The Impact of Growing China-GCC Cultural, Education, and Research Relations on Gulf Society
Over the past 15 years Gulf China relations have grown exponentially and involved all manner of business, energy, trade, political, and cultural relations. As these two regions of major economic power draw away from traditional Western financial and political centers of power, and increasingly develop networks with each other across Asia, various cultural projects are playing an increasingly important role. From major Chinese art exhibits in Qatar, to the UAE's recent decision to offer Chinese language lessons in K-12 schools across the country, cultural relations are developing in a range of unprecedented and influential ways.This project will focus on the ways in which the three major GCC countries, Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, have each taken the lead in different dimensions of cultural relations with China: Qatar, with regard to art and museums; the UAE with regard to primary and secondary school Chinese language initiatives; and Saudi with regard to higher education projects in the kingdom, as well as sending Saudi students to complete their university training in China.In addition, all three of these countries have also developed a range of major joint scientific research projects with China, in fields ranging from alternative forms of energy, to the development of salt- water rice hybrid crops, and the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat some of the most common health problems facing Gulf residents. These diverse cultural initiatives are indicative of both the increasingly important economic and strategic ties between China and the Gulf, as well as efforts to shift the perennial East-West gaze to an East-East gaze. This research project also seeks to shed light on both the breadth and potential impact, both long-term and short-term, on the growing range of Sino-Gulf cultural and education projects on Gulf society and the outlooks of Gulf citizens.