How can the Arabian gulf build economies that aren’t based on fossil fuels?
Over the last few decades, the Arab gulf has emerged as one of the global hubs. Over the last century the massive demand for fossil fuels has propelled the region to be one of the wealthiest parts of the world with a role worldwide. But the future of our fossil fuel driven economy is in question. How can this region adapt for a changing world system? What is the next economy that will enable the gulf to thrive? and what will it take to get there?
On this program we will ask these questions. We will dive into the traditions of the region and meet young changemakers in Muscat, Oman and spend time in Dubai, in the UAE, to understand how they are drafting a post oil economy today. During this trip we will consider where our global economy is going and what it takes to reshape a current system of thinking, investing, and making a living.
Muscat and Niswa, Oman
We will being in Muscat, Oman. Oman is the country in the region that gives us access to some of the most accessible local culture and history. We will explore the coastline of Muscat and meet with local religious leaders at the Grand Mosque in the city. We will have a traditional Omani dinner under the stars and navigate through the different shops and stalls of the old Souk.
We will take a day trip to the nearby town if Niswa to get out of the cities and connect to different lifestyles in the region. We will take lunch in a small local restaurant and share a large rice platter with our hosts. We will explore the different forts and taste the homemade candies and variety of dates in the country.
We will then head to Dubai, the largest city in the region. Dubai is a complicated mix of people, cultures, and business. We will wander through the old Gold souk and take a Dhow across the creek before we take the elevator to the top of the tallest building in the world: the Burj Khalifa. We will have some incredible Indian food connected to the large expat community in the city and take time to make sense of the complex economic dynamics at play.
We will meet with business leaders in a local cafe and visit the DIFC to understand how international business fits into the city. We will then visit a local innovation hub to meet with entrepreneurs and think about how new ideas can succeed in the city. One afternoon, we will take a break from the Urban life to see the city from the dessert on an adventure into the sand dunes.
This program can be adapted to feed the needs of a specific group or to include a different country or city in the region. Adding more time in the UAE or visiting Abu Dhabi is a great modification of the program. Alternatively a shorter trip could be limited to only Dubai or the UAE. We also have previously run parts of this program in connection as the start of a program that continued in Doha, Qatar.
We can also pick different Gulf states to explore, such as Bahrain or Kuwait to investigate different contrasts or challenges across the region.
We could run the program as a university field course with higher level meetings or even a professional business exploration of the opportunities and challenges of working in the region. As a high school level program this could be a great way to hone Arabic language skills in the field with a significant question or take an economic, entrepreneurship, or social science field trip to think about the future of the world economy. We could also run the program as a GDS to work on crafting our own businesses or design solutions to the project theme.