GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Rasmus Gjedssø
Title of Paper:
Sino-GCC Strategic Knowledge Relations for Building Smart Cities
Paper Proposal Text :
This paper will analyze strategic knowledge relations of major transnational private and public universities in Kuwait, Qatar, and UAE with counter parts in China for building smart cities in the GCC and in China. These knowledge relations are central for GCC climate change and sustainability diplomatic relations with China, which is an increasingly important global power in the politics and diplomacy of climate change and sustainability. This analysis will compare Sino-GCC relations with GCC-Western partnerships.

The paper will focus on Sino-GCC strategic knowledge relations in terms of flows of ideas, information, talent and financial resources for building smart cities through GCC universities concerning:
1) Sino-GCC transnational triple-helix innovation systems linking academia, business and government for building smart cities
2) Sino-GCC strategic knowledge relations for climate change and sustainability diplomacy.

Both GCC countries and China are each faced with important sustainability challenges and demands of building smart cities. The GCC and China are a region and a country that have close connections in the area of energy trade, but they do not have the very close knowledge relations between academia, business, government, military, etc., as between the GCC and the USA and Europe.

The paper will compare Sino-GCC and GCC-USA/Europe relations. 1) and 2) are mutually reinforcing. Globally well-connected centers of smart city triple helix innovation stand the best chances of building strategic knowledge relations in climate change and sustainability diplomacy.

The paper focuses on GCC universities. The cases will be, among others, New York University Abu Dhabi, Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, American University in Dubai, American University of Sharjah, Education City, Qatar University, American University of Kuwait, Kuwait University, Gulf University of Science and Technology. This research builds on ongoing research started as Harvard Kennedy School research fellow 2006-2009 with field work in Lebanon, Egypt, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar with and 100+ interviews.

It is crucial for GCC states to maintain dense networks with foreign current and future decision-makers in academia, business, politics, military, etc., with a deep understanding of GCC affairs. Such relations take decades to build up and are long-term investments. Universities play an important role here. The GCC is also facing international power transition with the rise of China reflected in China as energy customer, the One-Belt-One-Road strategy, and as climate change and sustainability diplomatic actor. The GCC states have not cultivated long-term and deep knowledge relations with China, especially not in areas of sustainable development, including smart cities. Equally China lacks networks, knowledge and understanding of GCC. Therefore, it is an important research and policy questions for transnational public and private GCC universities to build transnational knowledge relations with academia, business and government in China in a wide range of fields, where focus here is on smart cities and sustainable development.

The basis of this paper is my research on how public and private transnational universities in the Gulf can create transnational relations with academia, government, business and civil society in both the USA and Europe – but also China as a case of emerging market science, technology and innovation systems. The purpose of these strong transnational knowledge relations is building transnational triple helix innovation systems in Gulf cities both with connections to existing Western strategic partners and centers of science, technology and innovation and future partners.

My research on the historical transnational universities in the Middle East, the American University of Beirut, the Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth and the American University in Cairo, shows that these universities are exceptionally influential transnational actors moving ideas, information, talent and financial resources of high quality and intensity. The Beirut universities made Beirut into an intellectual regional hub. The historical transnational universities are particularly interesting for their ability to build strong and long-lasting knowledge connections with high-ranking academia, business and government in especially the USA and France.