Mohammed Ben Sulayem to receive Honorary Doctorate for serives to sport, civic leadership and charity
01.07.2012: UAE ambassadors to UK and Ireland will join ATCUAE President for graduation ceremony in Belfast
UAE ambassadors to UK and Ireland will join ATCUAE President for graduation ceremony in Belfast
Mohammed Ben Sulayem – recognised for his services to sport, civic leadership and charity.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, a role model for young people across the Arab world, is to receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Ulster in recognition of his services to sport, civic leadership and charity at a graduation ceremony in Belfast on Friday.
H.E. Abdulrahman Ghanem Al Mutaiwee, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and H.E. Khaled Nasser Lootah, UAE Ambassador to Ireland, will accompany Sulayem to the awards ceremony which takes place in Belfast’s famous Waterfront Hall auditorium.
Sulayem, an instantly recognisable figure in the world of motor sport, is President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the first Arab to be elected to the FIA World Motor Sport Council and the first to be named an FIA Vice President.
In a record-breaking rally driving career he won the FIA Middle East Championship 14 times before retiring from the sport in 2002. He has been a major contributor to charity and other good causes over the last three decades, and has pioneered education within the FIA, motor sport’s world governing body. He has also been a leading instigator and supporter of safe driving initiatives in the Middle East over many years.
Sulayem said: “I am very grateful to the University of Ulster for honouring me in this way. It is something I never expected. I’m humbled by recognising the many distinguished individuals I will be joining in receiving my Honorary Doctorate”.
He added: “The UAE has developed strong links with Ireland, many of these forged through sport, and I am delighted that our ambassadors to the UK and Ireland will be joining me to accept this honour on behalf of our country.”
Sulayem is among leading figures in the world of education, science, business, the arts and sport who are being honoured at the University of Ulster graduation ceremonies this summer.
In awarding his honorary doctorate, Ulster University said it was recognising his “outstanding leadership in the field of international sport, as well as his remarkable civic and charitable contributions,” in the UAE and across the GCC region.
The University added: “He commands the respect of drivers past and present, officials, manufacturers, sponsors, sporting and government bodies, not to mention other stakeholders and contemporaries across the globe.”
Sulayem is patron of numerous charities, including Save the Children Fund, and has presented a modern and progressive image of the Arab world by promoting many other good causes, public service and education.
He has been at the forefront of efforts to promote safe driving in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East, giving 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.
Sulayem has pioneered education within the FIA via links with a range of universities to provide education and training opportunities for members of the motorsport community.
He was instrumental in the establishment of a joint UAE/Ulster motor sport research centre in December 2010 which built on Ulster University’s status as a leader in this area. The relationship has led to joint studies on the importance of proper hydration among motorsport officials, and the offering of postgraduate research degrees in motorsport through the University
As President of the ATCUAE, the national motor sport authority, Sulayem is working to reinforce links between the UAE and Northern Ireland in the fields of motor sport research and education.
Sulayem with Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson (right) and Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit in April - they will meet again at Stormont Castle in Belfast on Thursday.
He had discussions on the subject with Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness in April when they visited Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit while on a trade visit to the Middle East.
Sulayem will have further discussions with the two Ministers at Stormont Castle in Belfast on Thursday, on the eve of the graduation ceremony.
The UAE has well established sporting connections with Ireland. The Emirates, and in particular Dubai’s Ruling Maktoum family, have a long and successful relationship with Irish horseracing which has proved mutually beneficial to both parties.
So has the sponsorship by both Emirates and Etihad airlines of a range of Irish sporting events. Ulster’s own Rory McIlroy, one of the world’s top golfers, also has a strong UAE link via his long-term sponsor, Jumeirah.
- Tony Lewis, Total Communications Dubai also photos
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