The Middle East Centre - beyond teaching and research

Tue, 22 Jan 2019 09:46:00 GMT

The University's Middle East Centre in Dubai Knowledge Park, United Arab Emirates, opened in October 2006, as a permanent physical presence - initially representing the University’s Business School and projecting the school’s capabilities and mission in teaching, research and social responsibility.

The Centre's team have been responsible for recruiting and supporting students enrolling on the Global Part-time MBA programme, delivered through a blended learning format with face-to-face MBA workshops hosted in Dubai – the business hub of the region – as well as executive education programmes.

The centre's mission in the region continues to reflect the international strategy of the University, focusing on teaching, research and social responsibility. As ‘guests’ in the UAE, the hosting authorities are very appreciative of support from private sector organisations for their objectives, such as developing skills and nurturing creativity and innovation among the local population of citizens.

The Middle East Centre has responded to this expectation and developed specific programmes designed to support the nation’s objectives and aspirations, including the Manchester Innovation Award for Emiratis. The centre also works actively within the UAE community, creating access to the school’s top teaching faculty and leading academic thinkers through a programme of free seminars and masterclasses (Guest Speaker Series) open to the public, which have been offered across the Arabian Gulf.

Support for local learning initiatives include a professional development programme to shape the future of 30 young Arabs looking to kick-start their careers. The six-month programme Jadarah (meaning ‘competence’) gives young people an insight into some of the world’s most successful businesses and provides them with the tools for their own success.

Support for women in business has been a consistent theme at the centre, in support of the aims of government to create access to learning and development opportunities for women. The centre’s annual ‘Women in Business Forum’ brings together stakeholders for networking and interactive panel discussions. The Middle East Centre has recently become the exclusive knowledge partner to ‘UAEpreneur’ an initiative by INNOVEST Middle East (which has an alumnus connection), which aims to become the leading competition empowerment platform for entrepreneurs around the MENA region, to help them start or scale up their businesses.

The centre continues to work in collaboration with local partners to support the development of local entrepreneurs, access to business education, and has also undertaken its own ground-breaking research. In partnership with Dubai International Academic City’s Education Cluster, the University undertook the first research programme into the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) market for Executive Education and presented and shared this with education and training providers in the region. The Middle East Centre also launched the first in-depth research into the drivers and barriers to creativity and innovation in the cultural context of the GCC.

Charitable giving is part of the regional culture and the centre activates the regional community of students and alumni during special periods of the year, such as the Holy Month of Ramadan when charitable acts are especially appropriate. In Ramadan 2018, for example, Middle East Centre students, alumni, staff, and friends volunteered their time to pack Iftar boxes for distribution within the local community, in support of the Emirates Red Crescent Iftar Project, while a team of staff from the Middle East Centre stocked Ramadan fridges at a mosque in Dubai Knowledge Park.

Also during Ramadan (and at the annual student and alumni gala dinner - the highlight of the social calendar) the Middle East Centre provided supported by raising awareness for SOS Children’s Villages’ programs in the region, as well as voluntary donations from guests. SOS aims to ensure that the most vulnerable children who have lost parental care can continue to grow up in loving, caring families, and have the chance to develop their full potential. The centre also works regularly to support its nominated charity – Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs, based in Dubai.

In a culturally diverse and dynamic global city such as Dubai, opportunities arise constantly; Hacienda Classical was a showcase for the creative face of Manchester in Dubai. The Middle East Centre was the sponsor of the performances hosted at Dubai Opera and took the opportunity to help connect the student and local community with Manchester’s vibrant cultural life through this unique musical experience.