Education, Tech and NGO Leaders Envisage New Ways to Access Knowledge and Learning in an Increasingly Connected World


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The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council convened leaders from prominent American education, technology, and non-profit institutions for a wide-ranging discussion about technological innovations that are enabling greater access to education and knowledge. This panel, which occurred on Tuesday, December 14th at the U.S. Pavilion at Expo 2020, coincided with Expo 2020’s Knowledge and Learning theme week. Please see here for a recording of the session.

Mariet Westermann, Vice Chancellor of New York University Abu Dhabi, spoke about ways to collectively harness knowledge to prepare for the future. She also elaborated on the integral role that students and research play in shaping the future, while noting that NYU Abu Dhabi is now an anchor institution in the U.A.E. at 11 years young, and thriving with 1,800 undergraduate students. 

Selim Edde, Head of Public Policy and Government Relations for the Middle East and North Africa at Google, discussed ways in which the technology giant is facilitating access to knowledge and education by leveraging Google’s innovative products and immense scale. Google has 9 products that have at least one billion users a day. Moreover, at the core of Google products is collaboration.  

Hossam Seif El-Din, General Manager for the Middle East and Pakistan at IBM, reviewed IBM’s enablement of access to education globally through two marquee IBM initiatives – IBM Skills Academy and IBM Digital Nation. Since its inception in 2015, IBM Skills Academy has worked with around 600 universities and has educated over 70,000 students. Hossam also discussed the importance of AI and connectivity to education in the future. 

Sid Dayal, who serves as Deployment Strategist, U.A.E. for Palantir, shared Palantir’s belief that transformation comes from within, saying that Palantir looks to hire the best and brightest from around the world. Sid went on to underscore that Palantir looks to attract talent that will not be told by Palantir what to do, but rather will tell Palantir what to do. 

Phil Noble, who is the founder of World Class Scholars, described the ways in which World Class Scholars connects students around the world, between locations such as Abu Dhabi and Athens. Phil went on to note that World Class Scholars is ambitious enough to connect all of the world’s students to change their lives by giving them the opportunity to learn about the world far beyond what they ever imagined.  

Tim Reboulet, who serves as Principal Consultant for SpearTip, discussed SpearTip’s work in the cybersecurity realm, which continues to become increasingly important given ever-greater amounts of remote work that have arisen as a result of the pandemic. He went on to elucidate the importance of being proactive instead of reactive in the realm of cybersecurity. 

For more information on the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council’s Expo 2020 activities and programming please contact Graham Reitman at