Abu Dhabi, UAE: In an a major step aimed at strengthening relations between Zayed University (ZU), the United Nations and the private sector, ZUhas signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) at Abu Dhabi campus recently.
The UNITAR, which is based in Geneva, is a training arm of the United Nations System that aims to develop capacities of individuals, organizations and institutions to enhance global decision-making and to support country-level action for shaping a better future.
Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice President of ZU , has signed the MoU with Rabih El Haddad, Manager of the Multilateral Diplomacy Program in UNITAR,who signed it on behalf of Sally FeganWyles, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Acting Head, Executive Director, to work hand in hand in the establishment of joint programs that provides students with practical training and opportunities to pursue internships in the UN specialized agencies.
It is worth mentioning that ZU is the first university in the Arab world to sign such an agreement with the UNITAR.
The signing ceremony also saw the presence of Dr Marilyn Roberts, Acting Provost at ZU , Dr Abdel Mohsen Onsy, Associate Provost and Chief Academic Officer,Dr Christopher Southgate, Dean of the College of Sustainability, Sciences and Humanities, Dr Ibrahim Souss, Professor and Chair of the Standing Committee for International Education, and Shamsa Al Taie, Director of Students Affairs.
“It is a great opportunity for us to establish a mutually beneficial partnership with UNITAR, utilize our and its existing resources and facilities for the benefit ofour students and faculty members,” Professor AlMehaideb said.
“ZU has always been committed to develop the research capacity of undergraduate and graduate students to meet one of the highlights of the UAE Government Strategy, which aims to build a cadre of qualified nationals who are able to lead and compete for opportunities once they step in the UAE labour market,” he added.
AlMehaideb has also emphasized that ZU offers Bachelor and Master’s degree programs in diplomacy and international affairs, which have attracted huge number of students, with an aim to educate and train future generations of diplomats from the UAE as well as professionals from around the world for successful careers.
“As a leading academic institution, we are working constantly to encourage academic and extracurricular activities in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai campus in order to engage students in practical life experiences, help them express their talents and potentials, and enhance their interaction with their counterparts from other universities within the region or from outside in order enrich their academic and intellectual learning experience. Additionally, ZU has conducted several study tours and trips to provide the students the opportunity of learning through travel, a chance for close interaction with peers, and to gain better understanding of other cultures. For instance, the trip that was organized for ZU students to the United Nations headquarters in New York City, Geneva Centre for Human Rights and Global Dialogue and many others,” he highlighted.
The MoU will remain in force for three years and is renewable for a similar period by mutual agreement.
“The MoU came to provide training and skills assessments for ZU students and the UAE community at large, secure internships and traineeships for exceptional students of ZU within the United Nations system worldwide, deliver regular, high-level lecture series by United Nations practitioners on regional and multilateral issues, open to a wider audience including civil society and private sector, and organize study tours for students in various cities, where key United Nations entities work on matters related to multilateral diplomacy and international relations such as New York City, Geneva and Vienna,” El Haddad explained.
“Several content-based and skills development workshops will also be conducted to widen students’ knowledge. We also look forward to benefit and learn from the pool of qualified faculty members at ZU . We will do our best to make this experience a success,” he added.
When asked why UNITAR chose ZU among many other universities to cooperate with, El Haddad answered: ” ZU holds the name of the beloved late founding father, Sheikha Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had a creative vision and incredible leadership strategies. ZU is also a leading university in the UAE recognized globally for its participation in educational and cultural achievements and enrichment of economic and social development.”
Undergraduate and graduate students will be chosen from different colleges at the university to participate in the UNITAR programs and workshops.
Professor Dr. Ibrahim Souss, who will be in charge of overseeing the establishment and the implementation of the join programs with UNITAR emphasized that, “Students will be chosen from allcolleges at ZU and selected according to a specific criteria of academic achievement and personal motivation.”
© Press Release 2015
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