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JFK University Partners with Emirates Foundation to Launch First-Ever Museum Studies Training in the United Arab Emirates

February 22, 2010

PLEASANT HILL, Calif. - John F. Kennedy University, under a grant secured from the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy, is launching a customized museum studies course in the United Arab Emirates, the first educational endeavor of its kind to be offered in the region. The course is being offered through JFK University’s Division of Continuing Education (CE) in conjunction with its Museum Studies graduate degree program.

The purpose of the JFK University and Emirates Foundation partnership is to prepare Emirati citizens to lead an unprecedented increase in the number of new museums in the United Arab Emirates. The Art Fair in Dubai, planned multi-billion dollar branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, and the establishment of a range of modern museums in Sharjah mark a new era for museums in the region.

The Introductory Museum Preparatory Course, which launches in February, was envisioned by The Emirates Foundation’s Philanthropy Department of Arts and Culture, led by curator and scholar Salwa Mikdadi, an alumna of the Museum Studies program at JFK University. The course was developed in collaboration with JFK University Museum Studies professors Marjorie Schwarzer and Susan B. Spero.

“JFK University’s Museum Studies faculty are known not only for their scholarship, but for their proven ability to work to help emerging museum professionals realize their dreams,” explained Mikdadi. “That is why JFK University is a natural partner to help launch this project.”

The course will be delivered in a hybrid format, combining an initial online component and an intensive one-week onsite workshop, led by professors Schwarzer and Spero, in Abu Dhabi at the Emirates Foundation headquarters. Fourteen students, with backgrounds ranging from photojournalism to special education, will be taking the first offering of this course.

“We are extremely honored to have this opportunity to introduce the Emirates citizens to the world of museum studies, and we hope to identify additional opportunities in the region,” said Schwarzer, chair of the Museum Studies program.

Joshua Lachs, Dean of JFKU’s Continuing Education Division, added “Being considered and ultimately selected for this honor from among other high-caliber educational institutions further demonstrates JFK University’s strong track record and global reach.”


About John F. Kennedy University
Founded in 1964, John F. Kennedy University, an affiliate of the National University System, was among the first institutions of higher education in California committed to lifelong learning for adults. Today, the University’s three Colleges and Continuing Education division provide innovative higher education opportunities to more than 2,000 professionals who, despite a full range of life responsibilities, are determined to advance their education and improve their future. The Continuing Education division provides professional development education to more than 2,500 individuals per year. A pioneer of education that integrates theory and practice, John F. Kennedy University and its students touch the lives of more than 30,000 people in Bay Area communities every year through their support of outreach centers and public programs. For more information, visit

About the National University System
The National University System was established to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st century. The System is uniquely aligned to connect a diverse population of students to a network of innovative educational programs that are relevant to their lives, careers, and the marketplace and are delivered in a format that respects competing life priorities. Dr. Jerry C. Lee has served as the System’s Chancellor since it was founded in 2001. In addition to John F. Kennedy University, the affiliates of the National University System are National University; National University International; the Division of Pre-College Programs consisting of National University Virtual High School and National University Academy; Spectrum Pacific Learning; and WestMed College. Entities related to the System also include the National University System Institute for Policy Research, National University Golf Academy, and the Center for Integrative Health. For more information, visit:

About Emirates Foundation
The Emirates Foundation is a United Arab Emirates philanthropic organization, established by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2005 to facilitate new public-private initiatives for social betterment. The Foundation represents a unique multi-sector effort that offers a channel for individuals and organizations to give back to the community through six major program areas. Through institutional grants, fellowships, research awards, and philanthropy-led initiatives in various key areas, the Emirates Foundation aspires to raise the profile of UAE peoples and their institutions, as well as the reputation of its corporate citizens. Its mission is consistent with the ideals of the nation’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. For more information, visit: