Abu Dhabi: The first Emirati who received an honorary professorship from a prestigious British institute said time-management and continuous learning helped him achieve the rare accomplishment.
While satisfactorily meeting the demands of a top official position as the head of a federal authority, Dr Ali Mohammad Al Khoury was able to publish 60 research articles in international journals on electronic governance, digital economy and ID management. He visited a faculty at the University of Manchester and the University of Warwick during 2004-2008.
Those contributions to disseminate knowledge about advanced ID systems won him an honorary professorship from the British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce in London.
Al Khoury, the Director General of Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID), received the honour at the annual ceremony of the institute that was held at the British House of Lords in London recently. Lord Nazeer Ahmad, member of the House of Lords in the UK and the higher chairman of the British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce, handed over the certificate and a trophy of appreciation to Al Khoury, in London.
Although he already holds an impressive academic record, Al Khoury said: “The education never ends.”
Dr Al Khoury holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Business Management from the University of Manchester, UK, and a Masters in Science in Information Management from the College of Management of Sciences, University of Lancaster, UK. He is also holds an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) from the University of Warwick, UK in Engineering Management with specialisation in strategic and large-scale programme management in the government sector.
He said many would assume that learning happens at schools and universities or training programmes. “This is not correct! There is an evolving concept of personal learning that prompts the individual to manage their own learning and educational goals,” Al Khoury said.
“From this point of view, I started to discover that my writings contribute to my own understandings of the surrounding environment and sometimes help me put things in perspective, especially at work.”
He said his education at the universities in the UK gave him a strong and solid knowledge base, tools that he is using to be a ‘continuous learner’.
Talking about his position as a visiting professor at some UK universities, he said:
“The teaching process refines or strengthens your knowledge, and pushes you to explore it further. It reminds me of a famous saying – the more you know, you know how less you know!”
About UAE citizens’ role in a knowledge economy, Al Khoury said:
“We as citizens are the pillars of our society and nations. We should seek to learn in order to develop our society and nations. This is a responsibility that will be on our shoulders as long as we breathe.
He quoted the president His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE: “The work is the true criterion of citizenship. It is also evidence of sincerity and loyalty, and is how people are differentiated.
With strong will and ability and with our superior achievements we all share the responsibility of building this country, and strengthening its sovereignty and preserve its gains and build its future.”
Dr Ali Al Khoury had earlier served as Director of the Development Division, and member of the e-Government Committee in Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters from 1990 to 2003.
-Served in the Ministry of Interior as a member of the Executive Committee for the identity infrastructure development programme management
-In 2005, moved to the Emirates Identity Authority as Assistant Director General for Central Operations and Chairman of the Technical Committee for the Population Register and ID Card.
- Later became Executive Director for Strategic Planning, and finally the Director General in 2009.
- Board member of the UAE National Bureau of Statistics, member of the Executive Committee of the Ministry of the Interior supervising the e-Passport project in the UAE.
- The UAE representative and chairman of the technical team of the Steering Committee for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for Identity Cards and Interoperability.
Al Owais Award for Studies and Scientific Innovation in 2012.
- Medal of Academic Excellence (1998, 1999, 2000) from the Minister of Interior
- Medal of Sincere Service from the Ministry of Interior in 2003.
- Rashid Award for Academic Excellence (1999, 2001, 2008).
- UAE President’s Medal for the top university graduates in 1998.-
- KPMG Peat Marwick Trophy for Best Researcher in the Faculty of Commerce in 1997
- Barclays Bank Trophy for the best graduate programme in business information technology in 1997
- International Awards
- Most Influential Personality in Digital Identity World in the Last Decade, 2011, Italy.
- Distinguished Leadership Award in the Middle East, 2010 -
- Security Innovation Award (London) in recognition of published scientific papers from the British Institute of Technology & E-commerce, 2010
- Award of Excellence and Fame (Italy) for prominent role in the field of identity management systems and scientific research at the International Conference for Universal ID cards held in cooperation with the European Union and the Italian Ministry of Interior, 2009.
- Information Security Award from the Asian Continent Association for Government Information, 2007
- Distinguished Personality of the Year Award (Italy) in the application of advanced identification systems, in the International Conference on Universal ID cards held in cooperation with the European Union and the Italian Ministry of Interior, 2007
- Young Leadership Award in the field of information technology in the Middle East - United Nations and the Arab League, 2006.