x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sorbonne to reflect UAE needs

The Abu Dhabi branch of the university is launching a series of new courses that mirror the country's development.

ABU DHABI // The Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi is launching a series of new courses that are exclusive to the university and will focus on areas specific to the UAE's development, its president said yesterday. "Next autumn we will be starting a master's programme in museum studies which will teach the students comprehensive museum duties, which will also go along with Louvre Abu Dhabi," said Georges Molinie, the school's president.

The programme will target 40 students and will be offered in French and English because "the knowledge of the French language here continues to be a challenge for the university", he said. The course is being developed alongside the Louvre and École du Louvre in Paris and will cover subjects from museum management to restoration to the history of art. Hessa Keddas, 23, an Emirati who works as an international promotions executive in the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, said the museum studies programme would be beneficial.

"Part of my responsibilities in ADTA are to promote the UAE to foreigners, and we deal with Europeans and French people a lot, and they always ask us about the Louvre Abu Dhabi," she said, adding that Emiratis who are keen to study in new fields would be eager to apply. Another exclusive master's programme, archive studies, comes in the wake of a 2008 presidential law calling for all government departments to have their own archives.

Other future programmes include a master's degree in performing arts which would complement the region's growing music and theatre scene. Another would see the introduction of a faculty of science that will offer bachelor's degrees in maths and physics. Prof Molinie said students enrolling in graduate programmes would be well-prepared ahead of time. "We target professionalism, so when students enrol we want to know what their goals are and what they want to establish in their fields," he said. "Therefore, new postgraduate courses will be introduced that will offer training in specific areas before the student joins the master's programme.

"So, for example, we could offer a course on preserving books before the student enrols in the archives master's programme." According to Prof Molinie, the significance of the Abu Dhabi campus is that it provides an opportunity for students here to study a high-standard European curriculum and give them a real-life environment. "And the second target is to give Europeans students the Middle East and Gulf environment within the European curriculum, especially if they want to continue working in the region," he said.

"It is like attending a class in France," said Saeed al Samahi, a 35-year-old Emirati and a graduate of the marketing, management and communication master's programme. "We were not able to travel ourselves to Paris to study, so the Sorbonne was brought to us," Mr al Samahi said. "I consider this one of the biggest accomplishments for Abu Dhabi. I just hope they will start PhD programmes because that is my next goal."
hdajani@thenational.ae