During a recent visit to Oman and the United Arab Emirates, UA President Ann Weaver Hart met with influential leaders and UA alumni to discuss existing and potential partnerships between the UA and universities and agencies in that region.
Hart traveled to the region in January to explore partnership opportunities in a variety of areas – including health, engineering, public policy, sustainability, humanities, social sciences, and sponsorships that would enable more students from the region to attend the UA
The University has had a longstanding relationship with the Gulf nations. Since the 1970s, the UA has partnered with universities and governments in the region on a range of research and educational exchange programs, including programs in architecture, journalism, agriculture and sustainability.
The UA is considered an ideal partner due to certain "shared realities" between the Gulf region and the UA's home in the desert Southwest. For example, both places share an interest in researching ways that people can exist and thrive in arid environments, and they face similar challenges with agriculture, water and sustainability issues.
"The sun never sets on science; we have an 11-hour time difference between our countries, yet we are doing wonderful things together to advance science and find solutions to shared challenges to our communities," Hart said.
Part of the goal of Hart's visit was to help advance new projects that have been in discussions, including:
- The Million Date Palms Project, which will help reintroduce historic date palms back into the Oman landscape and provide for the design of an efficient and effective water systems for the palms.
- Helping to advance National Field Research Institute in Oman, as well as helping to develop curriculum for the new University of Oman in the areas of science and health care.
- Assisting the United Arab Emirates with plans for the Dubai 2020 Expo Initiative in the areas of mobility, sustainability and global partnerships.
During her trip, Hart met with a number of influential government leaders, including, among others, Reem Al Hashimi, the United Arab Emirates' minister of state, whose role is the comparable to that of the U.S. president's chief of staff, and Sheikh Sultan III bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, the ruler of Sharjah emirate, who is a member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates.
Hart also met with a number of UA alumni living in the region to learn more about how the University can continue to grow a Wildcat alumni base there.
The enduring partnerships between the UA and Gulf nations have already resulted in many Wildcats residing in the area. About 120 of them gathered for a reunion in the United Arab Emirates, which Hart attended.
Hart was accompanied on her visit by Mike Proctor, UA vice president of global initiatives, as well as deans, faculty and representatives from the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, College of Engineering and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.