His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi looking at The Forum building plans with David Allen, the Registrar and Deputy Chief Executive of the University of Exeter

Fifth Annual University of Exeter Gulf Alumni Dinner

The event was hosted by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Sharjah, at the Dr Sultan Al Qasimi Centre of Gulf Studies, in Sharjah, on 31 March 2011.

A new dimension to the annual University of Exeter Gulf Alumni Dinner is being added in the form of a short conference on Gulf Affairs which preceded the dinner. The conference was led by leading academics from the University of Exeter’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies who chaired three seminars which focus on economics, modernity and internationalisation. The keynote lecture ‘Securing the position of the Emirates as a pivotal state in regional and global trade’ was given by Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi.

Professor Gerd Nonneman, who holds the Al-Qasimi Chair in Gulf Studies at the University of Exeter, and is chairing one of the seminars, says: ‘To ensure continuing engagement with our alumni in the region, the conference adds another dimension to connecting alumni with the research at Exeter. We are honoured that Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Trade,  will give the key speech this year.’ Sheikha Lubna was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Exeter last year, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to national and international governance questions.

The University of Exeter has longstanding links with the Gulf, with more than 550 alumni in the region. His Highness, who received his doctorate from Exeter, has provided major and continued support for the University. He is the founding member of the University of Exeter College of Benefactors, which recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the University.

David Allen, the Registrar and Deputy Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, addressed and thanked alumni for their support of the University at the fifth annual gala dinner. Over a hundred alumni attended the event and travelled from far and wide including from Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

David Allen says: ‘I would like to thank His Highness for his generous hospitality and thank all our alumni who will be attending the dinner. The fact that the dinner has been held for five years in a row clearly states the strong alumni friendships that Exeter has in the Gulf. It is an enormous pleasure to come to Sharjah and to be among some of our closest friends once again’.

The University has more than 70,000 alumni living in 172 countries. Alumni are entitled to a range of benefits and services, from invitations to events to networking opportunities. There are now 35 alumni country contacts around the world, who organise activities for alumni in their region. Exeter is investing in services for its global alumni network. The University re-launched its alumni website with an exclusive online community and an Exeter Email for Life service to help alumni to network socially and professionally.

Date: 11 April 2011

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