HITTING THE BOOKS
TBY talks to Dr. Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor of the American University of Sharjah (AUS), on the role of the institution in the Emirate.
BIOGRAPHYAs Chancellor of the American University of Sharjah, Dr. Björn Kjerfve is responsible for implementing the university’s overall mission and strategy in accordance with the decisions of the Board of Trustees. Prior to joining AUS, Dr. Kjerfve was President of the World Maritime University, where he served from 2009. Between 2004 and 2009, he was the Dean of the College of Geosciences and was a Professor of Oceanography at Texas A&M University. Dr. Kjerfve holds PhD, MS, and BA degrees from Louisiana State University (marine sciences), University of Washington (oceanography), and Georgia Southern University (mathematics), respectively.
How was 2015 for AUS? What have been your main achievements?
The 2015-2016 academic year was one of growth and development for the university in many areas. In particular, it was a year of defining strategic research goals. AUS has developed a strategic research plan, developed additional academic programs, and defined a new position for a Chief Research Officer. As part of that vision, HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan passed an amiri decree establishing the Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI) Park as a Free Zone Authority for research and innovation. The RTI Park will provide an environment for research, innovation, and creativity, as well as support, encourage, and develop synergy with research and academic programs at AUS, and help promote Sharjah as a global research and technology hub. Since its inception, AUS has been committed to academic excellence. We keep enhancing our curriculum in sync with international economic and social developments and the demands of the marketplace. Our board of trustees has approved the university's first two PhD programs in engineering and business administration. The board has also granted approval for a new master's degree in biomedical engineering, which is a collaborative program between our College of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences. On the undergraduate front, we have received board approval for bachelor's degree programs in physics and in psychology.
Do you find that the university's achievements have been able to move beyond the immediate academic environment to having an impact in the real world?
AUS is committed to making sure that the knowledge and expertise imparted in the classroom have a bearing on the “real world." We place great emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. Earlier this year, along with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), AUS announced the completion of the design and building of the communication nanosatellite, Nayif-1. The UAE's first nanosatellite was developed by Emirati engineering students from AUS under the supervision of a team of engineers and specialists from MRBSC within the framework of a partnership between our two institutions, aiming to provide hands-on experience to engineering students in satellite manufacturing. We hope this association will go a long way to providing skilled individuals equipped with the wherewithal to support national and regional development.
How is the university building relationships with other international institutions and are you working to attract foreign investment to your university?
Our goal is to become the leading research university in the region, and developing strong bonds with international institutions is an integral part of our vision. Central to the university's values is the goal set by HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan, wherein AUS is committed to becoming linked with the economic, cultural, and industrial sectors of society. For such a collaboration to become meaningful, it is essential that arenas of cooperation are extended beyond our immediate environment. Therefore, from the very inception, AUS has always reached out to other reputed international institutions of higher education and has established relationships with them at various levels and in a wide variety of fields.
What is your outlook for Sharjah over the next five years?
Under the guidance and leadership of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan, the Emirate has earned renown for its distinct cultural identity and as a center of world-class academic institutions. These are exciting times for Sharjah as it undertakes some dynamic projects in sync with its long-term development plans. The Emirate's GDP is growing rapidly every year. Its manufacturing sector is one of the most important ones in the region with some 20 industrial zones and two thriving free-trade zones. It is also important to note that the Emirate is one of the few diverse economies in the region wherein no one sector represents more than 20% of GDP.
HITTING THE BOOKS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler, Sharjah
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been an inspiring leader of the Emirate since 1972, carefully watching over its development into the cultural capital of the Islamic world.read article
Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman, Department of Government Relations
TBY talks to Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, on his department's role in coordinating the delivery of information to key stakeholders and the important part it plays in cultivating sustainable development.read article
HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman , Sharjah Economic Development Department
TBY talks to HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Economic Development Department, on the resilience of Sharjah's economy and building on its well-diversified foundations.read article
HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman, Sharjah Media Corporation
TBY talks to HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation & Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, on competitiveness in the sector, its influence on the other Emirates, and expectations for the future.read article
HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General , Sharjah's Finance Departmen
TBY talks to HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of Sharjah's Finance Department & CEO of Sharjah Asset Management, on fiscal policy direction and initiatives being introduced to increase efficiency and transparency from the top down.read article
Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman , Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA)
TBY talks to Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA), on the challenges facing the Emirate's plan to reach 30% water re-use by 2020, and changing the attitudes through education.read article
Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General , Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC),
TBY talks to Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General of Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC), on the company's performance, government support of the private sector, and forecasting occupancy trends.read article
Focus: Reducing water and power consumption
Under Dr. Rashid Al Leem's stewardship, Sharjah is aiming to become the first City of Conservation. This principally encompasses supplying electricity and water through sustainable avenues with technological efficiency while raising awareness of sustainability practices.read article
Ted Young, Project Head, Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties
TBY talks to Ted Young, Project Head of the Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, on the reasons behind the market's resilience and the future of housing demands in the Emirate.read article
Focus: Mixed-use Developments
Cities within Cities
Sharjah's real estate sector is undergoing important transformations, with the government and developers focusing on megaprojects to attract investors. For this purpose, mixed-use developments are increasingly preferred to purely residential or commercial developments.read article
Focus: Fighting Cardiac Disease
The UAE Ministry of Health has stated that over half of all deaths in the UAE are the result of four oft-occurring issues: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, road traffic accidents, and congenital abnormalities. A survey from the Emirates Cardiac Society showed that almost 9 in 10 Emiratis are at risk of heart disease, with one in three unaware of that fact.read article
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman , Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
TBY talks to HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), on the growing tourism sector in the Emirate, its strategies to boost cruise tourism, and the incredible progress in Sharjah.read article
Manal Ataya, Director General , Sharjah Museums Department (SMD)
TBY talks to Manal Ataya, Director General of the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD), on cooperating on international exhibits, its educational festivals, and the challenge to ensure that museums are accessible to all.read article
Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director, Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC)
TBY talks to Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director of Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC), on the appeal of Sharjah as a MICE destination, plans for expansion, and the projected benefits of Expo 2020.read article