Abu Dhabi University Hosts the MENA Region’s First Peer Mentoring Symposium
Abu Dhabi University (ADU), recently hosted the first face-to-face peer mentoring symposium in the MENA region at its main campus. Organized to provide personal and professional development to peer mentors, the symposium targeted faculty and students from the university. The event hosted universities from across the UAE, including, Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT – Sharjah & Abu Dhabi), Khalifa University (KU), Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (PSUAD), The British University in Dubai (BUiD) and the University of Sharjah (UoS). The event highlighted key topics such as ways to be an effective and motivated peer mentoring, challenges in peer mentoring, importance of interpersonal skills and the positive influence on a mentee through mentoring.
The symposium focused on peer mentoring skills which include but are not limited to, excellent interpersonal skills, leadership, tolerance and accountability. Participants shed light on the importance of a positive attitude during peer mentoring. Mentors should prepare themselves to handle challenges faced with mentees with an open mind and a positive attitude in instances where a mentee does not deliver on time or does not meet set expectations.
The topics were geared towards developing mentorship skills, responsibilities and practices. Leadership and growth were a particular focus of the symposium, with the aim of further developing the future leadership skills of students. The mentees were educated on a plethora of ways in which mentors guided the students for a seamless transition into university life. The event culminated in a thought-provoking question and answer session, during which the attending universities also shared their effective peer mentoring practices.
Furthermore, the mentors presented tips and tactics on how to overcome obstacles during peer mentoring. The mentors identified that mentoring has a positive impact on mentees as it can lead the students to a better performance when executed correctly. In parallel, mentors with good mentoring skills will have a high competitive edge in the job market and it will increase their chances in obtaining opportunities at highly-accredited institutions.
Dr. Sreethi Nair, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences at Abu Dhabi University and founder of the Peer Mentoring Symposium, said: “The MENA region’s first peer mentoring symposium, hosted by Abu Dhabi University, was a valuable opportunity for mentors to share ideas and best practices with counterparts from universities across the region. In line with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, it’s of the utmost importance that we prepare for the next 50 years by inspiring our youth and empowering them to lead us into a brighter future. The symposium reinforced the UAE’s values of tolerance, cooperation, cultural diversity and effective decision making.”
Nair added: “At Abu Dhabi University, we strive to create a collaborative university environment where students can support and learn from one other, every step of the way. As a result of our synergetic academic environment, ADU continues to graduate global citizens who in turn advance the values of multiculturalism and cross-collaboration wherever they go.”
Professor Thomas Glas-Hochstettler, Provost at ADU, commented: “Abu Dhabi University has always cultivated an academic environment where students are empowered to invest in their education while also nurturing their life skills. As a critical element of that environment, peer mentoring programs support and connect students who are passionate about mentoring and who would like to share mentorship skills and best practices with their fellow peers. Initiatives such as these align with ADU’s spirit of sharing and collaboration, and the peer mentoring symposium underscores squarely the importance of mentorship for all students.”
The peer mentoring symposium was met with high praise from all students in attendance. Elline Flores, a second-year aviation student at ADU, shared that the symposium imparted many valuable lessons and skills that are critical to mentorship and future mentors. The president of the student council at ADU, Alvina Ashraf, noted that her biggest obstacle as a peer mentor was the challenge of connecting and building relationships with mentees. Alvina has learned through the symposium that common interests between mentor and mentee are key to a more rewarding mentorship relationship.
The program aims to have an impact that extends beyond ADU’s reach and that activates future cooperation, in which universities collaborate to help their student communities through the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and best practices.
Abu Dhabi University
The dream began with the Charter of Abu Dhabi University in the year 2000, After three years of planning, the university opened its doors in September 2003, to an entering class of 1,000 students on its two campuses in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Unlike other colleges and universities in the UAE, ADU undertook the measures necessary to ensure that all of the degree programs it would offer had secured accreditation from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in advance of any students enrolling in them.
ADU offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees based upon the American model of higher education.