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Lawrence Tech awards honorary doctoral degree to prime minister of Bahrain

Release Date: June 30, 2008

Manama, Bahrain On June 24 President Lewis N. Walker of Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich., awarded an honorary doctoral degree in humanities to His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, prime minister of the island kingdom of Bahrain, an important American ally located off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

Bahrain has played a key role in the history and commerce of the gulf region due to its strategic location. A bridge has linked it to Saudi Arabia since 1986. Now under construction is a 28-mile bridge between Bahrain and Qatar, which will be the longest in the world when it is completed.

Bahrain is a banking, insurance and communications center for the Middle East

The prime minister was honored for his leading role in establishing a dynamic free market economy and creating the infrastructure for an innovative and socially and environmentally sustainable society. Last year he received the UN Scroll of Honor award for distinguished achievement in housing and modernization.

“His Highness has seized every opportunity to advance the people of the kingdom of Bahrain and the region,” Walker said. “Bahrain has become an example of tolerance and cultural understanding that the rest of the world can learn from.”

Representatives from Lawrence Tech who traveled to Bahrain to participate in the academic convocation honoring the prime minister included Provost Maria Vaz; Hsiao-Ping Moore, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Devdas Shetty, dean of the College of Engineering; Joseph Veryser, associate dean of the College of Architecture and Design; Ghassan Azar, chair of the Faculty Senate; Stephen Rost, chair-elect of the Faculty Senate; Melinda Weinstein, chair of the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Communication; and Scott Schneider, the university’s grand marshal.

“Perhaps some have wondered why a technological university is honoring a leader of government. There is an easy answer really. All the great technological achievements and advancements of our civilization are for naught unless we as nations, as societies, and as individuals can find a way to live and thrive together,” Walker said in his remarks at the convocation ceremony held at the Gudaibiya Palace in Manama, Bahrain. “Details of His Highness’s remarkable life are well known in Bahrain, but what I seek to emphasize is that he has been a steadfast and courageous leader, a man who has reached out and built many strong relationships in the quest for creating an ever better life for Bahrain’s citizens.”

President Walker became aware of the prime minister’s achievements when he and Vaz traveled to Bahrain in January to discuss the possibility of offering Lawrence Tech degree programs there in engineering, computer science, architecture and management.

Lawrence Tech currently has international academic agreements with universities in Egypt, Jordan, Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, China, Taiwan, India and Canada. Students from several of these universities have come to the United States to study for bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Lawrence Tech.

During the most recent academic term, Lawrence Tech had 664 international students from 40 overseas countries – around 15 percent of the overall student body. Most international students at present come from India, China and Saudi Arabia.

Lawrence Tech seeks to prepare its students for leadership roles in the global economy, and Walker believes a good mix of international students helps achieve that goal.

“It helps our American students to have fellow students from different countries, cultures and backgrounds on campus,” Walker said. “It enhances the educational experience at Lawrence Tech and helps prepare all of our students for working more effectively in the global economy.”

Walker believes the international students benefit from the style of education at Lawrence Tech that stresses the importance of critical and analytical thinking that can lead to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Earning a degree at an American university makes it easier for these students to get jobs with American and international companies. Those who return to their own countries have a much better understanding of the business community in the United States.

“Moreover, as we build Lawrence Tech’s reputation and partnerships overseas, it strengthens our value to the businesses and industries we serve right here in Michigan and the Great Lakes region,” Walker said. “Thriving in the global economy is largely a process of building strong relationships. Assuring that the next generation of overseas leaders will have local ties aids such developments.”

Lawrence Technological University,, offers over 80 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes more than 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.