For our classes in Dubai, we have been fortunate several days to be hosted by the Dubai School of Government. Founded in 2005 to help promote public policy best practices in the Arab world, the DSG plays an important role in gathering people together to discuss teh important issues of the day. Last week alone, this included events with Dahlia Moghed and John Esposito on "Who Speaks for Muslims", a half day conference on opportunties in the Finanical Crisis with panelists from the Tunisian, Syrian, and Bahraini governments to discuss the approaches of their respective states, and a presentation on women in the finanical crisis with Amat Al Alim Alsoswa, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of UNDP and Director of its Regional Bureau for Arab States.
While the topics are similar to those at events in Washington, DC, the discussions take different turns largely due to the differing concerns of the audience. It was interesting to hear about the different ways the current economic sitaution manifests itself in different countries and what steps are being taken to address these issues, from concerns about the loss of remittances and the return of the expatriate labor force to the impact on financing for Dubai's many construction projects.
And it is pretty cool to be in a classroom overlooking the Burj Dubai and the other extrodinary buildings in the city.