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American University of Sharjah kicks off orientation week for Spring 2022 online

SHARJAH, 6th January, 2022 (WAM) — American University of Sharjah (AUS) is set to welcome its new undergraduate students for Spring 2022 at a virtual event on Friday, January 7, offering them an opportunity to connect with key university officials in interactive sessions and visit a virtual resource fair showcasing the many academic and extracurricular opportunities and support services available at AUS.

The event marks the start of orientation week, which will be held online this semester from January 7 to 15. The decision to hold orientation week virtually follows a recent UAE Ministry of Education directive recommending educational institutions shift to online operations for the first two weeks of January in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation.

AUS will hold a special online orientation event for its new graduate students on January 12. The orientation program is designed to help students make the best start to their AUS journey.

"Our new undergraduate students experience orientation in two phases. Pre-orientation started in December 2021 offered new students time to complete important tasks and connect with others in the AUS community early. During orientation week, students will meet their peer leaders, and attend sessions on university policies, the AUS First Year Experience Program, library services, financial and technical assistance, college/school orientation and other activities. Throughout this period, students can visit the Orientation Portal for more information or assistance. We encourage admitted students to attend all scheduled orientation events to get ready for a smooth start of their university studies," said Ali Shuhaimy, Executive Director of Enrollment Management.

Incoming students will be guided throughout orientation week by their peer leaders, who are seasoned AUS students trained to help new students transition into university life.

"Many students feel that they are alone or isolated when they first join university, which is very natural. Our role as peer leaders is to connect students with each other and inform them about the opportunities the university has to offer, whether in academia or in extracurricular activities. We remind them about important university deadlines, introduce them to scholarship possibilities, explain the various educational opportunities and make sure they are aware of student activities. While we work with new students during orientation week, we are also available to provide help once classes start," said Khaled Khawaja, a fourth-year architecture major and peer leader.

Throughout the year, new students can benefit from the AUS First Year Experience (FYE) Program, a university-wide collaborative effort that aims to help first-year students develop study and self-care skills. Through workshops and other resources, the FYE program helps students learn how to balance their academic responsibilities and social life, and how to make meaningful connections with the university community.

One such resource is the FYE Chats podcast, produced by the AUS FYE Program. This podcast includes candid conversations with AUS community members (students, staff, faculty, alumni and parents) that help new students learn more about what it looks like to thrive in the AUS community. In addition, the student-led Tea with Gen Z podcast explores current affairs, provides insights into the university community, and discusses subjects exclusive to student life. Both podcasts ranked number one in the UAE last year under the category of "How to" on Apple podcasts.

Dr. Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo, Executive Director of Student Experience, encouraged students to make the most of these opportunities.

"Orientation is vital for all students for two important reasons. It is an opportunity to connect with other new students as well as with continuing students who are there to mentor them. It’s also when they learn about the resources and the people who are part of the AUS community to help them be successful. My best advice is to not miss any sessions, especially the sessions with their peer leaders and student orientation group. I would also advise students to follow the Office of Student Affairs Instagram page @OSA_AUS to learn about available opportunities with the university and other community partners that will enrich their college experience," said Dr. Moscaritolo.

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Canadian Ambassador to UAE welcomes launch of Canada-UAE Sovereign Wealth Fund Council

ABU DHABI, 1st April, 2023 (WAM) — Canadian Ambassador to the UAE, Kris Panday, has welcomed the launch of the Canada-UAE Sovereign Wealth Fund Council (SWFC).

“The mission of the SWFC is to harness the synergies between Canada and the UAE’s preeminent institutional investors to deliver superior risk-adjusted returns in support of common interests”, said the Ambassador.

The SWFC will help identify opportunities for strategic capital collaboration and thought leadership between Canadian public Pension Funds (PPFs) and UAE Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in global markets, he noted.

It is designed to offer an investment collaboration framework that has a more dynamic and flexible structure benefitting Canada and the UAE as two key investment partners, Panday said.

Panday will serve as Chief Co-Patron of the SWFC along with Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, the UAE Ambassador to Canada.

Shezad Rokerya has been appointed as Senior Advisor to Ambassador Panday and will serve as Chairman of the SWFC.

Ambassador Al Raqbani said, “Through the Canada-UAE SWFC we have the capacity to capitalise on the individual strengths of both countries, bringing together innovative ideas, expert knowledge, and resources to power sustainable economic development and investment possibilities.”

He added, “This partnership paves the way for further cooperation that will impact the global financial outlook in the future. It is not only a strategic opportunity but also a shared responsibility in constructing a more sustainable and equitable future for all.”

Rokerya, SWFC Chairman, said, “The top six Canadian PPFs and UAE SWFs cumulatively manage over US$3 trillion in assets. The SWFC will enable these stakeholders to jointly develop investment strategies and deploy capital globally in a transformative and impactful manner to achieve significant value creation.”

This initiative will serve as a catalyst for empowering multiple constituents from both Canada and the UAE to strategically develop and collaborate in investments globally. The SWFC stakeholders will be able to leverage each other’s respective strengths, challenges, experience and thought leadership in each asset class, sector, and geographic influence to develop areas of collaboration. The SWFC will lead discussions with senior leadership from Canadian PPFs and UAE SWFs to develop a governance framework and outline shared alignment and overarching criteria for the development of potential co-investment strategies.

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Alfardan Group supports ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ campaign with a AED5 million contribution

DUBAI, 1st April, 2023 (WAM) — Alfardan Group announced its contribution of AED 5 million in support of “1 Billion Meals Endowment” campaign, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to establish the largest Ramadan sustainable food aid endowment fund.

Organised by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan, the campaign aims to provide a food safety net for the world’s most underprivileged populations in countries struggling with food insecurity, as well as help vulnerable groups including victims of natural disasters and crises.

Alfardan Group pledged to contribute AED 5 million over a period of 5 years to help launch the largest food aid endowment fund, thereby reviving the culture of endowment as a tool for development and sustainable charity.

Creating Change
Ali Fardan Al Fardan, Chairman of Alfardan Group, said: “We are honored to be part of “1 Billion Meals Endowment” campaign; a message of humanity and solidarity that supports the global endeavor to fight hunger as a major challenge to realizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“The campaign and endowment fund represent the UAE’s deep understanding of sustainable humanitarian efforts role and significance in supporting underprivileged populations,” he added.

The Fight against Hunger
The “1 Billion Meals Endowment” campaign furthers UAE’s contribution towards the global endeavor to eradicate hunger, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. It also aligns with the country’s vision of institutionalizing and sustaining charity for the benefit of underprivileged communities. The planned sustainable food aid endowment fund is the UAE’s open invitation to the world to join forces to achieve food security and help create social stability around the world.

Donation Channels
The “1 Billion Meals Endowment” campaign continues to welcome donations and contributions to the endowment fund from institutions and individuals across five main channels including the campaign’s website (, as well as a dedicated call center via the toll free number (800 9999). Donations are also possible via bank transfers in the UAE dirham to the campaign bank account number with Emirates NBD (AE30 0260 0010 1533 3439 802). Donations via SMS give contributors the option to donate AED 1 daily through a monthly subscription, by sending the word “Meal” to 1020 for du users, or to 1110 for Etisalat by e& users. Those who wish to donate to the campaign through the DubaiNow app can do so by clicking on the “Donations” tab.

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Norway contributes $23.7 million of flexible funding to boost FAO’s capacity to respond to crises and emergencies

ROME,1st April, 2023 (WAM) – The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has welcomed a $23.7 million contribution from the Government of Norway to scale up its response to the most severe humanitarian crises and emergencies. The contribution represents the largest single unearmarked funding of its kind to date.

The funds will be channelled through FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA), which is a funding mechanism with streamlined procedures to receive flexible contributions from donors and allocate them where and when they are most needed.

With this funding, FAO aims to reach around 600 000 food insecure people with farming inputs, livestock supplies, fishing inputs and cash assistance where needed. The contribution will focus on countries and people most in need under Humanitarian Response Plans, while having a strategic reserve to respond quickly to sudden onset emergencies.

“We would like to thank the Government of Norway for this generous and timely contribution which will enable us to provide rapid and at scale assistance to those in greatest need,” said Rein Paulsen, Director of the FAO Office of Emergencies and Resilience. “Norway’s partnership with FAO has always focused on empowering rural families affected by hunger to protect and restore their own food production. It is of utmost importance to prioritize smallholder agriculture as a strategic frontline humanitarian response.”

Through the SFERA 2022 contribution, Norway was also among the first countries to assist the earthquake-affected families in Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic. Assistance is also being delivered in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mali, Mozambique and the Niger.

Under the 2023 humanitarian appeals, FAO requires $1.9 billion to assist 48 million people to restore local production and gain access to a steady supply of nutritious food, facilitate their recovery and lay the foundations for resilience to future shocks.

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