University of Haifa and Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed an academic cooperation agreement which will emphasize environmental issues and spearhead joint research between faculty and students.
In a virtual ceremony which took place on Wednesday, UAE’s Minister of Culture and Youth Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi and University of Haifa President Professor Ron Robin signed the breakthrough deal. Also present was Israel’s Ambassador to the UAE Amir Hayek, and the UAE’s Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khaja.
The MOU will foster shared information and joint research projects across a variety of disciplines which include, but are not limited to, marine sciences, education, and natural resource management. Additionally, the universities will conduct student and faculty exchange programs for seminars, conferences, and workshops.
During the signing, President Robin remarked, “In the wake of many common challenges facing humanity as we grapple with the climate crisis, this kind of academic cooperation is a way to preserve what all of us call home — the planet.”
Minister Al Kaabi agreed, saying that this partnership “will create cross-border opportunities for students, faculty, and the region as a whole. Together, we can lead innovation with regards to food and water security, marine sciences, and environmental sustainability.”
Also present at the signing were University of Haifa Vice President of International Affairs and Sustainability Baruch Marzen, and Director of Government, Community, and External Relations Hila Elroy. Representing the Emiratis was Zayed University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Professor Clayton MacKenzie, and the Assistant Provost for Research Professor Michael Allen.
Prof. Robin, who was vice provost at New York University and was responsible for establishing its international campus in Abu Dhabi in 2010, kicked off his remarks with greetings in Arabic, stating that the agreement is a significant one for him on a both professional and personal level. He also congratulated Zayed University on its 50th anniversary and added that University of Haifa is also set to celebrate 50 years in 2022.
"Next year, we will also celebrate the 50th year of the university and I hope that by then we can all meet here on our campus on Mount Carmel," said Prof. Robin.