In a year unlike any other, Al-Maktoum College has demonstrated resilience in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic. We now take this opportunity to look back at a collection of some of the College’s most defining moments of each month in 2020, as we strive for excellence and growth as a provider of higher education in the New Year.
Our year began very much as normal. January had us supporting our students as they set about their second semester learning, and looking to the next intake by visiting Madras College in Fife to tell the young people there all about what we offer at Al-Maktoum College.
The big event of February was our 2020 Academic Training Programme in Multiculturalism and Leadership. Over 60 young women from the UAE, Egypt and Malaysia took part in the programme which is designed to broaden students’ academic horizons and prepare them for future careers within international leadership and managerial positions. The participants enjoyed an intensive three week course of classroom based study, enlivened with field trips to experience Scotland’s culture and iconic sights.
Back at the start of March, when the COVID pandemic seemed less of a threat, our Student Recruitment officer joined a cohort from the University of Dundee in their travels to Pakistan. During their time in the country, they attended various fairs, events and trainings, while promoting university and College courses to international students and agents.
Soon after however, the COVID pandemic began to affect life in Scotland and so we focused on ensuring the safety of our students and colleagues. By the time full lockdown took effect on 23 March, our lecturers were already delivering all teaching online, and our teams were keeping in touch with our students to ensure their wellbeing.
April saw one of our academic colleagues, Dr Alhagi Manta Drammeh make an appearance on STV news, discussing the impact of lockdown on Ramadan celebrations. His appearance in the news segment came ahead of a College Open Lecture entitled “As Islamic perspective on Coronavirus”, in which Dr Drammeh presented online.
The academic year rolled on and while our academic team helped students prepare for final assessments in May and June, our support staff disbursed a Â£20,000 Coronavirus Rapid Response Fund. The Fund supported community organisations facing difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 30 grants made to local charities.
July saw our first ever virtual open day, through which we welcomed potential students from across the world to virtually ‘visit’ Al-Maktoum College and meet the team.
The college continued its support for local causes in August through its sponsorship of the Dundee Cyclathon Challenge. The virtual cycling event organised by the Rotary Club of Claverhouse raised money for STV’s Children’s appeal.
September brought the launch of our new courses in Moral Economy and FinanceÂ and had us preparing for our new students joining us in time for the first term of the 20/21 academic year.
Our new influx of students joined us in October, a more international group than ever thanks to the College’s commitment to delivering online teaching and learning.
In November, we hosted our online Building Bridges symposium, as part of Scottish Interfaith Week. The Symposium’s focus on the power of art and culture in uniting faiths and communities made for a fascinating session and we were joined by over 40 participants throughout the half-day event- hosted online for the very first time.
As the year drew to a close, the first in our 2020/21 online Open Lecture series took place in December. It brought together an audience from many countries to hear about The Emergence of Public Opinion in the Ottoman Empire from Professor Murat R. ÅživiloÄŸlu, assistant professor at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Also in December, staff , students and community members contributed to the College’s collection for Dundee Foodbank, apart ofÂ Trussell Trust. The collection was one of the largest to have ever been donated by the College and we were delighted to be supporting our local community in this way.
As we wave goodbye to 2020, the Al-Maktoum College welcomes in the New Year and remains hopeful for an equally successful yet much safer 2021 for all.