Board of Trustees

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H.E. Mr. Salem Ali Al Sharhan

Chairman

Bachelor’s degree in accounting, UAE University. Former CFO of Etisalat, advisor to H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, member of the Supreme Council. Board member of RAK Bank, RAK Insurance, and Dubai International Financial Centre.Mr. Al Sharhan has previously served as an advisor to His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.He currently serves as a board member at RAK Bank, RAK Insurance and Dubai International Financial Centre. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting (minor in business administration) from United Arab Emirates University, UAE.

H.E. Mr. Salem Ali Al Sharhan
Chairman

Bachelor’s degree in accounting, UAE University. Former CFO of Etisalat, advisor to H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, member of the Supreme Council. Board member of RAK Bank, RAK Insurance, and Dubai International Financial Centre.

Mr. Al Sharhan has previously served as an advisor to His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

He currently serves as a board member at RAK Bank, RAK Insurance and Dubai International Financial Centre. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting (minor in business administration) from United Arab Emirates University, UAE.

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Dr. Ateeq Abdul Aziz Jaka Al Mansouri

Member

Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Worked as Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at UAE University. Also, worked as Director of the UAE University Center for Public Policy and Leadership. Research interests include public policy analysis, development of public administration, and quality of government. Dr. Ateeq completed his M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a B.A. from UAE University. He has also held other academic positions; assistant dean for research and graduate studies at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and director for the Ph.D. program.

Dr. Ateeq Abdul Aziz Jaka Al Mansouri
Member

Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Worked as Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at UAE University. Also, worked as Director of the UAE University Center for Public Policy and Leadership. Research interests include public policy analysis, development of public administration, and quality of government.

Dr. Ateeq completed his M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a B.A. from UAE University. He has also held other academic positions; assistant dean for research and graduate studies at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and director for the Ph.D. program.


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Prof. Winfred Thompson

Member

Prof. Winfred Thompson has Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Chicago. He has LLM and JD from George Washington University and a BA from the University of Arkansas. He is the former President of the American University of Kosovo (2013-2016) and American University of Kuwait (2010-2013). He also served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs of the American University of Afghanistan (6 months in 2010). Prof. Winfred also served as the Chancellor of American University of Sharjah (2002-2002) and the President of University of Central Arkansas (1988-2001).Prof. Winfred became the Vice President for Finance and Administration in the System Office and later served as the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration on the Fayetteville campus of the University of Arkansas (1984-1988). He also worked as Director of Development and later Vice President for Institutional Advancement in Arkansas State University from 1980-1984.Before beginning his career in higher education, he was partner in a small law firm in Searcy, Arkansas specializing in taxation and estate planning.During and after his years attending law school at George Washington University, he worked in various federal government agencies which include the Library of Congress, the Office of a United States Congressman representing Arkansas and the Department of Labor in Washington, DC.

Prof. Winfred Thompson
Member

Prof. Winfred Thompson has Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Chicago. He has LLM and JD from George Washington University and a BA from the University of Arkansas. He is the former President of the American University of Kosovo (2013-2016) and American University of Kuwait (2010-2013). He also served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs of the American University of Afghanistan (6 months in 2010). Prof. Winfred also served as the Chancellor of American University of Sharjah (2002-2002) and the President of University of Central Arkansas (1988-2001).

Prof. Winfred became the Vice President for Finance and Administration in the System Office and later served as the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration on the Fayetteville campus of the University of Arkansas (1984-1988). He also worked as Director of Development and later Vice President for Institutional Advancement in Arkansas State University from 1980-1984.

Before beginning his career in higher education, he was partner in a small law firm in Searcy, Arkansas specializing in taxation and estate planning.

During and after his years attending law school at George Washington University, he worked in various federal government agencies which include the Library of Congress, the Office of a United States Congressman representing Arkansas and the Department of Labor in Washington, DC.

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Dr. Rashed Iqbal

Member

Dr. Rashed Iqbal holds a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Sheffield.He joined IDO in August 2018. He is responsible for empowering IDO’s portfolio of companies to use Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Data Science for effective business operations, and for supporting them in developing and maintaining high quality and secure technology infrastructure. He has over 25 years of professional experience in Technology, Product Development, and in Technical Management. Before joining IDO, he held roles with Teledyne Technologies, Western Digital, Synopsys, and other companies, mostly in California.

Dr. Rashed Iqbal
Member

Dr. Rashed Iqbal holds a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Sheffield.

He joined IDO in August 2018. He is responsible for empowering IDO’s portfolio of companies to use Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Data Science for effective business operations, and for supporting them in developing and maintaining high quality and secure technology infrastructure. He has over 25 years of professional experience in Technology, Product Development, and in Technical Management. Before joining IDO, he held roles with Teledyne Technologies, Western Digital, Synopsys, and other companies, mostly in California.

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Mr. Jean Diab

Member

Mr. Jean Diab has a MSc in Finance and Investment from the University of Durham and BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut. He has 17 years of experience in managing institutions across multiple sectors in the MENA region.He is currently an investment director with the Investment and Development Office of RAK. Prior to joining the IDO, Mr. Diab lead Kamco Invest’s private equity office in Dubai and spent several years with Eastgate Capital, the private equity arm of Saudi National Commercial Bank.Mr. Diab served and is currently a member of the board of directors of several institutions across the MENA region in multiple sectors including education and healthcare.

Mr. Jean Diab
Member

Mr. Jean Diab has a MSc in Finance and Investment from the University of Durham and BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut. He has 17 years of experience in managing institutions across multiple sectors in the MENA region.

He is currently an investment director with the Investment and Development Office of RAK. Prior to joining the IDO, Mr. Diab lead Kamco Invest’s private equity office in Dubai and spent several years with Eastgate Capital, the private equity arm of Saudi National Commercial Bank.

Mr. Diab served and is currently a member of the board of directors of several institutions across the MENA region in multiple sectors including education and healthcare.

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Dr. Pablo Fetter

Member

Dr Pablo Fetter is an expert in education with a track record of successfully running and improving international private education operators. He brings in three decades’ worth of experience in education, investments, and industry, both as senior executive and as board member.As the CEO of three different private education companies, Dr Pablo led multiple organic growth and improvement initiatives leading to significant boosts in academic and financial performance and participated in some of the world’s largest education transactions.Dr Pablo resided and worked in seven countries in Europe, South America, Asia, and Middle East, and is proficient in four languages.

Dr. Pablo Fetter
Member

Dr Pablo Fetter is an expert in education with a track record of successfully running and improving international private education operators. He brings in three decades’ worth of experience in education, investments, and industry, both as senior executive and as board member.

As the CEO of three different private education companies, Dr Pablo led multiple organic growth and improvement initiatives leading to significant boosts in academic and financial performance and participated in some of the world’s largest education transactions.

Dr Pablo resided and worked in seven countries in Europe, South America, Asia, and Middle East, and is proficient in four languages.

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Dr. Ayesha Mohammed Abdulla Yasin

Member

Dr. Ayesha Mohammed Abdulla Yasin is a leader in the education, healthcare, and engineering industries with 32 years of experience. Dr. Abdullah was the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and retired on Dec. 31st, 2022. In this role, Dr. Abdullah was responsible for managing the academic affairs of the UAE's largest Federal Higher Education institution. Prior to that, Dr. Abdullah was the Executive Dean of the College of Business at Higher Colleges of Technology. She was responsible for academic excellence and advancing linkages with industry. Moreover, she achieved international and national accreditation of all the programs and embedded leading specialized industry professional certifications such as CIPD, ACCA, CIPS, and CIM. Dr. Abdullah was also the Chief Executive Officer of the CERT Group of Companies, and her role was to advance technological innovations, training, and development. Dr. Abdullah previously held the position of the Managing Director of the Science Cluster in Dubai Holding. She was responsible for managing and formulating the strategic direction of the three major companies in Dubai for the development of the knowledge-based economy- namely Dubai Healthcare City Cluster and its subsidiaries, Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park-Dubiotech and Enpark. Before that, Dr. Abdullah held the position of CEO of Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC). Under her leadership, DHCC rapidly gained status as an internationally recognized location of choice for quality healthcare and an integrated center of excellence for clinical and wellness services, medical education, and research. In 2008, DHCC won the Dubai Quality Award, and the 'DHCC Out-Patient Quality Standards’ were the first Middle Eastern standards to be accredited by The International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQUA). Prior to this, as Chief Executive Officer at the Center for Healthcare Planning and Quality (CPQ), Dr. Abdullah was responsible for setting up and upholding healthcare standards within DHCC. She also played a key role in establishing CPQ as a premier regulatory body in the industry. Dr. Abdullah started her career in the Ministry of Health and was the Head of Engineering at Dubai Medical District. She worked on designing, commissioning, and equipping most of the major hospitals in the UAE. Moreover, she was seconded to WS Atkins, an international engineering firm, and worked on many prestigious commercial projects. In October 2009, Dr. Abdullah received the prestigious ‘Leading Woman CEO’ Award, marking a milestone in her achievements and recognizing her strategic management and leadership acumen that significantly contributed to the healthcare cluster’s growth. She was also awarded the L’ Officiel Arab Women of the Year in 2010. In 2014, she was recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) publisher of Science Magazine as a leading Innovator in the Middle East. Dr. Ayesha Abdullah is the first Arab woman to be elected as the President of the ACBSP Region 8 in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, she was also one of the three finalists for The UAE Prime Minister's Medal which honors outstanding leaders across all Federal Institutions. Dr. Abdullah is a guest speaker at numerous international and local conferences, and she has published Scopus-indexed articles. Dr. Abdullah also has academic and industry board experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical/ electrical engineering from Marquette University, USA, an MBA, and a Ph.D. in Strategy Management and Planning from the University of Sheffield. She has also attended many Executive Education programs at Harvard, Stanford, LBS, and the GE leadership programs at Crotonville.

Dr. Ayesha Mohammed Abdulla Yasin
Member

Dr. Ayesha Mohammed Abdulla Yasin is a leader in the education, healthcare, and engineering industries with 32 years of experience. Dr. Abdullah was the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and retired on Dec. 31st, 2022. In this role, Dr. Abdullah was responsible for managing the academic affairs of the UAE's largest Federal Higher Education institution.

Prior to that, Dr. Abdullah was the Executive Dean of the College of Business at Higher Colleges of Technology. She was responsible for academic excellence and advancing linkages with industry. Moreover, she achieved international and national accreditation of all the programs and embedded leading specialized industry professional certifications such as CIPD, ACCA, CIPS, and CIM. Dr. Abdullah was also the Chief Executive Officer of the CERT Group of Companies, and her role was to advance technological innovations, training, and development.

Dr. Abdullah previously held the position of the Managing Director of the Science Cluster in Dubai Holding. She was responsible for managing and formulating the strategic direction of the three major companies in Dubai for the development of the knowledge-based economy- namely Dubai Healthcare City Cluster and its subsidiaries, Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park-Dubiotech and Enpark.

Before that, Dr. Abdullah held the position of CEO of Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC). Under her leadership, DHCC rapidly gained status as an internationally recognized location of choice for quality healthcare and an integrated center of excellence for clinical and wellness services, medical education, and research. In 2008, DHCC won the Dubai Quality Award, and the 'DHCC Out-Patient Quality Standards’ were the first Middle Eastern standards to be accredited by The International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQUA). Prior to this, as Chief Executive Officer at the Center for Healthcare Planning and Quality (CPQ), Dr. Abdullah was responsible for setting up and upholding healthcare standards within DHCC. She also played a key role in establishing CPQ as a premier regulatory body in the industry.

Dr. Abdullah started her career in the Ministry of Health and was the Head of Engineering at Dubai Medical District. She worked on designing, commissioning, and equipping most of the major hospitals in the UAE. Moreover, she was seconded to WS Atkins, an international engineering firm, and worked on many prestigious commercial projects.

In October 2009, Dr. Abdullah received the prestigious ‘Leading Woman CEO’ Award, marking a milestone in her achievements and recognizing her strategic management and leadership acumen that significantly contributed to the healthcare cluster’s growth. She was also awarded the L’ Officiel Arab Women of the Year in 2010. In 2014, she was recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) publisher of Science Magazine as a leading Innovator in the Middle East. Dr. Ayesha Abdullah is the first Arab woman to be elected as the President of the ACBSP Region 8 in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, she was also one of the three finalists for The UAE Prime Minister's Medal which honors outstanding leaders across all Federal Institutions.

Dr. Abdullah is a guest speaker at numerous international and local conferences, and she has published Scopus-indexed articles. Dr. Abdullah also has academic and industry board experience.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical/ electrical engineering from Marquette University, USA, an MBA, and a Ph.D. in Strategy Management and Planning from the University of Sheffield. She has also attended many Executive Education programs at Harvard, Stanford, LBS, and the GE leadership programs at Crotonville.


Dr. David

Dr. David A. Schmidt

Ex-officio Member, President

Dr. Schmidt is a seasoned administrator with over 33 years of broad-based experience as an executive academic leader and faculty member, spanning a wide range of public, private, and international institutions. Before joining AURAK, he served as President of the American University in Dubai (AUD), and Vice Provost for International Affairs and Professor of Global Studies and Human Geography at Middle Tennessee State University. He has held various leadership positions and played a vital role in transforming a range of public, private, and state institutions, representing the landscape of higher education, including the University of the Pacific, the University of Wisconsin System, and Yale University. Dr. Schmidt holds a Ph.D. from Saint Louis University, an MA from The Ohio State University, and a BA from the University of Wisconsin. He has written extensively on post-WWII women’s rights and education issues in Japan and South Korea. He is a recipient of the AIEA (Association of International Administrators) Presidential Fellowship, the Korea Foundation Research Fellowship, and the Mombushō Fellowship. He also participated as a fellow in Harvard University’s IEM (Institute for Educational Management).

Dr. David A. Schmidt
Ex-officio Member, President
david.schmidt@aurak.ac.ae

Dr. Schmidt is a seasoned administrator with over 33 years of broad-based experience as an executive academic leader and faculty member, spanning a wide range of public, private, and international institutions.

Before joining AURAK, he served as President of the American University in Dubai (AUD), and Vice Provost for International Affairs and Professor of Global Studies and Human Geography at Middle Tennessee State University. He has held various leadership positions and played a vital role in transforming a range of public, private, and state institutions, representing the landscape of higher education, including the University of the Pacific, the University of Wisconsin System, and Yale University.

Dr. Schmidt holds a Ph.D. from Saint Louis University, an MA from The Ohio State University, and a BA from the University of Wisconsin. He has written extensively on post-WWII women’s rights and education issues in Japan and South Korea.

He is a recipient of the AIEA (Association of International Administrators) Presidential Fellowship, the Korea Foundation Research Fellowship, and the Mombushō Fellowship. He also participated as a fellow in Harvard University’s IEM (Institute for Educational Management).

Board of Trustees

The President of AURAK is supported by a board of trustees that act as advisors and oversee the governance of the institution.

Our AURAK university lecturers all have PhDs and are supported by our highly qualified Senior Leadership Team.

Meet our Board of Trustees:

Last Updated: 23 Nov 2023
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