Sorbonne outpost opens in oil-rich Abu Dhabi

20th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

ABU DHABI, Feb 19, 2006 (AFP) - France's Education Minister Gilles de Robien signed an agreement Sunday with his Emirati counterpart to set up an outpost of the prestigious French Sorbonne university in oil-rich Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI, Feb 19, 2006 (AFP) - France's Education Minister Gilles de Robien signed an agreement Sunday with his Emirati counterpart to set up an outpost of the prestigious French Sorbonne university in oil-rich Abu Dhabi.

This is the first venture of its kind outside of France for the Sorbonne, an institution dating back to 1253 and whose landmark building in the heart of Paris was commissioned by Cardinal Richelieu in 1635.

"This confirms the advance in relations between the Emirates and France to the cultural dimension," said Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

De Robien and the United Arab Emirates higher education minister, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan, signed the accord.

Abu Dhabi will invest US $20 to 30 million (EUR 16 to 25 million) in setting up the university, according to a source close to the project who asked not to be identified.

Sorbonne Abu Dhabi will open its doors in October, initially to 200 students and up to 1,500 in three years. Its curriculum will be secular and liberal arts-oriented with a focus on French language, history, geography, literature and philosophy.

Students will pay an average of US $20,000 dollars (EUR 16,600) per academic year for the privilege of a Paris-Sorbonne degree, added the source.

"I am very confident in this partnership, which is the culmination of a long process," de Robien told AFP.

The seven-emirate federation of the UAE, which also includes Dubai, is one of the most liberal among the largely Muslim conservative countries of the Gulf region.

Dubai, which has propelled itself into a major business and tourism centre, is already home to the American University of Dubai.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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