The event commenced with opening remarks by Dr. Adnan Husnéin, the newly appointed American Corner Director, who introduced the Vice Chancellor of ALHOSN University and CEO, Prof. Munther Momany. In his welcome address, Prof. Momany emphasized the American Corner’s active involvement in promoting and organizing cultural and social events such as Breast Cancer Awareness Week, Earth Day, representing the USA in Small World, and Abu Dhabi’s first Volunteer Fair. He also highlighted the importance of the American Corner to the partnership between the US Embassy and ALHOSN University. The US Embassy’s Information Resource Center Director, Ms. Rula Khalafawi, was the honorary guest at the event.
The audience viewed a short documentary which revealed facts and figures on Alzheimer's disease in the USA. This was followed by an expert panel discussion which included Dr. Khalid Al Bagdady, Specialist in Neurology at the Gulf Diagnostic Center Hospital, and Dr. Radia Khan, Consultant for Internal Medicine at Burjeel Hospital along with her associates Ms. Srividhiya Iyer, Head of the Department of Physical Therapy, and Mr. Hamzeh Ayyad, Exercise Specialist. The panelists offered a window into a world generally misunderstood through an engaging discussion about the causes and treatment of this incurable disease which is the most common form of dementia. The panelists stressed the need to raise community awareness in order to improve quality of life for patients as well as their caregivers.
Speaking from personal experience, Dr. Husnéin said: “It is important for families in Abu Dhabi and across the region to understand the nature of Alzheimer’s and to be able to cope with their loved ones afflicted with the disease. Many elderly people suffer from improper treatment and psychological trauma due to the lack of understanding of this progressive ailment. We must learn to treat our loved one as an individual with a disease and not as a diseased individual. We hope the American Corner’s awareness campaign would help spread the word for a good cause!”
The day’s event concluded with a parade led by members of the Harley-Davidson Rider Community represented by ALHOSN alumna Ms. Shaima Al Hosani and Mr. Jasim Al Raseesi, followed by a reception and a fun round of memory games.
The American Corner was officially inaugurated at ALHOSN University in January 2011 to promote mutual understanding and an exchange of ideas between the United States and the United Arab Emirates by providing access to current and reliable information about the US by way of books and DVD collections, internet databases, and local programs open to the general public. The American Corner of Abu Dhabi City is one of 490 American Corners world-wide, one of three in the United Arab Emirates, and the first American Corner in the city of Abu Dhabi.