SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY ACTIVITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
On several fronts, Syracuse University is strengthening its outreach in the Middle East, and recent efforts have resulted in significant activity involving members of the SU family. Alumni in Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have met with SU Office of International Advancement and External Affairs representatives over the past few years to assist the university build its network in the region. The results of this activity are impressive:
• On June 17 of this year, a delegation led by Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Provost Eric Spina, and Trustees Chair Richard Thompson officially opened the first SU office in the region, a business and recruiting office in Dubai’s Knowledge Village. A full-time employee will recruit, interview, and guide qualified prospective applicants, mostly from the Gulf, to attend full-time classes in Syracuse.
• During the same delegation visit, which also included a dozen trustees, several deans, and top administration staff, SU opened a month-long art exhibit on Islamic ornament at the Dubai Community Theatre and Art Center. The exhibition, “Reconnecting East and West,” was a collaboration between the Dahesh Museum of Art, Syracuse University Library’s Special Collections, and SU Press.
• In Istanbul, Turkey, the second cohort of SU Abroad students began a semester on the campus of Bahçesehir University.
• At the 2nd Annual Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Higher Education Exhibition in April, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Rector of Princess Noura University (PNU) and SU. (Vice Chancellor Eric Spina had signed the document and the signing was witnessed by Dean of Admissions Maurice Harris, iSchool Admissions Associate Dean Sue Corieri, and Executive Director of Middle East Advancement and External Affairs at SU Jim O’Connor). PNU is a women’s university supported by the King and its new campus is full with 40,000 students, 18,000 in the freshman class. The first result is a discussion of a contingent of PNU faculty visiting SU in order to study academic research methods and practices.
• His Royal Highness Sultan bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the first Arab astronaut, and an alumnus of the Maxwell School has agreed to accept the Chancellor’s Medal for service to humanity. He will come to the SU campus at a time to be determined in order to receive the award. HRH Sultan traveled to Dubai in June to meet the SU delegation.
• Representatives of SU have visited with administration principals at two private women’s colleges in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and are continuing talks to create collaboration opportunities such as exchanges of scholars and students, art shows, and research partnerships.
• In Kuwait, an SU delegation has explored research possibilities between the Kuwait Institute of Scien- tific Research and the LC Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. Alumni of SU in Kuwait have facilitated research discussions with the Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Petroleum Company as well.
• Four years after the first Dubai civil engineering internships, there are now three internships in Dubai, two from LC Smith and one from Newhouse School of Public Communications.
• Alumni group networks are strong in Lebanon and Kuwait. Less organized, but equally interested in staying in touch with campus, alumni in Saudi Arabia and UAE are helping in several ways to intensify the SU recruiting in the region.