Keynote speaker, Elie Saab, inspires graduates at American University in Dubai 26th graduation ceremony

Photo: His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, Founder and Creative Director of ‘Elie Saab Group’, Elie Saab, AUD President, Dr. David A. Schmidt with graduates of 2023.

American University in Dubai (AUD) has celebrated its 26th graduation ceremony, honoring the achievements of the Class of 2023. The commencement was held in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council. Inspiring this year’s graduates was globally renowned Founder and Creative Director of ‘Elie Saab Group’, Elie Saab, who delivered a keynote address during the ceremony staged at Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre.

The highly anticipated event was attended by more than 3000 invitees, representing the AUD Board of Governors, distinguished guests, faculty, staff, family and friends. Delivering the opening address, University President, Dr. David A. Schmidt, paid tribute to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for his legacy, support and inspiration to the University.

Addressing this year’s graduates and reflecting on their achievements, Dr. Schmidt said, “In fifty years, this university will not be judged by its size or the beauty of its campus and facilities. We will be judged by the success of our graduates; you will forever be our lasting legacy.”

Going on to take the stage, Elie Saab delivered an inspirational account of his long journey of commitment and hard work. Addressing the graduates, Saab revealed, “When I was your age, all I had was my talent and my dream. But I had a vision. I spent many years to reach my vision and to build a global brand. The journey will not be easy, but it is how you face the challenges that will make a difference. My advice for you is to be patient, never give up, no matter how hard it can get. Keep your eyes on the goal. Stick to your values in every decision you make.”

He continued, “My dream was to turn my creations into the brand it is today. My dream was to impact the fashion industry. And to create jobs for thousands of people around the world. Class of 2023, you can do it too. Set your dreams and go for it!  Remember that you have all the tools to succeed in the world, your degree, the friendships, and connections you made at AUD and the chance to be in this beautiful city, Dubai! Where dreams are created and achieved, the leadership of this country proved that nothing is impossible.”

Executive Vice President of AUD, Elias N. Bou Saab, paid tribute to Saab’s achievements in creating thousands of jobs for people around the world. He said, “What you have done is an inspiration, and is similar to the inspiration we have all received here in Dubai from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in the way he built this city, and the way he made every one of us here dream of a better future.”

Encouraging this year’s graduates to follow this example, Mr. Bou Saab added, “Each one of you should be looking where to find an opportunity to create your own business and to find jobs for others. You need to think differently, that’s how you have been trained and how this University was founded, when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said our dreams should always be endless.”

Following the conferral of degrees from the University’s six academic schools, Bachelor of Architecture major, Ayat Derhem, went on to deliver the valedictorian speech. She said, “Remember that success is not solely measured by wealth, fame, or titles. True success lies in the lives we touch, the positive impact we create, and the happiness we find along the way. So, as we embark on this new journey, let us hold on to our integrity, embrace humility, and stay true to ourselves.”

The 26th commencement ceremony also honored Dr. Catherine Hill, Dean of the School of Education, on the occasion of her retirement and in recognition of her outstanding service, dedication, and invaluable contribution to the School since 2012.


About American University in Dubai

The American University in Dubai (AUD) is a private, academically and culturally inclusive institution of higher learning, providing a globally recognized American education. AUD delivers a student-centric, forward-thinking learning experience to over 2000 undergraduates, graduates and professionals from more than 100 countries worldwide.