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Oil's well

Twelve American universities with Persian Gulf campuses

MEDICAL ADVANCEMENTS: Cornell’s Weill Medical School in Qatar — which in May graduated the first students to receive an American medical degree outside the US — will reportedly earn Cornell $750 million over the next decade from the Qatari royal family.

Are universities selling out to oil nations? As their big bucks beckon, Gulf campuses boom. By Harvey Silverglate.
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY NYU–Abu Dhabi is launching its inaugural course this fall, taught by NYU president John Sexton. An NYU press release touts the new program as the first major liberal-arts program in the region, with plans for a full university operation by 2010. 

GEORGETOWN The Georgetown University School for Foreign Service, opened in 2005 in Qatar’s lavish “Education City,” currently enrolls some 100 students. More than 40 undergrads recently entered the class of 2012, the largest yet to experience Georgetown’s Jesuit education in the Arab world.

CORNELL Weill Cornell Medical School in Qatar graduated its inaugural class of 15 doctors in May, the first students to receive an American medical degree outside the US, a Cornell press release stated. The Qatar Foundation, an arm of the Qatari royal family, has promised Cornell $750 million over the next decade.

NORTHWESTERN Classes began August 17 for the inaugural class of 39 communication and journalism students at Northwestern University in Qatar, also part of that nation’s “Education City.” The university’s Medill School of Journalism is world-renowned, but questions have arisen over whether the quality of education will be equal in a country that formally lifted media censorship just 13 years ago.

CARNEGIE MELLON Since 2004, this Qatari arm of CMU has offered bachelor’s degrees in business administration, computer science, and information systems. In May, 35 students — 23 in business administration and 12 in computer science — received diplomas.

TEXAS A&M As the largest of the “Education City” schools, Texas A&M at Qatar, which hosts approximately 300 students, specializes in engineering, with the most popular program being — no surprise — petroleum engineering.

MICHIGAN STATE MSU became the first nonprofit university in Dubai when it welcomed the first class of 54 students in August. MSU, while paying for its own operations, will be supported by a generous loan from a government-backed investment company.

GEORGE MASON Since arriving in the UAE in 2005, George Mason University in Ras al Khaimah has faced a host of problems that have stilted expansion. Unfamiliarity with English among local students has made enrollment fall below expectations. Even simple tasks, such as ordering textbooks, have proven difficult because of government censors.

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL In 2004, Harvard Medical International and Dubai Healthcare City launched a collaborative effort to make the region a hotbed of health-care activity. The Harvard Medical School Dubai Center (HMSDC) was established, and it is now planning to open a state-of-the-art postgraduate facility in 2009, equipped with classrooms, a medical library, and a 340-seat auditorium.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY The Boston University Institute for Dental Research and Education, also based in Dubai’s “Healthcare City,” welcomed its first class of 14 residents to the three-year postdoctoral program in July. Healthcare City is a 500-acre tax-free zone, an incentive that government officials hope will make Dubai an international destination for doctoral education and clinical services.

JOHNS HOPKINS Earlier this year, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health signed a 10-year agreement with the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi to develop research, educational, and public-health programs. Although there are no plans yet to create a JHU branch campus, the influential medical school will provide management to the Tawam Hospital in Abu Dhabi, one of the largest hospitals in the UAE.

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY MIT is currently recruiting faculty, attracting local students, and designing the curricula for the Abu Dhabi–based Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), set to open in 2009.

Related: Facing off over Facebook, Facing up, Are universities selling out to oil nations?, More more >
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