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Chasing The Pot Of Gold

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Technical-Capacity Building & Exporting of Higher Education to Developing Countries

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Page Count


Page Numbers

14.318.1 - 14.318.9



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Paper Authors


Russel Jones World Expertise LLC

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Russel Jones is Advisor to the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He previously served as founding president of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in the UAE. His career in higher education in the United States included faculty member at MIT, department chair at Ohio State University, dean of engineering at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, academic vice president at Boston University, and President at University of Delaware.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



The oil-rich countries of the Middle East are investing heavily in education, utilizing income from oil sales to develop the human capacity to diversify their economies toward knowledge-based activities. American universities, seeking income to replace that lost by the exodus of many international students after 911 and desiring to have more international experience for their faculty and students, are responding by offering education programs of various types in the region.


Several oil-rich countries in the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Qatar) have come to understand that they must diversify their economies, utilizing significant amounts of the income from sale of their oil and gas at current high prices to invest in future commercial efforts. In particular, several such countries are focusing on developing “knowledge economies”, by developing higher education programs that will provide the human capacity to initiate and support such new economic thrusts. Total spending by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries on education in 2008 exceeds their $20-billion in arms purchases from the United States. 1

Many universities from North America, Europe and Australia have rushed to these oil- rich countries to offer their services – for a price. Proposals for branch campuses, store- front programs, and partnerships abound. Many of the universities making proposals to the rulers of Middle East countries have solid programs to offer, but almost all of them see significant financial gain as a major driving force.

This paper explores the dimensions of the higher education scene in several Middle East countries, and suggests appropriate considerations for the involvement of foreign institutions there.

Driving forces

The oil-rich countries of the Middle East have come to recognize that their substantial incomes from the sale of oil and gas will have a finite lifetime, and that they should be investing some of today’s income flow in economic diversification. The world wants to use less oil – both due to its cost, and due to the pollution of the environment which is leading to global warming. In addition, the oil supply in producing countries will run out someday, in many cases in less than 100 years.

Jones, R. (2009, June), Chasing The Pot Of Gold Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4605

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