H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, received on Friday the first joint Honorary Doctorate in Urban and Regional Development, from the University of Turin and Polytechnic University of Turin, in Italy.
During his keynote speech at the ancient castle of Valentino, H.H. said: “I am very honoured to be here at the magnificent castle, in the presence of many distinguished academics and guests. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Universities of Turin and Polytechnic, their administrations and members of the committees that nominated and endorsed this prestigious doctorate.”
“This is a special day for me. I am very proud of this doctorate as the Polytechnic University is the oldest technical university in Italy and one of the leading European universities in engineering, computer science and technology, as well as the prestigious University of Turin, which offers distinguished scientific programmes. I wish both universities continued success.”
“Urban development is something that I focused and enjoyed working on over the last five decades during which the emirate’s population has grown dramatically. In 1970 the population stood at 28,000, whereas today it stands at 1.4 million. The population grew 50 times during that period and is currently growing at around 7 percent every year.”
“From the beginning, we had three main objectives. First, Sharjah’s cities and regions should have well-planned modern infrastructure that provides the desired level of lifestyle for the growing population. Our second goal was to maintain the design and distinctive characteristics of each city, while the third was to restore and preserve as many historical buildings and heritage sites as possible,” the Sharjah Ruler continued.
Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi highlighted the importance of urban development planning during the development of University City in Sharjah. “Around 25 years ago, we choose the outskirts of Sharjah city as the headquarters for the University City during the peak of population growth. In 1996, we started building the American University of Sharjah and the following year, work began on University of Sharjah, which contributed significantly to meet the demands of the population.
“Since then, University City has become home to many educational institutions, as well as home to 32,000 students from 85 countries, 1,700 faculty members and 2,600 administrative staff offering more than 120 educational programmes in various fields.”
H.H. noted that since 2001, thousands of graduates from University City in Sharjah had joined the work force.
During his speech, the Ruler of Sharjah emphasised the importance of cooperation between leading research institutions, noting that the emirate had launched the ‘Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park’ to facilitate and enhance collaboration between research institutions.
“We believe, as you do, that good education and the search for new knowledge are pillars for sustainable development in the cultural, social and economic fields. We hope our visit today helps establish cooperation between researchers and professors not only in urban development, but in more fields of mutual interest, including clean water and renewable energy.”
At the end of the speech, Sheikh Sultan thanked the hosts for their hospitality and all those who had made the visit a big success.
He then received the honorary doctorate from Professor Guido Saracco, President of Polytechnic University of Turin, as well as a special medal and a miniature replica of the castle of Valentino.
The doctorate comes in recognition of his role in the urban development of Sharjah City and his commitment to preserve and integrate architecture with sustainable technology, considering the local culture.
The ceremony began with a speech by Professor Guido Saracco, President of Polytechnic University of Turin, who lauded the accomplishments and efforts of Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi and hailed the cooperation between Italian and UAE universities.
Following the ceremony H.H. toured the ancient castle of Valentino and visited several exhibitions of maps and historical documents.
Earlier on Friday, H.H. met with Professor Guido Saracco at the university campus, and discussed cooperation on topics of mutual interest, with emphasis on engineering and architecture.
H.H. then visited the University’s Clean Water Research Centre, where he was briefed on the centre’s research laboratories, the modern equipment used in research and methods of studying water science.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs