Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
Last Monday I had one of the great experiences of my life. I was invited by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) to attend a meeting at Paris-Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi "PSUAD".
*** For more information, please visit www.sorbonne.ae
*(In the Middle): Dr.Johannes Beermann, Minister of State, Chief of the State Chancellery of Saxony (who is a veeeeeeerrrry nice person)
*(On the right side): Mr. Philipp Mißfelder, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs of CDU/CSU (ruling party in Germany), the YOUNGEST deplomat I've ever seen, who is also a very nice person
*(on the left side): Mr. Thomas Birringer, Regional Representative of KAS to the Gulf-States, a number of students and officials and of course myself.
At first we were welcomed by the director of PSUAD, introduced our selves, then the usual meeting took its time. After that, Dr. Johannes, an Emirati female student, an Emirati male student, a Mexican female student, a Palestinian male student (all studying at PSUAD), a German staff member at KAS, Pr. Ronald Perlwitz, Head of Business and Languages Studies and Professor of the German Literature at PSUAD and myself sat together and had a very interresting "Chatting time".
We were from different nationalities, different cultures, different religions but still we made a good example of how civilizations could meet together and get along without any complications. Indeed am not going to compare the eight of us to the whole world, but I am just giving an example.
We discussed a number of issues, such as, Values Vs. Politics, Liberal societies between advantages and disadvantages, Freedom and Responsibilities, Muslims Difficulties in the German Society, etc. We ended up by agreeing that "The more you respect your culture, the more people respect you", which is 100% true.
I hope to have a similar "gathering" and "discussion" with young German people when I fly to Germany next October (Insha'Allah) to implement the second step of my project, and I hope to meet Dr. Johannes there as well for he promised to show me the Arab / Muslim small communities in Germany ^_^
Paris-Sorbonne university Abu Dhabi is now present at its permanent campus, in Al Reem island (1) with the completion of the first phase of the project. With a capacity that takes up to 2,000 students, as well as related faculty and support staff, the new campus makes the ideal university environment.
A project handled by Mubadala (2) , and financed by a syndicate of international and regional banks, PSUAD new campus features approximately 93,000m2 of newly built, state-of-the-art teaching and recreational facilities, including accommodation for students, a library that accommodates 200,000 books, a 700-seated guest- auditorium, etc.
It is worth mentioning that the DH 1.6bn campus comes to translate the shared vision of General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the government of France. In that regard, a special ground breaking ceremony was held on January 15th, 2008 at Al Reem Island, joined by Nicholas Sarkozy, President of France.
Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi symbolizes a commitment to education between France and the UAE.
For more information, please visit: www.sorbonne.ae
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(1) Al Reem Island is a residential, commercial and business project on Al Reem Isle, a natural island 600 meters off the coast of Abu Dhabi island.
It is currently being developed by developers who quote the overall dimensions of the project as 6.5 million square meters and investment costs as exceeding $30 billion.
The project has gained international interest as one of the first free zones in Abu Dhabi, where foreign nationalities can buy property as leasehold. In total, at least 22,000 residential units are planned (figures do vary significantly between different sources) with the first buildings that were completed in 2009, in Marina Square.
(2) Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala) is a catalyst for the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi. Established and owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, Mubadala’s strategy is built on the management of long-term, capital-intensive investments that deliver strong financial returns and tangible social benefits for the Emirate.
Mubadala brings together and manages a multi-billion dollar portfolio of local, regional, and international investments. It partners with leading global organizations to operate businesses across a wide range of industry sectors including aerospace, energy and industry, healthcare, information communications and technology, infrastructure and real estate. By doing so, Mubadala accomplishes its mission to expand the economic base of the Emirate and contribute to the growth and diversification of its economy.
For more information, please visit: www.mubadala.ae