CISCO to join Zayed University's partner challenge program, helping to shape future leaders, thinkers, and doers of the nation

12 Oct 2022

Zayed University today announced that Cisco will join its pioneering Partner Challenge program, as part of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two parties.

The Partner Challenge program offers a unique opportunity for students to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom, addressing real-world challenges proposed by an industry player, such as Cisco.

Working in focused teams, each semester, students have the opportunity to combine their academic work with professional experience, bridging theory and practice, and delivering outputs that add value to the companies they collaborate with. From this year, the Program is a core offering to all new students enrolling at Zayed University on its new interdisciplinary degree programs.

The MoU was signed by Mr. Sherif Mousa, Acting Chief Administration and Financial Officer from Zayed University, and witnessed by Mr. Abdelilah Nejjari, Managing Director for the Gulf region at Cisco, during their participation at the 42nd edition of GITEX Global 2022, the world’s largest technology show.

Commenting on the partnership, Zayed University’s Acting Chief Administration and Financial Officer, Mr. Sherif Mousa said: “The Partner Challenges are one of the key differentiators which make Zayed University’s new degree programs so beneficial for our students and equip them for their future careers. We are immensely proud to have Cisco join the program and we know that our students will benefit enormously from the chance to work alongside this industry giant. These challenges give students a chance to gain an in-depth understanding of the workplace, encourage them to think for themselves, and open their eyes to the opportunities available to them when they graduate.”

Partner Challenges are student-driven endeavors that require teamwork, time management, and commitment. The challenges take the form of “How might we” questions that encourage critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. Some examples of these questions, as applied in previous challenges, include: “How might we design an environmentally sustainable home in Dubai?”; “How might we use AI to diagnose learning difficulties?”; and, “How might we understand how banks can leverage technological disruption to their advantage?”.

Through the Partner Challenges, businesses are able to engage students in projects which will benefit from the unique perspectives of young people, to help shape the future of the UAE. The Program can also help companies positively engage with young Emirati talent, early on in their careers, and contribute towards achieving employer Emiratization targets in future. By participating in the program, businesses are helping develop the future leaders, thinkers and doers of the UAE.

Mr. Abdelilah Nejjari, Managing Director for the Gulf region at Cisco added: “We believe that to empower the next generation of problem solvers, talent development and mentorship are critical. Cisco is pleased to be joining the Partner Challenge program – supporting Zayed University’s pursuit to deliver educational excellence and help its students accelerate innovation. We look forward to sharing our expertise, while also exploring the students’ insights – building a more inclusive future together.”

In addition to joining the Program, as part of the MoU, Cisco will collaborate with Zayed University on joint education programs, events, and industry workshops to further support talent development.

Zayed University Zayed University