Photo courtesy of NYU Abu Dhabi

The SMSP celebrates its 10th anniversary

The Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed scholars program reaches its tenth year.

Mar 4, 2018

The Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Scholars Programme celebrated 10 years of distinguished academic achievement at an event held on Feb. 17 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Abu Dhabi – the site where the program’s first classes kicked off in 2008.
The grand anniversary event was attended by distinguished UAE dignitaries, including Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikha Mariam Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, co-chair of the Scholars Programme Steering Committee, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, President of Zayed University and Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, UAE Minister of State.
"The 10th anniversary of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Programme marks an important milestone in the unfolding history of this unique cross-cultural educational and leadership programme for UAE-based students," said Sheikha Mariam to We TV Arabia.
Inaugurated even before the campus was opened in 2010, the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Scholars Programme was the first academic offering by NYU Abu Dhabi. The program intends to build bridges between NYUAD’s new campus and the three federal universities in the UAE: Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates University and Zayed University.
“Today, we can really see that vision comes together, that it builds this wonderful bridge and this connection between higher education institution here, and allows for students who might not have a chance to study at NYU Abu Dhabi to still experience it,” said Jennifer Gerrard, Senior Director of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Program.
Accepting no more than 24 students per year, the programme now has 185 alumni and 23 current scholars.
“I think my greatest accomplishment in life is that I got into this program,” declared Ahmed Razi, SMSP Class of 2016.
Scholars are met with a meticulous academic program, along with rigorous training in leadership, critical thinking and public speaking. Courses offered focus on issues such as the US Supreme Court’s treatment of the relationship between church and state, which corresponds to the Relationship Between Government and Religion course taught to NYUAD students, US foreign policy and political power in modern America.
“As such, it was more of a landmark event - a way to celebrate the alumni and their accomplishments and also to really appreciate the different partners we’ve had along the way. We’ve had wonderful support from the community and from leaders, so it was also a way to bring them together and to celebrate with what they helped us cocreate. It was a wonderful chance to do that all in one evening,” said Gerrard.
Kaashif Hajee is Deputy Opinion Editor. Email him at
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