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Combating coronavirus: UAE-based university's 2020 graduates shine on Burj Khalifa

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on June 6, 2020 | Last updated on June 6, 2020 at 09.32 pm
Combating, covid19, coronavirus, UAE-based university, 2020 graduates, shine, Burj Khalifa

(Supplied photo)

The university's 10th graduation event recognised its class by illuminating the faces of 2020 graduates on the Burj Khalifa.

Canadian University Dubai (CUD) made history on Friday becoming the first university in the world to display images of its graduating class on the world's tallest building.

The Dubai-based university's 10th graduation event recognised its class by illuminating the faces of 2020 graduates on the Burj Khalifa. The virtual graduation ceremony took place in the presence of Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance, and was live-streamed on the university's website and social media channels.

"CUD showed us that no matter what the situation is, they can find a way to celebrate us and make us feel happy. Having my picture displayed on the most iconic building of Dubai made me feel really appreciated and thrilled," said Dana Haroun, who just graduated.

Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, chancellor of the Canadian University Dubai, said: "Just a little over two months ago, we took the necessary steps to move to a virtual campus, and now, we have hosted our first-ever virtual graduation. These seamless digital changes prove the sheer determination, hard work and compassion to succeed from our students and faculty in this time of uncertainty."

The university will host its in-person graduation ceremony at a later date when the safety and well-being of the entire community can be ensured.

"We hosted the first virtual graduation celebrating the university's unique class of 2020. We are very proud of our students and illuminating Burj Khalifa with their photos was our thank you to them for all of their hard work. It is also a reminder of their infinite possibilities and capabilities of creating a brighter future for themselves and others," said Dr Karim Chelli, president and vice-chancellor of CUD.

"We believe in all of our students as we nurture them during their years with us to help them flourish and unleash their exceptional capabilities and authentic selves to the world. We are very humbled by all the emotions expressed by our graduates last evening and are very pleased by the outcome of our first virtual graduation," he added.

Varsities consider alternative graduation dates

Professor Abdullah Alshamsi, vice-chancellor of The British University in Dubai, said: "Depending on the status of the pandemic, we have planned two alternative scenarios for conducting our graduation ceremony in December to celebrate our students' achievements at The British University in Dubai.

"The first scenario is the usual ceremony with students and their families attending while taking into consideration all the safety precautions that are required by the UAE government. The second scenario is a virtual ceremony using our online platforms, and this option will be tested internally during the coming few weeks. If, due to coronavirus precautions, we need to use the second scenario, we will also consider offering those graduates affected attendance at an-in person ceremony at a later date once restrictions are lifted," he explained.

Heriot-Watt University is also planning to hold additional ceremonies at the end of this year. "As part of our class of 2020, you will still be able to celebrate your successes together, to meet up with friends and cross the graduation stage in your academic gown. But if that period isn't convenient you will have the opportunity to attend any ceremony in the next two years. I look forward to seeing you at one of our future graduation ceremonies," said the university academic registrar to its students.

Drones to hand out certificates to pupils

American University in the Emirates' (AUE) in Dubai will be innovating the drive-in cinema concept which will see its pupils arrive at the campus car-park and settle in pre-assigned slots, two metres from each other's vehicle.

Once a graduate's name is called out, a drone will carry the certificate and deliver it to the student's parked car, AUE president Muthanna Abdul Razzak said during a virtual Press conference. "Due to Covid-19, students stopped coming to the university. I could sense that they would be upset because they wouldn't be able to have a proper graduation ceremony. So, we thought of doing this." 

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