The RIT Dubai Distinguished Alumni Award aims to raise the profile of the university by highlighting and publicly recognizing the accomplishments of notable alumni.
Award criteria are based on recognizing sustained and/or outstanding achievement of alumni that may include the following:
Over an extended period of time, the awardee has significantly contributed to the advancement of his or her role and industry
Initiated and sustained strikingly innovative service to the industry
Served and/or led noteworthy civic, community, philanthropic, or service organizations
Contributed philanthropically or professionally to RIT Dubai
Nomination and selection timeline
Starting 2019, the Alumni Office solicits award nominations in October - November each year. Faculty, staff, and members of the alumni community are encouraged to submit nominations. Self-nominations are also accepted. If you have not received the call for nominations, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nominees are contacted in December to submit supporting documents. / The awardee is announced next Spring at an alumni event.
We are pleased to introduce the first two recipients of the RIT Dubai Distinguished Alumni Award 2020.
Mr. Aiham Al-Akhras
Master of Science in Professional Studies: City Sciences, Class of 2017
Aiham Alakhras has 19 years of professional success and lessons learned in various leadership, business development, consulting and IT services roles across EMEA. Aiham is passionate about shaping a better tomorrow for humanity through good use of technology fueled by data, global collaboration and a positive impact on people’s lives. Since graduating from RIT, Aiham has continued to support Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai, and students in different activities, like advising on the curriculum of Masters in Data Analytics or being a student mentor for RIT student boot camp for the past three years. Aiham was awarded Best Smart City Innovative Idea by Rochester Institute of Technology Dubai (RIT) from 100+ ideas in 2015.
Aiham is an active mentor to the young talent and the entrepreneur community. Aiham is a mentor for startups in Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, a global hub for digital innovation that supports entrepreneurs from the UAE and internationally to launch digital startups. Aiham is also a mentor and judge of Dubai Silicon Oasis 10X Academy. Aiham is currently Vice President at Gartner, providing advisory services helping Gartner strategic clients make better decisions, every day.
Ms. Mashal Waqar
Bachelor of Science in Computing Security, Class of 2017
Mashal Waqar is a media entrepreneur, startup mentor, and accessibility advocate. She runs The Tempest, a premium global women's media company, for women who will. At RIT Dubai, she advocated for the student body and worked my way up from Freshmen Representative to becoming the SG President.
She was awarded Forbes Middle East 30 Under 30 in 2019, Entrepreneur Middle East's Achieving Women, 19th WIL Economic Forum Young Leader of the Year, RIT Dubai President's Cup.
She has given two TEDx talks and is a frequent speaker (despite being an introvert) on topics related to entrepreneurship, accessibility, inclusion, mental health, and women in tech.
As a public speaker, she frequently speaks out about important topics that are shaping the regional ecosystem including starting conversations around financial independence, entrepreneurial challenges, mental health, and empowerment. She was a speaker in Harvard Bold Conference, TEDx, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival, Stanford MENA Forum, Cosmopolitan Be the Boss, Amazon Web Summit Dubai, Step Conference, WIL Economic Forum and more.
Lately, she was a co-author of the Possibilities Project: a book that includes encouraging stories and aims to guide fresh graduates and young professionals on how to start and navigate their careers.