The University of Manchester Middle East Newsletter June 2023

The University of Manchester Middle East Newsletter June 2023

You can read all June newsletter stories online here

Our warmest best wishes for the recent Eid Al Adha.

Welcome to this Middle East Centre newsletter and we are delighted to share the latest news and information relating to The University of Manchester in the region covering student support, careers and alumni, our programme of events and outreach, and social responsibility. It’s been an incredibly active period for the team, as we continue to host faculty and students for programme workshops, welcome an increasing number of visitors from campus for meetings and events in the region, and host a number of our own professional forums – from Women in Business to Future Educational Leaders. We also supported and celebrated the Coronation and birthday of HM King Charles III, at garden parties held at the British Embassies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where we hosted alumni, visiting faculty and guests from our Manchester campus, and mingled with others from the business and professional communities in both Emirates.

Of course, student workshops are always a central focus for the whole team, as faculty arrive from Manchester and we are all able to connect with all the programme students and our wider alumni community, for an enriching series of social, networking and professional events – on top of all the workshop commitments. We are very fortunate to have so many faculty members who make the time to lead events such as alumni masterclasses, in the vary little spare time they have during workshops.  

Along with our mission on teaching and learning, exploring and discovery, our commitment continues to grow and earn recognition. We are very proud of the fact that we are one of the few global institutions to have social responsibility included as a central pillar of our mission.

We measure progress based on our impact across the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and we were delighted that The University of Manchester had been named top in both the UK and Europe, and second in the world for meaningful contributions towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in the 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings. The Middle East Centre supports the University mission including social responsibility and you can read about some of our fantastic social responsibility partners in the region online, working in areas from tree and mangrove planting to marine life conservation, and humanitarian support.

Graphene - the world’s first breakthrough 2D material – is an iconic innovation that sparked a revolution in materials science after it was first isolated by researchers at the University in 2005, leading to the award of the Nobel Prize. On a visit to the UAE by the Graphene@Manchester team, we learned more about its potential to deliver transformational technologies and support the UAE’s sustainability agenda. In fact, the UAE and UK are already collaborating closely on Graphene innovation through academic and commercialisation partnerships. Most recently, a spin-out company from the University has partnered to create a new local company in the UAE, which will be one of the most ambitious projects to date to commercialise Graphene and large-scale manufacture. It is being led by the inspiring University alumnus - Dr Vivek Koncherry, who you can read more about below, along with the Graphene team’s UAE visit.

We all know about the positive impact of mentoring and “ManchesterMentorME” is our new initiative designed to connect our experienced alumni mentors with aspiring mentees from our student and alumni community, fostering career growth, personal and professional development, and creating meaningful connections. This new mentoring programme perfectly complements the services provided by our Careers & Alumni Relations team and offers 1-2-1 mentoring with experienced alumni over a 6-month period. The initial response has been very encouraging.

From the beginning, collaboration has played a central role in our success as a regional centre in the Middle East, and this continues today. We were delighted to sign our first healthcare Strategic Talent Partnership in Saudi Arabia with the prestigious Saudi German Health group. The Kingdom is attracting a lot of interest and we are fortunate to have a growing number of students and many senior alumni there who are helping us connect more deeply. I would like to thank my brilliant Middle East Centre team for all their energy, enthusiasm and commitment and to our faculty, who regularly make time to support us and share their experience and expertise with the rest of our regional community.

Finally, the University has just begun the countdown to the official anniversary of the bicentenary, in 2024. This will be an opportunity to look back and celebrate our history as well as look forward, during a year of celebratory events. We will be announcing our own plans for the Middle East towards the end of this year and we expect there will be a lot of engagement – you can sign up to receive all the latest updates at our dedicated bicentenary online area.

In the year of a notable treble for one Manchester team (Manchester City FC), it is gratifying that The University of Manchester can unite the city and bring together all our supporters to celebrate the success of the team in purple.

You can read more on all these stories in the newsletter here. Thank you for your support and enjoy the read.

Randa Bessiso

Founding Director

The University of Manchester Middle East Centre