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Penn is continuing its quest to go global — expanding its programs to all corners of the world, including the Middle East, Africa and South America.

In June, Wharton announced an agreement with the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, a private education provider based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

In the midst of other universities’ efforts to open satellite campuses in disparate regions over the course of the past several years, Penn President Amy Gutmann said in 2008 that the University would not be opening any such campuses. But officials have emphasized that this program is a partnership, not a degree-granting campus.

The Wharton-CERT partnership is “distinct from what other universities are doing,” said Anne Waters, executive director of the Office of International Programs. “Our approach is to work in strategic alliances rather than to build unnecessarily a new infrastructure abroad,” as other institutions like New York University have done.

Gutmann explained the rationale behind having partnerships. “There is a consensus among deans and faculty that what we can do best is global partnerships,” she said. “We are working to deepen and expand partnerships on all continents.”

She explained that those relationships “contribute the most to global knowledge and understanding.”

Above all, partnerships “allow us to engage internationally without draining our core strength” of faculty presence on Penn’s campus.

A delegation from Wharton will travel to the UAE next week for a major symposium, the Festival of Thinkers.

Among those expected to attend are University trustees William Egan and Jon Huntsman — also ambassador to China — Knowledge@Wharton editor-in-chief Mukul Pandya and Wharton Dean Thomas Robertson. They will discuss issues including the economic crisis and sustainable development with Nobel laureates and other world leaders.

Waters said Penn partnerships typically begin with faculty interests and agendas. The partnerships allow Penn to “really be distinctive and pool together resources so the total is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Family medicine expert and Anthropology Professor Fran Barg cited the example of efforts by students and faculty to help the Mayan population in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.

Since School of Medicine Professor Kent Bream established this partnership over five years ago, students have documented the trauma of residents displaced by a hurricane, trained midwives to recognize medical emergencies and studied issues of biomedical acceptance.

Since 2001, Penn has also taught medical techniques and provided HIV care in Botswana, according to Professor of Infectious Diseases Harvey Friedman. He hopes to partner with the recently-opened University of Botswana School of Medicine to provide training for nurses and doctors.

Waters cited the Indian School of Business as another success story. Wharton worked with the Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Indian partners.

“The partnership in India raised the funds, but Penn was actively involved in forming the curriculum and providing advice about recruitment,” Waters said.

But she also emphasized that these partnerships is centered around learning.

“It’s less about putting our footprint around the world, and more about the knowledge we’re delivering and research we’re embarking on,” she said.

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