What this blog is not: a comment on outpost campuses in Arab States

In the ever-expanding field of international education, there are many models:  study abroad and student mobility, international service-learning, global research partnerships, faculty going here and there, “internationalizing” a campus or a curriculum, etc.  There are some very good blogs focusing on these areas, and I’m not trying to replicate their work.  (I’m compiling a list and will add these links later.)

This blog’s intention is to provide examples of the connections between resource-rich universities and the developing world.  In short, I aim to show how universities are contributing to – or perhaps compromising – economic and social development in poor countries.

I bring this up because one thing that has caused a lot of attention in the last few years are the western universities that have set up “outpost” campus in the arab states.  Whenever I explain my research interests, examples like the following come up.

Education City (Qatar) – On the outskirts of Doha, Education City hosts 8 universities – including Cornell University, Northwestern University in Chicago, and Georgetown University – which each offer very few, specific courses.

Dubai International Academic City (UAE) – This 18-million (!) square foot campus in the UAE is currently partnered with 27 academic institutions from 11 countries, with approximately 20,000 students.  (Here is a hot-off-the-press blog post from The Chronicle of Higher Education about Michigan State’s status in DIAC.)

New York University Abu Dhabi and Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi – Two examples of singular partnerships between universities and the government.  These two campuses operate independently, with ties closest to the home institution and boast equivalency between the degree in Abu Dhabi and from the home campus.

(For some cool images, check out the New York Times’ American Universities Go Global Slideshow and a cool video tour of Education City.)

All of these examples would align with my own interests – and this blog – except that the campuses exist in oil-rich countries.  The students are savvy and ambitious and global and very likely rich.  They are able to pay tuition.  The universities are emerging in new international markets, yes.  It is not unlike companies seeking global markets that are hot for their products.

I don’t blame the NYUs or Michigan States of the world for seeking out diverse funding and establishing dynamic program models.  I am simply stating that this blog is seeking to find examples of international higher education efforts that benefit poor countries.  Universities that try their hand at development for altruistic reason, not for profit.  Any stories and examples are welcomed.

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One Response to What this blog is not: a comment on outpost campuses in Arab States

  1. Brett Perri says:

    Thank you for the outstanding posts!

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