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Fall/Winter 2014



WE HAVE A STORY TO TELL. . . Before checking in elswhere, check out AUD Getting to know a university isn't just a matter of browsing the Internet or even chatting with the person next door. Ask AUD's admissions coordinators about AUD's programs and the kinds of career opportunities that have awaited seventeen graduations' worth of AUD alumni.

They will help you compare what AUD has to offer with your own interests and aspirations. So, check out AUD. Listen to our story and decide whether there’s a place in it for you. T. +971 4 399 9000

The UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has licensed the university and accredited all of its programs. AUD is accredited in the US by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.



guess I had never noticed how many sections of the AUD Review are focused on people. If you’re cynic, you might say that’s because for this issue, I’m one of the featured cast of characters. Not really. I had simply never noticed, but you can be sure I’m happy. People and people-sponsored initiatives account for any organization’s progress, and AUD is no exception. In fact, it’s even truer of AUD than in other places I’ve been. We’re low on systems, and our best people are all overachievers: visionary, committed people assume more than their fair share of the burden to make a real difference around here. Some are in this issue, and I look forward to seeing others in the issues to come. I’m also pleased that this issue makes centerpieces our of three topics: diversity, student retention and success and technology. Diversity is repeatedly listed by our graduates at the top of the list of those factors they value in an AUD education. Having and maintaining diversity is one thing. Using it is another. It is so much more difficult to manage an entity where diversity prevails, but the rewards of doing so are limitless. Strength is born of difference, and I’m not just talking about nationality. A multiplicity of viewpoints and values constitutes part of what Tom Peters referred to as the “chaos” on which excellent organizations thrive. Such multiplicity is alive and well at AUD, and it seems more often than not to be brought to bear to produce effective responses to problems and opportunities. Today, I am even more enthusiastic than in September about the establishment of our new Office of Student Retention and Success. I am already seeing evidence of our gaining a greater understanding of our students’ status at all points along the student lifecycle. This data-driven approach to assessment, together with an openness to new and different ways to manage student attainment of academic and personal goals, has notable potential to enhance student wellbeing in ways that will benefit AUD, the learning community that impacts society. What could be more consistent with the university’s mission statement? Finally, technology. The university is somewhere on the map when it comes to technology in service of pedagogy. However, getting ahead of the curve is about more than being simply somewhere. Between now and Fall 2015, I fully expect to be able to share with you the strategy and step-wise plan designed to put AUD in an uncommon place among universities in the UAE when it comes to the application of technology to the maximization of teaching effectiveness. All the best,

Lance E. de Masi President


CONTENTS 1 From the President’s Desk 4 Special Report: Education in Diversity 11 Admissions news 12 Student Services news



13 Communications news 14 Architecture, Art & Design news


15 Arts & Sciences news 16 Engineering news 17 Business Administration news 18 AUD Sports news 24 Success by Numbers

Kevin Martin on how technology is changing education and new developments at the AUD library

30 Teaching Through Change

AUD President Lance de Masi on communications, advertising and innovation

Project managed by the Office of Marketing Communications Reina S. Dib, Ghada Kheir Bek, Joy Semaan


35 AUD Forum

Tala Makhlouf explains how a career in global finance helps her to coach AUD students for success

27 Tomorrow’s Teacher


Prof. Loulou Malaeb on calling the UAE home and Dr. Pamela Chrabieh on educating for peace

38 The Executive View

AUD Board member Joseph Ghossoub on bringing private sector experience to education management


41 Alumni Profile

Alumni members Hany Ezzat and Mohamed Swidan recall how AUD set them on the path to career success

44 Proud AUD Faculty & Staff




DIVERSITY IN EDUCATION The diversity of the AUD campus has been a catalyst for the evolution of education; from a one-size-fits-all approach, to personalization. Yet outside of the classroom, diversity is no longer about the experience of one but the inclusion of all


n December 2014, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum unveiled the Dubai Plan 2021, a comprehensive agenda to increase the well-being and happiness of all of Dubai’s residents. Across six key elements, the plan will make Dubai a sustainable, high tech city connected to, and the preferred destination of, the rest of the world. The integral element of Dubai Plan 2021 won’t be super-tall skyscrapers or endless pots of cash, but the cohesion and happiness of society. To achieve that requires an understanding and preservation of Dubai’s greatest asset – its diversity. Disappointingly, a look at the rest of the world today provides few successful examples. At a time when the largest cities – the most culturally and economically important urban centers in the world – continue to experience devastating fractures in their populations; and as levels of crime, unhappiness and inequality in these places soar, it can often feel the notion of a successful diverse society is mythical at best. In fact, a look back at events so far in 2015 would give plenty of verification


to the argument that globalization isn’t working as planned. Yet still Dubai dreams of attracting even more nationalities to its shores and making them happier here than in their home countries. So far it has been exemplary in its success. The impact of this on education in the emirate has been both profound and subtle, both leading and following what has happened in wider society. With 106 nationalities on campus at AUD, the university is an almost perfect microcosm of the emirate: a collection of cultural influences each empowered to live within personal boundaries, while collectively forming a diverse society. Dr. Catherine Hill, Dean of the School of Education, recently authored the paper “A Global Classroom” in which she observes that diversity is a societal strength and a trigger to reform education through personalized learning. In conclusion, an inclusive society requires a curriculum that in itself is both paradoxical and rational. She tells the AUD Review: “The old model [of teaching] in my mind isn’t going to work much longer because diversity is about all these different



people from different backgrounds coming together and creating dialogue across boundaries. That requires us to think about personalizing what we do,” She explains that culture is multifaceted; it embraces the many dimensions of personality along with the artifacts of everyday life for both the educator and student. In her particular school – where the students themselves are teachers, assistants, administrators and career changers from various backgrounds and learning systems – the importance of interpreting theories and influences within the framework of an American education is amplified. “We find personalization is an invitation of encouragement for students to go deeper into what they are learning. If you meet someone where they are, understand what they are interested in and what they know, then you can lift them higher. We try to do that in all our classes,” she adds. Joan Abdallah, holder of a Master of Social Work, is a psychology professor and AUD’s Student Counselor who also observes the paradox. In bringing a psychological perspective to the topic – as well as her own story as an American-born UAE national – she observes numerous social science theories at play in the push and pull of cultural diversity and inclusion. “In the US we talk about being a collective society and being an individualist society,” she begins. “I do think the US started out collectivist but for a lot of reasons many became more individualist. Yet here in Dubai and at AUD, because of the diversity, there is more of a collectivist atmosphere,” she adds.

Learning is enhanced by being in diverse environments 6

The ability to nurture collectivism is partly down to exemplary behavior – a cohesive yet diverse faculty and staff in turn produces a cohesive yet diverse student body. According to Abdallah it’s also down to understanding, exposure and altruism. “You have to give that praise to H.H. Sheikh Mohammed; this is an education books don’t teach,” she asserts. “I cannot, as a teacher, dictate that a student needs to memorize what diversity and inclusion are. Developing that altruism and care for each other softens people. I always tell my students that they may not agree with everybody’s practices but tolerance is key.” “Look at how the world is starting to become. I am very sad that every time

I talk about the news in class it has to be filled with a lot of hate. But I think that with our students it has become the opposite. I don’t feel diversity has encouraged separation, in fact people care more about each other,” she continues to explain. Beyond academic observations and the classroom, the third pillar of diversity at AUD falls within the remit of Student Services; an office that supports students in every element of their non-curricular life. The office is headed by Dean Rachel Baldwin, formely with Princeton University. As a multiracial woman, raised in an Irish American family, diversity has rarely had a more relevant spokesperson.

I don’t feel diversity has encouraged separation, in fact people care more about each other

Her ancestry has strongly shaped her career, which has largely focused on international student services on a number of prestigious campuses. “From our point of view, the easiest way to understand it is that there is no one-size-fits-all model. We simply do not have a [student] population that supports a singular mode of operation,” she shares. It is through Student Services that AUD’s community adhesive is both engineered and organically fostered through inclusive activities: culturallythemed fairs, national celebrations and, of course, varsity sports. “Learning itself is enhanced by immersion in diverse environments. I think the fortunate part of studying here

is that education and diversity for AUD students happens organically, since many of our students have spent their lives around a sea of different people. DIVERSITY AND THE BOTTOM LINE

How best to embrace cultural diversity – while nurturing a single, non-nationalbased culture upon which a place, institution or company’s own culture can be formed – is an issue widely debated in the world of work, especially in the private sector. As in education, each individual in an organization is influenced by the culture of faith, the culture of home, and the culture of national origin. So, creating teams from culturally-diverse

individuals has a direct impact on business performance. It is particularly relevant to the hospitality sector, an industry that has undergone complete transformation over the last two decades as globalization reshaped its business landscape. A hotel in Dubai can employ dozens of nationalities, each requiring their own level of naturalization in order to fit the culture of the hotel’s brand. Research by the Purdue Tourism and Hospitality Research Center concludes the promotion of equality and fairness and the simultaneous fueling of global competiveness, create the most successful business environments. It sounds easier said than done, but as the Center surmises, companies with robust diversity and inclusion programs demonstrate better performance. Rather than erasing or replacing the influence of the multiple cultures present elsewhere in a person’s life, Dr. Hill believes the answer for these businesses – as substantiated on campus at AUD – is to add to the tapestry. “Individuals are influenced by many things. What I believe we have done here in the School of Education at AUD for the last three years is create a culture of diversity, a culture of achievement, a multicultural learning environment,” Dr. Hill explains. In short, it’s about community and inclusion: diversity, cultural melting pots and the like, can and will not work without the buy-in of every member. “The foundation piece for us is that we have to know ourselves,” Dr. Hill adds.




Raised in California, Joan Abdallah moved to Dubai 25 years ago and has worked with AUD almost since its doors first opened. With her American and Arabic heritage, as well as student counseling experience, she is probably one of the most qualified people to talk about the effects of diversity on the student experience and how her own diversity has re-shaped her Emirati heritage.


She observes: “Because of globalization, education has changed everywhere. Just by clicking on a computer today you can become international. So diversity in education means many different things.” The overriding meaning for Joan is inclusion, which in itself rests on the removal of prejudice. The university, she observes, is diversified by every community member but instead of each

homogenizing into a “campus culture”, as in the hospitality industry, they must retain their own, learn about each other and exercise not just tolerance but an interest in the things that make us different from each other. “It’s about fostering a global attitude towards everything. In my class we talk about how world events affect people psychologically. We discuss the impact of talking to somebody you never thought you would be friends with.

It can take just one person to change a myth you have about a culture, nationality or religion and then you pass that on to other people. “That’s how you change. A few people at a time,” she imparts, adding that no more so than in Dubai is such behavior essential to social cohesion. She adds: “It is paired with the themes of social justice, understanding people, bringing in the richness of everybody’s culture, in every class across every course.” For somebody who herself has witnessed the role prejudice plays, especially in first impressions, Joan speaks on the subject with authority. Returning to the themes of altruism and empathy, her description of diversity in education evokes ideas of a fourth dimension of sorts; the missing piece in a complicated puzzle. “Diversity helps you to grow into a more interesting person who can have meaningful discussions with other people. That personal growth is huge, as is concern for others, because you’re more aware of what’s around you. Diversity promotes a healthier environment because you dispel stereotypes,” she adds. ACTIVE INCLUSION

While the idea of a personalized education supports one pillar of diversity, for Rachel Baldwin another equally important element to credit is the nature of the liberal arts education, which is provided at AUD. Along with the role of Student Services, she observes this as key to successful diversity and subsequent inclusion. “A liberal arts education fosters a more open campus environment as it relates to people’s learning styles and what they gain from their university experience,” she explains, adding: “The intellectual diversity is probably the other most noticeable aspect of diversity on campus.”

If you meet someone where they are, understand what they are interested in and what they know, then you can lift them higher THE FLIP SIDE

Her experience – based not only on personal background, but that of her career and social exposures – leads to an interesting avenue of thought away from the notion of teaching a diverse student body. “Similar to other college environments around the world, there is a natural willingness to be around people you identify with, who have shared interests. This is evident as it relates to people’s cultural identities. It is not mutually exclusive, but some students gather by nationality, which is applicable anywhere,” she says advising that just as interactions with people of different cultures and backgrounds should be encouraged, so too must interactions with those of the same. Beyond national identity, Rachel observes students also identify and socialize with each other through shared interests, such as club activities and varsity sports. “It is paramount for students to engage in clubs, athletics, and other co-curricular activities that strengthen their individual development, as well as their collective development. Encouraging individuality together with group cohesiveness is critical.

Diversity is the co-existence of more than one personality type or nationality and it can exist in any community or society. But its existence doesn’t guarantee its success. The bond that makes diversity work is inclusion. However, as demonstrated elsewhere in the world, it does not occur naturally. Inclusion is tolerance, empathy, altruism, and the desire to learn about and celebrate the differences that so often live side by side in our increasingly globalized world. Education establishments incubate the leaders of tomorrow; they forge and strengthen both their knowledge and worldviews. What happens on campuses around the world will be played out in boardrooms and beyond within a generation. It is for this reason that the adoption of the values that nurture inclusivity has never been more urgent; in politics, business and education. Inclusion is taught by example. It is instilled in new community members by every existing community member and it is in itself another culture to add to our diverse social fabric. Inclusion isn’t what is found in wider society, it is about the message we all carry in our minds. n





he American University in Dubai was honored to welcome Prime Minister of Lebanon H.E. Tammam Salam on campus on November 18, accompanied by members of his cabinet: AUD’s Executive Vice President and Minister of Education Elias Bou Saab, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil, Minister of Justice General Ashraf Rifi, and Minister of Youth and Sports Abdelmutalib Hannawi.Other members of the delegation included SecretaryGeneral of the Supreme Council for the Defense Major General Mohammed Kheir, the Consul General of Lebanon in Dubai Sami Nmeir, and Deputy Head of Mission at the Lebanese Embassy Hadi Hachem. Prime Minister Salam and his delegation toured the AUD campus, including the state-of-the-art facilities of the Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication and the AUD Global Classroom, which uses the TelePresence technology. They then proceeded to

the conference room where they were cheered on by students, staff and faculty of AUD. “The UAE has certainly become an oasis of security and stability, welcoming millions of people from around the world and helping them achieve their dreams,” commented PM Salam. To the students,

he said: “You are truly fortunate to be at the American University in Dubai, as this institution is a testament to what can be achieved in the UAE with the right ambition.” PM Salam then called on the students and the AUD community to contribute to the growth of their university. n

LSE Research Collaboration Projects announced THE AMERICAN University in Dubai and the London School of Economics Middle East Center have announced two collaborative research projects: a research paper called “Arab National Media and Politics: Democracy Revisited” and a sponsored workshop under the theme “State-Building and Women: The UN’s Involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan”.


The first project focuses on Morocco and Algeria, countries that did not witness regime change during the Arab Spring but did see polemic debates on democratic reforms rise, including the need for a professional and free mass media. Funding has been awarded to the research, which will examine the relationship between traditional mass media and the political

sphere within the remit of political change in the Arab world. The workshop, which was directed by Dr. Deniz Gökalp and Dr. Zeynep Kaya, hosted two panels with a focus on Iraq and Afghanistan; bringing together scholars with expertise and interest in the UN, international organizations, peace, humanitarianism and women’s issues. n


The Expo 2020 Dubai University Roadshow committee visited AUD on February 18 to present the AUD community, with all there is to know about Dubai Expo 2020. The team led a fun and interactive presentation to an auditorium full of students, defining what world expos are and what these exhibitions have accomplished throughout the decades. They spoke about the specificities of the Dubai Expo and what to expect, ending with the role of youth and the various ways to begin

their involvement, starting as soon as today. AUD President Dr. Lance de Masi, commented: “My thermometer tells me that within the institution, there is a high level of interest, commitment and passion for this national undertaking”. Expo2020, the first to take place in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region, is themed ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, with three sub-themes: Mobility, Sustainability, and Opportunity. It is expected to attract 25 million visitors



Following her appearance at the Executive Secretary Live Dubai conference, Laura Schwartz visited AUD on November 12 to talk about professional networking. The youngest female presidential staff appointee in history, Laura shared her career story, which began at the age of 19 when she began answering phones at the White House. She had no political connections and through hard work, tactful networking and particularly amazing mentoring, she rose through the ranks to become Staff Assistant, Midwest Press Secretary, Director of Television and, ultimately, the White House Director of Events.

AUD HOSTED a cybercrime prevention talk in October 2014, presented by Lt. Col. Saeed Alhjeri, Head of Cybercrimes Department at Dubai Police, and Major Suzan Hajj, Head of Cybercrime Department at Lebanon International Security Forces. The talk provided a stark warning on the inherent dangers of online communities; an issue that has become central to modern life. Major Hajj discussed the top ten crimes that happen online, which have become international issues. She raised awareness on how these types of criminals operate and what to look out for in order to avoid becoming a victim. n



PROFESSIONAL TEACHING CERTIFICATE LAUNCHED In accordance with the 2021 Vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to boost the quality of education in Dubai, AUD now offers a Professional Teaching Certificate (P.T.C.) that aims to build and strengthen the instructional practices of teachers, teaching assistants and career changers. AUD’s School of Education now offers two programs of study: the Professional Teaching Certificate (P.T.C.) and the Master of Education degree (M.Ed.). While both focus on elementary and secondary school educator preparation, the P.T.C. is a thoroughly professional 18-credit hour program and the M.Ed. is a higher qualification that consists of 36 credits and involves the study and conduct of research.

Dr. Catherine Hill, Dean of the School of Education said: “AUD continues to be a front-runner in the region and prides itself on being responsive to the needs of the UAE and the GCC region. “The influx of expatriates in recent years and the greater value placed upon education by the local population have led to an increased need for trained educators and enhanced higher education opportunities,” she added. Until recently, many positions in schools




were filled by individuals who lack any formal teacher training or any practical experience in a classroom. “Thus, AUD is wholly supportive of the government’s determination to make education, specifically, high quality teacher preparation, a high priority. “We are now ready to extend the professional core of a program that has gained recognition and respect throughout the education sector in Dubai”, Dr. Catherine Hill continued. n

he School of Education welcomed its Alumni back on campus to deliver three workshops to current students, around the themes of attainment and enhancing education. AUD M.Ed. graduates of the Masters of Education program Nadia Halaby, Haleema Karout and Sameh Jabr covered a range of topics, including: how to inspire students to read deeply, how to differentiate instruction in mixed ability classrooms and how to interpret and utilize formative assessment. “The objective was to invite graduates back to share their experiences and show how the M.Ed. program has shaped their practice,” explains Dr. Nadera AlBorno, Assistant Professor of Education. “The event aimed at building and promoting a professional learning community among M.Ed. alumni and current students.” Sameh Jabr added: “One of the most important concepts I hope to impart to students is that learning is a process that never ends. For me, the learning process includes improving myself professionally, and this was my motive to be a part of the M.Ed. program at AUD.” n




he Admissions Office at AUD organized its Fall 2014 Open Day for high school students from across the UAE, on November 27. The prospective undergraduate students had the opportunity to get a feel of the AUD atmosphere while touring the campus and exploring its facilities. The Admissions Office started with a welcome note and presentation to all students followed by program-specific information sessions, by AUD faculty and staff, including live demonstration for the high school students to have a better feel of what they want to study once in college. n





he Khaleeji Student Cultural Club celebrated the 43rd UAE National Day, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. The AUD community joined the celebrations, which included Emirati entertainment, on campus. The event also included traditional Emirati cuisine and live cooking, dance performances by a professional group, poetry by Emirati students, horse and camel

rides, henna artists and face painting, as well as an exhibition of model cars. “UAE National Day is a special time of year on campus. Members of the Emirati community come together to build upon the tradition of celebration and inclusivity,” said, Student Activities Coordinator. “AUD becomes a hub of activity as students, faculty and staff and their respective families and friends of all backgrounds come together to express love for the country they call home. Every year the organizing committee of

students seeks to provide a glimpse into the traditional heritage of Emirati life while also entertaining audience members with special performances,” Mr. Sultan added. n

AUD TURNS PINK FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS CAMPAIGN The AUD community proudly took part in the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in October. Events were organized by the Health Center in collaboration with the AUD student club Peer Health Educators (PHE). “Breast cancer is perhaps, other than skin cancer, the most serious and most common cancer in women, but it is 90% curable when caught early,” explained Nelly Halabi, AUD Health Center Director. “In recognition of the need to educate the


community, and increase the awareness among our students, staff, and faculty, we decided to make the Breast Cancer

Awareness campaign an annual event, where we bring every year new activities to keep AUD community involved with such a noble cause,” she added. The month was supported by student clubs: AUD International Aid Society, Libyan Cultural Club, Lebanese Cultural Club, Music Club, Photography Club, Debate Club, WEF and AUD Athletes. Activities on campus included a bake sale, staff and student soccer game and a hair donation event. n


he AUD Debate Club hosted its second annual, inter-university, AUD Debate Championship 2014, attended by ten teams from eight UAE universities. Two students from each participating university took part in debates, which consisted of one round of parliamentarystyle debate. In this round, students were randomly assigned to debate with or against the pre-decided topic: ‘Our Ancestors Lived a Better Life than We Do’. Winners were selected by the three-judge panel, which awarded marks for style, content and speaker manner. Prizes were awarded to both universities and individual speakers with Gulf Medical University


AUD DEBATE CLUB HOSTS SECOND ANNUAL DEBATE CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 taking top honours, followed by runners up New York University Abu Dhabi. The Best Speaker (Proposition) award went to Sohail Majeed from Gulf Medical University and the Best Speaker (Opposition) award went to AUD’s Aayush Agarwal. “Public speaking and communication skills are priceless assets in today’s world of sound bites and self-expression. The AUD Debate Championship provides students from across the UAE the opportunity to put these skills into practice while engaging with important questions facing society,” said Dr. Trevin Stratton, Assistant Professor of International Studies and AUD Debate Club advisor. n

AUD STUDENTS ATTEND HARVARD CONFERENCE Seven AUD students traveled to Boston to represent American University Dubai, the UAE and the Middle East in the Harvard College in Asia Program (HCAP) from January 17th to 25th, 2015. The 12th HCAP conference was themed “Technology and Our Generation: From the Individual to the World” allowing students to explore how technology relates to each of them and, with increased

awareness, to work together using technology to solve challenges that confront their generation. The AUD group of students attending the 2015 conference included Lubna

Akhamis (Journalism), Carlos Heluey Neto (Business Administration), Fay Hailey Rodrigues (Digital Media), Sylvia Agaiby (Interior Design), Aya Ahmed (Journalism), Mariem Kest (Digital Production and Storytelling), and Megha Singhania (Computer Engineering). This was the sixth consecutive year AUD participated in HCAP and it remains the only university in the Middle East to do so. n



AUD HOSTS WORLD’S LARGEST ENGINEERING EDUCATION FORUM 1,500 prominent deans, professors and students from 300 universities in 73 countries attended the prestigious biennial 'Engineering Education for a Global Community', December 3 – 6. The opening event was officiated by H.E. Elias Bou Saab, Lebanon's Minister of Education and Higher Education, and H.E. Eng. Essa Al Maidoor, President of the Society of Engineers UAE and Director General of the Dubai Health Authority, and featured keynote addresses by both dignitaries. WEEF 2014 included over 90 multidisciplinary sessions, chaired and attended by the world's most renowned experts. Addressing innovation, advances, technology, issues and challenges in engineering education. The event also featured the sixth Annual GEDC Conference, the

H.E. Elias Bou Saab, Lebanon’s Minister of Education, H.E. Eng. Essa Al Maidoor, President of the Society of Engineers UAE and Director General of the Dubai Health Authority at the opening.

International Society for Engineering Pedagogy (IGIP) 2014 International Conference, as well as the 10th Global

AUD HOSTS “EDUCATION WITHOUT BORDERS” The School of Engineering at AUD hosted the 10th Global Student Forum (GSF) in December, with the World Engineering Education Forum (WEEF), under the theme “Education Without Borders” The GSF is a global conference organized by the Student Platform for Engineering Education Development (SPEED), which draws academicians, representatives from government, industry and non-profit organizations, and an increasing number of students from around the world to discuss issues pertinent to engineering education. This event was followed by WEEF, also hosted by AUD. n


Student Forum, in addition to a range of workshops and symposia by participating societies. n

ACCREDITATION FOR MECHANICAL ENGINEERING AUD’s Bachelor of Science Program in Mechanical Engineering has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. One of the key elements of ABET accreditation is the requirement that programs continuously improve the quality of education provided. Graduates from accredited programs are eligible for professional certification, registration and licensure in many countries through mutual recognition agreements, which provides them with greater mobility and access to employment worldwide. n




s the cost of employee turnover in the UAE soars to almost $2.7bn, AUD School of Business Administration welcomed Jose Santiago, the Senior Wealth Manager at Life Care International, to deliver a lecture called “Employee Retention Strategies in The Workplace”. Mr. Santiago, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the financial services

industry, shed light on the causes of high turnover and shared preventive strategies. He also focused on how companies can improve employee motivation and in the process reduce turnover. Raj Kapoor, Associate Dean at the School of Business Administration said: “The SBA strives to prepare students for the workplace. One way of doing that is to insure continuous interaction

between students and industry experts. As such, we periodically invite distinguished speakers to address AUD students, in order to help bridge the gap between theory and practice. “An expert in his field, Mr. Santiago delivered a wonderful presentation, giving insights into how leading companies implement retention strategies.”n





n a strong demonstration of the localization commitment of GE Lighting, the company opened the region’s first-of-its-kind ‘Lighting Lab’ at the American University in Dubai, in November 2014. Dr. Lance de Masi, President of AUD, marked the official inauguration of the Lighting Lab in the presence of Agostino Renna, President and CEO of GE Lighting Europe, Middle East and Africa. The relationship between GE and AUD began last year with the signing of a MOU to nurture design talent in architecture and interior design covering both students and lighting professionals locally. As part of the MoU, a Lighting Design Council was also set up, which serves as a repository of knowledge and conducts guest lectures for students at AUD covering the advances in lighting. Agostino Renna added: “This is a one-of-its-kind initiative in the region and as the pioneer of LED lighting, which is central to the UAE’s current emphasis on sustainable built environments, GE will work with AUD to develop a wide pool of talented lighting and design professionals in the region.” n



wo AUD students won a weeklong study trip to Sweden after participating in the “Swedish wood meets Arabia” event in December, supported by Swedish Wood. A competition was launched at AUD in September 2014, when students worked to develop a project with experts from Swedish Wood and the support of their faculty members, in order to produce innovative contemporary design projects using the potentiality of Swedish softwood with the adaptation of Arab design traditions and culture. The winning design, “The Hybrid” was designed by Mariah Sobh and Syeda Salwa Hasan. In second place, were Mona Al Ghussein and Lina Al Medanat, who designed “Sarab” and in third place were Bhawna Ludhani



he School of Architecture, Art and Design at AUD welcomed for the first time the talented Shabib twins, Ahmed and Rashid, the brains behind Dubai’s The Shelter, The Pavilion, The Archive and Creekside. The duo presented their work to AUD students and shared their industry experiences, as well as giving insight on their new development Dubai Design District. “It was amazing to see students and faculty from Architecture, Interior Design and Visual Communication attend and interact with these incredibly talented brothers who combine their interest in design, urbanism, and architecture in very creative ways” commented Dr. Nabyl Chenaf, Dean of the School of Architecture, Art and Design. n


Tilokani, Zeina Al-Khoury, and Lisa Harpalani, designers of “The Cruise”. The Chair of the AUD Interior Design Department Prof. Albert Fakhoury, commented: “The uniqueness of this competition is that it has taken the challenge to the next level where our future designers create and build something new. “The five finalists’ projects were quite impressive with their real scale and proportion. This process is a vibrant statement of the successful collaboration we witnessed between the supplier, the designers and the contractor,” Prof. Albert Fakhoury added. Sweden exports every year more than three million meters cubed of sawn softwood to the Middle East and North Africa. Almost a third of the Middle East’s softwood imports come from Sweden. n



he Visual Communication (VC) Department at AUD started the academic year with a newly enhanced Digital Media Pro Suite, providing state-of-the-art applications and operational support. The upgrades are part of the department’s aim to remain at the forefront of design and art education in the region and stay in line with global trends to equip students with essential industry skills. “AUD has invested heavily in technology for the VC Department over the last 18 months. There is a positive buzz amongst the students and I am constantly being asked to show off

the equipment and facilities to other students on campus,” reported Terry May, AUD’s Mac Specialist and Visual Communication Equipment Specialist. “I hope that we can continue to grow and fulfill the vision we have to bring everything up to date, provide outstanding facilities and give each and every student the necessary skills and experience for their chosen future careers,” he added. More upgrades will take place over the course of the next academic year. n

The VC studio now boasts five new Digital Media Pro Suites loaded with: Final Cut Pro X DaVinci Resolve 11 Autodesk Smoke Apple Motion Adobe CC Ableton Live 9 Suite MAX for Live Logic Pro X and Pro Tools 11 Maxon CINEMA 4D STUDIO

Four new Mac Pro with Apple Thunderbolt displays

Avid M Box Pro

iMac with Apple Thunderbolt display

All suites will have 10-18 TB Pegasus2 storage, fastest Thunderbolt 2 enabled hardware RAID storage available on the market.

MAX49 from Akai M-Audio Axiom 25 Ableton Push Midi controllers and keyboards Two Rode Studio Condenser Microphones

Apogee Duet audio interface

Four of the five suites are ready to be able to edit and stream up to 4K (Ultra HD) content.



UD co-hosted the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA2014), as an Educational Partner with Zayed University, in November 2014. This is the first time that ISEA – the premier international organization promoting electronic arts - was hosted in the Middle East. “The entire experience of leading AUD’s participation in ISEA2014 has been transformative. Through this intense, week-long event, we have built strong alliances not only with our colleagues from the major universities in the UAE, we now also have acquired new colleagues – both electronic artists and academics from leading electronic arts programs throughout the world. These are connections that already are playing into future plans for the department that will bring special programming to AUD for our students,” commented Dr. Woodman Taylor, Chair of Visual Communication and Associate Professor of Art History. As part of ISEA2014, AUD mounted the exhibition ‘Synaesthetics: of Sight, Sound and Scent’; organized the second International AUD/TUD Intermedia Technology Workshop with colleagues from the Technical University, Dresden. n



including Best Documentary, Best Fiction, Best Animaion, and Best Screenplay. The winners were chosen by a jury of prominent figures from the film industry: Zeina Daccache, award-winning Lebanese film director and advocate, Palestinian film critic Bashar Ibrahim, accomplished screenplay writer Inês Braga, creative producer/director Lotfi Bencheikh, filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala, Egyptian film critic Ahmad Shawky and multimedia specialist Abdullah Al Shami. The winners were chosen by a jury of prominent figures from the film industry: Zeina Daccache, award-winning Lebanese film director and advocate, Palestinian film critic Bashar Ibrahim, accomplished screenplay writer Inês Braga, creative producer/director Lotfi Bencheikh, filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala, Egyptian film critic Ahmad Shawky and multimedia specialist Abdullah Al Shami. “We are proud as a committee to have been able to attract such a high level of talented student filmmakers from around the world through the workshops and development opportunities we have offered. The diversity of the participants, their backgrounds and perspectives, have enhanced the cultural and educational



BRSC ON: Original Narrative, a short film festival for students from around the world, concluded on February 25 with a red carpet awards ceremony and full house screening of Scheherazade's Diary, a feature documentary by awardwinning Zeina Daccache, a judge for the competition. The second edition of the festival saw 400 international entries narrowed down to 65 competing films from Australia, Morocco, Spain, Brazil, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Peru, Singapore, Egypt, Kuwait, France, India, Argentina, Korea, Syria, and Denmark amongst others competed in the different categories,

The winners FICTION: YANA DIRECTED BY BORIS NIKOLOV FROM BULGARIA Special Mentions: He thinks, She thinks directed by Ivan Stoessel from Argentina; Horn directed by Sungbin Byun from South Korea DOCUMENTARY: RED WHITE GREEN DIRECTED BY TAREK RAFFOUL FROM LEBANON Special Mentions: Medulla directed by Melisa Miranda from Chile; Apart directed by Sami Shehade from Palestine. ANIMATION: CARTOON AWAY DIRECTED BY AUGUSTO BICALHO ROQUE FROM BRAZIL Special Mentions: Mr. Barrientos – Offside directed by Kike Florido from Spain; Sound of Flames directed by Vincent Gibaud from France. SCREENPLAY: HELIUM BY AUD MBRSC STUDENT PETER MOUSSA FROM LEBANON

dimensions of the festival,” commented Film Director Sophie Boutros, Student Affairs and Communication Manager at MBRSC and Chair of the Festival’s committee. “ON has truly asserted itself as a leading film festival for students worldwide, as demonstrated by the growth in participants and audience, in addition to the immense media coverage of this edition,” she continued. n



or the second consecutive year, AUD students from MBRSC joined other campus radio stations from around the world, to participate in a global radio marathon on World College Radio Day, October 3, 2014. Three students from MBRSC PostRadio hosted a one-hour program beamed around the world from the AUD campus, during the 24-hour marathon. The 2014 event was supported by a host of celebrities, including Lord of the Rings’ Sean Astin, rocker Andrew WK and Ty Segall from


Twin Peaks and Living Colour. The broadcast reached more than 100,000 listeners globally. Dr. Bradley Freeman, AUD Associate Professor of Communication and Information Studies, said: “World College Radio Day is an awesome opportunity for us to showcase our student’s work, as well as to program music that is special to all AUD students. This year we have three students hosting the program in a mix of English and Arabic. It is a great chance for us to say hello to the world.” n




tudents enrolled on the Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies course in the School of Arts and Sciences, visited Sharjah’s Museums of Islamic Civilization and Fine Arts in November 2014, as part of their educational and cultural knowledge building of Western Asian and Middle Eastern history, “While the purpose of this field trip is essentially to educate and to reinforce what students have been instructed in class, it is also a fun bonding experience for everyone involved. Furthermore, the type of memories that educational trips create, called ‘episodic memories’, help students retain information for longer periods. Last but not least, the educational trip provides an opportunity for total immersion

in the cultural environment and social setting; students practice their social skills and critical thinking abilities outside of the controlled class setting, and it promotes community connectivity when taking advantage of local resources,” expressed Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies. The Museum of Islamic Civilization houses more than 5,000 artifacts from across the Islamic World. Sharjah’s Museum of Fine Arts, is the largest art museum in the Gulf with both temporary exhibitions and permanent collections by renowned local and regional artists.



r. Pamela Chrabieh, Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, led a number of culinary workshops for Middle East Studies students last semester. The idea of “learning through food” has been an essential component of Dr. Chrabieh’s courses since 2004. AUD students now learn about Middle Eastern cultures through the foods they prepare and taste for such events, while searching for meanings, symbols, flavors, specificities, and the unification of stories and cultural identities. Dr. Chrabeih explained: “Something as intimate as a meal is a reflection of a place’s history and its present social/political circumstances. People let you into their narratives when you ask them ‘What do you like to cook or eat?’ They are willing to spend the time necessary to hear the answers.” n

TALKING CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN OCTOBER 2014, AUD welcomed Dr. Francesco Giumelli, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Groningen to lead a talk on The Privatisation of EU Crisis Management Operations. The talk centered on private security firms, international relations and the European Union. It also dissected the increasing privatization of military and stability operations, which has received considerable scholarly attention of late. The session attempted to advance the empirical knowledge of the privatization of foreign policy activities and the scope, determinants and future prospects of EU reliance on commercial actors for crisis management operations. n


AUD LAUNCHES MEST FORUM THE MEST Forum launched in November 2014; a monthly series of intellectual seminars that will be repeated on the last Tuesday of each month during the fall and spring semesters. The goal of the MEST Forum is to provide opportunities for AUD academics and visiting scholars from a range of disciplines to share their researches related to MENA issues. The first session, “Peace Education in Lebanon: Case Study in the University Context” included an academic presentation and debate. n





UD Knights men’s basketball team won the gold medal against The Vipers in the final game of the MPAC league for 2014. Over the course of the league, Knights played against 10 teams from Dubai and Sharjah, winning the semi-final against Regulators. The win was a double victory for AUD Knights captain Amer Al Sati, pictured below, who also won Most Valuable Player. He dedicated the honour to faculty, staff and students of the AUD community. “Victory is our main goal, we don't like to give up,” said Joseph Nohra, AUD Athletics Coordinator. “All things are difficult before they are easy, teamwork makes the dream work, and I wish the AUD Knights the best of luck in future games,” he added. Miso Pancetovic, AUD Athletics

Director, commented: “Now it’s time to turn towards final exams and HESF games. To show all our efforts towards university teams in UAE. Hard work and discipline will always pay off. “Our students have a very good chance to utilize all the resources AUD has given them. If they manage to excel both academically and in athletics, their future is bright! We will do everything in

our power to support them throughout their university years,” he added. MPAC Sports launched in 2007 an initiative for developing basketball in emerging markets and thus was established in the UAE. The objective is to develop the infrastructure for sports by promoting the game on the grass roots level through quality instruction and structured competitions. n

SCHOOL SPORTS CHALLENGE RETURNS PROMOTING DIVERSITY through sport, AUD held its fourth annual School Sports Challenge on February 21st. The multisport festival featured boys’ and girls’ school teams and individual athletes from over 20 different high schools in the


UAE, who competed in Soccer, Basketball,Volleyball, Swimming, Cross Country and Tug of War. Sharjah American International School (SAIS) was crowned Champion of the AUDSSC 2015 edition and took home the Athletic Scholarship

offered by AUD. Commenting, Carol Maalouf, AUD Director of Admissions, said: “The scholarship is awarded to a student who has demonstrated excellent athletic skills and good sportsmanship, all the while maintaining good academic

standing. We look forward to welcoming new students on our campus to further cultivate their skills.” She added: “We believe in rewarding excellence and encourage our students and our communities to strive to achieve it.” The event was coordinated in partnership with High Five Events, and supported by sponsors Choueiri Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Unilever – Rexona, Coca Cola Middle East, Samsung, VIP Security Services, Al Ittihad Al Watani, Abela & Co., American Hostpital Dubai, Emirates Airlines and Planet Tours. n




iming to create a sporting event among all-American universities, and the wider community, AUD hosted an intercollegiate sports day in October 2014. AUD Knights played AUS Leopards in several friendly games, with Knights winning the male basketball, soccer and volleyball, and female volleyball games.

“We created a bond that’s much bigger than just the sport. We met students from both sides and felt the rivalry and competition at its best. One more reason to constantly strive for bigger and higher goals! We have all it takes and it will be up to us where we want to go” said Miso Pancetovic, AUD Athletics Director. n


Savic manages the Basicball Academy following a career that won him several gold medals in both world and European championships. Savic and the Invictus Group were invited to use the AUD Knights Arena for their training and two AUD Knights were given the opportunity to play alongside the professionals. AUD’s Athletics Director, Miso Pancetovic, has a vision: for the university to be recognized as a center for sporting excellence across Dubai.

LEGENDARY BASKETBALL player and former GM of Barcelona Basketball Club, Zoran Savic, added the star touch to AUD’s open day basketball camp at the Knights Arena in September 2014. The event was held for AUD players and a selection of Dubai’s strongest 16 to 25 year old players.

AUD KNIGHTS participated in the UOWD tournament in December 2014, winning gold not once, but twice. The girl’s volleyball team won against AUD in sets and the boy’s team won against both AUS and UOS in the final. “A big thank you to the coaches for these successes and their great work. Specifically, I would like to thank AUD Athletics Coordinator and volleyball coach Joseph Nohra and basketball coach Alex for a great tournament and for bringing home two gold medals to AUD,” said Miso Pancetovic, AUD Athletics Director. “The UOWD tournament was a great opportunity for us to meet up with other universities, for coaches to try out people with less game minutes, and to show people that we are...well, simply the best,” he added. n

He said: “With the Athletics Division and the university, we can provide the best quality education and sports here at American University Dubai. “This was a great opportunity for our players to get exposed to such a legend and gain experience from him in a fun and entertaining environment.” n




Since September 2014, Tala Makhlouf has been applying analytical skills acquired during a career in global finance, to measure and enrich the retention and success of AUD students. She shares her secrets to success with the AUD Review


enjamin Franklin was once quoted as saying: “nothing preaches better than the act”. It is a phrase that can be applied to many life experiences, but when it comes to teaching students how to set themselves up for a successful education and career, it takes on a deeper meaning. Since September 22nd 2014, AUD’s newly created Office for Student Retention and Success has been advising, counseling and providing career services to students, as well as strengthening alumni relations. So who better to lead this office than somebody who has worked for the biggest brands and institutions in her field? Before joining AUD in 2006, Tala Makhlouf worked for the Ministry of


Finance in Lebanon, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Saatchi and Saatchi, Arthur Anderson and the Dubai International Financial Centre. The parallels between a heady career in global finance and economics – played out across the Middle East and US – to one in the academic arena, are not immediately evident. But in addition to the holistic support services her team provides, Tala is applying analytical skills to gather data on student behavior that will allow the implementation of support systems to ensure every student can succeed. “I have a strong research background and I have worked in a lot of analytical areas, looking at data and trends in numbers. I apply this skill here during my work, as I did in my previous admissions position at AUD. “We look at student data and establish trends to identify the students who are likely to need more support, then we can work with them until they reach their goals,” she adds. After graduation, it is this office that remains in contact with students. Helping with work placements and also tracking the success of alumni – many of whom are now regional business leaders – the office also forges ongoing relationships to pay success forward to the next generation of students, through internships and work opportunities. “We analyse what we have done, the services we have offered, and then we look at the results. We look at grades, if there is evidence of progression after the sessions or if performance is stagnant. If it is the latter, we revisit our induction with the students,” she continues. As with any study, discovering trends and concluding results take time. As the office only opened in September 2014, no results exist as of yet, but the data is adding up. After 12 to 18 months of collection and analytics, observations can be made and applied during the office’s second year. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Some students have psychological

We are shifting our entire mind set. When you are the head of success and retention, negativity has no place problems pushing them back; some of them struggle with time management or self-confidence. You have to get to know each student, learn what works for them, and then refer back the data to see if what you are doing is giving you the results you wish for. “Within 18 months we will have a more accurate picture of what is happening and where our effort should be refocused to really support our students,” she adds. THE STUDY OF SUCCESS

While there are many voices contributing to the global debate on retention and success, the nature of the research Tala and her team collates adds an interesting tangent to what has previously been observed: few researchers have been fortunate enough to gather their data from such a vastly diverse student sample as that at AUD. In 2005, Vincent Tito wrote a paper for Syracuse University that observed the change in attitude towards student retention from the 1960s dictum of “institutions don’t fail, student’s do” through to the “age of involvement”, ushered in via a number of studies and papers dated throughout the 1980s. However the samples from such studies are severely restricted: residential and non-diverse campuses, with few of the factors we see affecting retention and success today, actually at play. “We have a very diverse campus here, from the students who are residents of the UAE but hold foreign nationalities, to those who come from abroad to study. “Students who come from abroad take longer to adjust, especially with homesickness, but we connect with them

to reduce that. I have also found that high school students today are not well prepared for university life; they should be taught skills in responsibility, time management and self-reliance, to help them adjust,” Tala says. In 2001, writing for the American National Bureau of Economic Research, authors Brent Evans, Eric Taylor and Jon Valant observed that while college enrolment rates were on the increase, graduation rates were not. The research they drew from demonstrated evidence was that personalized support and advisory services helped students to complete tasks they may not otherwise. However, most surprising was their conclusion that student coaching has a more positive impact on retention and success than financial aid. Adding to the case for academic guidance, in 2011 Hanover Research stated student retention is a direct result of cultivating academic goals, academic-related skills and academic self-confidence. The report developed to observe: “The majority of examined institutions appeared to promote services that encourage academic and social development, and thus the likelihood of retention and graduation, of first year students.” LEARNING IN PROGRESS

The onus for success, in whatever form, doesn’t entirely fall on the university. Both earlier educational experiences and cultural influences also play a part in student success – from the attitude towards knowledge to the courses enrolled in. “We have a lot of students who don’t know what they want to do. They are registered in a major but don’t really know what it entails, most likely because they are selecting a major a family member or friend has registered for and they have followed blindly,” Tala shares. It isn’t an issue unique to AUD and it is even something Tala herself faced,



I always tell students to do what they love

STEP BY STEP How the AUD Office for Student Retention and Success tailors its support Year 1 – adjustment from high school to university academia. Support for foreign students and coaching on course choice. Year 2 – career advice and development. Internship placements, often forged through alumni relations, and strong focus on selfreliance and responsibility. Year 3 and 4 – building the professional resumé and securing relevant and fruitful work experience that will assist in finding a job after graduation.

when she first enrolled at university. She explains: “I studied Architecture for two and a half years because I thought I liked it but then I couldn’t see myself making my career in that industry. “I transferred to the Business program and I thought my father would be angry, but instead he told me that taking that decision early on meant I wouldn’t graduate with a degree I wouldn’t use.” It is an experience that not only changed the course of her life, but can now be recalled to help students find the subject they too are passionate about. “I always tell students to do what they love. Your parents can guide you but you must follow what you are good at. You have to find the one thing you excel at and put all your energy into it because



this is how you become a successful person,” she adds. Today, education is not just about completing courses and getting grades, but preparing for a career and professional success. This is what the American higher education system provides. How the rest of the office’s first academic year in business will play out may not be set in stone, but the future looks bright for students, alumni and AUD as an educational institution. As Tala says, the whole process is “learning in progress”. “That is true just as much for me and the team as it is for the students. We are shifting our entire mind set. When you are the head of success and retention, negativity has no place.” n

Tala Makhlouf’s career began in Lebanon as a Corporate Finance Officer, graduating to the Ministry of Finance, where she developed a passion for public finance, writing budgets and dealing with expenditures.Two years into the role she was seconded to Washington DC for training with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and offered a position at the IMF Institute for the training of public sector employees on public finance issues. Two years later she moved to the debt department at the World Bank, restructuring loans and budgets for highly indebted countries. After moving to Dubai,Tala took a job on the launch team for DIFC’s strategy department, evaluating company applications to operate in the newly created financial center and attracting new business. She has worked at AUD in several positions since 2006, teaching across business, accounting and finance, as well as heading the Admissions Office.

TOMORROW’S TEACHER D epending on your year of enrolment, understanding the application and possibilities of education technology, or Ed Tech, will vary. For those who enrolled in 2014 it is digital blackboards, paperfree classrooms and e-books on mobile devices. For those who enrolled in 1994, it is a level of advancement that would make Back to the Future’s Marty McFly quake in his self-lacing Nike Air Mags. Ed Tech is a big bucks business, which is driving innovation at a heady pace. A market study published by Future Source predicts the sector will reach values of $19bn by 2018, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of eight per cent. Applications vary wildly, from cloudbased storage to a fully digitized library and curriculum. But what is critical to remember is that this is more than just iPads in classrooms and remote learning.

Kevin Martin is a technology enthusiast with a background that spans military, IT and academia. Combining his expertise, the new Director of Library Services and Educational Technology Specialist, is driving a classroom revolution Since arriving on campus in July 2014, Director of Library Services and Educational Technology Specialist Kevin Martin, has been assessing AUD’s Ed Tech in order to benchmark adoption and drive progress. Holding a Masters degree in Information and Learning Technology and a second in Library Science, his domain may be the traditional library, but his task is to gradually transform AUD’s library into a space equipped with the technology to support the process of learning. In the classroom, his task is to ensure that course delivery is

informative, efficient and inline with the level of technology students interact with elsewhere in their lives. Both physical libraries and the concept of Ed Tech are built on filing systems. That is, knowing where and how to store – and retrieve – knowledge. The intersection at which education and technology meet brings a philosophical element to the table; posing many questions about where the responsibility for in-class innovation lies and how the message of Ed Tech should be disseminated. Kevin says: “As I studied, I began also to develop



an interest in library work and then there was a realization that there is a need for Ed Tech in libraries. But where does the knowledge of Ed tech live in an institution? Who shares it out? That became an area of interest to me.” A NEW SET OF TOOLS

Before any progress can be made, Kevin is measuring and increasing levels of information literacy, teaching students how to search, research and understand the process of writing. In short: learn how to use your tools. Kevin explains: “We have 40,001 volumes in our current collection and these print collections are really good but they are mostly designed to inspire. It’s the springboard. “What you’re seeing is a real shift in how students work. Today, information can be accessed from anywhere and the library is an academic commons. It’s a work space that isn’t the cafeteria and that is important to an academic institution.” Describing his immediate six-month task list as the “unflashy period”, initial focus will fall on integrating AUD systems and testing compatibility. Individual departmental requirements will be discussed and met: as AUD’s School of Business Administration phases out print textbooks, he will ensure vendor relationships exist and students are equipped with reading devices to endure their entire course. As he explains, content delivery is deviceagnostic and therefore content must meet the student on their chosen device. As work processes become more efficient, Ed Tech programs take care of formatting for example, thus eliminating the need for a lecture and freeing up teacher-time for critical thinking. “Technology is really allowing us to begin to kill the lecture and that is the most exciting thing happening in Ed Tech and the broader field of education right now. Previously, lectures were the most logical use of time. Now you


can pre-record the lecture, so students listen in advance and classroom time with the teacher isn’t spent in a oneway dialogue, but in an interactive conversation and exchange.” TESTING THE WATER

At the opposite end of the scale, The Minerva Project is taking Ed Tech a step further by reforming how the modern liberal arts education system achieves it goals. Founded by Ben Nelson in 2012, the project’s ambition is to use technology to make education accessible to “the brightest and most motivated students from around the world… with a pedagogy and curriculum specifically designed to teach critical and creative thinking and effective communication, combined with a technology platform built in to service

to the science of learning”. Eliminating the requirement for the physical educational space and extra curricular, recreational, facilities a network of global Minerva campuses will provide the ultimate educational experience. The school retains some social and collaborative learning spaces, but all else takes place in the ether. Unlike online learning, which relies on mass enrolment – and often inferior accreditations – Minerva retains a selective attitude to enrolment and course provision, designed to compete with the elite. Without the need for a physical environment in which to conduct classes, Minerva hopes to offer courses intellectually equivalent to those of Ivy League schools while charging around $28,000 for each year of tuition,

but knowing how to really talk, write and think and using that as an equally important reason to be hired. That is the goal for Ed Tech and all of our education here.” FUTURE LEARNING COMMUNITIES

including room and board. While AUD’s reasons for integrating technologically-advanced teaching methods is not down to its business plan, it is attributable to a desire to enhance the educational tools at students’ fingertips, and provide a method through which each student can build an academic portfolio, in the cloud. He explains: “Whether you are in traditional subjects such as Engineering and Architecture or Philosophy, you should have a capstone project with a portfolio to understand what you have just done. So many people go through their entire degree and come out unaware of what they have achieved.” Despite the differences, commonalities remain in the outcome. Kevin adds: “The goal is critical thinking. Coming out with a skill set that isn’t just ‘I learned about this’,

Prior to the 1990s, Ed Tech was a theory that started and ended with the idea of isolated home learning and lessons beamed to students through a desktop computer. Today, the concept isn’t to remove the community learning experience, or put it behind glass, but to create time for face-to-face dialogue. Ed Tech is about enabling efficient reference and storage, better collaboration and more contact, in order to facilitate more discussion time. “AUD’s is about teaching the skills of critical thinking and getting those skills into people. So technology now is about getting us out of the lecture mode and into the seminar mode because there are more opportunities for active dialogue. “The pie in the sky vision isn’t just that it is going to take us to this strange utopia of education, but back to Aristotle in the forum.” Ed Tech doesn’t just question how courses are taught, but what teaching is and how we, as humans, respond to different learning styles and learning environments. Kevin elaborates: “I did a great deal of paper reading while growing up and attending academic institutions. But that is changing. Slowly, we are seeing fewer books are being bought but all this material is still being read. “The goal for 2015 is about creating demonstrable success and communicating that to the other schools; making sure they understand there are resources to help them do these things and the creation and addition of the Ed Tech function and the library role is not only to coordinate all this, but facilitate its roll out and support the faculty members during that process.”

As with the Ed Tech industry as a whole, development and implementation on campus will be progressive; systems do not require building, but clarification. This year, around 10 per cent of AUD Library’s oldest items will be removed and the collection updated. More study spaces will be created by digitizing niche items in the journal collection and the library’s own systems will be modernized to speed up check out and archiving. And academic innovation beyond that? “Technological evolution over the last two decades tells me there is a push for paperless. It isn’t just about more databases and E-books, our 3,000 students printed over 100,000 pages last semester. Why? “Students should not turn in a single assignment on paper. That is my goal as Library Director and Educational Technology Specialist,” Kevin shares, before concluding: “So a paperless university experience and the entire academic portfolio and history in the cloud, stored forever.” n

CV Kevin Martin holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Ethics, an M.A. in eLearning Design and Implementation and a Graduate Certificate in Designing eLearning Environments from the University of Colorado, as well as a TESOL Certificate from Pusan University of Foreign Affairs. He is also currently a candidate for the M.L.I.S. at San José State University.



TEACHING THROUGH CHANGE AUD President and advertising industry executive Dr. Lance de Masi, says profit impacts innovation and brand dialogue lacks direction. Here, he tells AUD Review what he believes will be the next big thing in communications


igures published by Google in 2014 report the MENA region’s advertising market is worth $5.15bn. It’s fast paced, it’s dynamic and it captures the attention of some of the world’s biggest spenders. It is also an industry that – according to a man who has worked for its biggest names, served as President of the UAE Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) and is now teaching the next generation of professionals – lacks true innovation. Digital spending comprises only six per cent of total advertising spend in the Middle East. It’s still big money, with Google calculating that digital advertising in the “Arab world” (its boundaries for which are unclear) generated $412m in 2013. But it’s a drop in the ocean when it comes to reaching target audiences on their preferred platforms.




To date digital advertising has primarily focused on video, with targeted and static adverts providing low penetration and returns. YouTube, with its anomalous ROI, is paving the way for a revolution of sorts over the coming year as it meets predictions to become the biggest driver of digital advertising growth in the region. But the industry according to Dr. Lance de Masi could do more to facilitate its own innovation and digitization, and in turn strengthen its future revenues. “Unless there is profit, or until revenues fall away because of decreased demand, everything remains the same. It’s reactive,” he observes citing a lack of will to lead on both the part of the client and the agency. “I have for sometime been concerned with the lack of strategic thrust that is beginning to seep into brands’ communication mixes. Rather than the rigor of communicating a substantive and relevant concept, there seems to be an obsession with using a portfolio of media simply for the sake of using more.” “I believe that the next big thing will be a return to the day when the communication of a business-building positioning was everything,” he goes on to predict. Continuing in his observations, focus turns to the concept of content. For Dr. de Masi, its lack of what he terms “strategic value” is having detrimental effects on the industry. The Internet first began to reshape business landscapes almost two decades ago, but what has happened in the last ten years propelled its growth to a level that can only be described as stratospheric. One of the many offshoots of the digital revolution has been the introduction – and unashamed adoption of – social media, across multiple platforms and multiple media. While social media has produced a communications platform like no other in the history of the human race, the side effect has been a scattergun approach to audience engagement and a need to keep


ALUMNI ACCOUNTS HEND RAAFAT, STRATEGIC PLANNER DDB DUBAI. B.B.A. IN MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS, CLASS OF 2009 “Through his experience, Dr. de Masi gave us a taste of what to expect after graduation. That had a great impact on how we started approaching projects and real communications challenges in order to solve them strategically. His best advice was If you cannot say it in one line, it means that you don’t know what you are talking about, and he always urged us to keep things short and simple.That’s a crucial element of my work today as a strategic planner. “For our final project we created a communications solution for Etihad Airlines and my team members and I worked non stop to get our hands on real data and information to utilize.We were challenged by Dr. de Masi to offer a real holistic communications solution. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding projects that I ever worked on, whether academically or professionally.”

on “talking”, regardless of the quality of that communication. In turn, a transfer of power has occurred from the brand to the brand consumer; the results of which mean anybody with an Internet connection now has the power to shape a brand’s reputation. While Dr. de Masi’s comments can be interpreted as a natural by-product of this phenomenon, he has a footnote to add. He responds: “Yes we are in an era of customer control; that should not mean however, that manufacturers should delegate the power to shape the destiny of their brands.”


The shifts in communication type and engagement levels aren’t solely due to the formation of new channels, but that of other behavioral and cultural shifts. The new media industry taking shape before our eyes works to a cyclical effect, the third element of which is the interaction with, and media consumption of, Millennials, otherwise known as Gen Y. Earlier this year a report released by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) made a bold claim that brands lacking in what it terms authenticity, will fall behind in a market place that is dominated by Millennials. They’re

ALUMNI ACCOUNTS MYRNA AYAD, EDITOR, CANVAS, CANVAS B.B.A. CLASS OF 2001 “Nothing beats a real-life narrative.Theory doesn’t even come close, it’s just way too abstract. And yet, I’d still prefer an academic in the form of Dr. de Masi, because at the end of the day, it’s not about the story you tell, but how you tell that story. It’s an attitude. “For our final year project we had to pick something - a person, a country, a thing, whatever – and market it.We were divided into groups and I recall that my peers and I shared the same sentiment: what mattered was impressing Dr. D, not the grade. A grade was just a letter on your transcript that you’ll probably forget (and I have), but impressing Dr. D was something that had has strategic strategic impact… impact… and and II haven’t haven’t forgotten forgotten that!. that! “We kind of grasped the notion that he is receptive to ideas that encompass encompasses challenge challenge and shock; ideas that attempt a change in attitude. So we decided to work marketonIsrael’s a controversial IT sector. Note: the majority of us are Diasporic Arabs, so this was something that made us park our project. emotions “As we inasmuch went along, as we we realized could. what Dr. de Masi had done to us all long: it was he who had“As challenged we wentus. along, He made we realized us think what outside Dr. dethe Masi box, had hedone daredtousustoallthink. long:Ititwas wasalways he whothe challenged bigger picture, us. He themade ‘risingus above thinkthe outside challenge’, the box, the he looking daredahead. us to”think. It was always the bigger picture, the ‘rising above the challenge’, the looking ahead. “

It would be very easy to cite social media as the key to the door of the future. After all, it’s already here not the only ones shaping consumer conduct, but they have demonstrated great influence over Gen X and Baby Boomers, who today mimic similar group behavior. Titled ‘The Reciprocity Principle’, BCG’s report surmised that while Millennials connect with a brand on a much more personal, often emotional level, in return they expect a similar display of loyalty – the corporate nature of which should be far more subtle. The perception of disappointment with a brand is also key to this interaction. From the individual customer service a Millennial encounters, to any personal disagreement with brand


values, the transparency of supply chains or the health impacts of a product, “disappointment” manifests as public complaints in the best instances and reduced sales in the worst. And no disappointment experienced by a Millennial at the hands of a brand will remain a private affair as demonstrated by what The Financial Times last year declared to be “The Decline of The Behemoths”. “It would be very easy to cite social media as the key to the door of the future. After all, it’s already here; and there is no doubt that in the near term, it - and other media opportunities afforded by an everchanging technological landscape - will prosper,” Dr. de Masi says, continuing to paint a challenging picture: “The industry’s next big thing? Last year Coca-cola made history in a negative way: the brand’s value declined. My suspicion is that we are going to see other brands follow suit. Stratrgy, not activity, must prevail.”

It seems there is no better time than the present for Dr. de Masi to be in the classroom. Not only is the industry in flux, but his passion for communications and advertising are matched only by his passion for teaching; and he clearly has plenty of knowledge to transfer. While he refuses to speak personally about his impact on students, maintaining that they are the only ones qualified to comment on his teaching, he is particularly vocal on teaching standards as a whole. “Do not say you are a bad teacher. If you are bad teacher get out of the classroom, improve yourself. A good teacher provides wisdom and guidance,” he says, highlighting the importance of student ardor in the educational process. “The communications business is made for creative, passionate and committed people, most of whom wouldn’t know how else to make a living. My advice to young people is that if you see yourself that way, go for it; and don’t over rationalize your decision,” he adds.



His views on teaching and education aren’t solely formed through his experience of recruiting to AUD faculty, but also his own education. Dr. de Masi holds Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Master of Business Administration (Marketing) degrees and in 1997, he was granted a Doctor of Humane Letters degree by Schiller International University. He first began teaching at Indiana University, where he was an associate instructor in the mid-1970s. A glittering career in industry ensued, which took him quite literally from the very first rung to the top of the ladder; from what he describes as “the pit” at Leo Burnett, Chicago, to university President at an institution that leads its region. It’s a career that played out across America, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and the UK. In Dubai he worked for BBDS/ IMPACT, leaving his position as COO after six years with the firm. From there he joined AUD, where he began teaching part-time and his appetite for the vocation grew in parallel with his thirst to ensure AUD was performing at its best.Yet rising through the ranks was a bittersweet success: as the university grew so too did his administrative responsibilities, leaving less and less time for teaching. Since his appointment to AUD President two decades ago, he has overseen the physical growth of the campus, the enhancement of AUD’s reputation and the increased success of its alumni. While Dr. de Masi notes a symbiosis between his academic and administrative roles, he also discloses that in the years he wasn’t physically teaching in the classroom, his heart remained there. This year, Dr. de Masi is teaching a senior course in Marketing Communications for senior students, which includes mentorship throughout

ALUMNI ACCOUNTS HANY EZZAT, INTEGRATED MARCOMS SPECIALIST, B.B.A. CLASS OF 1999 “I left AUD with more than a solid grounding in advertising and marketing theory: I left with passion and clarity of what I wanted to become, also a taste of the real world, thanks to Dr. de Masi. I knew I wanted to be a planner from day one.While the theory shaped my thinking, Dr. de Masi provided a living example of what it takes to be a true strategic thinker, a man of ideas and someone who appreciates the creative process. I was very lucky to have learned the craft from a master.”

their final assignment. In collaboration with one of his closest industry contacts, JWT, students have received a live client brief, which they have to complete under tight deadlines and close scrutiny of the integrity of their work. “Students need a taste of industry.You can listen and learn and turn up to classes, but practical experience is as important as theory. The best advice I can give to a student graduating from AUD is to get exposure. As much exposure as possible – internships, portfolios, make your name and get it out. Only with that reputation can you stand out in the jobs market and forge a meaningful career,” he adds. Incidentally his students have gone on to forge highly successful careers. Myrna Ayad, editor of Canvas, published by Mixed Media Publishing, recalls her time in Dr. de Masi’s classes as nothing short of theatrical. She says: “Dr. D’s classes were theatrical in that he gripped your attention from start to finish in a play on words and emotions. They were always laced with psychology - you hung onto every word because each was pronounced in a different tone. They’re not stories you forget either. Looking back – and this was the late 1990s, early 2000s – I wish I had recorded these sessions instead of scribbling pages and pages of notes. I

Unless there is profit, or until revenues fall away because of decreased demand, everything remains the same. It’s reactive 34

could use some of that wisdom today. He really made us think,” she adds. KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Dr. de Masi’s career began on June 20, 1977 on Michigan Avenue, Chicago. It’s a day he has spoken publically about on so many occasions it no longer requires diarizing. Instead, the point to note is that the industry he entered then, was drastically different to the one he sends graduates into today. While brands now do more to secure in-house talent, and pay better for it, he boldly observes the modern agency “wouldn’t know what to do with an M.B.A. holder”. He continues: “Full commission remuneration is all but dead, price-cutting is rampant, and procurement is sitting on a throne. Hoopla and hype threaten to take the place of substance.” Modern day technology, globalization, cultural influences and evolving social agendas have all played a part in reshaping every facet of every media-based industry. We live in a world where even newspapers – those great institutions of information and influence – have toppled under archaic business models and financial pressures. But if one man can transfer the knowledge gained over his 37 year career to the next generation of communications and advertising professionals – thus allowing them to forge careers as vibrant and successful as his own – it is the teacher they affectionately call “Dr. D”. n


I AM LEBANESE… I AM FROM DUBAI Lebanese expatriate Prof. Loulou Malaeb, unpicks the myth that home is where the heart is


know what you are thinking: that I might be one of those few expats who were granted the Emirati passport, or that I am Emirati from one side of my parents and Lebanese from the other side. But I am not. I am just one of the many thousands of expatriates who seek refuge in Dubai from high taxes, or oppression, or war. I came to the UAE in 2006 to escape one of the many wars in Lebanon. My initial plan was to repatriate after three years with a sufficient financial base to raise a family in my homeland, among my people. But what I found on the way was unexpected – I found a home. They say in English that home is where the heart is; well Dubai has proved them wrong. My heart is in Lebanon with my loved ones, where I was brought up. It is still there roaming around with each and every member of my family. My heart is in Beirut at my university; I feel it wandering around Manara and enjoying the crowd of Gemmayze. My heart is standing in front of the Cedar trees of Bsharri and Barouk. My heart is on the freezing snow and under the pouring rain, but I myself am here in Dubai – loving its diversity, respecting its civil society, enjoying its services, admiring its peace. The UAE, as a nation, combines optimum modernity and cultural traditions, diversity and homogeneity. As a resident, I can respect and indulge in my heritage while enjoying the glamorous opportunities Dubai affords me. As I live here I am conscious of the fact that I am an individual who

In making me feel at home, this country gives me much more than a piece of paper comes from a society that is very distinct and different from all other societies that I come across in my quotidian life, yet I cannot but blend in with the homogenous nature of the society in this country. Philosophically speaking – more precisely, in Hegelian terms – we live in

this country with a perpetual oscillation between two extremes; others and myself between old home and new. Our origins and traditions are always apparent in us. But it is this society that gives us the opportunity to connect with the other extreme of our character, of reaching out to other individuals and interacting with them on different levels. This oscillation between those two scissions of our character is what I tend to call the true face of UAE society and, more precisely, Dubai. The opportunity to live and interact in a metropolitan city – without being compelled into totally melting in its grandeur – is a special one. I enjoy the luxury of modernity while retaining as much or as little as I want from my own culture. No country allows such a significant space for your own cultural retention. It is true that under current laws, I will not hold an Emirati passport and that, even though they were born here, my children will not either. But in making me feel at home, this country gives me much more than a piece of paper. It is a country where I am never frowned upon because my name is too difficult for people to pronounce. It is here where I can raise my children speaking their mother language without worrying that they might be discriminated against or treated unfairly for that. It is an island of peace in the midst of this ocean of political, sociological, and governmental metamorphoses. It is Arab modernity and it is my other home. n

CV After graduating from the American University of Beirut with a major in philosophy and a minor in political science, the fluent French speaker enrolled at Saint-Joseph University in Beirut where she began to explore the concept of property. She developed a hypothesis considered by her superiors as rigorously thoughtful and exclusively new: the property instinct. Continuing her research work in this field for her PhD, Prof. Malaeb is influenced by Dr. Jad Hatem, Dr. Paul Salem, and Dr. Aziz al Azmeh among others.





n his 1992 report An Agenda for Peace, former United Nations SecretaryGeneral Boutros Boutros-Ghali introduced the concept of post-conflict peace building as “an action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict”. In other words, the sources of violence are diverse: political, ideological, economic, social, ecological, historical and psychological. War is not reduced to combats, alliances and treaties and the absence of military battles does not in itself ensure local, regional and international peace, nor simple peacekeeping initiatives.


Dr. Pamela Chrabieh compares written theories on the nature of conflict, with the impact of media propaganda on the reputation of the Middle East

In Nel Noddings’ 2011 book Peace Education: How We Come to Love and Hate War, the psychological factors supporting war are explored, such as nationalism, hatred, religious extremism and the search of existential meaning.

In Le Virus de la violence (The Virus of Violence, 1998), the late Lebanese psychiatrist Adnan Houballah identifies two interrelated aspects of war: physical (perpetrated by groups of active fighters and armies) and psychological (warrelated traumas and their outcomes

within civilian populations, including post-traumatic stress disorders both behavioral and affective, different mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia, latent tensions and inability to relate to others). In that perspective, peace cannot be achieved unless these sources are dealt with and both aspects of war are handled. To that end the fulfillment of a peacebuilding process is required, including better political governance and economic systems, human rights, social justice and responsibility, intercultural and interfaith dialogues, and ecological awareness, as well as peace education. Peace education encompasses a diversity of pedagogical approaches within formal curricula in schools and universities and non-formal popular education projects implemented by local, regional and international organizations. It aims to cultivate the knowledge and practices of a culture of peace. In the classroom, teachers can do little to reduce the economic and political causes of wars, but they can do much to moderate the psychological factors that promote violence by engaging students in a journey of understanding the forces that manipulate them; by introducing them to relevant psychological and pedagogical principles such as the contact experience, conciliation through personal story telling, reckoning with traumatic memories, bodyword; by understanding the socioemotional aspects of reconciliation and discovering alternatives to violence; by fostering mutual respect and building bridges across differences. Wars start in the human mind and peace education plays an important role in individual and collective mindset changes, from classrooms to communities, from grassroots peace activists, peace-movement organizations and international non-

A cursory look at contemporary South Western Asian history might seem to indicate, at first, that war is part of Middle Eastern genetic codes

governmental organizations engaged in peace education to societies and local governments. It contributes to the deconstruction of the so-called invincible aura surrounding wars, and to its transformation into a dim light. A cursory look at contemporary South Western Asian (i.e. Middle Eastern) history might seem to indicate, at first, that war is part of Middle Eastern genetic codes and cultures, and that peace cannot be. However, claiming that Middle Easterners are died-in-the-wool warriors with violence running in their veins is simply and sadly an awful stereotype created by anthropological legends, geopolitical “experts” and media propaganda. Peace is a past and present reality, experience and praxis in the region. It is part of the local DNA. It is, as described in many of the spiritual traditions, including the monotheistic religions that emerged from the South Western Asian mindset, the realization of humanity’s nature and an ordinary possibility. However, for this possibility to become the general rule, the norm, there is an urgent need for the active and continuous implementation of effective policies in peace education at all levels; geared towards promoting social cohesion beyond mere coexistence, as well as reconciliation and wisdom cultivation. Peace education is being applied in the region but it needs to expand. There are many conditions to pursue this expansion, such as support from private institutions and public

authorities, sustained interaction between students and their teachers, and certainly, common initiatives between the different social entities: families, neighborhoods, religious and cultural communities, political parties and the media. n

CV Dr. Chrabieh completed her doctoral dissertation in 2005 at the University of Montreal on sectarianism, interfaith dialogue and religious-political relations in Lebanon.This was followed by two postdoctoral researches from 2005 to 2008 on war memory, youth and peacebuilding. Selected as one of the 100 most influential women in Lebanon and ‘Most Exceptional Teaching Fellow’ in Montreal, Dr. Chrabieh has also won several national and regional prizes in Canada. She has previously taught undergraduate and graduate courses in English, Arabic and French, in both Canada and Lebanon, and joined AUD in Fall 2014.



THE EXECUTIVE VIEW Joseph Ghossoub explains how his private sector expertise shapes his contributions to the AUD Board and what students need to succeed in an industry he helped create


oseph Ghossoub was the first person to be awarded the Dubai Lynch Advertising Person of the Year prize. He is a Knight of the Order of the Cedar – the highest civilian honor in Lebanon – and has been named by the media as “man of the year”, one of the “most admired GCC executives”, and “most influential Arabs”. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MENA Communications Group (MENACOM), he is in control of a significant share of the region’s creative advertising, PR and media


industry and if it can be claimed that anybody is at the top of their game, he is. Involved with AUD from its beginnings in the mid-1990s, Joseph is not an educator but a mogul. Invited to join the AUD board by his friend and industry peer, AUD president Lance de Masi, in his own words his unique contribution is his view from the world beyond academia. “What I think I bring is a view from the outside: a view from an employer; a view from somebody who is sitting on the other side of the fence, who is at the

receiving end of graduates, what takes place in the real world, and how things evolve in the real world,” he shares. In its infancy only a few short years ago, Dubai’s media industry has since grown at an incredible pace, attracting the largest international brands across advertising, public relations and publishing. His role in that boom was played out from the top of the communications industry but his legacy doesn’t end with the success of the companies he manages through MENACOM. Instead it continues through his AUD

What I think I bring is a view from the outside: a view from an employer, from somebody who is sitting on the other side of the fence. Who is at the receiving end of graduates, what takes place in the real world, and how things evolve” VIP LIFE

Board membership, through which he supports the next generation of industry professionals. “Sometimes it is forgotten by educators of many levels, and they are caught in the cycle of learning, but what is on the other side [of that learning] is very important to know,” he says of the expertise he brings. to the AUD Board.

“Things are moving too fast. If we are not to become obsolete in what we do, we have to see what is happening on the other side and meet and create demands there. The demands of ten years ago are not the same as today. Why do we educate people? To get jobs and employment, to get better in life and be future leaders,” he continues.

One of the many perks of a highflying career in the communications field, is the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the world. Ghossoub has met H.H. Sheikh Mohammed, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and numerous other high profile leaders. Pictures of such encounters adorn his office walls, which makes for both interesting conversation and an impromptu lesson in humility. “Anybody who is anybody, small, big or well known, has something interesting to say,” he shares. “Humanity is created around interesting things and I feel we can learn from everybody and anybody. You can learn a lot if you want to, especially when somebody is already up there with an opinion or proven leadership or achievement. You find that some people have achieved a little thing in life and you can’t talk to them because they think they have done a lot. Then you have people who have done so many things but they are so modest and approachable. They are humble and this is what interests me more. “These are the people I like to meet to know their opinion and perspective and learn from them,” he adds, namedropping elite political figures, authors and celebrities. For Ghossoub, attitude forms an integral part of success, and his attitudes towards education are particularly demonstrable of this. He shares how, in



creating his wall of fame photo album he has taken note of how the most successful people speak to others, how they color the intellect of the people they meet and how their attitudes differ to those of others. “Take H.H. Sheikh Mohammed for example. I have a book that goes back 365 days in all his activities and half way through reading I stopped and thought, even if I want to do 10% of what he does I cannot imagine the time and effort it would take. At the end of the day, you think you are doing so much until you find somebody who is doing more,” he explains. ON THE BUSINESS OF EDUCATION

His views on education are far from controversial but they are passionate. He notes that students at AUD are of a positive disposition and that, on campus, the atmosphere is relaxed and conducive to learning: “In my view it’s the most important part,” he says. “When we meet graduates they come forward as people who are happy in life, happy in what they do and they have taken what they need from AUD. It is a big success for the Board and the Senior Management,” he adds. It is on this note that Ghossoub offers


It is very simple: like it or leave it. If you don’t love it, and I mean really love it not just like it, don’t even attempt it his strongest advice. Advice imparted to his own children as well as AUD students ahead of their graduation. “It is very simple: like it or leave it. If you don’t love it, and I mean really love it not just like it, don’t even attempt it because you will not be able to do it and you will waste your time.” On the communications industry specifically, he elaborates: “This is the most demanding job you will probably ever encounter in your life. If you are not really in love with it don’t even try it. It will drain you, you will hate it. “But at the same time if you like it you will have found the most exciting job that you will ever do.” While he openly admits the priority outside of his own professional life is to sleep, his stance in the boardroom is one of tireless drive. It is his experience combining the private sector, a cutthroat industry and an international personal life that allows him the

authority to influence AUD’s approach to education: rather than placing the campus at the center of student’s lives, use it as a springboard to prepare them for life beyond it. “Life is two things: learning and enjoyment. If you are not enjoying it there is something missing and if you are not learning there is definitely something missing. At university you have to find that little combination between learning and enjoyment because this is the best time of your life,” he begins to conclude, advising that the experiences of university provide students with souvenirs to take through life. “You will be in this position for the next 40 or 50 years of your life working, learning and meeting people and if you don’t enjoy it now you never will in the future. Make the best out of it and make that combination work because without that you won’t achieve anything.” n



When Hany Ezzat enrolled in the School of Business Administration he didn’t even know advertising could be a profession. Here he shares the story of how his time at AUD paved the way for a career in planning and a sideline in hypnotherapy


oday, Hany Ezzat is an accomplished media planner whose portfolio has included work on some of the most recognized brands in the world for the likes of JWT, TBWA and Y&R. It’s a resume that makes it hard to believe that, when he enrolled at AUD, he didn’t even know advertising could be a profession. “I was somewhere between ‘terrorized’ and ‘seduced’ to join the School of Business Administration by Dr. Lance de Masi, who back then was a Professor of Marketing Communications,” Hany recalls. “One of my electives happened to be Advertising 241. I had never heard of a course, let alone a profession, called advertising. At first, I dreaded the course; the material was foreign and Dr. de Masi was a different kind of professor. I recall getting my first D grade ever on my mid-term. But while I saw failure, he saw potential. “He saw something in me beyond the grade, and I majored in advertising,” he adds. As they say, the rest is history. Hany completed 95% of his credit hours in

1999 and embarked on his industry career, returning to complete the remaining modules in 2008. He majored in Business Administration and earned a BBA in Marketing and an IAA Certificate in Advertising. “One course led to another; advertising became an addiction and a passion. While the courses created a desire for knowledge, Dr. de Masi inspired and sparked the creative side of me. He awakened a passion towards the creative process, building brands and becoming an ideas man. It was only during my advanced advertising course that I knew I wanted to become a strategic planner,” he shares. Hany’s career began as an account executive at J. Walter Thompson (JWT) in 1999, with specific focus on Unilever. After the establishment of JWT’s planning department, he was assigned responsibility for HSBC, HSBC Amanah, Sahara Mall, Abu Dhabi University and new business pitches. Then his professional mentor and closest ally left the company. He says of that time: “All I remember was



raw fear and merciless anxiety. A junior planner in an established agency dealing with demanding clients and a line up of experienced business account directors equaled fear!” However that fear soon became a motivator and, through hard – and relentless – work he began to reap the rewards of his effort. The next step took Hany to TBWA where he handled Nissan, Infiniti and Deira City Center. He was then headhunted to lead a new planning division at Team Y&R, dedicated to the planning needs of Mashreq Bank and Burjuman. Craving a professional life beyond the confines of office hours, in 2010 he became a planning consultant and has been working with Face To Face as a regional planning director and part-time consultant for the last five years on accounts such as Aujan, IFFCO Foods, Aldar Retail and Abu Dhabi Airports. In re-structuring his time, Hany has been afforded the opportunity to pursue other interests, such as writing and a course in hypnotherapy; he gained a Clinical Hypnotherapist certificate from the California Institute of Hypnosis in January 2012, something he says has enhanced his professional skill set. “When it comes to applying this wisdom to my career; hypnotherapy constantly helps me to understand myself better. It also makes me more intuitive and as my job is related to consumer psychology and behavior, I find myself more in tune with human truths and quicker to identify consumer opportunities certain brands can truthfully leverage,” he explains. For now, Hany is focused on building his consultancy business and expanding his current portfolio of clients and agencies, as well as completing his first book. He concludes: “A university experience is meant to equip one with the tools to be successful in the workplace and build a fulfilling career. Success is about potential, talent, drive, passion and most importantly doing something you enjoy.” n

PROUD TO BE AUD “Success is not defined only by how well you know a particular theory. A university experience is meant to equip one with the tools to be successful in the workplace and build a fulfilling career. Success is about; potential, talent, drive, passion and most importantly doing something you enjoy. AUD believes in the academic, personal, and professional potential of its students. “It is a privilege being part of the Alumni.”


STEP BY STEP AUD Alumni Mohamed Swidan explains how he landed his dream job with LinkedIn and why university education isn’t just about what happens in the classroom


hen Mohamed Swidan sat down to choose his university major in the year 2000, it wasn’t the advice of his school career director, or the life of a world-famous role model who inspired his choice, but the belief of his grandfather that IT would be the world’s next big industry. With the difficult part done, his AUD education began and in 2004 Mohamed graduated with a Bachelor of Information Technology. About his time spent at AUD, Mohamed says: “My best memory after more than 10 years of graduating is a collection of many things, sitting outside the cafeteria chatting and laughing with friends, starting the Egyptian Club, becoming VP of the SGA, sleepless nights studying and finishing a project, and definitely meet everyone I met in AUD.” Reminiscing on the experience, Mohamed is quick to admit that the focus throughout his education

PROUD TO BE AUD “Every time someone asked me where I graduated from I feel a lot of pride to say AUD, it is like this special place that I was lucky to be part of. “The AUD career office played a big part in my landing my first professional role.They helped me a lot with creating the right CV and positioning opportunities that fit my studies and background, it was through them I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Cisco. “AUD Alumni, I miss you. It is our responsibility to keep up the effort to build the AUD alumni community. I know life has taken us in separate directions but we all need to remember that no matter how many years pass or which nations we are from, we all have one thing in common… We are AUDians!”

was to graduate as quickly as possible, in order to embark on his career. “Like any university student all I dreamt of was the day the studying and projects would be over, but after graduation the feeling of ‘what do I do?’ hit me really hard,” he shares. What happened next took him on a professional journey that today combines his strongest skills with a job that allows him to support the brand direction and recruitment success of a diverse range of companies across the MENA region. “The most inspirational classes at AUD were given by those who worked in the field and taught AUD classes part time, in addition to their industry careers. It was very inspiring to know that they based our lessons to what actually happens in the corporate world,” he recalls. After graduation, Mohammed sought the support of the AUD Career Office, where he learnt to create opportunities for himself based on his strengths and ambitions. After a long interview process with Cisco Systems Mohamed landed his first role as Account Manager through a sub-contracted organization. But his feet kept itching. “As any young individual I wanted to make sure that I was building my career in the right industry, and a few months into the role with Cisco I decided to try a completely different industry. I joined the FMCG world to work with Coty M.E. as a commercial executive across a number of markets.”

“Initially it was very interesting, but completely different from the IT industry.” So Mohamed reached out to Cisco, who re-hired him as an Account Manager and, within months, he was promoted to a full time Territory Account Manager. “I don’t want my story to encourage students to jump from role to role, but to find what they enjoy doing and do it. I have been immersed in the industry since the minute I realized my passion for the IT sector and I have worked in different organizations in that domain because this is where I find my joy in what I do,” he advises. Now armed with the experience and clarity to know how he wanted his career to play out, Mohamed utilized a personal contact at LinkedIn and after a lengthy interview process landed a job as Key Account Director. It’s a role that takes Mohamed across the MENA region; guiding and consulting LinkedIn’s key accounts and helping those companies increase their brand equity as employers as well as their influence in recruitment. Each day is a mix of presentations, meeting, collaborative thinking and problem solving. It won’t be the last step on the ladder; Mohamed’s next ambition is to lead a multinational organization, but for now he has some life lessons to share. His advice to AUD students today is simple: work hard, play hard and take every opportunity to work during their studies, either part time or through internships. To graduates, he says: “I know how you feel: you want your first opportunity and perhaps even your biggest pay check, immediately. But life is all about steps. Explore what you would like to be part of or do, and start taking those steps towards your goal. Success is one step at a time.” n



Brad Moody As Associate Professor of Digital Media, Prof. Brad – as he is known to students – may be an expert in his subject, but he isn’t so savvy when it comes to putting on a wet suit When you’re not at AUD, what do you get up to? I enjoy time with my wife and three children as well as creating media, running and scuba diving – my wife and I took a course for our eighth wedding anniversary. What are you reading right now? Twitter! Some of my favourites are @taocolorist, @i_seehue, @PADI, @max4live, @julienbayle, @openculture Who is your favourite author? Paulo Coelho. What is your favourite TV show? Monty Python. John Cleese is my favorite actor. What is your favourite movie? Any James Bond film but If I had to choose it would be Dr. No. Where do you love to vacation? Anywhere, I love to travel!


What is your favourite quote? “Don’t take yourself too seriously,” unknown author. Who is your role model? My whole family are role models for me. I have had amazing role models from my great grandparents, grandparents, parents and father and mother in-law. There is also my wife who is an inspiration on a daily basis. Has anything really funny ever happened to you? Putting on my wetsuit backwards. No one told me for a while. Why are you a Proud AUD Professor? I have a dream job of teaching exceptional students with amazing support from AUD to achieve one of the leading Digital Media programs in the Gulf. It is a lot of hard work but doing something you enjoy makes it all worthwhile. My mom was a teacher and always instilled in my sister and I a strong desire to learn, create and to put our all into everything we do. n

Pamela Chrabieh The Assistant Professor in Middle Eastern Studies, explains what makes a good role model and how to tame a rooster What inspired you to become a teacher? I come from a line of educators and engaged intellectuals so firstly my family, but secondly the impact of war. Being part of the war generation in Lebanon, I have always believed in the role of education in changing individuals’ mindset and culture, from violence to peace. Teaching in Canada, Lebanon and the UAE has empowered me as a human being and citizen to become an agent of change and inspire others to break silences. Outside of AUD, what do you enjoy doing? Spending time with my family and friends, attending conferences, field research and trips. I’m also busy with media appearances, online and offline activism, exhibitions and cultural events and, of course, traveling. How do you choose new places to travel to? I like to discover, to seek the experience of new cultures, new opinions, histories, ideas, sceneries, arts, food. It’s about broadening the mind, opening one’s bubble and getting outside the comfort zone.

What makes a good role model? Carl Sagan said: “We tend to hear much more about the splendors returned than the ships that brought them or the shipwrights.” In that perspective, role models are individuals who do their best in whatever they do, who set goals and seek challenges, who help others in need, who contribute to improving their society; people we look to who bring encouragement for the journey. People who can truly inspire us to be happy by being just who we are. Has anything really funny ever happened to you? I had to chase AUD’s rooster for half an hour trying to take the perfect picture of this academic gallinaceous bird. Moral of the story: Don’t try to chase the rooster, no matter how intellectually refined, he will run. Sit still and ignore him, and he’ll come purring at your feet! What is your favorite inspirational quote? “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire,” William Butler Yeats. n



Christine Pendon The Executive Assistant from the School of Architecture, Art and Design, shares her Proud AUD moments When you’re not at AUD, what do you get up to? Cooking, reading e-books, sleeping. What are you reading right now? Who Moved my Cheese, by Spencer Johnson. It’s about how to deal with changes in your work and personal life. Who is your favorite author? Mitch Alboom. What is your favorite TV show? The Mind of A Chef. Tell us about your home country and the must-see place for a visitor I am from Manila in the Philippines and the one place I would recommend you visit in my home country is the Islands of Boracay and Palawan.


Why are you a proud AUD staff? I am proud to work at AUD for a lot of reasons. I work with an incredible university and an incredible department at the forefront of the education sector. Our team in the school are all open-minded and always looking for new ways to work with our students to help them achieve the highest level of learning and the best possible experience on campus. We ensure that we always keep our communication lines open, resulting in effective teamwork and impressive developments. I work directly for the Dean and Chairman, who are both approachable and inspiring educators and people. They have been great mentors to me personally and professionally and have motivated me to aim high and go beyond people’s expectations. In short, they are cool! n

The UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has licensed AUD and accredited all of its programs. AUD is also accredited in the USA by the Southern association of Colleges and Schools commission on Colleges to award Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

AUD Review Fall/Winter 2014  

The official magazine of the American University in Dubai

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