The Dubai campus of the University of Aberdeen, a prestigious Scottish institution, was officially opened on Thursday by the First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, and King Charles III of the United Kingdom. The campus is the first overseas branch of the university, which was founded in 1495 and is the fifth oldest in the UK.
A milestone for Scottish education and UAE-UK relations
The opening ceremony was attended by dignitaries from both countries, including the UAE Minister of Education, Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, the British Ambassador to the UAE, Simon Penney, and the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, Professor George Boyne. The event also featured cultural performances by Scottish and Emirati artists, and a video message from the Chancellor of the University, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
The First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, who is also the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), hailed the campus as a milestone for Scottish education and UAE-UK relations. He said that the campus would offer world-class teaching and research in fields such as engineering, business, law, and medicine, and would foster academic and cultural exchange between the two nations. He also praised the UAE for its vision and leadership in developing a knowledge-based economy and society.
King Charles III, who ascended to the throne in 2022 after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, expressed his delight and honour to be part of the historic occasion. He said that the campus was a testament to the strong and enduring friendship between the UAE and the UK, which dates back to the 18th century. He also said that the campus would contribute to the advancement of science, technology, and innovation in the region and beyond.
A strategic location and a diverse student body
The Dubai campus of the University of Aberdeen is located in the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), a free zone that hosts over 25 international universities and colleges. The campus covers an area of 6,000 square metres and can accommodate up to 2,000 students. The campus offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in engineering, business, law, and medicine, as well as short courses and professional development programmes. The campus also has state-of-the-art facilities, such as laboratories, libraries, and sports and recreational amenities.
The campus welcomed its first cohort of students in September 2023, with more than 300 students from over 40 countries enrolled in various programmes. The campus aims to attract more students from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, as well as from Scotland and the UK. The campus also offers scholarships and bursaries to support students from different backgrounds and abilities.
A long-standing partnership and a bright future
The University of Aberdeen has a long-standing partnership with the UAE, dating back to 1978, when it established the first medical school in the country at the Al Ain Hospital. Since then, the university has trained hundreds of Emirati doctors and nurses, and has collaborated with various UAE institutions on research and consultancy projects. The university also has alumni associations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which organise events and activities for graduates and friends of the university.
The Dubai campus of the University of Aberdeen is the latest addition to the growing network of British universities in the UAE, which includes the University of Birmingham, the University of Exeter, and the University of Manchester. The campus is also part of the UK’s wider efforts to enhance its educational and cultural ties with the UAE, which is one of its largest trading partners and strategic allies in the region.
The campus is expected to boost the reputation and ranking of the University of Aberdeen, which is already among the top 200 universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023. The campus is also expected to create new opportunities and benefits for students, staff, and stakeholders of the university, as well as for the UAE and the UK.