On 15 September Tim presented his research on the transnational higher education (TNE) strategies of governments in the Arab Gulf region during the 34. Deutscher Orientalistentag (DOT) which took place at Freie Universität Berlin. The DOT is an interdisciplinary conference bringing together a very diverse range of social sciences and humanities researching societies in Asia and North Africa. It was first organized in 1921 by the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, the oldest association of German Middle Eastern Studies scholars, and this year’s iteration marked its 100th anniversary.
The paper Tim discussed focuses on a particular role certain cities in the Arab Gulf play for regional development and the ongoing processes of globalisation: as gateways for TNE. Contributing to debates on the city/globalisation nexus in the Arab Gulf region, on the one hand, and to urban and economic geography debates on gateway functions of cities connecting their hinterlands to global networks, on the other, this paper analyses the relational political economy of so-called ‘international education hub’ projects in Doha, Dubai and Ras al-Khaimah. It empirically investigates the rationales of universities establishing offshore campuses in these cities, and how local governments link these institutions to existing gateway functions to change the positionality of their cities as destinations for transnationally mobile students and urban spaces of knowledge (re)production.