1. My job in the UAE

During the last six weeks, I have been uploading different stories on my Instagram account about being in Dubai. I talked about my experience trying to get alcohol, going to deserts, seeing jewelry, and visiting the “Museum of the Future,” but I never explained what I am doing here. 

In August 2021, I started studying at the Harvard Kennedy School. I am doing a Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID). It lasts two years, so, as you can see, I am in the middle of it. During our summer, we should spend at least eight weeks doing an internship in (if possible) a developing country in any area related to development, such as education, health, poverty, or economic growth. That is why I am here in Dubai. 

I am part of a project between the Growth Lab (GL) and the Ministry of Economy in the United Arab Emirates. The Growth Lab is part of Harvard University, and it works on many areas (academic research, policy research, and digital tools) related to economic growth and development. 

In this case, the project just started and is related to the aim of economic diversification that the government wants to achieve. As it might happen to you too, before coming here, “UAE” and “oil” were synonyms for me, and Dubai was (again, in my brain) a city that was full of luxury buildings because they just had the money from oil’s exports and nothing else. Okay, I was wrong: the story is not that simple. 

My job here is related to international trade, but I came with two classmates working on other topics, so I was lucky enough to still learn from different things thanks to them. 

I still do not have the answers to several questions about how this country, or Dubai, reached this present, but I have some thoughts and lessons I want to share with you. 

In the following articles, we will spend our time trying to understand some aspects of UAE’s economy, its challenges, and potential opportunities. 

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