The Future Looks Bright for Middle East Students

Farah Shamout, a computer engineering major and recent graduate of New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), is one of two students from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to receive this year’s prestigious Rhodes Scholarship from the University of Oxford. She is the sixth NYUAD Rhodes Scholar in just three short years.

Farah says that her studies at Oxford will provide her the opportunity to grow as a leader, and to return to the UAE to develop health informatics.

While opinions of Muslim countries and their students continue to polarize countries in the West, critics of this polarization see a different side of the Middle East, one that looks more like Farah, and less like the terrorist groups portrayed in the news.

“Both [Middle Eastern Rhodes Scholars] have already achieved remarkable contributions towards their respective fields of biomedical engineering and robotics, and they are committed to playing a leading role in the transition of the UAE towards a knowledge based society,” says Al Bloom, Vice Chancellor of NYUAD (“NYU Abu Dhabi Senior Named UAE Rhodes Scholar”)

For Farah, the chance to study at Oxford is the chance to continue her studies in the field of biomedical engineering, which she plans to use in service to improve the lives of individuals living around the world. Her innovative approach to the fields of biology and computer science place her in position of global engagement.

She hopes to make an impact in the tech sector, particularly by empowering young women to achieve their academic potential and acknowledge their talents. United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba ( echoed this sentiment recently in his address to RAND headquarters campus in Santa Monica. He mentioned that though the Middle East is a place of peril, due to the presence of extremists such as ISIS and Iran’s nuclear aspirations, it is far more a place of opportunity, with young people such as Farah choosing the path of humane engagement and scholarship. (“A New Middle East”)

A clear example of the new Middle East, Farah is poised to make a serious contribution to the field of science, and is looking forward to being an ambassador during her time at Oxford.