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American University of Sharjah (AUS) was founded in 1997 by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Ruler of Sharjah, who envisioned the university as a leading educational institution in the Gulf region. AUS is an independent, non-profit coeducational institution. AUS is emerging as a leading comprehensive coeducational university in the Gulf, serving students from the region and around the world.

Sharjah is a city of learning and the arts, as confirmed by its 1998 UNESCO designation as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. This context facilitates the university's intention to be an academic center at the intersection of ancient cultural traditions and contemporary intellectual currents. The city of Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums with splendid collections of artifacts and art as well as exhibits on science and natural history. Sharjah also host many cultural festivals, educational conferences, fairs and economic expositions. These resources permit the university to broaden students' formal education in a way not possible elsewhere in the region.