UAE delegation signs deal with University of Ulster

DUBAI - Mohammed Ben Sulayem, vice-president of Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world governing body of motor sport, has signed an historic agreement resulting in the formation of a joint UAE/Ulster motor sport research centre.

He was joined at the University of Ulster campus in Jordanstown, Northern Ireland by the UAE Ambassador in the UK, Abdul Rahman Ghanim Al Mutaiwee, on their first ever visit to Northern Ireland, a press release said.

The agreement was also signed on Wednesday by the University’s vice-chancellor Professor Richard Barnett, who greeted the UAE delegation and thanked them for choosing Ulster as their preferred university partner.

Their presence is viewed as an endorsement of the quality of the research already undertaken at Ulster, including that ongoing in the field of motor sport under the leadership of Dr David Hassan from the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute.

“This initiative has great potential for the University, our partners in the UAE, the expressed objectives of the University and for society in both countries‘’ said professor Barnett.

Ben Sulayem, who is also president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, has played a central role in the meteoric rise of motor sport in the Middle East region.

A well known sporting figure in his own right, having won the FIA Middle East Rally Championship a record 14 times, he has led the organisation of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix staged at the famous Yas Marina circuit since its inception.

“Research and the creation of knowledge is critical to the development of motor sport and indeed all sports in the UAE’ said Ben Sulayem. “We will now be seeking UAE based candidates to undertake research degrees at Masters and PhD level at Ulster as a result of this agreement. Furthermore we are keen to develop work in specific fields of research. The potential for both parties is enormous.” The University of Ulster has established itself as a leading centre for research into motor sport having developed an international reputation for the standard of its work in this field.

In late 2011 a book entitled ‘Sport Management in the Middle East; A Case Study Analysis’ by Ben Sulayem, Hassan and ATCUAE Director Sean O Connor will be published by Routledge and launched at the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix. “Developing strategic alliances with countries like the UAE allow us to address important objectives for the University,” explained Dr. Hassan. “I want to pay tribute to the UAE Ambassador to the UK Abdul Rahman Ghanim Al Mutaiwee and Ben Sulayem for their vision.”

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