Lifelong learning can assist us in achieving personal fulfillment and pleasure, whether we are following personal interests and hobbies or professional goals. It acknowledges that humans have a natural desire to explore, learn, and grow and exhorts us to do so by paying attention to the principles and objectives that motivate us. Dima Rachid Jamali is the Dean and a Professor at the University of Sharjah. She is a strong proponent of lifelong learning and the value of embracing constant interactions with peers who share similar views and exchanging best practices through attendance at important local, regional, and international conferences and events, in addition to executive workshops to stay up to date on the most important new trends and innovations reshaping business and academia.
“Lifelong learning has been my motto since the early start of my career.” – Dima Jamali says.
The Backstory of Her Success
Dima Jamali previously held the Kamal Shair Chair in Responsible Leadership and was a professor and associate dean at the Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut (AUB). She graduated with a PhD in Social Policy and Administration from Canterbury, UK’s University of Kent. Her studies and instruction have mostly focused on social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility (CSR) over the years (SE). She is the author or editor of seven books, including Handbook of Responsible Management (Edward Elgar 2019), CSR in Developing and Emerging Economies: Institutions and Sustainable Development (Cambridge University Press), Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East (Palgrave, 2015), CSR in the Middle East (Palgrave, 2012), and Corporate Governance in Arab Countries: Specifics and Outlooks (NTER Press 2019), and over 100 significant international publications, which are widely circulated and cited internationally and concentrate on various facets of sustainability, sustainable development, and CSR in developing nations generally and the Middle East specifically. She gained invaluable experience founding, growing and working with the UN Global Compact Network of Lebanon to organize high-level forums, roundtable discussions, national programs, and activities focused on empowerment, inclusion, development, and well-being with the goal of leaving no one behind. She also engaged a broad range of individuals from the private sector, the public sector, academia, and the entire UN system.
Bestowed for excellence
Dima Jamali was recognized by Stanford University as one of the top 2% most influential global scholars in the field of sustainability as a result of her extensive research, and she also received the 2015 Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer Award, which the Financial Times referred to as “the Oscars of the Business School World” for faculty who are at the forefront of their discipline’s teaching and research. She also received the 2015 Arab Organization for Social Responsibility Personality of the Year for CSR award and the Shield of Excellence for the Arab Region, as well as the 2010 Shoman Prize for Best Young Arab Researcher, which honors outstanding scientific contributions that help address pressing issues at the local, regional, and global levels.
At Global Compact Network Lebanon, Dima founded this important network and continues to serve as steward and president. The UN Global Compact is the largest sustainability program in the world and calls on businesses to connect plans and operations with fundamental values of anti-corruption, labor, environmental, and human rights. She is also a member of the Global Council for the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME), which strives to instill sustainability at the core of higher education institutions, which has invited her =to join in 2020. She is also a contributor to the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI), an organization that promotes ethical leadership in both the public and private sectors.
The University of Sharjah
The University of Sharjah was established with the intention of adding to the qualities of distinguished universities all over the world share. University of Sharjah provides extensive and multi-disciplinary education and research programs. The University of Sharjah is a full-service academic organization with a unique teaching methodology, great research reputation and a worldwide perspective. In the UAE and the GCC, it is a leader in academia, science, and the arts and was ranked number 1 in the UAE along with UAEU University by Times Higher Education Rankings in 2022. The UAE Ministry of Higher Education has accredited all programs. Engineering, communication, science, and business are just a few of the disciplines that have received international accreditation. At the University of Sharjah, faculty members are dedicated to delivering a top-notch educational experience that equips future leaders with a comprehensive set of knowledge and abilities. They are committed to creating a cooperative, long-lasting atmosphere that supports cutting-edge research and scholarship as well as the development of skills for the twenty-first century. They provide state of the art academic and professional programs geared towards empowering our students, teachers, and the community at large in an effort to meet the present and future requirements of our local community and beyond.
Responsibilities in her Role
In her first two years as dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Sharjah, Dima Jamali was able to win the respect and admiration of the administration, faculty, and students. She also managed to get the college’s AACSB accreditation back on track and update its mission and curriculum to take into account current trends. She establishes multidisciplinary partnerships with other colleges, particularly the Colleges of Engineering, Computing, and Arts and Design; cultivates strong ties with the local community; and signs/activates a number of pertinent MOUs with businesses. She is in charge of organizing yearly at least three significant international symposiums on innovation and entrepreneurship; leadership; and sustainability in collaboration with industry, each of which was a great success. She also develops competitions and extracurricular activities for students, works to improve the students’ skills, and increases their employability. She finds it most fulfilling to maintain close ties with the UN ecosystem, cooperate with them, and work together on high-level international forums and events focused on the UN 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In just two years, the college has made tremendous strides in the international rankings, advancing to No. 2 in the UAE in the Times Higher Education Rankings, and has been chosen by Higher Education Digest as one of the 10 Must Watch Business Schools for 2022.
“The most interesting and happiest part of my daily routine is interacting with faculty and students and forging collaborations with industry.”- says Dima Jamali.
Adaptations Amid a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic’s unparalleled effects have expedited the development of the future of work and generated a highly unclear outlook for the upcoming skills revolution. More than ever, Dima thinks it’s important to gather the opinions of business executives who are directly involved in decision-making processes in order to create a clearer picture of both the current situation and the future outlook for jobs and skills. Dima and her faculty want to improve students’ job readiness and transform the student experience.
They, as educators, are aware that without “micro-credentials,” a bachelor’s degree could become outdated before it is finished. In order to improve students’ readiness for the workforce, help them succeed in school, and advance along their professional paths, it is necessary to build and nurture 21st century talents inside educational institutions and programs. These abilities are centered mostly on:
- Fostering Digital Literacy with an emphasis on learning-support tools to help students receive a high-quality education through technology and the internet.
- Embedding soft skills includes communication, organization, teamwork, critical thinking, social skills, creativity, along with adaptability and agility.
- Facilitating learning versus teaching through differentiated instructions and flipped classrooms
- Bringing students to key industry players through fostering multi-disciplinary partnerships and agreements to sustain internship opportunities and elevate their job readiness through exposing them to best practices and lessons learnt
- Building holistic social impact leaders and change agents who are ready to embark on a journey to improve the worlds of business, society, and the community around them.
Views on Women’s Empowerment
According to the research, everyone benefits when women are given more power. She firmly believes that having a compelling vision and carrying it out through teamwork, empathy, and compassion are the two key characteristics that best describe a real leader. Today’s corporate leaders understand that women’s participation is both a fundamental right and a bare minimum requirement. Women have demonstrated that they belong in all locations where important decisions are formed and made, now more than ever when corporate leaders and decision makers gathered in the UN General Assembly’s New York City halls during the week of the Global Goals. This directly affects increasing productivity and performance, expanding thought leadership and compassion for the benefit of all, adopting a participative approach in which all employees are enabled to participate in decision-making processes, and ultimately creating a positive workplace culture.
However, in order to reach the top, one needs to overcome some obstacles. Like the majority of women in the workplace, Dima Rachid Jamali had faced some gender-related barriers when advancing her career before enrolling at the University of Sharjah. She does support Shirely Chisholm’s advice to bring a folding chair if they don’t offer you a seat at the table, bring your own. Women must work harder to establish their worth, win people’s respect and admiration, and earn the privilege to sit at decision-making tables. They must maintain their concentration on their objectives and make steady progress toward the top via tenacity, perseverance, commitment, professionalism and hard work.
Dima encourages female leaders to persevere and not give up at the first hurdle. As your network represents your net worth, she exhorts female leaders to gather only mentors and supporters around them and foster relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Written by Steve Sanchez.
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