The United Arab Emirates is a smallish Arabic/Islamic country about the size of Maine located at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Though currently oil dependent, the country is moving rapidly from a petrocarbon to a people-based economy. As that economy modernizes and diversifies, the country’s underlying social ecology is being buffeted. The most significant of the winds of change that are blowing include a compulsory, free K-12 education system; an economy shifting from extractive to knowledge-based resources; and movement from the almost mythic Bedouin-inspired lifestyle to that of a sedentary highly urbanized society. Led by resource-rich Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the federal government has invested heavily in tourism, aviation, re-export commerce, free trade zones, and telecommunications. The Emirate of Dubai, in particular, also has invested billions of dirhams in high technology. The great dream is that educated and trained Emiratis will replace the thousands of foreign professionals now running the newly emerging technology and knowledge-driven economy.
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