On the 6th of November 2021, Curtin University Dubai conducted its inaugural in-person graduation ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021. Due to the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, the university hosted its first graduation virtually in 2020. This celebration was, therefore, doubly significant: It was Curtin University Dubai’s first ever in-person graduation, and, moreover, it was a testament to the unique graduating classes of 2020 and 2021, who had persevered through the extraordinary challenges of a global pandemic, to successfully gain degrees from a globally recognised, highly ranked university.

The Graduation Ceremony was hosted by Curtin University Dubai at the Emirates Institute of Banking and Financial Studies. The auditorium was filled with the family, friends, and loved ones of close to 100 graduating students. The students included graduates from the Business, Mass Communications, and Engineering Schools and postgraduates from the Business School. 

Notable attendees included Mr. Pankaj Savara, an Executive Board Member of AusBG – the Austrlaian Business Group, Abu Dhabi, and the former Commissioner for Trade and Investment for MENA and his wife Mrs. Neera Savara; Professor John Evans, the Pro Vice Chancellor of Curtin University Dubai John Evans; and the Group CEO of the Transnational Academic Group, Mr. Daniel Adkins.

Curtin University Dubai’s graduates enjoyed virtual greetings from Perth, Australia on this special occasion. The Curtin University Chancellor, Dr Andrew Crane, and Vice Chancellor, Professor Harlene Hayne both spoke to the audience about the students’ achievements and congratulated their families and loved ones for the support they had provided. The Pro Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University Dubai spoke to the graduates about the broader global family they are now joining, as they look forward to the rest of their lives as Curtin University alumni:

As a Curtin graduate, you are now a member of the Curtin Alumni community, joining a network of over 250,000 graduates from across 170 countries around the world. You should feel proud graduating from one of the great universities […] In many aspects it is a world leading global education provider. This all bodes well for you, our graduating class, whose credentials are globally recognized. A number of you will stay and work or study in the UAE, others may choose to return to their homeland or travel further afield. Besides the Dubai campus, Curtin University has campuses in Western Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Mauritius. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly rare not to meet Curtin graduates when travelling.

Assocate Professors Anna Tarabasz, and Pon Selvan also spoke movingly about this commemorative event.

The event featured speeches from Curtin University Dubai’s undergraduate and postgraduate valedictorians of 2021. The 2021 undergraduate Valedictorian, Ayesha Tariq, paid homage to the courage, and dedication of this special cohort of students – graduating during an unparalleled global pandemic – and to their families and loved ones, whose immeasurable support and love helped the graduates achieve this milestone in their lives:

We came together as a community during this pandemic to help one another in unsettling times and built lasting relationships […] During these rewarding as well as testing times, we grew to transform into the best form of ourselves. COVID-19 was not easy on any of us, however, we pushed ourselves, adapted to it and juggled surviving, with education. We dedicatedly pursued our dreams which is the biggest achievement for us all.

Curtin University Dubai’s Postgraduate Valedictorian of 2021, Anju Samuel, spoke about the new wisdom she had acquired by pursuing her Masters in Business Administration during COVID-19

A key part of valedictorian speeches is to highlight the future. However, 2020 has taught us that nothing in life is predictable and to take each day as it comes – with the good, the bad and the in-between. Definitely plan for the future, but live for today. I don’t doubt even for a minute that every person’s future in this room will be anything less than spectacular because this pandemic has taught me that not only are we resilient, but we are also unstoppable.

Curtin University Dubai also presented Keerthana Dana Sekaran with the Pro Vice-Chacellor’s Award for Excellence, and Ali Omar Ali Mustafa with the SP Wahi Award for Excellence.

Having adapted to the modern demands for blended delivery, Curtin also live-streamed the event on Facebook and Youtube. Highlights of Curtin University Dubai’s Graduation Ceremony for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 can be viewed here.

Further reactions from the Graduates:


Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communications and Digital Media) – Class of 2021

“I feel happy to be here today because I haven’t seen my friends for over a year. Thanks to this graduation celebration, I was able to meet up with the people I love again; the people that have nurtured me; the people who have helped me in my journey – my lecturers, my friends. I’m really happy to see all of these faces, to be able to celebrate together with this amazing milestone in my life.”


Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) – Class of 2021

“Hi, my name is Urooba Ahmed, and I am a Marketing graduate from Curtin University, Dubai. This graduation ceremony was a really nice one, and after this pandemic seeing everyone together at one place was nice and refreshing; and I wish all the best to all the graduates and Congratulations.”


MBA (Global) – Class of 2021

“I just want to say ‘All the best’ to all of you. Never give up, work hard, be effective, and I am sure we can win, and we can be successful.”


Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communications and Digital Media) – Class of 2021

“I am excited that I am going to face the new whole world. Although after this pandemic, life is becoming hard and changeable. But what we must do is adapt to it.”