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    Syracuse University students take part in one-of-a-kind study abroad experience

    Photo: Participants in The Road to Democracy in the Islamic World in Dubai

    From May 15-31, 2017, eight Syracuse University students participated in a unique study abroad program in Dubai: The Road to Democracy in the Islamic World. The students, who spanned multiple class years and colleges travelled and studied with political science professors Matt Bonham and Mehrzad Boroujerdi.

    Over the two-week program, they took field trips in Dubai and Sharjah, took an overnight excursion, and listened to guest speakers.

    "The program was simply one-of-a-kind,” says Binh Huynh, a Ph.D. student in the School of Education’s Cultural Foundations of Education program. “While the class has historically been held in another location, I'm grateful that Dubai was the site for this iteration. It's an incredible city that simply cannot be described in words. You have to experience it to truly understand how complex this city and the Emirates are as a place. Both of our professors provided world-class instruction, which accompanied our site visits well so that we could gain insight into the political and cultural workings of the region. I would recommend this program to anybody looking to be challenged academically and appreciates having their cultural perceptions challenged."

    First offered in 2012, the program examines the problem of the "democratic deficit" in the Muslim world, and analyzes the causes and consequences of the recent wave of revolutions against authoritarian rule in the Arab World. It looks at the commitment of the United States to the promotion of democratic institutions and values in the Middle East through case studies of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

    The students, all studying abroad for the first time, came from the Newhouse School of Public Communications, Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Whitman School of Management, College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education. All were taking social sciences as a second major or minor.

    Half-day classes enabled the group to study in the morning and explore Dubai in the afternoon to learn more about the city and its people. The students had the opportunity to see the other Emirates of UAE, including Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

    To learn more about study abroad programs in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, visit Over half of Syracuse University students study abroad during their time on campus, but many need financial assistance to make it possible. Contact Jim O’Connor to learn how you can help students reach their goal of studying in the world.