American University of Sharjah establishes Gulf Studies Center

His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), chaired the meeting of the AUS Board of Trustees held at the university today.

The Sharjah Ruler was pleased with the university’s recent progress and appreciated the steps it has taken to further cement its reputation as one of the region’s finest institutions of higher learning. His Highness also thanked the members of the AUS Board of Trustees for the dedication and commitment towards the cause of higher education in general and AUS in particular.

At the meeting, the board announced the establishment of the AUS Gulf Studies Center at the university. Following the meeting, Dr. Thomas Hochstettler, Acting Chancellor, said that the establishment of the center is the culmination of the distinguished array of faculty and resources assembled by the university over the years. The center, which was approved in concept last year by the board, is envisioned as an institute slated to play an important role internationally.

“We envisage this center to provide a host of research opportunities not only for our own faculty but also to draw the best minds globally to its doors,” said Dr. Hochstettler. “We aim to make it a focal point for Gulf studies internationally. In sync with the strategic initiatives of AUS, the establishment of the AUS Gulf Studies Center is part of the university’s mission to become organically linked with society and to play a key role in helping develop answers to the challenges we face both nationally as well as regionally.”

The board has also announced the establishment of the Friends of AUS Association in the United States of America. This new entity, set-up in collaboration with the Resource Development Committee, will work towards facilitating relationship-building with North American educational, corporate and alumni institutions. Led by AUS Board of Trustee member Joseph Brand, the association aims to build fruitful ties between AUS and organizations based in the US.

A number of other important resolutions were also passed at the meeting. The board of trustees voted resolutions of appreciation expressing their sincere gratitude to a number of Friends of the university for their contribution towards AUS education mission. The board thanked Emirates Telecommunication Company (du) for its valued contribution towards the establishment of The du Scholarship Fund; Messrs Nasser, Yousef and Hussain Al Nowais for their valued contribution towards The establishment of the Nasser, Yousef and Hussain Al Nowais Scholarship Fund; and The PepsiCo Foundation for its valued contribution towards the establishment of The PepsiCo Scholarship Program at AUS.

The AUS FY 2014 budget, faculty promotions, as well as the awarding of rolling contracts to 28 faculty members were also approved.

The board also awarded posthumously the title of Professor Emeritus to the late Dr. Ibrahim Sadek, former Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, for his professional qualifications and commitment to the university.

The board also welcomed Dr. S. Georgia Nugent as its latest member. Dr. Nugent is the President of Kenyon College in the US. Previously, she was Dean of Princeton University’s Harold W. McGraw Jr. Center for Teaching and Learning. She holds a PhD in classics from Cornell University and is a widely published scholar of the classics, specializing in epic poetry and Greek tragedy. She has numerous articles and presentations to her credit, as well as a book on allegory. She also holds the distinction of being the first female graduate of Princeton University to hold a full-time faculty appointment at the university.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the board agreed to hold the next meeting in Sharjah to coincide with the Alumni Reunion Dinner.

Prior to the meeting, His Highness also inaugurated a photographic exhibition entitled Narration of the Place by Al Nima Farah Al Khaldi, held at the university. The exhibition, held in collaboration with the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, Directorate of Art, comprised 60 photographs highlighting the humanitarian and architectural achievements of the Sharjah Ruler.

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