Introduction: A Celebration of Excellence


This book, too, is an “expedition” of friends. People from different countries, cultures, genders, and persuasions have permitted us to put aside accidental differences and join in a common conversation about one of the most important endeavors of human beings, education. I cannot think of a more fitting way to commence the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Higher Colleges of Technology than to share with readers of this anthology the experiences, ideas, reflections, and wisdom of friends in fact,and friends in ideas. The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) were established at a time when the UAE was less than 20 years old. From a few colleges in 1988, the HCT has grown into a system of 15 colleges located throughout the country, serving more than 16,000 students. Its visionary Chancellor, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, is a forward-looking man of great imagination and determination. To him, at a very young age, fell the challenging responsibility of creating a system of higher education that not only responded to the emerging and urgent manpower needs of a young Nation, but also a system that would cultivate, in new generationsof Emiratis, values that would serve them well in a globalized and ever changing world. From the outset, Sheikh Nahayan envisioned an educational system that embraced the values of open enquiry, critical-thinking, personal integrity, intellectual honesty and tolerance for competing ideas.

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