Beyond Imagination: ACS Abu Dhabi Celebrates its 50th Anniversary




Beyond Imagination: ACS Abu Dhabi celebrates its 50th anniversary with dignitaries, alumni, parents and faculty at The 2023 Golden Gala 

HE Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, presents HE Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak with ACS Community Leadership Award 

The American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS), the only nonprofit American school in the emirate, celebrated its 50-year history and an unwavering commitment to excellence in education at The Golden Gala at The Emirates Palace. 

As part of the commemorative program, HE Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, and the first ACS High School Principal John Hackworth, presented HE Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak with the 2023 ACS Community Leadership Award.

His Excellency was chosen as this year’s honoree due to his extraordinary dedication to ACS and invaluable contributions to the nation, in line with the school’s core values of Curiosity, Courage, Compassion and Integrity. One of 12 students in the first graduating class of ACS in 1993, His Excellency has since held key leadership roles in the public and private sectors of the UAE for the past two decades. 

Previous ACS Community Leadership honorees include HE Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, and posthumously, the late HE Saif Ghobash, who was an ACS parent, an ACS Board Trustee from 1974-75 and the UAE’s first Foreign Minister. As a trustee, HE Ghobash was instrumental in helping to secure the land and building the first ACS campus that opened in January 1976 that currently sits in Al Bateen today.

HE Ahmed Bin Ali Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State Affairs; Chargé d’Affaires Sean Murphy of the United States Embassy to the UAE; Nasser Al Nowais and Nadine Al Nowais, Chairman of the Rotana and Honorary Co-Chairs of event; John Hackworth, First ACS High School Principal; and Mohan Jashanmal, Chairman and Founder of Jashanmal stores, were also in attendance at the event.

ACS premiered a film produced by People Creative titled Voices of ACS, featuring staff, faculty and students from the school’s 50-year history including the evening’s honoree. The theme of the evening was captured in another short film called "Beyond Imagination," directed and produced by Khadijah Kudsi. 

The Golden Gala also marks ACS’ new chapter as this internationally-recognized academic institution prepares to move to a new state-of-the-art campus on Saadiyat Island during the 2023-24 school year. As part of its strategic five-year vision, ACS plans to make the most of this once-in-a-generation moment by continuing to push the boundaries of excellence in education for ACS students and for students across the region. 

Monique Flickinger, ACS Superintendent said: “We are investing significantly in attracting and retaining the very best international educators and in delivering innovative, leading-edge programs in advanced rocketry, sustainability and Arabic. By investing in excellence today, we will inspire our students to become the future leaders of tomorrow, like our honoree.” 

The event was the latest gala in the school's history with more than 560 guests and support from the main event sponsors: Nadine and Nasser Al Nowais, Rotana, Morgan Lewis, Serena Carnevale and Luca Molinari, Pure Harvest, The Captain's Club, ExxonMobil, LMB, Flash Entertainment, Emirates Palace, Etihad, and Khaldoon and Nadia Al Mubarak.