Murdoch University Dubai’s inaugural graduating class of undergraduate students has met with the Western Australian Premier, the Honourable Colin Barnett, at the Australian Business Group (AusBG) Business Luncheon in Abu Dhabi.
Other dignitaries at the event included Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Minister for Foreign Trade; His Excellency Doug Trappett, Australian Ambassador to the UAE; Kym Hewett, Australian Consul-General; and Pankaj Savara, Regional Director of Western Australian Trade Office – Middle East and Africa.
The WA Premier, who was the special guest speaker at the event, spoke in great detail about economic growth in Western Australia and about the strong partnership between UAE and Western Australia.
He also publicly congratulated Murdoch University Dubai – the only Western Australian University in the UAE – on graduating their first undergraduate class of students. He seized the opportunity to recognize and commend the significant increase in collaboration between the two countries in the fields of education and research.
After the event, Murdoch’s students met Mr Barnett and Sheikha Lubna in person. The WA premier spoke to each of the students individually, inquiring about their degrees and future plans, and Sheikha Lubna offered some keen words of advice in a short encounter with the students.
To date, Murdoch Dubai has graduated more than 70 postgraduate students and over 100 students in the Foundation program. Now, as the University draws towards the completion of three years in operation in the UAE, it will graduate its first batch of undergraduate students.
Graduating students AR Sharath, Anastasia Mankhaeva, Nikhita Sanotra, Judith Josephine and Wynette Goes were all in attendance at the business luncheon.
Sharath was amongst the first students to enrol at Murdoch University Dubai. During his time at the University, he founded Murdoch’s Student Production Team, a collection of students who provided freelance production coverage to major events throughout the UAE, including the Dubai Film Festival and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. He also gained an internship with Virgin Radio, where he worked as an assistant to the production manager.
He explained what he gained from his meeting with the WA Premier. "When I first enrolled here, I was promised an Australian education. Of course I received that, but now that I’m graduating, it really makes a difference to know that the university is highly regarded in Australia," he said.
"It was an honour to meet with Mr Barnett. I thoroughly enjoyed his speech and I look forward to visiting his country someday soon."
Professor John Grainger, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Vice President of Murdoch University Dubai congratulated Murdoch’s first batch of undergraduate alumni.
"It is a significant achievement both for our students and our institution to graduate our first batch of undergraduate students. For those of us who have seen them grow throughout their three years here, it is a bittersweet moment to see them leave us, but we are reassured by the thought that they are well-equipped to achieve their dreams and continue their lifelong journey of learning," he said.
Professor Grainger thanked the WA Premier for meeting with Murdoch Dubai’s students. "It was a privilege for all of us, and we hope that Australia continues to support and encourage her universities overseas in just this manner for a long time to come," he said.