ADU connects innovators from across the world - GulfToday

ADU connects innovators from across the world


The event facilitates networking opportunities among youth.

Abu Dhabi University (ADU) hosted students from across the globe during this year’s University Innovation Fellows Eastern Hemisphere Meetup in the United Arab Emirates. Two days of the four-day programme, run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (, took place at the university’s Abu Dhabi and Dubai campuses.

Seven students led by faculty champion Rubina Qureshi representing ADU participated in the 2019 meetup, where they joined a thought leaders’ community comprising 75 fellows and 10 faculty champions from  over 20 higher education institutions from the United States, India, UAE and Bulgaria. The annual meetup was designed to connect innovators from all over the world to advocate disruptive innovations and empower students to become agents of change at their own educational institutions. The programme involving ADU students comes in line with the students’ first approach, one of the university’s core pillars to provide its community with a holistic learning experience.

The innovation fellows, who are currently enrolled at ADU completing undergraduate programmes, led by Rubina Qureshi and Dr Anne Ewijk, faculty members from ADU, were selected among many other international students. The event was supported by Dr Sreethi Nair, Dean of University College, who has a vision to deploy the fellows in the larger fabric of innovation at the university level.

Rubina Qureshi, who participated in the meetup of the UIF programme, said, “The programme provided an opportunity for participants to unlock innovative ways of creating change in higher education. The event facilitates networking opportunities among youth by bringing them together in a creative community to work collaboratively and engage in building a culture of change.”

Dr Petra Turkama, Director of Innovation at ADU, also supported this programme. She said: “We are very proud of our students for being part of this internationally-recognised programme, where Fellows can develop an  entrepreneurial mindset. The idea behind the rigorous training is for the organisations involved to provide a platform for the students’ voices to be heard in conversations about the future of higher education. By facilitating experiential workshops and working with faculty and administrators to develop new courses, we are offering our young researchers the opportunity to become advocates for lasting institutional change. ADU is confident its students will continue to succeed in making their mark worldwide through  their work as UIF Ambassadors.”

Throughout the course of the annual programme, UIF candidates undertake a 6-week online training, which helps them develop innovative techniques and analytical mindsets. Stanford’s faculty members equip the students with the required skillset and tools to be able to excel as part of the programme. The last day of the programme and the closing ceremony were held at ADU’s Dubai campus.

Betty Lucille Hillebrand, Business Management student at Abu Dhabi University, commented, “I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to take part in the UIF training programme. It was an insightful, eye-opening learning experience, during which my team and I gained substantial knowledge in problem-solving and the necessity for change. As UIF ambassadors, we are eager to share the expertise we have gained with ADU students to enrich the culture of innovation at the university based on the training we have received. Through the exchange in information, we will be able to pursue the next steps in making lasting changes to our campus’ innovation development.”

The fellows are a global community leading a movement to ensure that all students gain the attitude, skills and knowledge required to navigate a complex world. Using the in-depth expertise showcased during the workshops, young innovators help facilitate opportunities for their peers to build creative confidence and develop research-based solutions for global challenges, thereby contributing to building a better future.

Abu Dhabi University is a private, multi-campus university committed to meeting the education, skills and knowledge needs in the United Arab Emirates and neighboring countries through qualifications and standards that are respected across the world.

Established in 2003, the university has over 7,500 students from over 80 nationalities across its four campuses and sponsored programmes. Structured into Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Law and the University College, it offers undergraduate and graduate programmes across arts, law, education, business and management, engineering and sciences, including to Etihad pilots, trainees and personnel of the UAE military. Alongside the well-established campuses in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, it has launched a new campus in Dubai Knowledge Park and recently opened a teaching facility in the Al Dhafra Region of the Abu Dhabi Emirate. In addition, a brand-new state-of-the-art campus is planned to open in Al Ain in September.

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