UAE, April 4, 2017 – Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) and Chairman of the Governing Board of the United Nations Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO), made history as he delivered a landmark keynote address during this year's graduation ceremony of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in Australia--being the first ever Arab personality invited to speak at a commencement exercise of an Australian institute of education. The graduation, which was held at the USQ campus in Toowoomba, Australia, served as a strategic platform for Dr. Mansoor to throw the spotlight on the UAE's achievements in global education, especially in the fields of smart and lifelong learning. He also urged the graduates to play a pivotal role in the efforts to achieve sustainable development. His visit also resulted in the signing of a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between HBMSU and USQ for the continuing exchange of knowledge, training and experiences in smart education.
Dr. Al Awar started by congratulating all graduates on their outstanding academic success and their keenness to build confidence and contribute effectively in the move to shape the future by pursuing achievements and promising opportunities as well as addressing major challenges. The Chancellor highlighted the important achievements and specific efforts of the UAE under its wise leadership to position optimal investments in human resource at the top of its strategic priorities. This, he explained, will be done by providing education to all members of society and advancing the education sector through leadership, innovation and excellence, which he said will positively impact society both locally and globally. He also praised the pioneering position of the UAE as a destination for the brightest minds and innovators in the world and as an incubator for Arab and international youth to transform their dreams and creative ideas into real achievements.
Dr. Al Awar further revealed that the most important element in the UAE's line of achievements is the continuous improvement of the educational process and environment to reach the highest international standards. This, he pointed out, was achieved through the launch of unprecedented initiatives that have established UAE's leading position in general and Dubai in particular as global centers for modern education—keeping at pace with the latest developments in the educational sector in the 21st century. He added that HBMSU has succeeded in radically changing the concept of education in the Arab region and has played a key role in spreading a culture of quality and scientific research by introducing smart education, distance learning and lifelong learning principles to the Arab World. The University, he noted, has become a proactive model for envisioning the future and leading the march of leadership, innovation and progress of the education sector.
The Chancellor also talked about his educational and professional life before the audience and gave practical tips and guidance to graduates, encouraging them to move forward in the journey to academic excellence and to optimally use scientific knowledge to achieve the highest levels of excellence in various aspects of their personal and professional lives.
Dr. Al Awar said: “The first step to success is to learn for learning's sake and not just for career excellence, wealth or social status, while focusing on refining the individual and collective skills of youths and motivating them to keep pace with technological changes and developments in knowledge which are the cornerstones of today's institutional community that is based on social networking and technological innovations. Cooperation, creativity, technological innovation and broadening the scope from traditional education will no doubt enable young leaders to reach top positions and build a brighter and more sustainable future that will bring more progress, prosperity, success and development for them and for the world.”
“Cooperation and participation are key values that every young man and woman must commit to in light of the global openness that allows them today to invest in skills and exchange their knowledge and academic achievements with the global market. Proactive planning for the future, the development of a clear roadmap for decision-making, and moving forward with future personal and professional endeavors will enable them to achieve their goals,” Dr. Al Awar added.
The MoU signed on the sidelines of Dr. Al Awar's visit is aimed at promoting cooperation and exploring opportunities for strengthening relations in areas of common interest, including the development of educational programs and those involving cooperative professional development and student exchanges. The partnership also includes cooperation to participate in and organize seminars, workshops, joint academic conferences, conducting joint research as well as the exchange of materials and teaching content between the two universities.
Regarding the MoU, Dr. Al Awar said: “The Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Southern Queensland comes as part of our sustained commitment to the continuous development of academic content and the exchange of expertise, knowledge and experience with our counterparts from around the world, especially academic institutions that share our vision and ambition to improve the culture of smart education and distance learning. We look forward to this strategic partnership with one of the world's leading universities, which has a long history of more than five decades of excellence, leadership and progress in the field of university and smart education. The MoU will boost our tireless endeavors to shape the educational landscape in the UAE and across the Arab World to world-class standards and make the UAE a leading destination for higher education and smart education on the world map.”
For his part, John Dornbusch, Chancellor of the University of Southern Queensland, said: “We are delighted to welcome an Arab figure with such innovative thinking and powerful cultural presence on the regional and global education map, to present to our graduates his extensive experiences and in-depth knowledge on achieving leadership, creativity and innovation personally and professionally. As we celebrate the graduation of a new batch of young men and women who are able to assume major responsibilities in the future, we are also honored to enter into a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University to strengthen cooperation in order to reinforce the concept of smart education and emphasize the importance of innovation and scientific research. I am inspired by Dr. Mansour Al Awar, who is working hard to implement the directives of the UAE's wise leadership who said that ‘If we don't innovate, we evaporate'. We look forward to continuing this close cooperation with a University that shares our passion, dynamism and innovation in education and learning, to build an international community based on knowledge, creative excellence, and forward thinking.”
At the end of the ceremony, Dr. Al Awar met with a group of young Emirati students at the University of Southern Queensland. He paid tribute to the skilled UAE Nationals who have succeeded in spreading the UAE's culture of excellence worldwide and achieved the highest levels of scientific and professional success.