Drawing on experience from Education City, the key knowledge economy project in the Persian Gulf country of Qatar, this contribution seeks to understand the social, political, and economic forces behind the knowledge society initiatives that are currently sweeping the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations of Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The future decline of hydrocarbon production in the GCC states can only partially explain the very recent interest in training knowledge workers, and developing R and D infrastructure, universities, libraries, technology incubators, and biotechnology capabilities. Nations like Qatar, for example, possessing the world’s third largest proven reserves of natural gas, remain still relatively hydrocarbon rich, yet are in the forefront of diversifying their economies into knowledge-production activities. Reducing expatriate workforces and reliance on western technological expertise, as well as a genuine desire to recapture the Islamic golden age in astronomy, medicine, pharmacology, and mathematics in the early middle ages, must also be factored in to understand these sweeping and internationally visible developments in the Gulf nations. The fact that GCC countries are investing in nuclear energy, solar power and renewable energy sources, building tourism industries, and upgrading their healthcare facilities demonstrates that these governments are looking long-term to the day when oil and gas will no longer flow in the Arabian Gulf.
|Keywords:||Knowledge Economy, Gulf Cooperation Council, Economic Development, Persian Gulf, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates|
Premedical, Weill Cornell Medical College, Doha, Qatar