Does your university as a body measure/track applications & admissions of underrepresented (and potentially underrepresented) groups including ethnic minorities, low income students, non-traditional students, women, LGBT students, disabled students etc?

People of Determination:

May 16th, 2019: Following the successful gala event, 'Music is our Voice', which brought together people of determination and the local school community in a spectacular celebration of music, Canadian University Dubai (CUD) Chancellor, Mr. Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, has spoken to Edarabia about the institution's actions towards promoting inclusion.

  • Why did CUD organize a music gala for people of determination? Would this be a yearly event?

The event was organized as part of the University’s ongoing endeavors to promote inclusion, understanding and coexistence, in the spirit of the UAE Year of Tolerance. Since 2017 we have seen the Canadian University Dubai EnSEmble grow and flourish into an extraordinary realization of individual and collective talent. We wanted to share that talent with our local community to mark Autism Awareness month.

We know from our work with people of determination that awareness and inclusion across wider society remain among the biggest challenges they face in everyday life. Canadian University Dubai wanted to bring people together in an inclusive celebration of music to help further advance the conversation about autism in the UAE; to change the discourse into concrete action and progress across every aspect of society – from education and employment to cultural and social interactions. The gala was also hosted as a fundraising event, to help support therapy, care and community initiatives for children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. We have been delighted by the response and similar future events.

  • Studies suggest that sports are associated not only with social inclusion, but also with physical wellbeing and the enhancement of self-esteem. Does music have the same effect?

Absolutely, music is by definition inclusive, without boundaries, music does not discriminate against anyone. Numerous studies have shown that the effect of music on confidence levels and self-esteem is significant. For instance, music has helped young people in conflict areas to cope with stress. In other contexts, music has given young refugees a voice allowing them to be active participants in society. Music has had, over the history of mankind, an incredible unifying and healing power.

  • How does CUD cater to students of determination?

Canadian University Dubai was among the first universities in the UAE to welcome students with special educational needs, and has supported more than 100 determined students facing a range of personal challenges, from visual impairment to autism.

The University has a number of formal support structures in place, such as scholarships for individuals with special needs, tutoring programs that offer one-on-one academic support, and a dedicated student counselor to offer pastoral care throughout the students’ studies. However, the essence of our approach is to tailor our support to the specific needs of each individual and to work with families to achieve this, not only from the practical perspective of delivering an education, but also to ensure that we support their social, cognitive and emotional development to achieve success.

  • Are schools equipped to meet the needs of gifted students in the regular education (inclusion) classroom?

Canadian University Dubai is able to provide a learning environment that meets the needs of students of all backgrounds. This means creating inclusive classrooms and providing the supplementary support measures to those students with special education needs, from additional academic tutoring or personal counseling, to extracurricular activities that provide an outlet for personal creative expression.

  • How does CUD equip its students with the right skills to enter the workforce? Are any special measures taken to prepare students of determination for the same?

All of our academic programs are industry-driven and are designed to develop the employability of our students. As market needs are constantly evolving, we regularly talk to our advisory boards, alumni and employers of our graduates to gauge if our courses match their specific current and future needs.

What we’ve learned from this is that employers are increasingly looking for qualities and skills that transcend typical sector boundaries. Competencies such as teamwork, leadership, reasoning, responsiveness and ethics are the skills that will help the future workforce to navigate the rapid pace of change. These are the skills that students develop through their practical work, which includes course-related internships, but also through special initiatives like the Canadian University Dubai EnSEmble.

See the published article here:

Foreign Students:

Dr. Rommel Sergio, Associate Professor and Chair of Human Resource Management at Canadian University Dubai (CUD), has concluded a landmark capacity building program for front-line employees who provide counseling and support to afflicted Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the UAE.

As a counseling in psychology doctorate degree holder, Dr. Sergio led the pro bono training initiative, which saw 35 officials from the Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Dubai undertake a four-month program to enhance the psycho-social support system available to afflicted Filipino residents.

The initiative came about as a result of the shared values of the Philippine Consulate General leadership, under Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes, and community-minded citizens, including Dr. Sergio, and United International Private School-Human Resources/Community Relations Manager, Jennifer Gonzales.

With more than 455,000 Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, the Philippine Consulate General Dubai has become the largest Philippine diplomatic mission in the world in terms of clientele. The first-of-its-kind training initiative was praised by the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns, Rafael Seguis, who said it was an essential initiative in instilling the value of empathy among DFA personnel.

Facilitated by Dr. Sergio, the final session of self-awareness exercises and team building workshops took place recently on campus at CUD. The program concluded with the presentation of certificates of recognition to the participant at a ceremony hosted in the University’s Red Theatre.

Dr. Sergio was recently named among the world’s top 50 business educators at Cambridge University in UK said that, “This Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as supported by CUD, heralds an important set of strategic, formal counseling programs for OFWs in Dubai. This humble intention pulls up possibilities of promoting the well-being of workers to better cope with their jobs and may help them resolve certain issues to be more productive at work.”

Alongside the closing proceedings, Consul General Cortes expressed his gratitude to CUD President Dr. Karim Chelli, and Dr. Sergio for their support in this CSR activity and pledged to sustain the partnership that brought about this pioneering initiative.


August 22nd, 2016: Members of the Canadian University Dubai (CUD) Student Council have attended the 7th University Scholars Leadership Symposium convened by social change organization, Humanitarian Affairs.

The delegation of Student Council President, Janine Pinto; Vice-President, Abou Bakr Garba; Secretary, Asad Siddique; and Treasurer, Sulaiman Dayoub, were accompanied by communications professor Sokaina Al Haseny, to join a gathering of more than 700 participants representing 69 countries around the world.

The group heard from a lineup of inspirational speakers, including NGO founder, David Begbie; social entrepreneur, Lina Khalifeh; and former Deputy Director of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, Dr. Susan Hammond, on the theme of humanitarian aid, efforts, and relief around the world.

Covering a wide range of humanitarian-related issues, from poverty to education, the speakers revealed their own personal experiences of societal challenges, including refugee crises, human trafficking, self-defense for women and children, and the after-effects of war.

The University Scholars Leadership Symposium is an annual event designed to provide the next generation of leaders with an understanding of key sustainable development challenges, and to motivate them to realise their potential as agents of change. The huge diversity of nationalities in attendance at this year’s gathering was evident as participants showed off their traditional dress during the week-long event.

During the symposium, the 700 delegates were also given the opportunity to visit villages, schools and hospitals, to spend time with and to help disabled children, senior citizens, war veterans, farmers, workers and other local communities. They contributed through hands-on efforts including farming, building bridges, gardening, teaching children, and developing arts and crafts.

The visit also provided the students with an insight into Vietnamese culture, art, history, dance, music, and other aspects of the country’s lifestyle and heritage, through various performances from local artists.

Speaking about the event, communications student Asad said, “This was an absolutely life-changing experience, and I would encourage as many students as possible to join next year’s conference in Beijing, China, to be part of a journey that will last a lifetime!”


Refugee Students:

Students from Canadian University Dubai (CUD) have taken part in a regional conference organized by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Samuel Ajayi and Omar Zain were among a delegation of students who attended the first regional gathering dedicated to the protection of refugee children and adolescents. The conference brought together leaders, policymakers, donors and high-profile individuals to raise awareness of the ongoing crisis and consider how different stakeholder groups can help.

Among the international dignitaries that came together to discuss the situation were Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan; the UN Special Envoy on Global Education, Right Honorable Gordon Brown; and the UN Youth Envoy, Ahmed Alhendawi.

One of the main objectives of the event was to expose young people in the region to the issues and challenges of child and adolescent displacement and highlight it as a concern for today's youth. Samuel and Omar attended the conference as student delegates, to increase their own awareness of the situation and carry the message back to the wider youth community.

Samuel said, "I was genuinely shocked to hear that 2.4 million young people have been displaced in the region - a number that could be the population of a country in itself. We also learned about the psychological impact that displacement has on these individuals and how emotional support is as important as financial aid."

A Public Relations student and member of the CUD Student Council, Samuel is keen to communicate and raise awareness of the issue among the wider student body.

"Young people can help by providing a peer support network that focuses on the emotional wellbeing of refugee children and adolescents. This kind of intervention is very important to mitigate any negative actions that the trauma of displacement might bring about among the victims of such circumstances" he concluded.


Men and women from the student, academic and business communities joined the debate on violence against women at an event hosted by Canadian University Dubai (CUD) to coincide with an international day of recognition on the issue.

The conference heard from speakers across a range of subjects relating to different forms and perspectives of abuse, and conveyed positive messages about how both men and women can act against this form of violence.

Opening the debate, Dr. Louise Lambert, Assistant Professor at CUD, spoke about social responsibility in the context of abuse; emphasizing that people should consider violence that might be inflicted on those around them as well as themselves, whether they are known to them or not.

Youth Coach and Columnist at The National, Khaled Al Ameri, continued with his own insights from a male perspective, discussing his recent article entitled, "We all need to stand up when we see harassment." Khaled shared how learning how to respectfully treat women was an important feature of his childhood.

CUD student Nada Mataar went on to speak about the problems of human trafficking and how people can fall victim to such activities, while Elizabeth Topolskaya spoke on the subject of financial abuse and busted myths about women's spending and saving habits, encouraging all ladies to have their own bank account and financial independence.

Dr. Franziska Apprich, Dean of the Schools of Liberals Arts and Sciences, and Health and Environment, tackled the subject of verbal violence and mob mentality. Using a penguin to bring her story to life, she spoke about how children are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, stressing the importance of treating each other respectfully.

Assistant Professor Dr. Joanna Seraphim provided insights from her research into women living in abusive relationships, discussing how victims had reacted to their abuse and how they had ultimately succeeded in escaping.

Tackling another challenging subject was student Hibo Bile, who spoke out against female genital mutilation (FGM). A Canadian born Somalian, Hibo has worked with organizations in educating women and men on the dangers of FGM, going as far as to assist in having bills passed internationally on the subject.

The conference concluded with the performance of an original drama, penned by student Hala Naser and performed by Hala and Anisa and Shavkat Mukhamedova. Their play 'Suitcase' told the story of a woman's trials with and abusive partner.

The conference was the second in a series focusing on women in society hosted by CUD and, on this occasion, was timed to coincide with the United Nations' international day for the elimination of violence against women.

Student Aliyah Salim who attended the event said, "I used to think that it was the sad reality of the world, but now I realize that it is wrong. That a husband beating his wife or speaking badly to her is not acceptable. This event has really changed my whole perspective on the issue."

Six students from Canadian University Dubai (CUD) have been selected to take part in the Women@Dior Mentorship Program, an exclusive career development opportunity provided by the world-leading luxury brand, Christian Dior Couture.

Accounting and finance students Zukhra Avazova and Hajar Asli; marketing majors Anais Mavioga and Sara Antonucci; human resources student Margret Ibrahim, and public relations major, Maria Surzhankaya, took six of the seven places on the coveted program.

Each member of the all-female group will now be matched with mentors from one of six business areas within Dior Middle East, from fashion retail, buying and finance, to marketing, human resources and public relations. They will benefit from guidance and support from a ‘big sister’ mentor, who will help them to find their personal identity and professional destiny, and to set them on the right path to success.

The Women@Dior Mentorship Program originated at the House of Dior in Paris. The initiative aims to connect enthusiastic, ambitious and talented students in need of guidance and support, with female mentors based at Dior, for a period of professional coaching.

The new program was launched with a breakfast at the Vogue Cafe in Dubai Mall, attended by the mentors, students and senior women in management positions within Christian Dior. Among the mentors, was Human Resources Area Coordinator, Charlotte Greet, who said, “Women@Dior is a program that I am extremely proud to be a part of – supporting and guiding young women in discovering their own professional destiny.

“Christian Dior is a fashion house that believes in the importance of women in business and the positive impact of supporting women to be inspired, to push boundaries and to grow into strong, independent career women.”

Speaking about the unique opportunity, marketing student Anais said, “Being mentored by members of Maison Dior is an amazing prospect as the craftsmanship, the heritage, and the notoriety of this house is well known all around the world. I am hoping it will give me the chance to learn some of the key skills and professional practices of the industry so that I can reach my career goals with more confidence.”

Public relations student, Maria, added, “This is much more than an opportunity to gain practical experience in PR; it is an important and influential initiative to empower girls in industry and I am very excited to be a part of it.”

CUD Work Placement and Career Coordinator, Ms Orsi Urban, supported the students with advice and guidance prior to their selection for the program. She said, “We are very proud that six out of the seven mentees are selected from CUD and we wholeheartedly congratulate the students on this achievement. I am sure that they will benefit enormously, both personally and professionally, from this exceptional learning opportunity.”