UOW in Dubai celebrates 25 years of academic excellence
Gala event marks "phenomenal journey of transformation"
The University of Wollongong in Dubai’s (UOWD) growth from an apartment gathering of eight students into a thriving university of 3,600 students and more than 10,000 alumni was described as a “phenomenal” at a silver jubilee gala dinner in Dubai.
The prestigious event, held on Wednesday 24 October, drew industry, government and education leaders from across the emirates and beyond to celebrate 25 years of academic excellence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and recognise UOW’s unrivalled position as the longest standing international university operating in the Gulf nation.
Considered by many as Australia’s most successful off-shore higher education facility, in 1999 UOWD became the first foreign university to receive a licence from the UAE’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, enabling it to provide accredited courses for Emirati Government Departments, which has since become an integral part of the operation.
In his welcoming address, UOWD President, Professor Mohamed Salem, thanked the UAE government for supporting the University to become a prominent leader of quality higher education in the region and commended staff, students, alumni and stakeholders for their contribution to its “phenomenal transformational journey” over the last 25 years.
“As the UAE strives to position itself among the world’s leading innovative nations, we will continue to play an important role in bringing forward innovative ways to empower people and communities”, he said.
Among the attendees were Australian Consul-General Ian Halliday, Australian Embassy Chargé d'affaires, Julie Shams, UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE, UOWD Board Chairman, Peter Robson AO, UOW Global Enterprises CEO and Managing Director, Marisa Mastroianni, other members of the UOWD Board and the chief architect of UOWD, University Fellow Dr James Langridge.
In his keynote address, Professor Wellings also acknowledged the many contributors to UOWD’s success, particularly UOWD’s past and present President, staff and board members.
“From humble beginnings in 1993, the University of Wollongong in Dubai has evolved to be a distinguished, dynamic and diverse institution delivering the highest standards of education in one of the world’s fastest growing economic centres.
“Central to our outstanding growth is that the University is continually developing new programs intrinsically linked to the development of the UAE.
“We are immensely proud of our role in the growth of the UAE since 1993. Many of our graduates are now captains of government, of Dubai’s thriving industries and increasingly its start-up communities.
“In other words, we are growing with Dubai. We are creating the future together,” he said.
Professor Wellings said while the original programs in English, Commerce and Business that helped Dubai lay foundations for its growth remain part of UOWD’s DNA, its operations have broadened to include computer science, engineering, education and the humanities as well as an increasing research impact.
To mark the silver jubilee milestone, the UOWD launched a commemorative book narrating UOWD’s journey of transformation and UOW presented UOWD with a pure silver bullion sculpture commissioned by artist Adrian Ward, which symbolises how the written word has been on a journey of transformation, from the development of papyrus to the digital age of computers but continues to be the key to education.
Future plans for UOWD include a new state-of-the-art campus, which is under construction and expected to be operational by early 2020. A miniature 3D model of the new campus was unveiled during the event.
UOWD plans to continue evolving its programs to meet UAE needs, including into new discipline areas such as health and education, along with high impact research and even closer industry engagement, including participation in EXPO2020.
UOW in Dubai celebrates 25 years
About UOW in Dubai
The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) is one of the UAE's oldest and most prestigious universities. Established in 1993 by the University of Wollongong in Australia - currently ranked amongst the leading universities in the world – UOW in Dubai represents a pioneering Australian initiative in the Gulf region. The University has more than 3,600 students and supports a network of more than 10,000 alumni.