Dh15m gift to American University of Sharjah honours UAE’s first woman teacher

Sheikha Nama is considered one of the pioneers of education in the UAE


The heirs of the late Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid have given Dh15 million to the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in honour of the UAE’s first woman teacher, Sheikha Nama Majid Al Qassimi.

The Sheikha Nama Majid Al Qassimi Endowed Chair in Education Across Disciplines will support an educational and research programme to train future generations from multiple perspectives, AUS reported on its website.

Sheikha Nama is considered one of the pioneers of education in the UAE. She was one of the first women to complete high school in the 1960s, in what was then the Trucial States.

After she finished school, Sheikha Nama and fellow Sharjah native Amina Al Hajri became the first women in the Trucial States to become teachers in a formal system of education and inspired many boys and girls to complete their schooling.

Sheikha Nama has dedicated her endowment to championing interdisciplinary education at AUS, which involves students learning across two or more academic areas.

The chair will be housed within the AUS College of Arts and Sciences department and will be held by Dr Nidhal Guessoum.

Students benefiting from the programme will develop the skills necessary to thrive in modern workplaces, which require diversity of knowledge and modern skills developed by interdisciplinary learning.

“People with critical thinking and decision-making skills are needed in the complex modern world,” said AUS Chancellor Dr Susan Mumm.

“The generosity of Sheikha Nama Al Qassimi will promote such skills among the students at AUS.

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“Her gift will have an impact on us being able to pursue the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of AUS, to support the great minds of tomorrow.”

Dr Mumm said the newly endowed chair will further boost the university’s impact in both the UAE and abroad.

“Because of your contribution, our students, researchers and faculty will be well prepared to continue in the pursuit of knowledge and creating real change, even in the most uncertain of times. I have no doubt that the ripple effect of your contribution will be felt for many years to come,” said Dr Mumm.

Sheikh Saud Majid Al Qasimi, speaking on behalf of this grandmother, Sheikha Nama, said: “We hope this chair would serve the broader UAE community and region, reflecting the importance of education and also as a reminder of the role that women played and continue to play in education in the UAE.”

Updated: March 22, 2022, 5:40 PM