Heriot-Watt University Dubai (HWUD) today announced the appointment of distinguished businesswoman Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, Chairperson and Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group (ESAG), as the Pro-Chancellor of the University in Dubai. In this role, she will become the honorary Head of the University in Dubai and will represent the University in a ceremonial and ambassadorial capacity, including in the conferment of degrees.
Speaking about the appointment, Professor Heather McGregor, Provost and Vice Principal of Heriot-Watt University Dubai says, “We are delighted to be announcing the appointment of Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg and welcome her to the Heriot-Watt University community. Dr Al Gurg is a celebrated international businesswoman and brings with her years of business acumen and local knowledge that will inspire our team in Dubai and set an example for our students.
"As we have just crossed our 200th anniversary, we are on the path to a very exciting future and a new era of the University’s development, and appointing such an accomplished individual as our pro-chancellor will support our vision. As the first British university set up in the UAE, Heriot-Watt has continued to grow and provide world-class education to its students, and we look forward to accomplishing more with Dr Al Gurg’s leadership and support.”
Dr Al Gurg has been the Managing Director of the Dubai-based business conglomerate Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group for over three decades and assumed the position of its Chairperson earlier this year. As a leading businesswoman in the region, Dr Al Gurg has carved a unique niche for herself due to her support and encouragement of increasing the number of women in business. She is the founder of the Dubai Business Women Council and Board member of the Dubai Chamber and Dubai Women’s Association. She is also on the advisory board of Coutts Bank, the wealth division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
Dr Al Gurg’s appointment means that HWUD now has an all-female leadership in Dubai, with Professor Heather McGregor, who recently transferred from Edinburgh to Dubai to take up the post of Provost and Vice-Principal.
Speaking about her appointment, Dr Al Gurg says, “I am gratified to accept this position as Pro-Chancellor and to be associated with a renowned institution that has a rich history of 200 years. As an advocate of women empowerment, I look forward to be part of an all-female leadership team in Dubai. I hope my engagement will further enrich the contribution of Heriot-Watt University within the education sector in the UAE and enhance skill development in various industry avenues.
"The essence of education to me is challenging and extending oneself into unknown areas and accepting there is always more on the horizon. Regardless of age, experience or status, a lifelong learning attitude is essential to stay relevant in our ever-changing world.”
Dr Al Gurg’s appointment coincides with the University’s Winter Graduations, a celebration held throughout Heriot-Watt’s global campuses in Dubai, Malaysia, and Edinburgh. This year over 3,000 students graduated from Heriot-Watt’s global campuses, and 528 from Dubai, marking the close of classes of 2022.
HWUD established its presence in the UAE in 2005, as the first university to open a campus in Academic City. Starting with an initial offering of three programmes and a student population of 120, it has since grown to be the largest international university in the UAE.
Today, it is based in Knowledge Park and is home to approximately 4,000 students enrolled across 90 programmes and is one of the top UK universities for business and industry with a five-star rating by the KHDA three years in a row.