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Some of the Middle East’s best and brightest will be heading to Singapore in August as part of a prestigious postgraduate scholarship programme at the National University of Singapore business school, where they will be groomed as future leaders for the Middle Eastern region.

NUS, one of Asia’s top business schools, is among an elite group of leading global schools, picked as partners for the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum fellowship (MBRF) programme.

This is the first of many initiatives to be implemented under the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum foundation’s scholarship agenda. Other schools in the partnership include Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia and Insead.

The foundation was established last May with a $10bn grant from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. It aims to promote human development, as well as investing in education and knowledge-development in the region.

The selection is significant for NUS, which is known for its focus in providing management thought leadership from an Asian perspective

“Outside of North America and Europe we’re the only Asian university to be selected and we view this highly,” says Kulwant Singh, interim dean of NUS business school

“What they see is a school which has built itself up in a small country with limited resources and went on to provide an excellent MBA programme.”

“Also, we have a track record in developing top business and industry leaders in Singapore and across the region.

“Many Arab countries want to learn about Asia and its best practices. We can combine the best of western theory and practical insights from this region, which some top American universities can’t.”

About four or five of the most talented and committed students from the Arab region will be embarking on the fellowship this year.

Each two-year scholarship is estimated to be worth up to $130,000. Scholarship recipients must return to the region following graduation for a minimum of two years’ employment in the public or private sector.

The MBRF is open to Arabs from 22 countries. It aims to identify talented and ambitious people from across the region, says Karine Fahim Ataya, manager of scholarships at the foundation.

“Our objective is to help reverse the region’s brain drain, and prepare the future generation of leaders to contribute to the development and growth of the region.”

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