ABU DHABI, UAE– This week U.S. Mission UAE is celebrating International Education Week and Global Entrepreneurship Week with a number of exciting programs to commemorate our U.S.-UAE education and entrepreneurship partnership. For example, today, November 16th, the Embassy will hold an online launch event for Rasha Amer’s short film “The Journey” that celebrates the successes of Emirati women who took advantage of opportunities to study in the United States. In partnership with Zayed University, the Mission will bring entrepreneurial finance expert, Victoria Silchenko, to discuss financing opportunities for Small to Medium Sized Enterprises. On November 19th, the Mission will host a virtual panel that showcases the accomplishments of the UAE’s female entrepreneurs on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in a panel with UAE university students. These events will highlight how U.S.-UAE efforts to encourage youth to pursue their dreams to start businesses or to study in the United States have strengthened the bond between our two countries.
As we evaluate our successes over the past year, the Mission is excited to announce that the number of U.S. students studying at UAE universities has increased 1.7 percent from 939 in 2019 to 955 in 2020. This is an especially significant accomplishment given pandemic conditions that limited international exchange across the board in 2020.
Another notable accomplishment for entrepreneurship is the establishment of the US-UAE Academy of Women Entrepreneurs in partnership with Zayed University and #startAD at New York University Abu Dhabi. The program provides knowledge, mentorship, and networking opportunities during a 6-month program that enables female entrepreneurs to skill, scale, and thrive.
The Mission also celebrated the launch of the US-UAE Strategic Dialogue that includes an initiative to deepen educational and cultural exchange between our two countries. Goals for the education element of that dialogue include an effort to expand institutional partnerships between US and UAE universities. Our Strategic Dialogue also aims to increase UAE student access to study opportunities in the United States especially at the graduate level.
Just as we evaluate our successes, we take time to evaluate areas for further cooperation through the lens of our partnership. This year the overall number of UAE nationals studying in the United States saw its sharpest decline of twelve percent in the last four years from 2361 to 2074 in 2020 according to the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors report released this week. The number of Emirati graduate students studying in the United States also declined 10.5 percent, after rising seven percent from 2018 to 2019. Through the goals set forth in the inaugural U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue, the Mission looks forward to working with UAE partners to increase UAE student access to U.S. study opportunities over the next several years.
Educational exchange creates human bonds that build bridges of cooperation between people and the collaboration that sprouts from this exchange forms the foundation of innovative activities that grow the knowledge-based economies in our two countries. The United States and the UAE are united in their support for educational exchange and entrepreneurship and we look forward to taking advantage of opportunities over the next year to deepen our cooperation in these areas.