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Discovering opportunities in the Middle East

29 September 2011

Prof Tan (centre) at the Middle East Institute booth with Deputy Director of the Institute Ambassador Verghese Mathews (left) and Associate Director at the NUS Office of Vice-President (Global Relations) Mr Randall Ong

Reprising the success of its inaugural Middle East Day last year, NUS held the eye-opening and fun-filled event again on 29 September 2011, offering students an overview of the myriad academic collaborations and cultural and economic connections between NUS/Singapore and the Middle East.

Organised by the NUS International Relations Office as part of the "Internationalisation@Home" scheme, the Middle East Day complements the University's growing list of outbound programmes to broaden the intellectual and global outlook of students.

"The NUS is endeavouring to expand the opportunities available to our students to participate in academic collaborations and programmes in the Middle East. We are also working hard to establish partnerships with universities in the Middle East for student exchange programmes", said NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Prof Tan Eng Chye.

As part of this effort to encourage students to know more about the Middle East, Prof Tan shared that last December, 25 NUS students participated in the first STEER Programme to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He said that this year's application to STEER has been overwhelming, a testament to our students' growing interest in the Middle East.

STEER, which stands for "Study Trips for Engagement and Enrichment", aims to familiarise students with the rich social, cultural, political and economic environments of the Middle East through classroom-based learning and experiential site visits.

Mr Tan Liang Quan, a third-year accountancy student, is looking forward to joining the STEER programme this December. As a business school student, he said that the two-week trip will be enriching as he will better understand the business environment in the Middle East. His basic knowledge of Arabic which he gained at NUS will surely help him for the trip.

This year's Middle East Day features a talk by His Excellency Mohammed A Al Qubaisi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Singapore, on investment opportunities in the UAE. There are also exhibits on the Gulf Co-operation Council countries, highlighting employment and business opportunities in the region; as well as displays showcasing the historical and cultural ties between Singapore and the Middle East.