1The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was established in 1971 and is a country located

1The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was established in 1971 and is a country located in the Middle East. The country is often called “the Emirates” or simply “UAE.” UAE borders the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Neighboring countries include Oman and Saudi Arabia, and UAE also shares sea borders with Quatar, Iran, and Pakistan. Strategically, UAE is in an important location along the southern approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, a transit point for the world’s crude oil. UAE is also in the top 10 countries for the largest oil reserves in the world.
The geography of UAE includes lots of rolling sand dunes of desert and also mountains in the eastern part of the country. The government consists of a federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to the member emirates (equivalent to principalities). The chief of state is the president and the head of government is the prime minister. UAE has an open-market economy in which the prices of products and services are set using a free price system.
The foundation for this market economy lies in the collaboration between the seven emirates that are part of the UAE. They include the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate is governed by a hereditary emir, similar to succession planning in countries with royalty (king or queen) as the head of state. These emirs jointly make up the Federal Supreme Council, which serves as the highest legislative and executive body in the UAE. One of the seven emirs is selected as the president of the United Arab Emirates. The capital of the country is Abu Dhabi, Islam is the official religion, and Arabic is the official language. Most people have heard of Abu Dhabi and Dubai because they are the country’s centers of commercial and cultural activities. Dubai is UAE’s most populous city, with more than 2 million people, and it has emerged as a true global city with an eclectic cultural makeup. It also has a strategic location as a business gateway for the Middle East and Africa for multinational enterprises from all of the world’s continents.
Dubai has frequently been rated as one of the best places to live in the Middle East (although it is also one of the most expensive). The emirate of Dubai has been ruled by the Al Maktoum family since 183; the emirate is considered a constitutional monarchy. In 2013, the Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development ranked UAE as the 14th country in its annual International Human Rights Indicator report. This was a first among Arab countries, with the next Arab country on the list, Tunisia, at a distant 72ndplace. Only about 10 percent of the population in Dubai are Arabs, with the remaining 90 percent being expatriates. Most of the expatriates are from Asia, with India (50 percent) and Pakistan (16 percent) prominently featured. The largest group of Westerners is from the United Kingdom.
With this eclectic cultural background, Dubai’s bid to host the World Expo 2020 with a theme of “connecting minds, creating the future” makes sense both logically and strategically. The theme resonates well with issues related to culture. In essence, the theme illustrates and acknowledges differences in culture (as does this chapter), and the theme supports the notion that we strive to emphasize similarities across the globe. This point was illustrated in Chapter 1 when we asked in one of the Alternative Perspectives boxes, “Which is more important—similarities or differences?” The idea is that today, multinational enterprises have to evaluate their core uniqueness and how they can leverage this strategic uniqueness in the global marketplace. The leveraging of the uniqueness typically requires a focus on similarities across cultures instead of differences. Connecting minds is a great way to illustrate how people, companies, and countries can stress the importance of looking for similarities first and then focus on the similarities that outweigh the differences in creating strategic options.
As with any World Expo, the expectation is that the world will be treated to an important event in the year 2020 in Dubai. The Expo on “connecting minds, creating the future” will span six months, following World Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy, and World Expo 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The expectation is also that countries will showcase who they are and what they can do in the spirit of today’s era of “nation branding.” Tracing history, the best known first World Expo was held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London (United Kingdom) in 1851 under the title of “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations.” Since 1928, the Bureau International des Expositions (International Exhibitions Bureau) has served as an international sanctioning body for the World Expo. These Expo showcases have generally gone through three eras: the era of industrialization (1851–1938), the era of cultural exchange (1939–1987), and the era of nation branding (1988–present).
The theme for Dubai’s World Expo 2020 is a direct connection to its cultural values and beliefs in facilitating connections and pioneering new ideas. The organizers expect 70 percent of the 25 million visitors to originate outside UAE, making it the most globally oriented World Expo in its long history. The idea is that the global community will come together and explore creative and pioneering solutions to three key drivers of global development: sustainability, mobility, and opportunity. As viewed by the World Expo 2020 organizing team, sustainability centers on lasting sources of energy and water. Mobility focuses on smart systems of logistics and transportation. And opportunity refers to new paths to economic development.
This needs to be sourced using APA.
Sources: Expo 2020, expo2020dubai.ae/en, accessed March 5, 2014; globalEDGE—United Arab Emirates, http://globaledge.msu.edu/countries/united-arab-emirates, accessed March 5, 2014; A. Ahmed, “After Winning Expo, Emirate Fumes at Allies It Says Didn’t Back It,” The New York Times, January 6, 2014; S. Potter, “Expo 2020 Win to Boost Dubai Sukuk on Spending: Islamic Finance,” Bloomberg Businessweek, November 27, 2013; and “Dubai—It’s Bouncing Back,” The Economist, November 23, 2013.
CASE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. What forces shaped the culture in the country of UAE and Dubai in particular? How similar or different are these forces from those that shaped the culture of Western nations?
2. What kinds of misunderstanding, if any, are likely to arise between Western-based visitors and people from the UAE during World Expo 2020?
3. If you were in a position to advise a Western company that was considering doing business in UAE for the first time, what would your advice be?
4. Using Dubai as an example, do you believe that cultural similarities among people can outweigh cultural differences that exist in terms of doing business together in the future
Assignment Expectations – in the form of case discussion questions to be researched

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