Deepening ties between the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continue to be fostered through education. According to a report published by the Institute of International Education, the number of UAE high school leavers now opting for a university education in the USA has grown by 12% year-on-year.
But it's a two-way process with the UAE playing host to the highest concentration of international university branch campuses in the world, some of them American. According to an article in The National, the UAE government-owned English-language daily newspaper, there are 40 across the country, with no fewer than 27 in the UAE's largest city Dubai.
Dr Jason Lane, director of educational studies at the Nelson A Rockefeller Institute of Government, a think tank of the State University of New York, says in the article that fostering research and innovation was often a part of the strategy of branch campuses. He was speaking at an education conference held recently in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.
Such activity helped develop the next generation of local scientists, training PhDs that will work in the region and building the educational talent to support domestic institutions. Economically, having campuses in the UAE with brand names such as New York University and the Sorbonne also acted as an economic driver, he said.
Dr Lane added, “It attracts new students and staff who may not otherwise have been in the country. It also develops human capital as well as providing business assistance, which means resources for the community.”
The UAE has for years been seen as an attractive place to live and work for Westerners, many simply drawn by the mercenary prospect of filling the current account each month courtesy of mouthwatering perks, packages and tax-free salaries offered by sometimes desperate employers. For others, however, a move to the UAE has represented a challenge, an opportunity and sometimes an escape from the harsh economic realities experienced at home by so many Americans over the past few years.
Despite tough times, the excellence of the American university system has continued to attract the brightest and best minds from right across the planet. The popularity of the US amongst Emirati students comes as the country tops an international university ranking list published earlier this month by QS World University Rankings, with six US universities appearing in the top ten, and 51 featuring in the top 200 in a table of 3,000 institutions worldwide.
Big names on the QS top university list will be meeting UAE students who are keen to pursue a genuine American educational experience at next month's NAJAH Education and Career Fair, taking place from 29th to 31st October at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Supported by the US State Department, EducationUSA will host representatives from 20 US universities in a dedicated American pavilion offering educational advice to visitors at NAJAH.
Now in its seventh edition, NAJAH will host more than 140 exhibitors including universities, training institutions, and employing organisations eager to meet thousands of school-leavers or recent graduates exploring future opportunities in education and career advancement.
Other major international institutions taking part this year include Oxford Summer College, Jacobs University Bremen, The American University in Cairo, The Lebanese American University, Japan International Cooperation Centre, Strathclyde Business School, and Education City Qatar.
Check out the NAJAH Education and Career Fair here.