department of Immuno-biology at Yale was arguably one of the most influential immunology departments in the world. For the next seven years he was fortunate to work alongside 200 immunologists and witness many exciting discoveries in the field.
After Yale, Professor Al-Ramadi’s arrival at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the United Arab Emirates University twenty years ago represented a huge challenge and an even bigger opportunity. The challenge was to continue working in a highly competitive field at a relatively young institution. The opportunity was to utilize his experience to develop immunological research in the UAE. The record shows that this has been a success. The CMHS cooperates with Tawam Hospital and other international immunologists in order to further studies in immunology. Their first breakthrough was double-blind, controlled clinical trials. They also established a strong translational cancer immunology research program in the CMHS. Along the way, partnerships have been forged with colleagues from Yale University, Harvard University, Institut Pasteur, the University of São Paulo, New York University and the University of Vermont.
Professor Al-Ramadi has received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Research; the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award and the College of Medicine’s Distinguished Performance Award. He has been a section editor for ‘Immunobiology’ and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Immunology, Clinical Immunology and Immunology Innovation.
The research focus in Professor Al-Ramadi’s laboratory is on how the immune system can be modulated to the benefit of the host in diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity and microbial infections. These investigations have received more than AED 4 million in grants, which has helped to train more than 30 MSc./Ph.D students, immunology fellows and undergraduate medical students. They have also published nearly 80 articles in top scientific journals. These include the Journal of Immunology; the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; Frontiers in Immunology; Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy; the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight; The Lancet, Frontiers in Oncology; Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology; Biology and Medicine; Nanotoxicology and Nature Genetics.
Basel is married to Maria Fernandez-Cabezudo, an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the CMHS. They have one son, Khalil, who is completing his Ph.D studies in the USA. Basel enjoys reading, swimming, dining with friends and traveling.
Dr. Iltaf Shah
In July 2015 Iltaf Shah became an Assistant Professor of the College of Science at the United Arab Emirates University. His research focuses on the development of chemical tools to better understand the role of vitamins and metabolites in the human body. He is particularly interested in vitamin D targets and narrow-spectrum therapeutics. As part of this research, he recently developed an innovative vitamin D test to measure vitamin D deficiency in the Emirati population. In collaboration with Tawam Hospital Medical School, Dr. Shah is also seeking to commercialize this test by implementing it in UAE hospitals. He has also worked with Kingston University to develop a new test that detects kidney disease at an early stage in humans.
His other research interest is the bioanalysis of drugs and steroids in human and animal hair by using enzyme linked immune-sorbent assays, liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry instruments. He has recently developed a test used for doping control in camel racing. This is a joint effort between Dr David Cowan’s laboratory at Kings College London and the Camel Forensic Laboratory in Al Ain. After significant news coverage in the UAE, Iltaf has been asked to record an interview with ITV news in London to explain the science behind these innovations in camel racing drug tests.
Iltaf completed a B.Sc. at King Edward’s College and then both an M.Sc and Ph.D with Kingston University, England. He has worked as postdoctoral fellow with Professor Naughton at Kingston and then followed this with a lectureship at the same University. He then moved to UAE to take up a post as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at UAEU. His graduate, Ph.D and postdoctoral work was mainly on the bioanalytical aspects of small molecules in human bodily fluids. He has also investigated the use of specialised bioanalytical techniques for large molecules proteins and peptides.
He is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has collaborated on several projects with St Thomas’s Hospital, Brighton, Sussex Medical School, Sheffield University, St George’s University, Aristotle University and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as well as with many private companies. Dr. Shah has received a number of awards for teaching and research, and is the author of more than 50 research articles.
He hold a teaching qualification and is a fellow of HEA. He also has management qualifications from the Chartered Management Institute where he remains a member.
An avid sports fan Iltaf follows Manchester United and enjoys cricket. Other hobbies include singing when he is not relaxing in the company of his wife and kids.
Professor & Program Director
Promoting growth, inclusiveness and intergenerational wellbeing
Professor Nihel Chabrak believes we should be looking at new approaches to promote growth alongside social welfare. Development should consider not only the here and now, but how generations to come will be able to shape their future lives.
Professor Chabrak works in the Accounting Department of the College of Business and Economics at the United Arab Emirates University. She is researching how to promote economic connections between macro objectives, such as sustainability, and yet still create more micro incentives for the growth of businesses. In cooperation with colleagues from other well-known international research institutions, she is working on reforming finance, governance and accounting in order to support growth. Growth is about wellbeing as well as development. It is not only measured by GDP but by the dispersion, composition and sustainability of that growth. Policy makers should aim for an inclusiveness that allows people to transform their lives.
Economic growth is an important determinant of wellbeing but it is not the only one. Social and ecological factors are also important indicators of wellbeing, and in some cases, are directly related to it. Countries should pursue sustainable growth so that future generations can enjoy the same level of prosperity as now. Therefore, we should maintain our productive base across generations. This includes human, health and natural capital. According to Professor Chabrak, it is the concept of shareholder value maximization that has aggressively degraded natural capital and created inequalities in the economy and wider society. “An economic framework should reshape corporate behavior to support sustainable growth, which is the real wealth of nations.”
As well as conducting this research, Professor Chabrak is Program Director at the UAEU Science and Innovation Park, where she is promoting value-driven startups and encouraging businesses that are more inclusive and sustainable. Among the startups in the incubation program is Green Steps Energy. This is a UAE startup company founded by four female engineering entrepreneurs. Their vision is to establish a citizenship movement for a greener planet. They have designed an energy generating carpet (called Bezeo) that transforms kinetic energy into electrical energy. Another startup she helped with is Aroma Niche. This is an eco-friendly aromatherapy product which uses plants native to the UAE and Gulf region. This helps to preserve local heritage while offering a unique product.
As UAE team leader for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) program - the largest on-going, international research program on entrepreneurship in the world - Professor Chabrak is interested in researching the links between entrepreneurship and wellbeing. With her colleague, Dr. Chafik Bouhaddioui, she has developed a long-term research project using data from the GEM program. The purpose of this research is to examine the potential relationship between entrepreneurship and happiness in the UAE in order to help policy makers evaluate entrepreneurship as a measure of wellbeing and to encourage further growth.
As a Chair of UAEU Committee for Dubai Expo 2020, Professor Chabrak was instrumental in designing the UAEU pavilion. During the Expo the pavilion’s theme will be how to generate 100 million ideas and transform them into 100 million successes.
Professor Chabrak teaches Accounting, Corporate Governance, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as well as a Stanford course on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is also involved with a unique leadership course that utilizes both ontological and phenomenological approaches.
Before coming to UAEU, Professor Chabrak was living and working in France. She is a joint Tunisian and French citizen. When in France she was an Assistant Professor and then an Associate Professor at the Institut Mines Telecom (2002-2011). Before, that she was a Business and IT consultant. Her studies took her to IHEC Carthage (Tunisia) before attending the University of Paris Dauphine in 1995.
She has enjoyed visiting professorships at the University of Wisconsin, USA; University of Canterbury, New Zealand; Deakin University, and the University of South Australia, Australia.
She has published articles and served on several editorial boards of international journals. She is the co-founder and organizer of the International CSAF Conference (Tunisia, 2009; the UAE, 2013).
Professor Chabrak lives in Al Ain with her cat Candy and looks forward to retiring to a remote island surrounded by dogs and cats.
Dr. Ossama Osman
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Dedicated to discovery and development
Research and responsibility go hand-in-hand for Dr Ossama Osman, as he combines his work in research with service to the community and guiding students to become leaders.
As Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences within the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), he is a firm believer in translating research and theoretical education into practical use, for the good of society – a belief that has made him an instrumental figure within the UAE’s health sector.
A graduate of the University of Cairo Medical School, he completed four years of accredited residency training in psychiatry at the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine in the US, where he made his first impact on the world of research. Conducting studies designed to develop understanding of the biochemical aspect of the effect of medication used to treat his patients, he won a University Excellence Award in the field of research into schizophrenia, and was selected by the US’ prestigious National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) to undergo three years of research fellowship training in Clinical Psychopharmacology.
Having focused his work on the neurochemical and neuroendocrine mechanisms in mood disorders during his time at NIMH – with his published work contributing to the development of new knowledge on the mechanics of the brain – he served as a full-time faculty member at several US universities for almost a decade. During this time, Dr Osman developed the first schizophrenia research program at Bay Pines VA Medical Center in Florida; returned to SIU to establish an innovative academic and training program in developmental disabilities; and led the creation of clinical and academic programs in community mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities at Mercer University College of Medicine in Georgia. He also became its first Medical Director, opening up educational and training opportunities for both medical students and residents.
Since 2004, however, Dr Osman has called the UAE – and UAEU – home. In his 13 years in Al Ain, he has secured numerous UAEU research grants and collaborated with other researchers at both local and international level, with his partners including institutions such as the Harvard Program for Trauma and Recovery. His research work has involved multidisciplinary studies of disorders in mental health, encompassing obesity, bariatrics, psycho-dermatology, hormonal and trauma-related conditions, and stress, and he is an active member of the Neuroscience Research Priority Group at CMHS.
Just as important as his research work is his commitment to support the career development and wellbeing of students. As a strong advocate for providing innovative avenues along which UAEU graduates can further their careers, and as someone with a long-held interest in academic program development, he established the UAE’s first structured joint psychiatry resident training program in 2004, helping to address an urgent need for specialist psychiatrists within the nation.
Having served as its first faculty director for six years, he saw this program grow to the point where, in 2010, it branched out into three initiatives in different emirates, and was pivotal to its accreditation by the US-based Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. During this time, Dr Osman was chosen to chair the Arab Board of Psychiatry Committee on curriculum development, credentialing and accreditation, and continues to perform a vital liaison function.
In addition, he co-founded the Higher Professional Diploma Program in Psychological Skills and Competencies in Mental Health, a collaboration between CMHS and the National Rehabilitation Center in Abu Dhabi. Since its establishment, it has graduated more than 60 mental health professionals – most of them UAEU alumni – who are now based at major hospitals around the UAE.
And Dr Osman’s wealth of experience has led to him playing a key role in development mental health treatment guidelines for primary care physicians in Abu Dhabi, and in providing training activities that enable this roadmap to be implemented. He has also been a significant contributor to Continuing Medical Education programs in the UAE and abroad, and regularly organizes and presents at regional and international psychiatric and neuroscience conferences.
Dr Osman is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, is a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and is licensed as a consultant psychiatrist at Al Ain and Tawam Hospitals.
In his spare time, he likes to play squash, table tennis, swim and to travel across the globe.
Chair of the Geography & Urban Planning Dept - (CHSS)
Many people talk about mapping out their career. For Dr Naeema Al Hosani, that takes on a more literal meaning.
An established cartography scholar, she is an expert in the science or practice of drawing maps, and now brings that knowledge to UAEU students as Chair of its Department of Geography and Urban Planning. But her role within the university – and within UAE life – has a much wider compass.
With her areas of research interest including cartography, geographic information systems, remote sensing, the environment, tourism, and education, Dr Al Hosani – who is also Assistant Dean for Student Affairs within UAEU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences – initially joined the Al Ain university as an Assistant Professor, having completed her MA and Ph.D. at the University of Kansas.
Since arriving at UAEU, she has been heavily involved in scholarship, teaching, and service, in addition to holding senior administrative positions at departmental, collegial, and university level, including chairing and being a member of numerous committees.
Her professional life has two aspects. On the research side, she has a high-caliber publications record – as a single author and a co-author – with her work being published in top-ranking Western academic journals and her experience and insight seeing her make presentations at domestic, regional, and international conferences.
Dr Al Hosani participated in the transfer of groundbreaking Western research to an Arab audience by translating significant, globally-important books in her area of specialization. The outstanding nature of her research has led to her winning many grants and being awarded prominent accolades, including the UAEU Award for Distinction in Research, as well as being honored by the UAEU Provost for her publication record.
In the teaching field, Dr Al Hosani has carved a reputation for reliability, resourcefulness, and dynamism, as an excellent planner and organizer, and for her dedication to creating a vibrant learning environment. Her approach is based on interactive teaching strategies, inquiry-based learning, nurturing students’ individual passions and curiosity, and integrating IT into the educational process.
Describing her role in the classroom as being “a facilitator and guide in a challenging adventure designed to foster collaboration, discourse and discovery”, she has played a pivotal part in curriculum development and learning outcomes assessments at UAEU. Her academic work recently led to her receiving the UAEU Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2017, and the Prestigious Khalifa Award for distinction in teaching, recognition that follows many other awards from international organizations.
Dr Al Hosanis stature and expertise has seen her make a valuable impact to enriching knowledge and opportunity across UAE society. She has participated in an array of events and seminars dealing with pedagogical issues, within UAEU and in the wider community, and served as mediator between the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a number of UAE companies and institutions to provide training openings for UAEU students.
Her impressive community service record includes cooperation with local universities and government bodies, such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior. And she has established many cooperation initiatives aimed at strengthening connections between UAEU's academic community and wider UAE society, by establishing avenues of dialogue, outreach, and knowledge exchange.
Away from the UAEU, Dr Al Hosani has many hobbies and enjoys spending her downtime reading novels and discovering new recipes to cook in her kitchen.
Associate Professor,Department of Biology - ( COS)
Think of climate change, and you may immediately think of melting ice caps or vanishing rainforests – but the high-impact research that Dr David Thomson leads on the issue at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has a very different, and equally important, geographical focus.
Since joining UAEU’s Biology Department in 2014, Dr Thomson, an Associate Professor at the university, has built on the department's notable strengths in research and teaching by spearheading novel and high-profile interdisciplinary research that allows undergraduate and postgraduate students to analyze the impact of climate change on hot regions – an impact which does not always lead agendas, but which may be more severe than thought.
Having published his first work on climate change in the 1990s, as a PhD student at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, he has since been involved in studies into related topics including climate variability, seasonality, phenology, changing rainfall patterns, and species decline. But since 2009, when he took up a faculty position at the University of Hong Kong, his research focus has primarily been on the vulnerability of the hotter parts of the world to climate change, and whether temperatures may already be too high for many of their species.
Less than one percent of global climate change research has been conducted in the world’s tropical zone – where, as of 2014, 40% of the Earth’s population live – with the emphasis tending to be on regions where temperatures are changing more rapidly, such as in the Northern Hemisphere. However, as Dr Thomson explains: “A small temperature increase in a region which is already too hot could be much more damaging than a large temperature increase in a region which is still too cold.”
His team at UAEU – whose Environmental Sciences Program was the UAE’s first postgraduate Masters program - has found that many species in cooler regions are actually better served by warmer conditions, through research that crystallized data from almost 50 studies on terrestrial birds. In hotter regions, however, they found many species have already reached the ‘optimal’ temperature level – where any increase immediately turns ‘perfect’ into ‘negative’.
In this field of research, Dr Thomson supervises a postgraduate student team, and has also involved 16 undergraduates in the last two years. Their work has featured at numerous conferences, and they have raised its profile and purpose among the UAE community through their outreach efforts.
“In essence, this is a research program,” says Dr Thomson, “but by engaging undergraduate and postgraduate research students, it is also an active experiential education program. The students are studying something real, then taking their work out into the public domain, where they can explain to the public and to decision-makers why it is important.”
The program’s impact, and its success in promoting undergraduate research, led to Dr Thomson being recognized at UAEU’s College of Science awards ceremony in 2017. It was the latest accolade in a career that has seen him run internationally-acclaimed research programs at prestigious institutions - including the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research – win plaudits for the quality of his courses, and see his work graded ‘excellent’ in peer review. He has been published in top journals such as Nature, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Ecology, Biological Reviews, and the Journal of Animal Ecology.
Dr Thomson takes this work beyond the laboratory, too. As a respected thought-leader and influencer on climate change, he participates in climate summits, contributes to media discussions, government working groups, and consultations, and is regularly invited to directly address leaders in the field of climate change.
Department of Physiology- (CMHS)
Diving has always been a defining element of Professor Chris Howarth’s life – in fact, it was what first brought him to the UAE three decades ago.
These days, however, he dives into the depths of research, rather than oceans – research which aims to unlock new discoveries surrounding critical health issues.
Now based in the Department of Physiology of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at United Arab Emirates University, Chris amassed an entirely different set of life experiences before entering academia and science. His previous career was in the commercial diving industry, where he spent much of the 1980s after completing his training in the UK coastal town of Plymouth, and which gave him his initial taste of life in the Middle East.
Having taken up a role as a manager for a commercial diving company in Abu Dhabi, Chris became well acquainted with life beneath the waves in the offshore oilfields of the Arabian Gulf. However, toward the end of the 1980s, he decided the time was right for a career change, returning to his home country of the UK and obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree, with first-class honors, in physiology and biochemistry, a PhD in Cardiac Physiology (supported by a Prize Studentship from the British Heart Foundation), and two postdocs from the University of Bristol and the University of Leeds.
And his relationship with the UAE was rekindled in 1998 when he took up the position of Assistant Professor in UAEU’s Department of Physiology, being promoted to Associate Professor in 2003 and Professor in 2008, while also serving as the Chair of the Department from 2012-2016.
For more than 15 years, a key focus of Chris’ laboratory has been understanding the cellular basis of electrical and mechanical defects in the diabetic heart. This focus has two strands: the effect of diabetes on the generation and conduction of electrical signals; and the effect of the disease on cardiac muscle function.
The heart’s electrical and mechanical function is often compromised by diabetes - one of the most serious national, regional, and global health issues, estimated to affect 415 million adults in 2015, and predicted to affect 642 million by 2040. Over a million diabetes cases were reported in the UAE in 2015, and cardiovascular disease represents the major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with the condition.
The research that Chris and his lab have conducted in the field of diabetes has led to collaborations with a string of international universities, including the University of Bristol, the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Dublin, the University of Leeds, and the University of Manchester. Chris’ work has been supported by more than 40 national and international grants and generated more than 100 original articles and book chapters, while he has supervised many undergraduate and postgraduate MSc and PhD student projects.
Chris has also received numerous awards for his research, including the Sheikh Hamdan Award for Medical Sciences (2002), the Merit Award for Contribution to Student Development (2006), the Dean’s Recognition Award for Distinguished Services to Student Research (2006), UAEU’s Best Interdisciplinary Project Award and Best Individual Project Award (2008), the FMHS Distinguished Research Award (2009 and 2010), and the Best Course and Excellence in Department Teaching Award (2014 and 2015).
Away from the laboratory, Chris, a father-of-three who is married to wife Brigitte, an Associate Professor in the Department of Life Sciences at Zayed University, Dubai Campus, still dives occasionally for fun. He also enjoys training in the gym and swimming.
Assistant Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering - (CIT)
From pioneering new technology to publishing insightful research publications for academic journals, Dr Fady Saeed Alnajjar’s work on human behavior analysis and robotics is revered the world over.
Since joining UAEU in January 2016 the assistant professor of artificial intelligence and robotics in the department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has published more than 50 research papers and worked on countless collaborative projects that push the boundaries of science and technology.
Passionate about developing advanced and smart technologies to enhance peoples’ quality of life, Dr Fady’s research insightfully explores, among other theories, autonomous machines, neural computational approaches, adaptive controllers, learning and memory, behavior adaptation and recovery, artificial cognition, robotics, and neuro-rehabilitation. His specialist areas, meanwhile, range from neural dynamics to motor learning and memory.
Notable collaborations for the assistant professor include his partnership with Al Ain Hospital, a project that examined the autism spectrum and learning disorders, and Abu Dhabi Police, a project for which the assistant professor is building a bomb disposal avatar robot.
Dr Fady’s reach also extends overseas. The robotics enthusiast is currently working with the University of Michigan in the US and Nagoya University in Japan to build a prosthetic arm. Additionally, he regularly visits the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan to further his research into post-stroke assessment tools and rehabilitation systems and is also partnering with the Faculty of Engineering and IT at the University of Technology in Sydney on the development of a self-rehabilitation tool for stroke patients.
Aside from being an assistant professor at UAEU’s College of IT, Dr Fady is a member of the European 5 Years Project entitled Smart Wearable Robot With Bioinspired Sensory-Motor Skillsas well as the Japan Neuroscience Society (JNS), the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society UAE Chapter and the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society.
Outside the classroom the UAE-born scientist, who spent a number of years living in Japan before returning to the Emirates, enjoys camping, swimming and aikido.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering- (CIT)
The robotics and media laboratory at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is where you will find Dr Jose Berengueres connecting art with state-of-the-art.
As Assistant Professor at UAEU’s IT College, the Barcelona native with a PhD in bio-inspired robotics is seeking to bridge the supposed gap between art and technology by demonstrating how they intertwine and open up new horizons, and inspiring students to combine technical and mechanical work with allowing their imagination to flow freely.
Projects in the lab that Dr Berengueres leads are focused on four areas – art and tech, creativity research, data science research, and robotics research – and activities range from crunching numbers to encouraging recycling to building a camel-sized robot that react to students according to its mood.
It’s a diverse environment, and one that reflects the world’s unfolding path, as Dr Berengueres, who also holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering, explains. “I believe in mixing art with technology – without doing this, you are missing out not only on a lot of fun, but a lot of meaningful research,” he says
“Pixar created hit movies and hundreds of highly-skilled jobs, but also pushed the technical boundaries of how computers could entertain humans. The graphic cards developed for 3D gaming have made things like the Tesla autopilot self-driving car possible. And in our lab, we are using ‘nerdy’ gaming devices for research on a new AI field called deep neural networks – because it’s the only way to do this research.
“We have also developed the Artistic Robot, a graffiti-making robot that produces paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock and which we see as an augmented brush for artists. All of this shows how, at the IT College, we love to combine art and technology.”
This approach is also having a big, visible impact on UAEU life. Students have used 360-degree cameras to showcase the campus to visitors in an innovative, immersive way, and created a “smart bin” that smiles at and thanks those using it – the result being that recycling rates soared by 300%.
This commitment to creativity extends into Design Thinking, an increasingly popular course within and beyond UAEU. “It is a thinking framework that enables teams of people to be more creative – what we call ‘group IQ’,” said Dr Berengueres, who has taught Design Thinking and Business Models Innovation in Dubai, California, Germany, and Mexico.
“We realized there were no really good textbooks available to teach it, so – with input from students – we published an e-book called ‘The Brown Book of Design Thinking’, one of the first textbooks tailored to undergraduate students. It led to me giving workshops around the world, and writing ‘Sketch Thinking’ [an Amazon top 100 creativity bestseller], which is used to teach how to quickly sketch ideas. We’re currently researching how the layout of meetings influences the ‘group IQ’.”
The lab’s dedication to data science has seen it collaborate with Etihad on a project to predict which customers will eventually become gold members; with Singapore-based Healint LLC, maker of migraine-coping app MigraineBuddy, on a model to gauge when the condition will strike and how environmental elements such as pollution affect migraine rates; and with HappyForce, a Barcelona startup, on a tool for predicting the likelihood of employees quitting, allowing companies to address the situation.
A specific research group has also been formed to tackle the task of making large amounts of data make sense. “Academically and professionally, this is an expanding field, for two reasons – new algorithms and faster computers,” outlined Dr Berengueres.
“Our group helps researchers with data they do not necessarily know how to model, with the goal being to streamline computing procedures in order to conduct research faster and with more impact.”
Another burgeoning global field – robotics – is also a core element of life in the lab, through its research into human-robot interaction. “It’s a mix of user experience, psychology, and robotics itself,” says Dr Berengueres.
As part of a joint collaboration with Sendai University, we are now building something that has never been built before: a robot with a superhuman sense of touch. Imagine a robot that can tell if you have fever or malaria just by shaking your hand, for example. Robots can be scary sometimes, but the goal of robotics is to make life better for humans.”
Outside the lab and into the community, Dr Berengueres is a sharer of knowledge, insight, and experience. An ex-entrepreneur himself, he says: “I mentor future entrepreneurs at StartUp Weekend Dubai, GEMS Academy events, or by teaching a workshop at places like FabLab, and I also founded the Dubai Design Thinking Meetup as a way of discussing current trends.
“A duty of every faculty is to give back to society in the form of service. For me, this is a particularly rewarding way of giving back.”
Prof. Badreya Al-Jenaibi
Department of Mass Communication
An inspiring professor full of many achievements
Badreya Al-Jenaibi is a full-time professor in Mass Communications at the United Arab Emirates University. She gained a Ph.D in Public Relations and Mass Communication from the University of North Dakota (USA) in 2008. Previously she received a Master’s of Art in Mass Communications from the University of Northern Iowa (also in the USA in 2004). In addition, she won the H.H. Mohammed Bin Zayed Award for outstanding students.
Her research interests include pedagogy, international communications and public relations, as well as the effects of both mass media and new media. She has published 43 articles in peer-reviewed journals in a variety of countries (USA, Canada, England, etc.) Theses publications include the Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies, the International Journal of Information Systems and Social Change, the International Journal of E-adoption, the Global Media Journal and the Journal for Communication and Culture. She is a member of the editorial board for a total of 18 peer-reviewed journals. Professor Al-Jenaibi has received 24 local and international awards. These include the H.H. Hamdan Bin Rashed Al Maktoum Award for best teacher in the UAE in 2017; the Khalifa Award for best professor in the UAE and Arab region. She has also been the recipient of the Best Teacher Award at UAEU and the H.H. Shamsa Bint Sohail Award for the most creative teacher. Additionally, Professor Al-Jenaibi has been judged as an Outstanding Woman Achiever in Mass Communications and Teaching.Other awards include the H.H. Hamdan Bin Mubarak Award for the best employee in a highly specialized jobs (academic level). Locally, she has won the UAEU Community Service Employee Prize as well as being the most active professor in terms of publication. This is in line with winning her college’s award for research and publishing and the Rashid Award for Academic Excellence. She is founder and voluntary director of the Mubadrah Student Community Engagement Center, which works with 114 local organizations. She is also heavily involved in charity campaigns, fundraising, other exhibitions and in working with local organizations. One of her initiatives was the ‘Let's Read, Volunteer and Innovate’ Program.
Professor Al-Jenaibi has attended more than 33 conferences and taught on 27 different courses. Her teaching philosophy is innovative and she is always keen to develop her teaching skills.
She likes to travel and took a sabbatical from 2014 to 2015, to go to Beijing, China. Her other hobbies include drawing.
Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior & Coordinator DBA program, Department of Leadership and Organizational Agility
Dr Abdul Karim Khan was born and raised in Pakistan. He completed a Ph.D in Organizational Behavior at the Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management, France. Prior to joining the United Arab Emirates University, he worked at Lahore University of Management Sciences for four years, where he headed the Ph.D in Management Program. During his stay in France, he also taught at the EMLyon Business School.
Dr Khan has a keen interest in analyzing employee behavior issues in an organizational context. He is specifically interested in understanding why high performers are abused and psychological interventions that can reduce non-supportive leadership behavior. Other areas of interest are the role of emotions in the workplace and workplace justice. His recent work on the abuse of high performers appeared in the Journal of Management, the number one peer-reviewed journal in the field of Management Studies.
Since joining UAEU in January 2015, Dr. Khan has published more than 25 research papers in reputed impact-factor journals. He has been working on many joint projects with colleagues from around the world. One of his papers won the award for best paper award at 2015 Academy of Management Annual Meeting. Dr Khan won college award in research and scholarship for year 2019. He is also recipient of university awards for publishing in top journals. Dr Khan is a regular presenter at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting. He first presented a paper there in 2009. He has also been invited to a variety of international forums as a keynote or plenary speaker.
Dr. Khan currently looks after the DBA program as DBA coordinator. He has so far supervised ten DBA students who successfully defended their dissertations.
Dr. Khan and his North American colleagues recently (in partnership with EMAAR) designed and tested psychological interventions that sought to reduce non-supportive managerial behavior. This study is nearly finished and promises actionable implications for both EMAAR and the wider academic community.
Outside of the classroom, Dr. Khan enjoys travelling, reading and taking part in professional conferences and other forums.
Department of Anatomy
Professor Eric Mensah Brown is a professor of Anatomy in the College of Medicine. He was born in Kumasi, Ghana. After secondary school he attended the University of Ghana Medical School in 1980 and gained a MBChB degree. After three years medical practice with the Ministry of Health in Ghana he moved to England to undertake graduate studies at the University of Leicester. After completing a Ph.D in embryology, Eric returned to Ghana as a lecturer. He also worked as a senior lecturer at Walter Sisulu University in South Africa before joining the College of Medicine at the United Arab Emirates University in 1992 as an assistant professor of Anatomy.
In addition to his duties as a professor of Anatomy he has served as member of the Curriculum Committee (including chairing it) and as a course director of the Medical Sciences and Organ Systems courses. He is presently the Chair of the Faculty Governance Review Committee (designing and reviewing faculty governance documents) and the Faculty Assembly as well as being a representative on the College Council.
He has received best teacher award several times. His research interests include morphological studies of the camel and the houbara bustard. For the last few years Eric has worked on studying autoimmune diabetes and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). He has presented papers at several immunology conferences and been involved with other research activities. At the moment he is a reviewer for the Kidney International, Molecular Immunology, Human Immunology and Immunology journals. He has published 50 peer-refereed papers. The highlights of his studies on autoimmunity have included observations on the role of microglia as antigen presenting cells in EAE; the role of interleukin (IL)-23/IL-17 and Toll-like receptor 2 pathways in experimentally induced diabetes, where interferon gamma served as a facilitator rather than an opposing factor. He has also researched the role of galectin-3 in animal models of human type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. A micrograph on the role of IL-23 was used as a cover illustration for an issue of the European Journal of Immunology. In the last five years he has expanded his research interests into the epigenetic regulation of metabolic syndrome, and together with colleagues, has received several interdisciplinary and faculty grants from the university worth more than 2 million AED.
Professor Mensah Brown is married with four children, three daughters and a son. His wife is a retired teacher. Their eldest daughter lives in the UAE and is a businesswoman. The second daughter is a medical physicist working at the Kansas University Medical School Cancer Center, in the USA, while the final daughter is an eighth grade Algebra teacher in Minneapolis. Their only son is a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania.
His hobbies include apologetics, philosophy of religions and reading. He also loves traveling. In the past he was a keen tennis and soccer player but now limits physical activity to walking and riding his bicycle.
Dr. Abdulla Al-Khatib
Associate Professor of Civil Procedures - Private Law
Helping the legal experts of the future mark out their path
In his spare time, Dr Abdulla Al-Khatib likes to draw. When he is at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), his students prefer to draw on his experience and expertise.
As Associate Professor of Civil Procedures at the UAEU, Dr Al-Khatib is focused on cultivating the knowledge and nurturing the skills of young people who represent the nation’s next wave of legal professionals, combining his academic tutelage with coordinating their professional development by placing them with law firms in order to complete their training.
Meanwhile, he also applies his legal prowess – honed over many years of study and work in the sector – to his role of Director of the Legal Clinic at the UAEU, where he provides pro bono consultancy services and works with the university’s Human Resources department to steer the institution through legal issues that arise.
His life in law has come full circle, as it was at the UAEU where it all began. Graduating as a Bachelor of Law in 2000 after four years of study, he went on to undertake his Master of Laws (LLM) degree at Tulane University in New Orleans, subsequently also gaining a Ph.D. in Law from the Louisiana institution.
Dr Al-Khatib cut his teeth in the legal sector by training as a lawyer at a Dubai-based firm, where he wrote memos and pleas to courts and other institutions, liaised with clients, negotiated contracts, and conducted other pivotal official matters. But the pull of academia brought him back to the UAEU, where – after publishing many legal articles in high-ranking academic journals – he was promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor in 2016, his personal career highlight to date.
Since returning to the UAEU, he has been awarded the university’s Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016, and its Dean’s Award for Excellence in Community Service for the 2016/17 academic year. The latter accolade is presented to the faculty member who has made “the most outstanding contribution to the university and the community”, with Dr Al-Khatib being named as its most recent recipient due to his “remarkable contribution” to the UAEU’s College of Law, including serving on many high-level legal committees and providing invaluable advice in his areas of specialization.
Dr Al-Khatib takes inspiration for his dedication and work ethic from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Away from the UAEU, he enjoys spending time with his wife and five children, Mira, Reem, Abdulrahman, Juri and Jood, and practicing Arabic calligraphy, as well as his fondness for drawing.
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Law
Dr. Jinan Bastaki is a UAE national and a graduate of the London School of Economics (LLB ), the University of California at Berkeley (LLM), and SOAS (Ph.D).
Dr. Bastaki joined the Law Faculty as assistant professor of International Law in 2017. Her Ph.D thesis focused on refugees and their right of return. She has presented in many international conferences on the topic of refugees and refugee law and has been invited to take part in panel discussions on the rights of refugees in certain parts of the world.
Jinan has volunteered in refugee camps in Jordan and Greece. While her basic foundation is in International Law, her work is multidisciplinary. She is interested in people, particularly in how to increase the visibility of groups not generally recognized under existing legal or political categories. She seeks to challenge these traditional legal categories that have created an unjust ‘hierarchy of rights’. She has conducted interviews with diaspora communities and refugees and aims to publish her findings.
She adds that for her Ph.D thesis she, “interviewed displaced people who were not recognized legally as ‘refugees’, even though they had suffered the same displacement as refugees and were unable to return home. Their lack or recognition essentially ‘erased’ their narrative as displaced people.”
Her current work focuses on how to better international refugee law to cope with many current challenges: such as a large influx of refugees that is not adequately covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention. Her paper for an upcoming international conference in the US focuses on faith-based principles as a regional standard to encourage states to do more to support refugee communities.
In her free time she likes to relax in coffee shops wherever her travels happen to take her.
Dr. Karim El-Basyouny
Associate Professor - University of Alberta
Removing the Boundary Between Student and Professor
“Working with the students. That’s the best part of the job,” explains Dr. Karim El-Basyouny, speaking about his position as associate professor in the University of Alberta’s (UofA) Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. “Knowing that at some point in their graduate studies, I helped them discover their true passion and professional identity that will shape their future career.” And his dedication to his work is evident by the achievements of both himself and his students in the field of transportation engineering.
An authoritative researcher, respected member of UofA faculty, the inaugural City of Edmonton Research Chair in Urban Traffic Safety, and a founding member of the Centre for Smart Transportation, surprisingly, Karim did not intend to become an academic when he began his Bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). “Coming into the university I never thought of myself as someone with a future in academia,” he explains, and instead he intended to go into the work force after graduation. But his success as an undergraduate produced unexpected opportunities. “The university changed my outlook. It was studying, interacting with the professors, and achieving academic success that gave me the motivation to pursue graduate studies.”
In 2003, after graduating from UAEU with distinction, Karim spent time working as a university research assistant, investigating the environmental regulations, impact on health and environment, and available methods for calculating fugitive dust externalities, before moving onto graduate studies. Unbeknownst to him at the time, aspects of this work were preparing him, in part, for his eventual career. “The research process especially paper and grant writing were things that came naturally to me because I had a lot of training,” he says, speaking of both his time at UAEU and his professors with respect and appreciation. “I think having access to those individuals, and their expertise really helped.”
In 2004, Karim moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to begin a Masters of Applied Science and subsequent doctoral degree at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He attributes his time at UAEU for affecting this decision. “The UAE is known for its cultural diversity, which I was exposed to at a very young age. While searching for places to conduct my postgraduate degree, I wanted to continue living in a country that offered the same type of cultural acceptance. That led to my decision to study and subsequently live in Canada.”
And although graduate studies alone bring their own difficulties, moving from the United Arab Emirates to Canada—away from his family and community—introduced an additional set of complications. “I think there is always a challenge associated with moving to a new place. So moving to Canada and pursing a graduate degree away from my family was something that took getting used to, but once I adjusted I found that my transition was seamless,” he explains. “The UAE is very multicultural. Coming to Canada it felt almost the same. Growing up in the UAE, I was used to living in a diverse community with people from different backgrounds. And I felt that was something that really helped.” But going to a new place, with a foreign culture is always challenging, and some students—even those whose academics put them at the top of their classes— sometimes cannot get past these challenges.”
Karim describes his first six to seven months alone, “trying to meet people, along with studying and taking graduate courses. It was a tough start. But I think … going back to the culture of the UAE, and the fact that I’ve always been around international students from everywhere around the world, even at the university. That really helped.” His resilience and perseverance paid off and in 2011 he graduated from UBC with a Ph.D. “And even despite that, I never thought I would be an academic,” Karim laughs. So, as originally planned, he went into the workforce, which brought more relocation: a move to Alberta to work with the City of Edmonton. A complex role, it called on much of the knowledge he had acquired throughout his years of study, including the solid foundation he attributes to those first years at the UAEU.
It was after almost a year of working with the city that Karim began to realize he preferred the kind of freedom that comes with a career as an academic, “More control over my time. And more control to work on projects that interested me.” And it was around then that he joined the University of Alberta as a member of the faculty. “The first year was me trying to figure my way through the job. There was a lot to learn” he describes with a relaxed sureness. But in time, the work he was putting in became evident as the number of students registering in transportation classes began to rise from an average of 20-30 to 40-50. And around 2017 he was promoted to associate professor and given tenure. “It’s been a very rewarding journey working with the people. Launching careers of individuals. Either in the Masters or though PhDs. Seeing them get hired the in industry, or with the government. I draw a lot of inspiration from that.” He pauses a moment, “And my colleagues. They are wonderful people to be around. The environment is very healthy. We all get along and have very high regard for each other.” Karim also compares this to his time in undergraduate studies. “That is another thing I noticed about the UAEU. They were a solid and cohesive faculty.”
Despite his achievements, Karim has at least one more milestone to reach in the foreseeable future, “Getting to professorship. Once I’m past professorship, it might be a good time to reevaluate and see where things are going to go.” Karim sees the core work he does as a professor for the university continuing—working with the students and his colleagues, and publishing papers. But he also recognizes a distinct place for his research in practical applications. “Not everybody gets a chance to do work that can have an applied appeal to it. I feel this is something I might be interested in pursuing in the future.”
When asked if he had a piece of advice for current and future students, he emphasized the value of the relationships, “The Engineering Faculty members at UAEU are among the world's most talented academics. They come from diverse backgrounds and they are graduates of some of the top engineering schools in the world. Getting to know the professors helped remove that imaginary student/teacher boundary that resulted in long-term friendships while kick-starting my graduate degree. It was through my professors that I made contacts in both US and Canadian Universities that facilitated my transition to start my post-graduate degrees.”
Shewkar Elbassiouni Ibrahim
Vision Zero Program Manager, City of Edmonton –Office of Traffic Safety
Shewkar Elbassiouni Ibrahim graduated with the highest honours from the Civil Engineering Department at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in 2008. “I remember my days at the UAEU very fondly,” says Shewkar. It was an excellent start for her both academically, and professionally. While she attributes her success to many different factors, the UAEU played an important role. From the level of education and training she received to the very advanced facilities that were available at the UAEU, Shewkar is very proud of her alma mater.
When she was pursuing her undergraduate degree, Shewkar took a few courses in the field of Transportation Engineering, and that is when she discovered her passion for this field. What piqued her interest was how much room there was for innovation and creativity in Transportation Engineering. This became even more evident when she completed her internship at the Roadway, Transportation, Traffic & Safety Research Center under Prof. Yasser Hawas’s supervision. “If you think about it, we all participate in the road network because we either walk, drive or bike to get to work or to return home,” says Shewkar, “for this reason, we need to ensure that this road network is safe for everyone.”
After graduating from UAEU in 2008, Shewkar moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to pursue her Master of Applied Science degree in traffic safety at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Shewkar did remarkably well in all of her classes and is grateful to her professors at her alma mater for having prepared her for this new step. “The level of education that we receive at the UAEU is world class,” says Shewkar. The faculty is very well-trained and holds degrees from the best universities in the world; they also continue to contribute through the research they conduct at UAEU as well as continue to mould the new generation of graduates to help prepare them for life after university.
After graduating and obtaining her MASc, Shewkar moved to Edmonton, Alberta, to work as a Speed Management Analyst at the City of Edmonton’s Office of Traffic Safety. This was one of the only municipal offices that targets and focuses on traffic safety at the time and she was excited to get started! Soon after, Shewkar moved into a new role as a Traffic Safety Engineer where she focused on improving safety in the areas of speed management, traffic engineering, transportation planning, as well as geometric design. During this time, Shewkar then decided to pursue her Doctor of Philosophy degree in the same field (i.e., traffic safety). “I thought it was important that research is conducted with the industry’s need in mind,” says Shewkar. She clarifies: “it’s essential that the outcome of this research actually helps benefit road safety agencies specifically, and societies overall.” Even though she was warned about the challenges of working and studying simultaneously, Shewkar decided to embark on this journey anyway. “Engineer by day and researcher by night is how I often refer to this stage of my career,” says Shewkar while laughing.
In 2014, Shewkar started working on the City of Edmonton’s Vision Zero Road Safety Strategy. Vision Zero is the goal of eliminating all fatalities and serious injuries as a result of a motor vehicle collisions, “it’s the noblest of goals, essentially, I am working on saving lives,” says Shewkar. She developed the strategy based on a number of different initiatives such as engineering programs, enforcement activities, education campaigns, road user behaviour, as well as new initiatives which look at using innovative approaches to improve traffic safety. “I was working late in my office one night dealing with a stubborn visual basic macro in Excel, and it reminded me of the late nights I spent working on a code that I created for my graduation project at UAEU,” says Shewkar. She continues, “I was first introduced to developing macros for processing of large datasets at UAEU, and it is a skill I continue to work on, albeit with different programming languages now.” In 2015, the City of Edmonton became the first major Canadian City of officially adopt Vision Zero, “it felt like a triumphant success, and I remember taking a deep sigh of relief,” she said.
One of the skillsets that she had an opportunity to practice and hone during her undergraduate degree was giving presentations. “We had to give a presentation at least once during a course at UAEU, if not multiple times,” recalls Shewkar. She remembers her professors stressing the significance of being able to communicate your message, “knowledge can only take you so far in life” but being able to eloquently share your message and deconstruct it into manageable and easy to understand pieces is instrumental. Over her career, Shewkar has given presentations at national, and international conferences. She has also given presentations to Council, Council Committees, international organizations, Lunch & Learn Sessions, guest lectures as well as taught several classes at the University of Alberta.
However, her UAEU professors also inadvertently helped Shewkar develop another skillset. “I remember when Prof. Mohsen Sherif and Dr. Ashraf Biddah asked me to emcee a one-day workshop at the UAEU,” said Shewkar. She remembers being quite nervous as she had never been a master of ceremonies before. Shewkar laughs and says: “little did I know that this was going to be the start of a new trend in my life.” Shewkar has participated in the organization of many conferences in the past eleven years. In 2009, while she was the president of the UBC Institute of Transportation Engineers Student Chapter, Shewkar organized one of the most successful Industry Nights. This was a conference where members of the industry were invited for a showcase by Transportation Engineering students. It was a great opportunity for the students to market themselves to their potential employers, and also a wonderful opportunity to strengthen university-industry relationships. More recently, in 2016, Shewkar emceed the International Conference on Transportation Innovation, which saw the launch of the first test-bed for connected vehicles in Canada. Shewkar was also the principal chair in organizing the 10th Annual International Conference on Urban Traffic Safety in Edmonton, Alberta in 2018. In addition to organizing and hosting this conference, Shewkar also participated in emceeing and introducing the keynote speakers who attended the conference from all around the world.
In her opinion, Shewkar thinks that a university does not only help prepare students academically for life after graduation, but it also teaches them different skills sets. Not only was the level of education superior at the UAEU, but after having studied abroad, Shewkar was impressed with how UAEU was leading in incorporating technology during the learning process. “When I first moved to Canada, one of the things that I noticed was how adept the UAEU graduates were at using technology without any concern or hesitation,” said Shewkar. As a result, the UAEU graduates are very comfortable incorporating new technology (e.g., smart boards at the time), and software into their careers, which sets them apart from the rest of the employment population. “The facilities that we had at our disposal including buildings, labs, computers and so on, are unmatched,” emphasizes Shewkar.
When asked about her advice to graduating students, Shewkar said: “our lives are a culmination of our experiences, so take advantage of every opportunity that is made available to you.” Some people know exactly what it is they want out of life, but Shewkar says that she was not one of those people, rather, she just worked hard, applied her knowledge, kept an open mind and took advantage of all opportunities that came her way. “The most important piece of advice I can give you is to find a cause you believe in, work hard, be curious, ask questions, and the rest will take care of itself, good luck!”
Dr. Mohammed Al Dhaheri
Abu Dhabi Department of Energy
After working for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) for 24 years and moving to the utilities sector, Mohammed Al Dhaheri was looking for a graduate program that was both local and of practical nature.
With a number of PhD programs flooding the higher education market, he felt it was not the path he wished to follow. “I wanted something which will add value to what I am doing and will give me an opportunity to explore and build on my experience,” said Al Dhaheri, who was born in Al Ain. “The DBA program at the United Arab Emirates University is part time, which was a must for me, as any program abroad requires you to almost be full time.”
As part of the program’s first cohort, which graduated in May 2016, he chose to follow the DBA route, which was local, practical and part time. “I was very pleased to see this DBA offered by our national university,” he said. “I rushed to apply, and the program was so serious from the beginning. The selection, to the program itself, was thorough, and it was really quite a demanding one which needed commitment and patience, especially for a working individual.”
He was particularly pleased with the choice of topic, which he says, “makes or breaks” such a graduate research journey. “If you choose something you’re not really passionate about, or if you’re not really eager to research and it means something to you, then with the challenges one would face, you could easily find yourself quitting,” he said. “My topic was the effectiveness of EPC, which is engineering procurement construction in major projects in Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas sector from an end-user perspective. From my experience in operations at ADNOC, we were the end-users who looked after operating and maintaining these facilities.” Later on, he became Projects Director, managing projects in terms of their delivery.
There, he attempted to test and verify the effectiveness of this type of major projects’ model for the end-user. “Globally, there is always a compromise, and a push-and-pull between these two teams resembling project success and product success,” Al Dhaheri said. “The project manager wants to finish on time and save money to move to another project, but the end-user will endeavor to get best machinery and maintenance without poor access, as he is the one who will live with that. I’ve seen many cases where the end-user would try to push his cause in trying to get something modified or improved in certain parts of the project, but the project manager would insist that it’s not in the scope and would delay the project.” Such major projects take years, as technology evolves, rendering some equipment, at commissioning, almost obsolete.
“You have to exactly know what you want in these EPC projects,” he added. “I pointed out how to deal with these issues later on.” Al Dhaheri moved to the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, under which the Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority (ADWEA) was merged. Since June 2011, he has been serving as Senior Adviser to the Undersecretary and Chairman of the Al Ain Distribution Company, which provides utility services to Al Ain. He is also the Chairman of the Independent Sewage Treatment Plant 2, where sewage from Al Ain and Abu Dhabi is treated to purify water. The program greatly helped further his profession.“I am really pleased with the program,” he concluded. “The university invited me to become a member of the advisory board of the college and I am honored because this is an opportunity to loop the information we got from our experience into the program for improvements.”
Dr. Safa Maatouq Al Mohana
Head of Financial Projects and Compliance Abu Dhabi Media Company
DBA programme opened new doors for prominent financial researcher
For Dr Safa Maatouq Al Mohana, the DBA programme at the United Arab Emirates University has opened a number of vital doors. The Head of Financial Projects and Compliance at the prestigious Abu Dhabi Media Company has allowed her to reach her full potential as a researcher.
“The programme was great in that it helped set me up to address business issues through a powerful research process,” she said. “It helped me considerably in expanding my expert system and creating my educational expertise, while upgrading my examinations and presentation abilities through its extremely compact and compelling lectures.”
Dr Al Mohana graduated from the programme in November 2015, running in parallel to her 19 years at the company as Head of Investment. “I believe that I selected the United Arab Emirates University to study due to the distinguished faculty members and the high-quality standard of education,” she said. “In my current job, the course was able to open doors for me to propose innovative ideas for the company. It also helped me better understand management principles and learn how to combine management practices with advanced business theories.”
Dr Al Mohana, who is originally from Abu Dhabi, was especially thankful in the way the programme allowed her to develop her research, which extended through the stock markets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, investigating the degree of integration between domestic stock markets of the UAE, and integration with global stock markets. The research came out as the first of its kind in the sector. “I was interested in the topic initially due to the importance of the financial crisis which occurred in 2008,” she explained. “It raised the importance of this kind of study, which I think is the importance of know-of techniques and studying the challenges that may occur in the coming years.”
She called the DBA programme “excellent”, as it prepares participants to address business problems through an effective research process. “I advise anyone who plans to take on post-graduate studies to enroll in the programme,” she said. “This is the best programme that helps a lot in widening your professional network and develops personal intellect and practical skills, while enhancing research and presentation skills.”
Although her interest in finance dates back to her early days, she never imagined she would end up in the position she is in today. “I am focusing on some areas of finance, such as financial markets,” Dr Al Mohana said. “My Master’s degree was in the same field and my thesis was on the financial market but, more specifically, to evaluate the performance of selected sectors of the Abu Dhabi market using financial techniques.”
She feels the skills and qualifications she acquired have now surpassed her current position. “I have to move to another dynamic environment,” she said. “I want to utilise my skills, my knowledge and my competencies. Ultimately, I would like to become a minister related to finance and economics – nothing is impossible, we just have to pray and God will help us.”
Dr. Nadia Al Jaberi
Strategic Planning - Abu Dhabi Health Authority
DBA graduate aims to improve organizational learning in Abu Dhabi healthcare sector
When Nadia Al Jaberi graduated from the DBA program at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in April this year, her goal was to improve organizational learning in the field of healthcare.
Ms Al Jaberi has been working in strategic planning at the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (SEHA) for the past nine years, including seven years at Al Ain Hospital and two years at Tawam Hospital. She became interested in the program as it related to applied business.
“It’s not like a PhD,” she said. “It was more related to my work and more beneficial to my career. The main idea of doing a doctorate thesis is that you discover a practical problem in your workplace, and you do research and align it with literature, before merging it with the academic and the managerial or practical application.”
In her case, the research was focused on the impact of leadership styles on organizational learning. The context of her research was healthcare entities under the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (SEHA) in the Al Ain region, more specifically Al Ain Hospital, Tawan Hospital and the Ambulatory healthcare services. “The result of the research provided a lot of managerial implications for my employer, which is healthcare,” she said. “In the last 15 years, the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi has seen a rapid change in terms of their leadership and management, which caused a lot of learning frustration between employees, as everyone had different strategies. So my aim was to find the strategies to improve organizational learning, even if leadership styles change – we need to find a direction for this change.”
Having already acquired both a Bachelor degree and an MBA at UAEU in business management, she chose the DBA path for practical purposes and career improvement. “My research objective was to find an effective framework showing the impact of leadership styles on organizational learning through aligning the individual level with the organization’s level,” Ms Al Jaberi said.
“We have a template to do any research – you need to start with an idea and have literature, so the most difficult part was to align my idea and work problem with strong literature. Even if you have an idea, you need literature to build on this work.”
After pinpointing a number of ideas, she discovered that organizational learning was too wide a definition. “Having one set of organizational learning is so difficult,” she explained. “The most difficult part was to narrow down my idea and to have a strong basis of literature review related to our governmental strategy and the career problem that I found. When I narrowed down my problem, I successfully found a strong basis of literature and proposed my research hypothesis.”
When she first started out her career at the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, she never imagined she would reach such a high level later on. “I was in charge of the outpatient clinic at Al Ain Hospital and, seven years later, I decided that I needed to change my career path,” she said. “So I transferred to the Strategic Planning and Performance Management Section at Tawam Hospital two years ago because I saw it was more of a corporate level and you can see the big picture of all operations, strategies, clinical, human resources, and everything. It helped me a lot in my research.”
Her ultimate goal is to help in changing some of the strategies from the perspective of decision-makers, human resource and policy-makers, in terms of initiating strategies to improve organizational learning, and having effective leadership as well as academics. “I just started giving a part-time lecture to improve my academic skills,” Ms Al Jaberi said. “At my job, they have trainers from within the employees, so I am preparing material regarding management change effect or impact, and I can give any subject related to business management because it’s my major.”
She also plans to work on an extension of her research with one of her DBA colleagues. “I would highly recommend this program, especially for the senior level and leaders, because it broadens their mind and strengthens their decision-making skills and analytical skills,” she said. “It also improves their personality in a way that they become more analytical, wiser, and display more critical thinking.”
Dr. Yousif Alobaidli
General Director of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
United Arab Emirates graduate to change the face of cultural tourism in the UAE
Dr Yousif Alobaidli is one the most prominent figures in cultural tourism in the UAE. As the General Director of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre in Abu Dhabi and the Director General of the Founder’s Memorial for the late Sheikh Zayed, founding father of the UAE, Dr Alobaidli has been working arduously to put his country’s culture on the global map.
“We want to have a unique example by presenting tourism in the UAE, which has a very unique cultural aspect that will distinguish Abu Dhabi and the country in general from other destinations,” he said. “By focusing on this and enhancing cultural tourism, the economy of Abu Dhabi and the UAE will be further diversified and enhanced.”
HE Dr Alobaidli, who was born in Abu Dhabi, found his passion during his Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) at the United Arab Emirates University. His five years’ studying covered a variety of topics, from business administration and innovation, to change management, human resource investment and corporate social responsibility. That laid the foundation for his thesis on cultural tourism in the UAE, with a focus on hiring and retaining Emiratis as tour guides. “The UAE and Abu Dhabi, in particular, is focusing on this sector,” he said. “With Saadiyat Island being developed as a Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, it now hosts the Louvre Museum and many other projects are in the pipeline. This will add to the existing assets, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the most popular attractions in the world, which was nominated second best landmark in the world according to TripAdvisor in 2017.”
His time at the university, from which he graduated in November 2017, proved vital in supporting his role in this sector. “The programme is very well renowned, especially in the UAE,” he said. “It has a very high standard and the DBA is very practical as it covers almost all topics in Business. What’s good about it is that, when you conduct your thesis, it has to relate to something practical, so you’re tackling a practical issue within your field.”
He said that helped improve not only his academic side, but it also helped develop in him a deeper understanding of the field he specialised in. “Personally, I have an interest in matters related to culture and my background is related to developing new organisations, particularly businesses that focus on cultural tourism and visitor experience,” said Dr Alobaidli. “It’s important to keep the UAE’s culture alive.”
Upon his graduation, he further delved into the field, managing crucial cultural destinations across Abu Dhabi, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs. “Thanks to my specialisation in managing cultural tourism entities, and my study with a focus on engaging Emiratis to participate and contribute to this important sector and make it more sustainable, my contribution and my study helped me enhance this aspect,” he said. “We’ve achieved great progress in this regard and are going to achieve more.”
His main drive is to build a model for managing cultural tourism that is sustainable and utilises national assets, as well as Emirati human resources, which will help in turn to diversify the UAE’s economy away from the oil sector. This is aligned with Abu Dhabi’s 2030 Vision. “It’s really important because, for the UAE to have a more sustainable income and future, it has to diversify its economy and utlise all national assets, including Emirati youth,” he added. “One of the most significant elements globally, based on WTTC, shows that tourism is the largest sector that hires people, creates jobs and it is one of the sectors that has a great effect on other sectors of the economy, including transportation, travel and the hospitality industry. This sector is expected to grow faster than the wider economy and many other industries over the next decade and it is anticipated to support over 370 million jobs by 2016.”
He said the UAE had the necessary assets to invest in tourism, in particular in cultural tourism. “My job is to help put the UAE on the global map,” he said. “The country has so much to offer and it’s time for people around the world to pay closer attention to that – this sector will truly be a game-changer in the future.”
Azza Al Otaiba
Principal of Alqabyieya Campus, Institute of Applied Technology
When Azza Al Otaiba first joined the United Arab Emirates University’s College of Business in 1999 to study accounting, she never imagined she would one day be the first female Emirati to manage 1,600 students and 200 staff.
In her last two years at the university, Ms Al Otaiba started volunteer work in two
of its departments – Advising Unit & Internship & Career Development Unit. She was
then hired in the Career Department as a Training & Internship Specialist , where
she spent two years before being promoted to an Alumni & Student Development Manager
in the College of Business.
“I was there from 2008 to 2011,” she said. “I then moved to the Institute of Applied Technology because I wanted to move to Abu Dhabi and because of the career options available to me.”
For the following two years, she was an Alumni Supervisor. “I was promoted to Vice Principal of Operations in AL Ain for 2 years, followed by Principal of Alqabyiev campus from 2014 till now. I was the first female Emirati to hold this position, it used to be only for foreigners. I have been working there ever since.”
The position came with great responsibility, especially for a young woman of 32 years old – managing 1,600 students and 200 staff, as well as the institute itself. “I feel very proud of myself,” said Ms Al Otaiba, who is now 37. “At the same time, this is a big challenge for me because I need to prove that I can fulfill the responsibility they gave me.”
And the number of people she manages is constantly growing, an activity she says she enjoys. From operations to academics, Ms Al Otaiba is in charge of a vast amount of work – she must ensure the daily process goes smoothly for students, parents and staff, while ensuring the material is appropriately handed over to students and making sure they adapt to their curriculum.
From the beginning of the year, she starts recruiting and making campaigns for students to enroll in the institute’s schools, through school visits and presentations.
She also has to manage a variety of different nationalities and cultures from the academic and administrative staff. “I had to learn how to deal with all these different cultures, but it wasn’t difficult,” Ms Al Otaiba said. “I think, with my personality, I can be in these situations with people and I’m pretty flexible.”
Her family expressed great pride in her feat. “It runs in the family,” she went on. “My father used to be the Minister of the first Petroleum in the UAE, around the 1970s, and then he was the advisor of Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE, and of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE.”
Other family members are also high achievers, holding leading roles globally, with her brother, Yousef Al Otaiba, who is currently the UAE Ambassador to the United States.
For Ms Al Otaiba, the path she took exceeded all her expectations. “I didn’t expect to work in schools,” she said. “I thought I was going to continue at the university level only, which was one of the challenges because the school experience is different to university where you deal with specific people, and you have less people than in schools.”
She sees herself in her position for the long-term, being able to provide the institute with stability, experience and expertise she acquired over the years.
Her advice for current students is, “work in a job that believes in change for the better, where every day, there is something new and challenging.”
Manufacturing Engineer, Strata Manufacturing PJSC
Maryam Al-Kuwaiti is listed as one of the most influential women in 3D printing. The 25-year-old engineer played an important and integral role in the development and realization of the United Arab Emirates’ first 3D printed aircraft interior components. The female engineer has been recognized as a pioneer in the UAE’s additive manufacturing aerospace initiative.
More specifically, Al-Kiwaiti works for Strata Manufacturing PJSC’s joint initiative with Siemens and Etihad Airways which is aimed at producing 3D printed aircraft parts. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the UAE University, internships at the University of Oxford, California-based GlobalFoundries, and at the Airbus base in Toulouse, France.
As a prominent female engineer in the UAE’s aerospace industry, Al-Kiwaiti is hoping to inspire more women in the country, as well as across the Middle East to take on positions in engineering, 3D printing, and aerospace.
“I would encourage Emirati females to apply for jobs in this industry because the world is moving toward a Fourth Industrial Revolution – or Industry 4.0 – and this is leading to breakthroughs in advanced manufacturing and creating ‘smart factories’, where people and machines work together seamlessly.
“The UAE plans to be a big player in Industry 4.0, so there is, and will be, a need for engineers and people with the necessary vocational skills to play a role.”
HE Noura Al Kaabi
Cabinet Member and Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development
HE Noura Al Kaabi , Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi and twofour54, needs little introduction.
As one of the most prominent female powerhouses in the UAE, the Emirati, in 2014, was also named as one of Forbes Middle East’s 30 Most Influential Women in Government; and was awarded Business Woman of the Year at the Gulf Business Industry Awards while she has also held many other titles including board member of the National Media Council, Abu Dhabi Media, Image Nation and the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU).
It is the latter where HE Al Kaabi decided to choose to begin her higher education - and she credits the university for helping her cement the prolific career she enjoys today.
"When deciding the academic path I wanted to pursue, there were a variety of options in the UAE - however, UAEU was one of the few institutions that offered a programme combining two of my interests at the time: management and understanding data,” she explained. "This is why I chose the Management Information Systems (MIS) degree as it appealed to me the most.
HE Al Kaabi said reflecting on her time at UAEU, there were many highlights during
her time of studying at the number one-ranking university in the UAE.
"There were a number of stand-out moments for me at UAEU, but the ones I really remember are interacting with classmates and professors during and outside of class.,” she says. "I enjoyed getting to know everyone and learning about them, as well as working with them on projects and reports.
"My time at UAEU helped me prepare for my work now, where I am constantly interacting with new people. I learned many valuable things from my fellow students and professors, and continue to learn from people I meet today. This is something I find important and necessary.”
HE Al Kaabi said her time at the university helped her learn two vital skills; how to both communicate effectively and research well. "I gained the knowledge and skills needed to pursue my roles through interaction with classmates and professors.,” she says. "When I worked on practical projects, I was able to really hone my managerial and organizational skills.”
"I learned what worked well with people and what didn’t, how to communicate my concerns and feedback properly and how to motivate both myself and a team. The programme helped me realise my aspirations to become a leader and thrive when faced with challenges in life and work.”
Since leaving the UAEU, HE Al Kaabi has worked in a variety of roles, starting in the IT department of Zayed Military Hospital. "In this position, I was able to practically use all I learned during the course of my degree,” she says. "It was an insightful experience as I was involved with the hospital’s information management system and I would also deal with staff, doctors, and military decision-makers.”
After working in the hospital for three years, HE Al Kaabi decided to undergo a shift in her career by joining Abu Dhabi gas company Dolphin Energy as part of the Human Resources Department. "I was mainly responsible for Training and Development,” she says. "I spent four years developing my skills in terms of HR policies and career progress plans for employees."
In 2007, HE Al Kaabi once again decided to change her career course by helping to find the media free zone twofour54 Abu Dhabi to help the creative economy scene in the emirate.
"I was the first employee and would eventually be joined by 30 more people who would bring twofour54 to life,” she says. "This was a particularly steep learning curve for me. From engaging community members about the sector and setting up creative labs, to being on set for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in the middle of Abu Dhabi’s desert, it has been a worthwhile accomplishment to see how far I have come. Working from scratch and building up a new sector in Abu Dhabi shaped who I am and the path of my career.”
"Now, I will continue learning and giving back to the community through my role as Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs where I aim to further my mission of empowering women and the youth."
For all her accomplishments, HE Al Kaabi said her biggest career highlight to date would be her appointment as part of the federal government to represent a ministry that improves the political scene in the UAE. "Given the current tumultuous regional challenges, this position is crucial to me,” she says. “Of course, this achievement comes with the support of great leadership, trust, and the talented team surrounding me.”
While HE Al Kaabi says she draws her inspiration in many forms, she chiefly gets inspired from daily encounters with other people, from the books she reads, and the art she sees. "However, when it comes to my career and nation-building, my biggest inspiration is undoubtedly our founding father HH Sheikh Zayed,” she added.
As she reflects back on her time at UAEU, she has a message for present-day students. "The world may be filled with opportunities,” she says. "But, they only appear with hard work, dedication and, most of all, passion. "Use your youth to explore your curiosities, your interests. Don't settle for what comes easy. This path is more difficult, but, life is a marathon, not a sprint. "The more you enjoy what you do the more you'll be able to contribute to the community and society. Your ambition should go beyond yourself - there is no limit - but, it starts here, today."
Dr. Mohamed Sulaiman Mohamed Al Hammadi
Advisor, Chief Prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Technical Office - International
Judicial Cooperation Unit, Dubai Public Prosecution
Dr Mohammed Sulaiman Mohammed Al Hammadi is part of an elite team upholding the laws of the UAE and protecting the rights of its people - and as he carries out his work with pride, he is quick to salute the role that United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has played in his legal life.
As an advisor and Chief Prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Technical Office - International Judicial Cooperation Unit at Dubai Public Prosecution, Dr Al Hammadi holds a key role in his home nation’s mission of building a fair and secure community, where freedom, justice, independence, and partnership are the watchwords.
His 17-year legal career has seen him hold many pivotal positions – in addition to his current post, he has been a legal lecturer and an expert specializing in international arbitration in commercial and banking disputes and international cases – and amass a portfolio of achievements. And he credits his time at the UAE’s flagship university for steering him towards this successful career path.
Having developed a keen interest in the criminal justice system and its importance in protecting human dignity and upholding human rights, Dr Al Hammadi commenced his studies at UAEU in 1995, graduating in 2000 from its Faculty of Sharia & Law.
The UAE national said he chose to pursue his higher education at the longest-established - and highest-ranking - university in his home country because of its distinguished international faculty, and its local and global stature.
"I chose UAEU as it enjoys a good reputation and holds a prestigious position among many universities,” explained Dr Al Hammadi. "The reason for choosing the specialization of Sharia & Law was my personal desire and inclination, and reflected my search for excellence in the field of law.” Dr Al Hammadi retains fond memories of his time at UAEU, and describes receiving his Bachelor’s degree as one of the highlights of his life.
“The time of my graduation from the university was the happiest time,” recalled Dr Al Hammadi, who was invited by UAEU to participate in the College of Sharia & Law’s 2017 graduation ceremony as an example to students of how their education at the Al Ain institution gives them a grounding in excellence.
"I consider the UAEU's Faculty of Sharia & Law to be the source from which I gained
my knowledge and understanding of the sciences of the legal system. My time at the
university helped me to build my legal capability, and provided me with guidance in
“It helped me to determine which occupation best suits me, and that led me to my position in the Dubai Public Prosecution as a prosecutor - a position which I am very proud of.”
In addition to his Bachelor’s Degree from UAEU, Dr Al Hammadi's educational achievements include a Master’s Degree in International Law from Australia's La Trobe University, a Doctorate in Philosophy in Private Law from the University of Sharjah, a Higher Diploma in Legal and Judicial Sciences, and a Diploma in Criminal Sciences from the Dubai Police Academy. He continues to participate in many workshops, conferences, symposia, and specialized and general training courses.
"I am very proud to have been a prosecutor since 2002, and the progression I have made along my career path,” he said. “This has led me to occupying my current position in the technical office of the Attorney General in the unit of International Judicial Cooperation, which is designed to look into various international requests in the field of international judicial cooperation, including extradition requests and judicial assistance requests. “This is all thanks to the help I have received from higher leadership, my directors, and my colleagues, and their trust they have placed in me, as well as my own efforts. That is what I consider to be my biggest achievement.
As an alumnus of UAEU, Dr Al Hammadi maintains a strong relationship and association with the university that has played such a key role in his life to this day. And he has advice, and a message, for its current students. “Always have faith in Allah, trust yourself, and trust others,” he says. “This is the biggest incentive and motivation for you to achieve what you seek, and what is sought from you. "Whoever strives for the top, desires excellence, and seeks success has to work hard. They will only achieve their goals through perseverance and tireless effort.”
Dr. Amer Ahmad Sharif
Chief Executive Officer Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Education Sector (DHCE) and the Vice Chancellor of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU)
When he walked through the doors of United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in 1996, Dr. Amer Sharif never realised he would continue his studies at the flagship institution for two decades - from Bachelor of Medicine student to a PhD graduate - all the while helping put his country on the map for healthcare.
Currently holding down two roles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Education Sector (DHCE) and the Vice Chancellor of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), Dr Sharif is a familiar figurehead in UAE healthcare circles.
As the CEO of the education sector within the Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), which oversees the development of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), Dr Sharif has broadened the reach of MBRU, established in 2014 to advance individual and community healthcare status in the UAE.
Beginning his studies in medicine, Dr Sharif said when it came to selecting a university in which to pursue his studies, the answer was an easy one. “UAEU is a model organisation and it is the model university for the nation,” he said. “So it was an absolute honour just to be accepted as a medical student. I spent eight years in Al Ain and it was the best moments of my life. "Myself and my fellow students were lucky because we were at the new faculty building for the College Of Medicine and Health Sciences - we were the first batch who used that facility.”
After finishing his Medical Degree from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) from the University, Dr Sharif became a teaching assistant in medical education at the UAEU.
“I was the first UAEU national who was a teaching assistant in medical education,” he explained, before he made the move back to the emirate of Dubai where he has since enjoyed a stellar career at the helm of many government healthcare departments. But his affiliation with the UAEU continued.
“I was a student of the UAEU until last year, so you can consider me a student from 1996 until 2016 when I completed my Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Mapping the UAE Health System: Challenges and Recommendations from the UAE - which I started in 2010,” he said. "I was the first student to graduate from the medical school in the UAEU and to do a PhD in the medical school. I maintained a relationship with UAEU through alumni and through participating in many of the events and programmes and I was also excited to become the first general co-ordinator for alumni of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences."
Dr Sharif said his long affiliation with the university is one he holds close to his heart. “Every moment I spent at the university was a special one,” he said. “It was not just the studies but activities outside studies too. I was part of the medical students association, so we got involved in sporting and social activities. It felt like a home away from home. It has been 20 years of exciting moments."
During those 20 years, his career has flourished. Having also completed a Master of Science (MSc) in Healthcare Management from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI), in 2005 Dr Sharif began working for the Dubai Health Authority, joining the office of the Assistant Director General.
“It was a big learning experience for me,” said Dr Sharif, explaining he had moved from a teaching role to a more management position. “I was going into a role that helped oversee the whole (healthcare) position."
Dr Sharif went onto hold many more titles at the healthcare authority, including Director of Human Resources and Director of Healthcare Operations at the DHA, while he was also involved in helping establish several key projects in the Dubai medical sector. Ultimately, he became the CEO of the Education Sector at Dubai Health City Authority, while also securing the role of Vice Chancellor of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, which he describes a “like a dream come true”.
“It has always been a dream to help create and develop a healthy workforce of the future and develop an integrated academic health system that acts as an umbrella that will network with healthcare providers, with researchers, and with healthcare professionals across the system,” he said. “Establishing a new medical university in Dubai is something you won’t get often in your lifetime, so I think this has been the highlight of my career until now and I am very grateful to the leadership of the country and to the UAEU - who have given me all the skills and knowledge to be in this place today. If it was not for the UAEU I would not be in this place.”
Given his long affiliation with the university, when asked if he had any words of wisdom for any current students, Dr Sharif said: “Know that every day is a significant learning opportunity. Work hard, be respectfully ambitious, learn from others and create connections from day one. As much as you can, collaborate with colleagues and benchmark yourself with others and learn from others. And I think the UAEU gives a great platform to do that.”
Dr Sharif credits Sheikh Zayed, the UAE’s founding father, as his main inspiration and role model throughout his successful career.
“In this country we are inspired by our rulers,” he said. “Sheikh Zayed was a very visionary person; if it was not for him and the wise leaders who came together with him to establish the country we would not be in this situation we are in today. We are leading the world today in certain areas - that is credit to the visionary leadership we are blessed to have in our country.”
Dr. Khalid Alnaqbi,
Head and Consultant of Rheumatology & Immunology and Clinical Assistant Professor at the College of Medicine & Health Sciences,
Al Ain Hospital, UAE
A chance meeting with a medical student at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) put Dr. Khalid Alnaqbi on a path to a career that led him to head Abu Dhabi’s busiest department for patients suffering from inflammatory and autoimmune rheumatic diseases.
Unlike many students who decided to be doctors at an early age, Dr Alnaqbi decided to train in the medical field only two years before studying at the UAE University’s College of Medicine & Health Sciences (CMHS).
"I originally wanted to be a mechanical engineer or a nuclear physicist but while I was in high school I lived in Al Ain city for a week with my friend who was a medical student at the CMHS,” he explained. "I saw what would be my future life at the university and became thrilled to walk on this pathway.”
Dr Alnaqbi retains fond memories of his seven-year spell at the UAEU campus, and describes receiving his doctorate as one of the highlights of his life.
"I had a good time living the life of a medical student at the UAEU,” he recalled. "The best moment was in my seventh year when we were at the College of Medicine waiting for the results of the final exam.
"The Dean came out of the meeting room and shook hands with each of us saying ‘congratulation doctor!’. “At that moment, I felt I was the king of the world! I called my mother and we both cried out of joy.”
Dr Alnaqbi credits the faculty at the UAE’s flagship university for steering him on the successful career path he has enjoyed to date. "At the University we had excellent professors who were role models and encouraged us to advance the wheel of knowledge by participating in research,” he explained. "I also was moved by the passion of the professors of internal medicine.”
It was his mentors at the UAEU who inspired Dr Alnaqbi to make the 11,000km one-way trip to Canada to embark on a ten-year post-graduate educational journey to further his studies and knowledge.
The doctor completed a residency training in internal medicine and rheumatology - followed by a fellowship in Spondyloarthritis - at the University of Toronto. He also obtained Master of Clinical Epidemiology and became the only Emirati to complete the Clinician Investigator Program accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
After a decade in Canada, Dr Alnaqbi decided to return to his home country to share the knowledge he had learned and began work as a Consultant Rheumatologist at Al Ain Hospital, climbing the career path to become the Head of Department and Clinical Assistant Professor. His day-to-day activities now include patient care in the clinics, infusion day care, ward consultations, teaching post-graduate trainees and administrative work.
When it comes to highlights in his career, Dr Alnaqbi has many achievements under his belt, including establishing the infrastructure for the Rheumatology department. This entailed establishing sub-specialty clinics (Early Arthritis Clinic, Connective Tissue Disease Clinic, and Spondylitis Clinic), establishing Infusion Day Care, developing new clinical guidelines for rheumatic diseases and policies on handling infusion drugs for health care workers (rheumatologists, nurses, pharmacists). Dr Alnaqbi was also responsible for developing the Nursing Manual for Rheumatology Department and new patient educational pamphlets.
Not only content in enjoying his own career success, Dr Alnaqbi is committed to passing on the beacon of knowledge to other young medical students.
“I developed undergraduate and post-graduate curricula for family residents and internal residents, obtaining mannequins for teaching injections for soft tissues and joints,” he explained. "Despite limited manpower, I have spent a lot of my personal time to achieve this. Now, we are currently the most productive rheumatology department in the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA)."
When it comes to those who have inspired him the most in his working career, Dr Alnaqbi looks to his own family tree as a motivational force. "I have been inspired by my parents for their hard work and support in raising us and ensuring that we succeed in our lives,” he said. "I lost my mother recently but her inspiration has given me strength to overcome many life challenges."
As an alumnus of UAEU, Dr Alnaqbi credits the university for playing such a key role in his life and he has advice, and a message, for its current students. If you had to give any words of wisdom to current students at the UAEU what would it be? "Love what you do because it will self-motivate you to be better at it,” he said. "Life has many challenges, and it is up to you to decide how you react to these challenges. "Just believe in yourself."
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