The student council president of the American University of Malta said she is proud to have witnessed the institution grow before her eyes and described her education there so far as an “eye-opening journey”.
“I arrived here in the fall of 2017 as one of the first few students at this blossoming university, and none of us knew what things would look like one and a half years later,” Anwar al-Sadi said at the AUM’s official launch this afternoon. “What motivated me to come and stay at the AUM was its American style of eduction, namely the grading system, the curriculum, the classroom participation and the teacher-student ratio.”
This was the first time a AUM student has spoken so publicly about her experience at the Cospicua university, which has been shrouded in controversy since it was announced in 2015. The university has faced criticism for its low student intake and sackings of several lecturers and its planned development on Marsaskala, with several people warning this was nothing but a speculative project.
However, Anwar al-Sadi portrayed a different version of events, indeed describing the low number of students as a positive.
“I appreciate the feeling of being heard and seen, known and greeted by name by all the professors and students,” she said. “I can gladly say the outcome has been very satisfying and the university is doing well. If you look around you, you’ll see a AUM with so many more students, new faculties, new majors and most importantly a newly-formed, warm family-like community in such a beautiful location.”
Anwar al-Sadi’s speech starts at 17:00
“The AUM community is continuously working hard to attract more students and hire high-quality educators and I believe the kind of education I’m receiving here will be the right preparation for a life of personal satisfaction and leadership in business. Its been an eye-opening journey and we’ve learned how to think critically and ethically about life from different perspectives. We haven’t learned what to think, but how to think.”
Anwar al-Sadi, a Maltese citizen who originally hails from Yemen, was addressing a crowd composed of students, academics and university management, as well as Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and several MPs.
Although the AUM has been operating for two years now, it was officially launched today, now that construction on the Cospicua campus has finished and almost 100 students have enrolled.
Muscat used the occasion to take a dig at the university’s naysayers.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat with Hani Sales
“I am one of those who listens and learns from constructive criticism but it’s a pity that so many premature and false claims were made about this investment,” he said. “The AUM is respecting its commitments with regards the number of students it must attract. Its contract with government clearly states that it must complete all the phases of this project by 2025 and attract 4,000 students in the following four years, nothing more, nothing less.”
“There are six years to go until that deadline and we can already see preliminary results.”
Muscat said student numbers should surge once the first cohort of students graduates, because it will afterwards be officially recognised as a university in the Gulf and the Middle East – the AUM’s main target market.
He also dismissed criticism that the AUM is not actually American because of the Jordanian nationality of its founder and investor Hani Saleh.
“All of its curriculum is American and all its standards are set by American institutions. Yes, the investor is Jordanian but we are an open country with no walls and we have no problem with that. We welcome investment from Asia, Europe, the United States, the Gulf. Malta is open for business and is ready to work with everyone across the world.”