First honorary doctorate awarded in Dubai

May 5, 2010

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First honorary doctorate awarded in Dubai

His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Murdoch University.

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan, who was awarded the Doctorate by Murdoch Chancellor Terry Budge in Dubai, was also invited to give the first Sir Walter Murdoch Memorial Lecture delivered outside of Australia at the ceremony.

Professor John Grainger, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Murdoch University Dubai, said Murdoch University's premier public lecture was inaugurated in 1974 to mark the centenary of the birth of the university's namesake, Sir Walter Murdoch.

“Murdoch University annually invites a person of national or international standing to deliver the Murdoch Lecture in Perth on a topic of their choice,” Professor Grainger said.

“The Lecture provides a valuable forum for the presenter to express passionately-held views which has led to some memorable addresses.”

In introducing His Excellency, Murdoch University Chancellor Terry Budge hailed his involvement in education as a visionary leader who has made, and continues to make, an outstanding contribution to the development of higher education and research in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“His name, and higher education in the United Arab Emirates are synonymous,” Mr Budge said.

“I stand here this morning with a great sense of pride and privilege in bestowing Murdoch University’s highest accolade, the Honorary Doctoral Degree.

“For Murdoch University and our International Study Centre here in Dubai this is a momentous occasion, because today we confer our first honorary doctorate in the UAE.”

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan presented the inaugural Sir Walter Murdoch Lecture on the topic One Human Family.

He urged the global community to work together towards global peace and prosperity in unity. Amongst the current challenges for humankind he listed global climate change; income disparities between rich and poor nations; declining agricultural production leading to increased world hunger; as well as conflict and distrust between religions and cultures.

“The dream of most of the world’s people is to have peace, stability, economic security, personal dignity, and a high quality of life,” he said.

“Our challenge today is how to achieve this dream which seems far beyond reach of most of our fellow global citizens.

“To combat these issues I firmly believe that education is the required first step to achieving this dream.

“We must rethink our ideas and attitudes and focus our attention on reforming our societies, demanding excellence in education for all, eradicating poverty, improving global health, stabilising our economies, and creating equal opportunity for all.”

Thanking His Excellency for delivering the inaugural Lecture, Professor John Grainger said:

“His Excellency is the undisputed father of education in the country, and his vision for educational excellence in the UAE, and the unswerving dedication to fulfilling that vision is evident to educators throughout the world.”

Murdoch University students in the UAE can study for a variety of Australian, internationally recognised undergraduate and postgraduate degrees across a range of disciplines, including business, media, IT and environmental science.

Murdoch was one of the first Australian universities to establish a presence off-shore and has presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, as well as a core campus in the UAE, located at Dubai International Academic City.

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