Third annual AUS Business Forum begins

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), Sheikh Abdullah Bin Salim Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah opened the AUS main Building on Monday,  the third annual AUS Business Forum.

Themed “Turning Challenges into Opportunities,” the event was attended by leading executives in the GCC. The forum, which engages business leaders, academics and industry leaders, is to initiate a platform for business and investment opportunities in response to the ever-changing business environment in the GCC.

The opening ceremony was attended by Sheikh Salem Bin Abdulrahman Al Qassimi, Director of the Office of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah; Salem al Owais, Advisor at the office of Sharjah Ruler, AUS Trustee Hamid Jafar, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Crescent Petroleum, Mohammad Diab Al Mosa, the Advisor at the office of the Ruler of Sharjah; Salem Yousef Al Qaseer, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs; Ali Shuhaimi, Vice Chancellor for Enrolment Management, Clive McDaniel Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration; deans and senior officials.

“The forum is a special gathering of eminent men and women whose presence today fulfills an important purpose for this university: the sharing of bold, creative ideas by some of the finest minds with a receptive audience on matters relevant and current. Whatever your field of interest may be, you can find something of value at one of the panel discussions at the Business Forum,” said Dr. Peter Heath, AUS Chancellor.

“His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah envisioned that science and education must regain their rightful place in the advancement of our society, and it is for this reason that the university continues a bold, collaborative strategy of networking the AUS community with the private sector to fulfill the needs of the UAE,” said Dr. Nada Mourtada-Sabbah, AUS Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs. “The forum, in its third year now, is one of the university’s key channels utilized to identify and address contemporary topics in a manner to provide a ‘formula for the future’ that brings together leading industry experts from various sectors, with farsighted governmental leadership, along with leading academic scholars. With the global economy’s current challenges, we feel that the forum achieves a much-needed triangulation between academia, governmental agencies and the private sector,” she added.

AUS Business Forum 2012 featured keynote addresses by AUS Trustee Hamid Jafar, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Crescent Petroleum, and Homaid Al Shemmari, Executive Director of Mubadala Aerospace.

“Today’s sessions will be a great learning experience for all of you students, recent graduates and alumni. I hope that it will spark a set of ideas and enthusiasm in you that will grow into successful careers that will benefit you, your families and society at large,” said Mr. Jafar. “As you embark on this pursuit of suitable career paths for your future, I implore you to also take a leadership role in educating your communities on better uses of available resources. Abuse of resources is challenging our environment and jeopardizing our future—that is why I am asking you to be ambassadors for a sustainable future as you pursue your future.”

“Human capital development is the most important challenge in the UAE. That is why it gives me great pleasure to participate in this forum because this is one of the best ways to address this challenge,” said Al Shemmari. “We as business leaders and government entities need to partner with educational institutions like AUS to find ways to develop the required human capital.

The event featured six panels including a keynote panel, which addressed the forum’s theme, “Turning Challenges Into Opportunities.” Keynote panelists included Raja Easa Al Gurg, Managing Director of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group; Fatima Obaid Al Jaber, Chief Operating Officer of Al Jaber Group; and Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology of ICT Qatar. Other panels featured prominent speakers from UAE, KSA and Qatar discussing the topics Family Business and Entrepreneurship, Urbanism and Construction, Energy, Business and Media.

The university’s annual Career Fair was held in parallel with the AUS Business Forum. The fair provided the AUS community with the opportunity to meet with scores of different local, regional and international private, semi-government and government agencies interested in recruiting AUS students and graduates as either full-time employees and/or interns.

“The Career Fair is truly a gateway to opportunity. It interfaces the AUS laboratory, where our students acquire skills and knowledge, and the world of business, where these skills and knowledge are put to use. Graduating seniors and alumni have the wonderful convenience of interacting with a multitude of company officers ready to hire suitable candidates. Many local and multinational companies participate in the Career Fair, most from the United Arab Emirates but many from other countries as well,” Dr. Heath added.

Eighty prominent businesses participated in this year’s Career Fair, including Crescent Petroleum and SAP Middle East as gold sponsors; L’Oreal, Unilever, Petrofac, National Petroleum Construction Company, Cummins and DEWA as silver sponsors; and Al Sayegh Media, Hewlett Packard, Chalhoub Group, Philips, Shell, Procter & Gamble, Dolphin Energy, Arabtec Construction, SABB, Technolous Integrated Solutions, ADNOC, Tyco Valves, and Alstom as bronze sponsors.

The Career Fair was organized by the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at AUS as part of the university’s commitment to provide its students and graduates opportunities to locate appropriate jobs and prepare them to be integrated within the labor market. Both events attracted a large number of students, alumni, guests and faculty members.

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