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UAE’s oldest Western private university celebrates a milestone in the presence of a galaxy of dignitaries

UOWD marks silver jubilee with more ambitious plans through new state-of-the-art campus opening in 2020

Dubai, 29 October 2018: The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), UAE’s oldest Western university that has played a key role in delivering quality higher education since 1993, celebrated its silver jubilee by paying tributes to its founders and unveiling a miniature 3-D model of a new campus that will be commissioned in early 2020.

The university’s 200,000 sq.ft. state-of-the-art campus is currently taking shape on a new plot at Dubai Knowledge Park, just a short distance from the University’s current UOWD3dcampus. The expansion represents a substantial investment by UOWD, consolidating its position as one of UAE’s leading universities, currently hosting over 3,000 students.

A galaxy of the university’s key officials and other dignitaries attended the 25th anniversary gala dinner held at the Waldorf Astoria, Dubai Palm Jumeirah. In his welcome address, Professor Mohamed Salem, President of UOWD,  said that the University’s transformational journey over the last 25 years have been phenomenal, and commended the staff and stakeholders for their contribution, as well as the UAE government for supporting the University to become a prominent player in quality higher education in the region.

“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.

Addressing the guests, Mr Peter Robson AO, Chairman of the UOWD Board, paid special tributes to Dr James Langridge for his extraordinary contribution in spearheading the setting up of UOWD in the UAE.

It has been an illustrious journey for UOWD. The university began life in 1993 as the Institute for Australian Studies (lAS) in a commercial building, opposite Al Mulla Plaza, with a batch of eight students who enrolled to learn English. In 2000, the University became the first foreign tertiary institution in Dubai to receive its license from the UAE Ministry of Education – Higher Education Affairs and officially changed its name to the University of Wollongong in Dubai in 2003. Two years later, the University moved to Dubai Knowledge Park, the hub for educational activity in Dubai and in 2010 it became the first private university in Dubai to introduce doctoral programs – the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Today, a quarter of a century later, UOWD has more than 3,000 students and a strong alumni network of nearly 11,000 graduates.

Compered by Hermoine Macura, UOW Alumna, TV anchor and Founder of Straight Street Media, the gala dinner was the highlight of the University’s year-long celebrations, marking the institution’s 25th anniversary in Dubai as the oldest foreign university in the UAE.

Delivering the keynote address, Professor Paul Wellings, CBE, Vice-Chancellor, UOW, commended the University for its outstanding achievements over the past 25 years and for the role it has been playing in the growth of the UAE.

“Central to UOWD’s outstanding growth is that it is continually developing new programs intrinsically linked to the development of the UAE. The University is in fact, growing with Dubai and is broadening its operations to fulfil in the expanding needs of Dubai,” said Wellings.

Speaking on behalf of the Australian Ambassador to the UAE, Ms Julie Shams, Chargé d’affaires, Australian Embassy in the UAE said that the University has been flying the flag for Australian Education in Dubai for 25 years and that the Australian Government is taking great pride in its achievements.

“The University truly understands the regional, local and global market in which it is operating and should also be commended for having developed links with the industry that has led to innovative research and collaboration with long-lasting and positive outcomes that will impact the society.”

A coffee table book chronicling UOWD’s journey of transformation was released on the occasion by Professor Mohamed Salem and Mr Peter Robson AO.

To mark the historic occasion, the University of Wollongong, Australia, presented UOWD with a pure silver bullion sculpture commissioned by artist Adrian Ward, which symbolises the written word’s journey of transformation, from papyrus to the digital age.

Distinguished guests attending the event included His Excellency Ian Halliday, Australian Consul-General Dubai and General Manager – Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Australian Trade and Investment Commission; Professor Paul Wellings, CBE, University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor; Professor Alex Frino, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, UOW; Mr Peter Robson AO, Chairman of the UOWD Board; Marisa Mastroianni, Group CEO and Managing Director, UOW Global Enterprises; Ms Julie Shams, Chargé d’affaires, Australian Embassy; Dr James Langridge, University Fellow and chief architect of UOWD and other members of the UOWD Board.

Ms Marisa Mastroianni, Group CEO and Managing Director of UOW Global Enterprises, concluded the event with the Vote of Thanks and presented the long serving members of staff, Talib Ahmed, Mohamed Abdul Rasheed, Manoj Mathew, Afij Mohamed and Colleen Symss, with a special token of appreciation for their loyalty and dedication.

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