The Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rt Hon Michael Moore MP, today (Monday, July 12) met a 36-strong group of female students from the UAE and Qatar who are on a three-week Summer School, organised by the Dundee-based Al-Maktoum Institute.
The students from eight different colleges and universities in the UAE and Qatar, plus eight chaperones, are spending their final week in Scotland undertaking a programme with Edinburgh College of Art.
This is the seventh such Institute Summer School and the 10th visit of UAE and Qatar students to Scotland in all when the Institute’s Academic Training Programmes, held in January/February, are taken into account.
“We are extremely pleased that our students from the UAE and Qatar had the opportunity and honour to meet the Secretary of State for Scotland,” said Professor Malory Nye, Principal of the Al-Maktoum Institute.
“The meeting is an excellent introduction to their stay in the capital. It is also particularly appropriate as it comes at a time when the coalition UK Government is aiming to foster and strengthen links between the UK and the Emirates in terms of education, culture, trade and defence.
Her Majesty The Queen will be visiting the Gulf later this year so there is a growing recognition and desire to establish closer ties.
“The Institute, internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for Islamic and Arabic studies, enjoys the patronage of HH Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry of the United Arab Emirates.
“In recent years the links between Dundee and Scotland with Dubai have strengthened, so the opportunity for the UK to benefit likewise clearly exists.
“Over the past seven years, almost 350 students from the UAE and Qatar have come to Dundee and it’s estimated that the twice-yearly visits represent a £200,000 boost to the local Dundee economy.
“Previous groups have returned home with a very positive view of Scotland so we hope this group will feel the same way and act as unofficial ambassadors for Scotland.”
The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore said:
“Today’s meeting was a great opportunity to meet students from the emirates and to talk to them about how the UK government is looking to build closer working links with the Emirates
“As the next generation I was interested to hear there views on multiculturalism, how East and West can work together and how they view the links between Scotland and the UK.
“The summer school initiative is a great way for the students to visit another country and to have first hand knowledge of its culture, The Al-Maktoum Institute should be commended for its role in making this happen.”