Sharjah – March 11, 2023: American University of Sharjah (AUS) celebrated its annual Global Day, a festival of culture and color, on March 10. Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of AUS, inaugurated the event, which is one of the university’s most anticipated celebrations of the cultural heritage of the AUS community.
AUS is a close-knit community that embraces diversity, providing a rich and supportive environment to its students to thrive as they become outward-looking and responsible individuals ready to join the world. This has earned AUS a place among the top five universities with the highest percentage of international students, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings (2022).
This year’s celebrations turned the AUS Main Plaza into a carnival, with visitors strolling in and out of the colorful pavilions of more than 30 cultural and student-interest clubs, as they enjoyed the beat of folkloric music and dance, took in the tantalizing aroma and taste of delicious traditional cuisine, and observed elaborate traditional fashion from countries around the world.
The UAE Cultural Club designed its booth to reflect on the past, present and future of the nation.
“We started working on this theme prior to the AUS Global Day through our Instagram account and we brought it to our pavilion, which we split into three sections. The section on the past showcases how our ancestors lived and depended heavily on fishing, pearl diving and trade for their livelihoods. We also included traditional food and a henna stand. The present, on the other hand, reflects on how diverse the UAE market has become, while the future is all about technology and advancement showcasing robots from Dubai Expo 2020, drones and virtual reality technology. We also have many interactive activities that will get people to imagine what the future of the UAE will look like,” said student Hoor Al Ansari, President of the UAE Cultural Club.
The club also organized performances that reflected the theme of the pavilion, starting off with a celebration of Sheikh Zayed in a piano and guitar recital in reference to the past, a poem on the love of the UAE for the present, and a video celebrating the achievements of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah and Founder of AUS. The UAE Cultural Club also collaborated with the Saudi Arabia Cultural Club in performances to showcase the ties between the two nations.
“I think the most exciting thing about AUS Global Day is the cultural performances and how proud people are of their nations and how they want to showcase them in the best way possible. There is also the food from different parts of the world and the opportunity to meet people from outside AUS and introduce them to the university. We are also excited to see Sheikha Bodour joining us on Global Day and supporting the clubs. We are honored to have a president who would lend her support to all students,” she said.
For visitors who always wanted to visit Jordan and explore its treasures, the Jordanian Cultural Club designed a map that highlights some of the most significant locations in the country.
“The design was inspired by one of Amman’s most famous streets, known as Rainbow Street. We also focused a lot this year on street dabke dance and the songs of one of the most famous Jordanian dabke singers, Ahmed Al Ali. Outdoor activities are some of the most fun and exciting signature segments of the AUS Global Day, and we are excited this year to showcase Jordan in the best way we can. Also, in addition to the entertainment that comes with planning Global Day, I found myself learning new skills, especially leadership and planning skills. It has been a lot of work but a lot of fun, too,” said student Mohammad Waleed, President of the Jordanian Cultural Club.
This year, the Indian Cultural Club focused on two themes in their performances and pavilion. Dance performances celebrated the AUS Silver Jubilee and injected cultural aspects inspired by India’s national flag.
“We explained in our performances the significance of the three colors in our flag and the special Ashoka Chakra in its middle. Since the Indian Cultural Club is known for its extravagant performances every year, we wanted to communicate the information in the most engaging and captivating way possible,” said student Utkarsh Chauhan, President of the Indian Cultural Club.
The Indian pavilion recreated the iconic Chokhi Dhani, which is a village-themed entertainment complex that offers visitors a glimpse into the culture and traditions of the colorful city of Rajasthan.
“The name means ‘beautifully crafted village.’ Our pavilion features traditional Rajasthani-village-style decorations, along with cultural performances such as folk dances, puppet shows and live music. Visitors can also enjoy traditional Rajasthani cuisine along with well-known Indian favorite snack items,” he said.
Chauhan noted that all students mark their calendars in anticipation of the AUS Global Day.
“We have been preparing since the beginning of the Fall 2022. Since AUS is known to be one of the most diverse universities globally, the Indian Cultural Club takes pride in showcasing the best of our vibrant and dynamic culture to the large and diverse community at AUS. Many of the Indian Cultural Club's student members have their families traveling from abroad just to attend Global Day, and we want to ensure that the parents feel welcome and proud,” said Chauhan.
With approximately 90 nationalities represented among its students, AUS is a reflection of how diversity in today’s world can lead to tolerance, goodwill and understanding. It also reinforces the importance of appreciating cultural and religious differences and how they impact societies around the globe.
The Global Day festivities will continue on Saturday, March 11 from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. and are open to the public.