Omani ambassador tours campus, connects with students
She ate lunch in the University Center with faculty and staff. And she visited Mardigian Library to check out a photography exhibit.
Sounds like a pretty typical campus tour. But it was no ordinary visitor. On April 12, UM-Dearborn hosted Hunaina Sultan Al-Mughairy, Omani ambassador to the U.S.
“It’s an honor for me to be here,” she said.
Al-Mughairy served as keynote speaker for this year’s Susan B. Anthony Award Dinner at UM-Dearborn. She broke ground in 2005 when she became the first female Arab ambassador to represent the country of Oman in the U.S. In fact, she is one of only 25 women to represent their countries in Washington D.C.
“The ambassador is well respected throughout the world, not only for her intelligence, but also for the way she engages with people,” said Hassan Jaber, executive director of ACCESS, who joined Al-Mughairy for lunch.
But her trip to Dearborn didn’t entirely revolve around her keynote speech. She also visited with UM-Dearborn’s growing population of students from Oman, an Arab state in southwest Asia.
And they certainly knew how to greet their ambassador, as they broke out in song as Al-Mughairy entered Kochoff Hall for an afternoon ceremony. There, she interacted with dozens of Omani students, some of whom displayed historical posters.
“Keep up the good work and we’re very proud of you,” Al-Mughairy said.
She also interacted with UM-Dearborn staff and faculty, including political science professor Ron Stockton. Stockton, who this semester unveiled a photo exhibit about Muslim gravestones, took Al-Mughairy on a personal tour through the library.
“The ambassador was very intellectually engaged,” said Stockton, who showed Al-Mughairy his photo exhibit. “She seemed sincerely interested in every issue that came up.”
Stockton also was impressed by the attentiveness of Asya Al Lamki, Al-Mughairy’s cultural attaché who accompanied the ambassador.
“Both women were very intellectually engaged with what they encountered on UM-Dearborn’s campus,” he said. “They seemed very pleased that Omani students were here, and are hoping for future collaboration at different levels. This is a great opportunity for University faculty and students, but also for Oman.“
Al-Mughairy is an economist with an extensive business background. As ambassador, Al-Mughairy has been a strong advocate for the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement. She also continues to focus on improving ties between the two countries.