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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Building bridges to Abu Dhabi and Dubai

America’s relations with the Islamic world, and the Arabian area specifically, are one of the most important in our nation’s future. While foreign policy is the responsibility of national governments, relationship building actually falls to people and urban regions who find themselves at the forefront of building these relations. The Greater Seattle region has begun building a friendship bridge to the Middle East.

The Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce have been mounting yearly International Study Missions of civic and business leaders of our citistate for many years. Recently we organized an annual International Study Mission program to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Our goal: to study an urban region overseas to learn about how it competes in a global economy. The trips are a “traveling university,” with the student body encompassing the civic leadership of the Greater Seattle region.

The visit to the UAE was suggested by Boeing, with a goal of enhancing our leaders’ understanding of that part of the world and strengthening relations with it. We wanted to study the UAE’s successes and challenges, as well as to learn more about each other. Our delegation found the people of these two emirates to be warm and friendly and as interested in us as we were in them.

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