INTERVIEW: Dipak Jain
Dipak Jain, Dean of Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD), talks about the current economic crisis and how that will effect investment in the world’s education sectors.
June 29, 2012 8:04 by kippreport
How was this year’s Davos conference?
I sensed a feeling of optimism and I think people here are getting a better understanding of how things are going to unfold as we move forward. When in difficult times the best thing is to be united and come together to share experiences, and I see that very clearly here.
With the problems in the Eurozone and the American economy, there is a real opportunity for Asian tigers such as India and China to lead the world. Do you think Asia is ready?
To become a leader, one must earn respect. Earning respect does not only require economic growth, but also the soft power that comes with it, so it is something that you build over time. The US didn’t become a leader overnight. This is definitely a great opportunity for India and China—and this is the time when they can attract the attention of Europe and the U.S. This is the time when Europe will listen to China—and that is something we have to cultivate.
What do you see 2012 delivering for Arab countries?
We see a new form of economic growth that would come in the Middle East, where you can draw upon bright minds, because what they have done is build a phenomenal infrastructure. And once you have a good infrastructure, the quality of life improves. For most of the Arab countries, this is the time for them to build their local talent, to pick areas of strategic impact. Abu Dhabi, for example, has taken the initiative of becoming an educational hub, inviting world-class institutions. So I think this would be a very good way to brand the country and the nation. When China started as a manufacturing powerhouse, India started outsourcing its human talent powerhouse. The UAE has to think about what is its brand essence.
What about the other Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia?
What they need to do is build more alliances with other universities, and try to create more centers of excellence, drawing upon high quality researchers or professors from universities. [They need] to get access abroad because they have something in Saudi Arabia, which is [a] resource, and resources can help attract brilliant minds.
Do you see more investments going into the educational sectors in the GCC?
Yes, absolutely. I can speak on behalf of the ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council). I think Saudi Arabia is also planning to do that as I get requests from them. The other thing that would happen in Saudi Arabia is some of the private institutions, like SABIC [Saudi Basic Industries Corporation], are looking for educational institutions and investments to train their own people.