Are We There Yet?

The Burj Al Arab in Dubai (Photo by Curtis Fornarotto C'11)

Samantha Langlois and Curtis Fornarotto look at a model of the new Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi, due to open in 2013.

Students on the campus of the American University of Sharjah.

A regular reader of this blog asked us to provide a full itinerary for the Drew International Seminar (DIS) in the United Arab Emirates, and we’re happy to oblige. View a map here.

Wednesday, May 19: The DIS leaves JFK Airport.

Thursday, May 20: After a stopover in London, the group arrives in Dubai.

Friday, May 21-Tuesday, May 25: The touring begins, including visits to the Burj Al Arab, the iconic sailboat-shaped and self-proclaimed 7-star hotel, executives from the Jumeirah Group, the outfit that built that hotel and many other landmark Dubai properties and the Jumeirah Mosque. Ryan Mackey, a Drew alumnus and participant on the DIS to Yemen in 1997, also meets with the students to share his experiences as a consultant based in the Gulf.

Wednesday, May 26-Monday, May 31: The group heads to Abu Dhabi for briefings with executives at ADCO, the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations, and administrators and faculty at the Petroleum Institute. They learn about the UAE’s foray into nuclear energy, with back-to-back boardroom visits at the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation. The DIS tours the Grand Mosque, the third largest in the world.

Tuesday, June 1-Thursday, June 3: The bus departs for Sharjah, a city to the east of Dubai and home to the American University of Sharjah. Students tour the campus and hear from George Naufal, an assistant professor of economics, who gives a short lecture on the practice of remittances (funds that expatriate workers send to their families in their native countries) and its impact on the economy of the UAE. This leg of the trip wraps up with an excursion out to the desert for dune-bashing in 4x4s and a BBQ.

Friday, June 4-Saturday, June 6: It’s time to see the rural east coast of the UAE, through Masafi, Khorfakkan and over into Oman, with a stop in Dibba. The second day includes stops in Hatta and Kalba. The group stays in Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman.

Sunday, June 6: The group moves to Al Ain, a city in the interior of the country known for its oases, and visits an archaeological excavation site and camel market.

Monday, June 7-Tuesday, June 8: It’s back to Dubai for two busy days, including briefings from Nasser Saidi, the chief economist at the Dubai International Financial Centre and a former minister of economy and industry in his native Lebanon and the Emirates Environmental Group. Also on the agenda: A trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 160 stories.

Wednesday, June 9: The DIS heads back to New Jersey–exhausted, and much better informed about the UAE.

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