The Associate Director of the Higher Colleges of Technology’s Ras Al Khaimah Colleges, Dr Ali Al Mansoori, has been hailed as a pioneer after becoming the first Emirati academic to gain entry into the prestigious American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Program, which will see him being mentored by a US University President next year.
The ACE Fellows Program is an extremely competitive program which sees just 50 leading academics each year accepted into the mentoring program, as they are groomed for future roles as University Presidents. Until recently, the Fellows Program was only open to American citizens; however Dr. Al Mansoori’s acceptance into the rigorous program will allow other Emiratis with experience in higher education administration to apply.
Dr. Al Mansoori’s entry into the program has been highlighted by the signing yesterday afternoon of a Memorandum of Understanding between ACE and H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research on behalf of the three federal higher education institutions – HCT, Zayed University and the UAEU.
Under the terms of the MoU between the three federal higher education institutions and ACE, a committee, representing the three institutions, will be set up to screen Emirati applicants from those institutions to apply for entry into the ACE Fellows Program.
The agreement was also signed by Dr. Gretchen Bataille, Senior Vice President for Leadership and Lifelong Learning of ACE at H.E. Sheikh Nahayan’s Al Bateen Palace and witnessed by Victor Hurtado, the Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy-Abu Dhabi; the Vice Chancellors, Provosts and various dignitaries from the three federal institutions.
The agreement is seen as a major boost for the federal institutions’ emiratization goals, which include executive leadership roles for Emirati administrators. The Fellows Program will enable them to gain the appropriate leadership training.
“There are bright and capable Nationals who are dedicated to serving the UAE at the highest levels helping to lead UAE colleges and universities which are so vitally important to the future of the country,”, HCT Provost Dr Mark Drummond said at the signing ceremony.
“While some knowledge and experience can be gained through working at various UAE institutions, and knowledge and skill can be gained by undertaking doctoral studies at overseas universities, Nationals still lack the opportunity to learn about how to lead very complex educational organizations. This is because few of these organizations exist in the region,” Dr. Drummond added.
The ACE Fellows Program in leadership training has been in operation for a number of decades and, as a result, today over 300 leaders of the most prominent colleges and universities in the United States are graduates of the Program. It offers candidates a unique opportunity to serve for one full year under the guidance of the leader (President or Chancellor) of one of America’s most prominent institutions and experience every part of leadership that is required to maintain excellence and momentum in these complex organizations.
ACE is a membership association representing 1600 colleges and universities in the US as well as 200 other educational organizations, including 33 international universities, including in South Africa. Dr. Bataille praised the initiative and Dr. Al Mansoori’s selection, as the first from an Arab nation to participate in the Fellows Program.
“ACE is honored to have a relationship with the federal universities of the UAE and we share with H.E. Sheikh Nahayan a commitment to education attainment and quality higher education leadership. We anticipate that Dr. Al Mansoori’s participation in the ACE Fellows Program will result in opportunities for more Emiratis to participate in the future,” Dr. Bataille said.
Dr. Bataille added that ACE President Molly C. Broad, who was unable to travel to the UAE, was in full support of the new initiative and sent her good wishes.
Dr. Mark Drummond pointed to the significance of the program, saying: “For the first time ever this experience is being offered to Arab professionals from outside of the United States. This will provide a valuable and unique opportunity for Emiratis who aspire to lead our national institutions to broaden their experience and skills, and also to add to their professional network of international colleagues.”
HCT Ras Al Khaimah Colleges Director Dr. Robert Moulton was full of praise for Dr. Al Mansoori in gaining selection to the ACE Fellows Program.
“This young man has brought great honor to the UAE, making it into the Program as one of the 50 candidates. Ali has the potential to be a great leader and we are very proud of him,” Dr Moulton said.
“Ali went to Washington DC for interviews and had to compete with many other very talented academics, where his application was considered as if it was from an American candidate,” he added.