Emirati Accomplishments Celebrated with Honorary Degrees at Heriot-Watt University Dubai's Graduation Ceremonies



honorary graduates at dubai winter grad 2023

Honorary degrees conferred upon Her Highness Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and His Excellency Dr Abdullah Bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi for their contributions to sustainability ahead of COP28.

November 22, 2023, Dubai, UAE: Heriot-Watt University Dubai marked outstanding Emirati accomplishments and valuable contributions to the nation by bestowing honorary degrees upon Her Highness Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President and CEO of UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA), as well as His Excellency Dr Abdullah Bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, former Minister of Climate Change and Environment, during the winter graduation ceremonies held in Dubai yesterday and today. Ahead of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) meeting in Dubai at the end of the month, both degrees were awarded in recognition of their outstanding contributions in the area of sustainability.

The degrees were conferred by Dr. Raja Easa Al Gurg, the Pro-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University in Dubai, and Chairperson and Managing Director of Dubai-based business conglomerate Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group (ESAG).

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Raja Easa Al Gurg said, “It brings me immense pleasure to see Heriot-Watt University honour two of my fellow Emiratis for their varied accomplishments in the areas of sustainability, climate change, community development, academia and government service. Both HH Sheikha Shamma and H.E. Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi are shining examples from different generations of how we can make meaningful impact in society and will serve as inspiring role models for future generations of Emiratis. With COP28 shortly taking place in Dubai, there could not be a better time to recognise and award their contributions to sustainability.”

Close to 400 Heriot-Watt University graduands received their degrees, in ceremonies that celebrated their hard work and ambition.

Professor Dame Heather McGregor, Provost, and Vice Principal of Heriot-Watt University Dubai, expressed her pride in the graduands, saying, Graduation marks a remarkable milestone, the culmination of years of hard work, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. As you stand poised to step into a future ripe with potential, I urge you to carry forth the legacy and values of this institution with pride, take on new challenges with confidence and make a positive impact on the world. I am also delighted that our graduands have been able to hear from our two honorary graduates HH Sheikha Shamma and HE Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi. Their achievements are a reminder of the potential for individuals to shape the future through their actions and ideas and they serve as an inspiration to all the graduating students.”

Honorary graduate HH Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan is an entrepreneur, writer, public speaker, founder, academic, and expert voice in the fields of sustainability, climate change and social development. In 2023 she was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She is a passionate advocate for climate action, and President and CEO of UICCA. Sheikha Shamma works to propel the growth of a thriving green economy in the UAE and around the world, by convening the public and private sectors, as well as communities, to advance green financing frameworks and accelerate climate tech solutions. She is Founder of several climate solutions businesses (The Climate Tribe, Reset MENA, and Alliances for Global Sustainability). She was also the first woman from the GCC to participate in the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center’s Women Leaders in Energy and Climate Fellowship (2022 – 2023 cohort). She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Net Zero Living.

HE Dr. Abdalla bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi stands as a steadfast presence in the United Arab Emirates' public and academic arenas. He has served in distinguished ministerial capacities and cabinet membership within the UAE, predominantly with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development. In these roles, he has championed sustainable development, steered both domestic and global climate change initiatives, and spearheaded transformative infrastructure projects. In the academic sphere, Dr. Al Nuaimi has collaborated with Heriot-Watt University Dubai, chairing the Centre of Excellence in Smart and Sustainable Construction (CESC) board, and imparted knowledge as a Visiting Professor at the Higher College of Technology Dubai.