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RIT Dubai names new president

Rochester Business Journal
November 13, 2012

Rochester Institute of Technology has a new president for its RIT Dubai campus.

The university selected Yousef Al-Assaf, a professor of engineering and dean of the college of engineering at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, as its next leader. He is to begin Feb. 1.

Al-Assaf has served as chairman of the industrial engineering department at the University of Jordan and was seen as a pioneer in establishing the engineering outreach program, RIT officials said.

“Al-Assaf has overseen a substantial enrollment increase in engineering students, the addition of several new academic programs, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accreditation and numerous partnerships with local and regional industries and institutions while at the American University of Sharjah,” said Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, in a statement. “This experience, combined with his skill set, makes him an extraordinary leader for RIT Dubai.”

The selection followed a search that drew in candidates from around the world, Haefner said.

Al-Assaf replaces Mustafa Abushagur, who became the founding president of RIT Dubai in 2008. Abushagur stepped down in 2011 to take on political duties in his homeland of Libya.

“The UAE and the Gulf is one of the most dynamically developing regions in the world,” Al-Assaf said. “Therefore, providing a career-oriented education is extremely critical to develop the human capacity that would create a knowledge-based economy.

“RIT is consequently the leading university that can provide the necessary education and development to achieve the goals. RIT Dubai will instill in its students innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership skills that will allow them to succeed both locally and internationally.”

(c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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