UCD President Andrew Deeks has returned from a visit to the Middle East at the end of January. This trip served as part of President Deeks next stop as part of his UCD Alumni tours as well as a chance to connect with universities in the region.

During his visit, Deeks along with a delegation and Paul Kavanagh (pictured), Irish Ambassador to the UAE (also accredited to Qatar, Kuwait and Afghanistan), met with the Kuwait Ministry of Higher Education and the Minister of Education for Saudi Arabia. In the meeting in Kuwait, the Kuwait Ministry outlined their intention to increase the number of government scholarships given to students going to Ireland. Deeks also had similar talks with the Minister for Education for Saudi Arabia, but he outlined in his Presidential Bulletin to staff that while they were not as open about their plans, they gave a similar impression to that of Kuwait.

Deeks attended two UCD Alumni events during his trip, one in Saudi Arabia and one in the UAE. The event in Saudi Arabia was held in Riyadh at the Irish Embassy compound on the 21st January. Around 40 UCD Alumni living in Saudi Arabia attended the event. According to the Irish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia this event was ‘the first alumni event held by any Irish university in Saudi Arabia.’ During his trip, Deeks also visited King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and noted there are plans for the two universities to sign a ‘Memorandum of Understanding to promote student exchange and research collaboration between our institutions.’

Paul Kavanagh, a UCD Alumnus and now Irish Ambassador to the UAE, and his wife Rosemary hosted a UCD Alumnus event in his home in Abu Dhabi on the 25th January. Deeks described the event as ‘well attended’ with an estimated 70 UCD Alumni in attendance. Ambassador Kavanagh received a B.A (Hons) in Modern History & French from UCD in 1977.

As part of his trip, Deeks attended a ‘soft launch’ of the UCD Global Centre in Dubai. This will be the 5th Global Centre UCD has opened and will serve the Middle East Region. These Centres serve to increase UCDs global engagement through connecting with Alumni and acting as hubs for international research. The other Centres are located in New York, Beijing, Delhi, and Kuala Lumpur.

Jennifer Garrett – News Writer

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