Skip to main content

Blogging from Dubai

December 20, 2010

Students to learn in tech-savvy city

Dubai, one of the seven states in the United Arab Emirates, is a technological oasis in the desert. The earliest recorded mention of Dubai is in 1095, and the earliest settlement known as Dubai town dates from 1799. Today, Dubai has emerged as a global city and a business hub. It thrives in a brutal climate and attracts visitors from around the world because of the way its technologies are employed to protect, thrill and inspire awe.

To take advantage of the learning opportunities in Dubai’s technologically rich environment, two faculty members with ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO), Jameson Wetmore and Mary Jane Parmentier, will teach a winter school there, Jan. 2-16.  They and their students will be blogging daily on CSPO’s Soapbox about their experiences, and you are invited to join the conversation.

“Most of the students will likely experience a fair amount of culture shock,” said Jameson Wetmore, who also is an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change. “Writing about these experiences can significantly help them make sense of the world they are exploring and can give others a window into their journey.”

The class, offered through the Study Abroad Office and sponsored by School of Letters & Sciences and School of Sustainability, will use Dubai and nearby Abu Dhabi as a classroom to better understand the relationship between technology and social change. The various building projects in and around Dubai will be used as case studies of how technology can be used to shape human interactions. In particular these issues will be explored with an eye to sustainability – how can one build a sustainable city in the desert?

In addition to online and classroom sessions, the group will tour some of the city’s landmarks, meet with local officials who are building this city of the future, and explore nearby areas that have taken a different approach to living in the desert. Students also will gain a background in Arabic and Islamic culture, Middle Eastern history, and the current political system of the United Arab Emirates.

For more information about CSPO, visit