Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), the university kicked off its annual Global Day today, March 24, 2016. One of the most anticipated events at AUS, Global Day was inaugurated by Sheikh Salem bin Abdul Rahman Al Qassimi, Chairman of the Office of the Ruler of Sharjah and also attended by Dr. Bjorn Kjerfve, AUS Chancellor; and Dr. Moza Al Shehhi, Dean of Students; along with other senior university officials.
This year the annual festival marks its 18th anniversary of showcasing the cultural heritage of the many nationalities represented at AUS.
Set up across the AUS Main Plaza is a mix of pavilions that depict the traditions of 32 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Palestine, Libya, India, Sudan and Egypt, among others, giving visitors a taste of the truly multicultural nature of the AUS campus.
Organized by the Office of Student Affairs and more than 1,500 AUS students, this two-day event also includes colorful indoor cultural performances in the Main Auditorium as well as on an outdoor stage, giving students a chance to share their talent through dance performances and skits. Visitors are also able to sample a wide variety of traditional foods in the outdoor food court.
"This year, we encouraged our students to work together to strengthen the unity between clubs and to reflect the event’s theme of ‘Peace throughout the World.’ The Emirati, Saudi, Bahraini and Omani clubs comprise the GCC pavilion, while Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia make up the North African pavilion. This initiative forms part of our sustainability efforts as we move towards a sustainable approach in organizing events. In collaboration with our faculty members specialized in the field of sustainability, we are offering the Global Day 2016 Best Sustainable Pavilion Award this year to encourage our students to use recycled or recyclable materials, use energy-efficient lighting and to properly dispose of wastes for recycling," Dr. Al Shehhi said.
"Another notable development this year is our students’ enthusiasm to showcase cultures of nations that are not represented in the student body. We support such initiatives that promote cross-cultural learning and awareness. The success of Global Day is a result of long-term planning, staff professionalism and the support from various AUS units. I thank the staff and faculty for supporting our students in yet another successful cultural event," she added.
"The Global Day is a good opportunity for students to get to know and understand other cultures," said Jafra Allan, an AUS alumna visiting the festival. "I am delighted to see how the event has grown over the years," she added.
The first AUS Global Day was held in 1998 with eight student organizations and 400 students. Since then, the event has grown manifold with this year’s Global Day witnessing the participation of a lively and dynamic student body that comprises approximately 6,000 students from more than 90 nationalities.
AUS Global Day is open to the public, and will continue tomorrow Friday, March 25, from 5:00 p.m. 11:00 p.m.