07.07.2012: SULAYEM VOWS TO WORK HARDER TO ACHIEVE NEW GOALS FOR UAE AFTER RECEIVING HONORARY DOCTORATE
SULAYEM VOWS TO WORK HARDER TO ACHIEVE NEW GOALS FOR UAE AFTER RECEIVING HONORARY DOCTORATE
ATCUAE President dedicates award to Sheikh Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammed after graduation ceremony in Belfast
Mohammed Ben Sulayem receives his honorary degree from the University of Ulster’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Barnett.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem says he will work harder than ever to achieve new goals for the UAE after being awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Ulster in recognition of his services to sport, civic leadership and charity.
Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, received the honorary doctorate during a colourful graduation ceremony which also saw 500 university graduates earn their degrees in front of the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Gavin Robinson.
“This is a great honour, and I want to dedicate it to the President of the UAE, H.H.Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Vice President and Prime Minister, H.H.Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum,” said Sulayem afterwards..
“Over the years, both in my rallying career and since taking charge of the ATCUAE, I have received wonderful support and encouragement from the Rulers. I’m enormously grateful, and I’m going to work harder than ever in the future because I have a lot of new goals that I want to achieve for the UAE.”
One of those goals is to give young Emiratis a chance to study in the UAE for a university degree offering the prospect of key roles in the country’s future as one of the world’s leading sporting destinations.
Sulayem addresses the audience during the graduation ceremony in Belfast.
Sulayem has been driving talks between the UAE and Northern Ireland towards establishment of a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management for Emirati students in a link-up between the Higher Colleges of Technology and Ulster University, one of the UK’s top learning institutes.
He was presented with his honorary degree certificate by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Barnett, following a full robed graduation ceremony in Belfast’s famous Waterfront Hall auditorium on Friday.
Earlier, in an encomium delivered by Dr David Hassan, a Senior Lecturer in sports studies and research at the university, Sulayem was hailed for “outstanding leadership in the field of international sport, as well as his remarkable civic and charitable contributions”, in the UAE and across the GCC.
Sulayem with the university's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Barnett.
Dr Hassan said that, in a record-breaking rally driving career on the international stage, Sulayem became a sporting ambassador for the Arab world as a result of his achievements in the Middle East and overseas.
Since taking charge of the ATCUAE in 2006 he had “transformed that organisation into one of the world’s leading national motor sport authorities.”
As the first Arab to be elected as a Vice President of the FIA, motor sport’s world governing body, and the first to become a member of the World Motor Sport Council, he had “pioneered teaching, research and knowledge transfer initiatives in the UAE and elsewhere throughout the world, encouraging the continuing professional development of leading officials in the field.
Dr Hassan said: “Since launching his sporting career in the early 1980s, Mr Ben Sulayem has made a substantial contribution to the needs of wider society. For many years he has been actively involved with social causes, lending his name to fund-raising events and endorsing brands where the proceeds are forwarded to pre-selected foundations and institutes.
He said that Sulayem, a patron of numerous charities, including Save the Children Fund, “has presented a modern and progressive image of the Arab world by promoting many other good causes, public service and educational initiatives.”
Sulayem: "Sport keeps us together. It breaks through barriers.”
Dr Hassan said Sulayem has been at the forefront of efforts to promote safe driving habits in the Middle East, and had given particular attention to campaigns aimed at persuading young people to take their passion for speed off the roads and into a controlled motor sport environment.
After receiving his degree parchment, Sulayem witnessed 500 undergraduates receiving their degrees. Reintroduced by the Vice-Chancellor as Dr Ben Sulayem, he then told the new graduates: “You’re now ready to embark on the next phase in your life. Aim high, and enjoy it.”
He said: “The fact that I stand here before you in Belfast demonstrates the great power of sport. How else would this UAE National be here today but for a career as a sportsman and a relationship with Ireland stretching back over 30 years? Sport has forged strong links between us. Sport keeps us together. It breaks through barriers.”
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