By Mariam Alblooshi, Education and Technology Sciences Attaché
Here in the United States, the spring academic semester is well underway and has brought over 1,000 Emirati students back to study at universities across the country. As the newly appointed Education and Technology Sciences Attaché for the UAE in the US, working with these students as they learn, grow and achieve their educational goals is already a highlight of my post. After many years of working in education, I have found this is an exciting opportunity to help facilitate academic exchange between the UAE and the US, which has long been a cornerstone of our close cultural ties and shared understanding.
In the UAE, we believe that education is a powerful tool. It can empower young people and inspire positive change. This directly ties into the UAE’s vision for the future – one where peace and prosperity are a reality for all who call the Emirates home.
The UAE has embarked on a rapid journey of enhancing its education system in recent years, along with many other legal and economic reforms, all designed to improve life in the Emirates and how we engage with the world. Led by the Ministry of Education, this includes transforming K to 12 programs, introducing higher standards of academic excellence, empowering women and girls, and supporting education and learning services for students with special needs.
Along those lines, a recent report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that of the curricula in the Middle East it has evaluated over the years, Emirati textbooks stood out in meeting international standards for peace and tolerance.
With more than 200 nationalities living together, the UAE is one of the most diverse countries in the world. The report highlights that the UAE curriculum promotes engagement, cooperation and positivity.
Students learn to respect other cultures, emphasis is placed on a practical and open society and curiosity for other civilizations is encouraged. The UAE’s deep relationship with the US is crucial to how the UAE emphasizes collaboration to tackle pressing global challenges.
US partnerships have been key to the development of world-class academic programs and institutions in the UAE.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology played a key role in the establishment of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, now part of Khalifa University. United Arab Emirates University and the University of California, Berkeley are collaborating on materials science research and scholarship. American University in Ras Al Khaimah and Wayne State University have expanded existing collaboration efforts to include student exchange and joint/dual degree programs, while pursuing new joint initiatives. And NYU Abu Dhabi just celebrated ten years of advancing research, innovation and the arts in the Emirates.
The UAE is committed to providing platforms for young people to drive growth and help shape a more peaceful future – exchange and inclusion in education are central to this effort. From my vantage point here in Washington, I am glad to be able to see this in action.