HE Zaki Nusseibeh Delivers Commencement Speech at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (SUAD) Graduation Ceremony

The 2019 batch of students at the Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (SUAD) graduated on 17 November, 2019 in the presence of His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

HE Nusseibeh echoed the sentiments of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and shared a powerful message for the graduating class of 2019.

HE Nusseibeh said, “First of all, I am honored to attend and take part in the graduation ceremony of the 10th batch of Sorbonne Abu Dhabi students. It is a great pleasure for me to witness this academic commencement, which started with the graduation of the first batch of students in 2009, under the wise guidance of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE , and his Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.”

He stated, “When the great Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan rose with his fellow rulers to build our modern nation, he did so with a handful of academics who graduated from universities from around the world. Students resorted to studying abroad due to a lack of educational opportunities in the UAE. Sheikh Zayed was a visionary who recognized that education is the golden gate through which the sons and daughters of the nation embark on a promising path of development, prosperity and creativity across various developmental fields. With science, civilizations are built, and by science, nations advance”.

He observed the rapid infrastructural change that the UAE has experienced within the last few years and identified the establishment of Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi in 2006 as central to the academic renaissance of the emirates.

HE Nusseibeh stated, “Since its inception, the University has been a distinguished academic institution and provides its students with the highest standards of education, research and service. It strives to be a scientific beacon and provides a bulwark of intellectual freedom, a home for creativity and innovation, a torch for knowledge, and contributes to the advancement of human civilization. In keeping with this mission, the university fortifies mankind with dignity and knowledge of the sciences”.

The transformation of Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi took place in 2018, through the merger of Paris-Sorbonne and Pierre et Marie Curie Universities. The resurgence of the university coupled with the establishment of a new governance for SUAD in the same year, gave new impetus to the University’s development. This partnership aimed at bringing the renowned excellence and worldwide recognition of Francophone education to Abu Dhabi, assimilated in the UAE national context. With programs offered in French and in English, the university complements Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision of becoming a cultural and scientific hub. It’s role as an academic institution is to contribute to the development of the UAE and its future work force, in addition to the country’s growth and economic diversification.

President and Vice Chairman of Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, Professor Jean Chambaz expressed his pride in celebrating another graduating class of students who enjoyed a supportive and innovative environment that helped them thrive both personally and academically.

“We are one of the most prominent universities in the world working on new programs in artificial intelligence and setting infrastructure for research here in SUAD. So, we decided to set up a mirror artificial intelligence center in SUAD, which will host research education chairs here in partnerships with French and Emirati companies. It surely is a big success for us and we are very happy to contribute to the development of SUAD.”

The initiation of the program will be decided at the occasion of the next meeting of the board of trustees in 26 January 2020.

During the ceremony, the French ambassador Ludovic Pouille addressed the graduates saying, “We are thankful for the remarkable development we get to witness under the directives of His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh, the leadership of our Chairman of the Board, Professor Jean Chambaz, and the University’s senior management, as well as the support and competence of our academic faculty and administration staff.”

Mr. Pouille added, “Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi takes pride in being one of the most outstanding universities worldwide.  With our students at the heart of all that we do, and a keen eye on the needs of the economy and public services, the university focuses all its energy on graduating exemplary professionals and innovators.”

Sorbonne University offers a total of 29 programs in the disciplines of Humanities, Social sciences, Science, History of Arts and Museum Studies, Languages, Law and Economics. With the arrival of 2020, the university will welcome new curricula and the anticipated opening of the Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence- Abu Dhabi, that mirrors its counterpart in Paris.

Commenting on the occasion, Mrs. Laurence Renault, Acting Executive Director said, “I am very proud to work for Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, a fast growing university that enables its youth to shape tomorrow’s world. With more than  900 students currently enrolled, out of which 53% are Emirati nationals, SUAD has quickly taken roots in the UAE. The university addresses various 21st century challenges; gathering students from more than 65 different nationalities, it is a multicultural institution where the future leaders are instilled the values of tolerance. Additionally, with more than 70% of its population being female, the university advances women empowerment in the region”.

“Regarding the 4th industrial revolution, the opening of the Sorbonne Center for Artificial intelligence-Abu Dhabi in early 2020 will position Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi as a leading research center on Artificial Intelligence and its applications, notably to Climate, Environment, Exploration of the Universe, Health and Medicine – not to mention an in-depth reflection on the Ethical and Sociological issues at stake in this development,” concluded Mrs. Renault.

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