Governor General of Canada visits Canadian University Dubai

Her Excellency discusses culture, climate change, and equality during campus visit

March 21st, 2022, Dubai, UAE: Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, has made an official visit to Canadian University Dubai (CUD) as part of a working trip to the Middle East. Speaking to an audience of faculty, students and members of the Canadian community in the UAE, Her Excellency shared her insights on a range of themes, including Inuit culture, climate change, and gender equality.

Accompanied by her husband, His Excellency Mr. Whit Fraser, the Governor General was received by CUD President and Vice Chancellor, Prof. Karim Chelli. The visit began with a tour of the University’s new, state-of-the-art campus at Dubai City Walk, led by members of the CUD leadership team.

Welcoming Their Excellencies to the University, CUD Chancellor, Mr. Buti Saeed Al Ghandi remarked, “Our ambition at CUD remains to grow and strengthen our international networks, to help us make an ever-increasing contribution to building the regional knowledge economy, and it is with great pride that we do so in the name of both the UAE and Canada.”

The Governor General opened her address with greetings in Inuktitut, going on to share insights into her Inuit upbringing and the importance of acknowledging and understanding its history. Reflecting on her visit to the region, she spoke of the need for international collaboration to build a successful future for the world, concluding, “The UAE strives for new opportunities and innovations, and for that, Canada is the perfect partner.”

There then followed a Q&A session, moderated by Associate Professor, Dr. Louise Lambert, where the audience took the opportunity to ask Her Excellency about current issues, ranging from action on climate change to the preservation of language.

Closing the interactive session was CUD student and Canadian Business Council Dubai intern, Angela Raj, who thanked Their Excellencies for their generous participation, saying, “This cultural meeting of minds we have experienced today is sure to leave a lasting impact on us all, students and faculty alike. Each and every one of us will be able to take something home from Your Excellencies’ empowering and momentous visit.”

During the event, Their Excellencies toured the exhibition, ‘Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: Art, Architecture, and Traditional Knowledge’, which is staged by McGill University and currently installed at CUD’s HUB Building Incubator Zone.

As part of the visit, students from the University’s Bachelor of Communications in Journalism program were also given the unique opportunity to engage with His Excellency Mr. Fraser, who is a renowned author and storyteller. During the session, His Excellency discussed his extensive journalistic career, during which he reported from all four corners of Canada, and he then went on to answer questions from students about the future challenges of the journalism industry.

The visit to CUD was part of an official trip to the region, which also sees Their Excellencies meet with heads of state and senior leaders in the UAE and other GCC countries.