Marymount president gives address in Dubai

Marymount University President Matthew D. Shank stressed three simple concepts during the recent commencement address he gave at the American University in the Emirates: Recognize your gifts, seize opportunities and serve others.

"I believe that each one of us has been blessed with one or more very, very special gifts or talents," Shank told the graduates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. But whatever gifts and talents we have, he stressed, they are nothing if we don't seize opportunities.

"If you have seized the opportunities and used the talents that you have, I feel it is our obligation to use those gifts to better the lives of others, especially those who are less fortunate," Shank said. "At Marymount University in Washington, D.C., service to others is part of our vision. It is part of who we are and what we do."

Speaking at the ceremony for the university's fourth commencement was an opportunity that grew out of a partnership between Marymount and AUE, which offers an American curriculum, classes in English and a general education undergraduate core. It's one of the fastest-growing universities in that country.

The ceremony was held in late December at Dubai World Trade Center. The audience included High Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum and other dignitaries.

Shank, who serves on the board of trustees at AUE, met its president when Dr. Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq and his family were visiting Washington, D.C., two years ago. Future plans include sending Marymount students to study abroad in Dubai and for AUE students to study at Marymount.

"We also hope that some of our faculty will have the opportunity to go over there and teach," Shank said. "This just opens up another great opportunity for us. We already have some students from the United Arab Emirates. This partnership will give us more exposure there and help us become

well-known in the country and region."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015