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Crow suggests Dubai partnership

Investors, ASU president plan May meeting on technology deal

 by Daniel Newhauser
 published on Friday, April 11, 2008

<b>LUCRATIVE CONNECTIONS:</b> ASU President Michael Crow speaks to businesspeople at the Global Trade Initiative Breakfast Thursday in Phoenix about global engagement, competitiveness and developing Arizona’s economy./issues/news/704694
Lindy Mapes / THE STATE PRESS
LUCRATIVE CONNECTIONS: ASU President Michael Crow speaks to businesspeople at the Global Trade Initiative Breakfast Thursday in Phoenix about global engagement, competitiveness and developing Arizona’s economy.
 

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ASU may soon cultivate a partnership with an unlikely international ally — the Middle Eastern city of Dubai.

ASU President Michael Crow said he is planning to meet in May with potential investors in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which he called, "a portal to parts of the world that have intense focus on desert regions."

On the table is a several-hundred-million dollar proposal to fund ASU technological developments. In exchange for the funding, investors would receive earnings should any developed technology be patented and sold, Crow said.

Nothing has been agreed upon just yet, though, he added.

Crow discussed the possible partnership at the Global Trade Initiative Breakfast at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, where he gave the opening address.

"We have to morph our thinking," Crow told the crowd of about 200, encouraging the Phoenix business community to start thinking globally when it comes to business and the city's development.

"Because of [Phoenix's] youthfulness, because of our lack of rigidity … that gives us a huge advantage," he said.

The breakfast was organized by Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon to promote increased business ties between Phoenix and Dubai.

"We have to think and act globally," Gordon said. "We have to be part of the global world."

Gordon encouraged the crowd to visit Dubai, which he said should be an example for Phoenix as it expands in coming years. He took a trip to the city after meeting Dubai investors during Super Bowl weekend, he said, and has since been a proponent of enticing United Arab Emirates financiers to the local market.

Dubai is 31st among the world's richest cities, ranked by personal net earnings in 2008, according to City Mayors, an international organization that analyzes world cities.

Robert Johnson, CEO of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise and former CEO of Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix, said Dubai could benefit from ties to a city with a budding university like ASU.

"They need someone to help create that education system," he said.

Dubai has expressed additional interest in ASU projects, Crow added.

He said Dubai is interested in designing a Decision Theater modeled after one at ASU.

The Decision Theater —a $6.9 million National Science Foundation center at ASU's Tempe campus — is an interactive research center that uses visualization and simulation tools to aid policymakers, community planners and business executives in problem solving — the only nonmilitary one of its kind in the country, said Crow.

Gordon ended the breakfast by calling attention to the urgency of building international ties.

"I don't want to blink," he said. "I don't want to lose these opportunities. I want to move forward."

Reach the reporter at: daniel.newhauser@asu.edu.



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