A prime example of the two nations working together is the UAE’s efforts to increase enrolment for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Established by the United States in 1946, this scholarship program actively tries to seek college-aged applicants from the UAE. Although the program boasts 43 Nobel Prize winners, 18 heads of states and 78 Pulitzer Prize winners, it has seen low attendance in the past couple of years.
The main reason seems to be lack of awareness. Emirati students tend to apply for government scholarships, which restrict the area of study and university one can attend. On the other hand, students who apply for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program can study any subject they want to and can apply to any university. The only exceptions for the former are dentistry and pharmacy.
The possibilities for those who emerge out of this program are endless, and Dr. Fatima Al Shamsi can attest to this. A proud alumni of both the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and the University of Baltimore, Dr. Al Shamsi studied economics during her time in the United States. This is a perfect example of how Emiratis can apply their knowledge from American universities to their home country of UAE.
“It was a very good experience because I was able to build many connections with other universities in Washington as well, like Georgetown and the American University in Washington. And whenever there was a conference or seminar, I would attend and build relations with the faculty who have interest in free zones in the Middle East.”
Given the advantages for those who enroll this program, the United States and UAE will continue to pursue higher enrolment rates for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has always pushed for higher education both within the United Stated and the UAE, and will continue to do so with support for opportunities just like the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.