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Eye of Dubai
Business & Money | Tuesday 28 November, 2023 9:00 am |

University of Bradford Establishes Dubai Advisory Board to foster growth and diversification in the GCC

The University of Bradford, renowned for its global impact on social mobility, has taken a significant step towards expanding its influence and enhancing its offerings with the formation of the Dubai Advisory Board (DAB). 


“The establishment of the Dubai Advisory Board marks a significant milestone in our journey towards inclusive education and equal opportunities. We aspire to be the destination where individuals can truly make a difference and create a positive impact on society. The expertise and guidance of the Board members will be invaluable in realizing this vision,” said Professor Zahir Irani, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford.


Recognizing the need to meet the increasing demand for professional skillsets, the University's Executive Team, led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, has formed the Dubai Advisory Board (DAB). Comprised of distinguished industry experts representing various verticals, including Google, Johnson Controls International, LinkedIn, Emirates Global Aluminium, General Motors, and others, DAB aims to facilitate the co-creation of future-focused curriculum that align with the skill and capacity-building needs of the UAE and the GCC region.


“During the advisory board meeting, we discussed crucial aspects including scalability, success criteria, and execution plans. To enhance collaboration, I suggest forming a tech ecosystem with partners and appointing a university champion. Partnership opportunities involve students building relationships with board members and accessing roles and internships,” said Bilal Ibdah – Head of Partner Engineering for the Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Google. 




“Google's involvement brings value through exposure to advanced tech and training resources, benefiting both local and global businesses. The advisory board's effectiveness is an initial step; I look forward to measurable outcomes as we progress.” Ibdah added.


DAB is meeting regularly to assist the University in gaining a comprehensive understanding of Dubai's requirements and to collaboratively develop professional education programmes that address local and regional human capacity building needs. This collaborative effort ensures that the University's offerings remain relevant, timely, and impactful.


“The DAB is a major strategic initiative for the University of Bradford School of Management to increase our impact on social and economic growth globally. Given our School’s established presence in Dubai delivering our Executive MBA over the last 25 years, it is time to build on this success and to explore the provision of our pioneering programmes and building new business partnerships with leading industry partners in the region” said Professor Sankar Sivarajah, Dean of School of Management of the University of Bradford


“Strategically, the discussion centered around the university's expansion plans in the region. A comprehensive range of recommendations emerged, including market diversification, product innovation, and operational enhancements,” said Tarik Abd-Rabu, General Manager at General Motors. “Addressing industry dynamics, the meeting illuminated the importance of staying abreast of trends, competition, and market dynamics. Specific areas of focus emerged, including marketing strategies, digital transformation, sustainability, and global accreditation.”


“We also discussed formalizing business partnerships to nurture joint research projects and knowledge-sharing initiatives as well as to co-host conferences and workshops for dynamic idea exchange,” Abd-Rabu pointed out. 


“Addressing key questions and opportunities, the meeting showcased a profound exchange of insights between our company and the University of Bradford. Enhancing collaboration, I proposed the integration of LinkedIn Learning, offering a wealth of knowledge spanning more than 18,000 courses to benefit the university's diverse community – from students and faculty to alumni. While focusing on the UAE's expansion vision, potential partnerships were explored. The value of LinkedIn's data-rich network for the university's activities was emphasized, aligning seamlessly with the UAE industry needs. Acknowledging the strategic direction of the university, I found their focus on tailored programs in sync with the region's demand, especially amongst the working-age demographic. Our commitment to this partnership remains steadfast, as we prepare to provide a comprehensive skills report, bridging potential gaps with targeted offerings,” said Diala Jarrar, Government Sector Director LTS – UAE, LinkedIn. 


Moreover, the University of Bradford recently signed an MoU with Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), a significant player in the global aluminium industry. As part of this collaboration, an Executive Development Programme was launched for EGA staff in Dubai. The programme witnessed the participation of several talented individuals from EGA who were selected from . Following on from the micro-MBA executive development programme, another group of employees from various management levels at EGA were selected to participate in  the University of Bradford's International Masters Summer School in Bradford, UK, in June.


“We are thrilled by the opportunity for a collaborative partnership with a global company such as Emirates Global Aluminium, where innovation and entrepreneurship are in the heart of everything they do. Establishing new initiatives such as this provides us with the opportunity to reach out to participants with outstanding skills and expertise in different departments across the organization. University of Bradford is committed to contribute to UAE’s knowledge-based economy and support the social community,” said Ismat Abu Shihab, Director of Regional Hub, Dubai, University of Bradford. 


“One of the strengths of University of Bradford is that our School of Management is a part of the 1% of business schools in the world that hold a triple accreditation by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. We’ve also been named in the Top 5 Universities for Social Inclusion in UK. It is with enthusiasm that the University of Bradford will be able to extend this to all employees at Emirates Global Aluminium,” Abu Shihab added.


“We firmly believe that continuous learning and knowledge exchange are key drivers of success in our industry. Our collaboration with the University of Bradford provides valuable opportunities for our employees to enhance their skills, contribute to groundbreaking research, and remain at the forefront of technological advancements in the aluminium sector,” said Salman Abdulla - Executive Vice President, ESG & Sustainability of Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA).




“Considering the advisory board meeting, I see promising collaboration potential between EGA and the University of Bradford. Participating in the advisory board holds substantial value, aligning with our international aspirations. Though the MoU was recently formalized, it set the stage for knowledge exchange,” Abdulla added.


By establishing the Dubai Advisory Board and partnering with leading organizations in the region, the University of Bradford is further solidifying its commitment to inclusivity, equality of opportunity, and making a meaningful difference in society. Through these strategic initiatives, the University will continue to nurture and empower individuals, contributing to the growth and prosperity of Dubai and the GCC region.






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