Learn more about Dubai
|City of Dubai (مدينة دبيّ)|
|Burj Al-Arab in Dubai - Photo by Aymx|
|Sheikh||Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum|
|- City||4,114 km²|
|- City (2006)||1,241,000<ref>"Statistics Centre: Dubai's population is 1,241,000", UAE Interact: UAE Ministry Of Information and Culture, 2006-08-30</ref>|
|- Density||293.94 /km²|
|Website: City of Dubai|
- one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf, or
- that emirate's main city, sometimes called "Dubai City" to distinguish it from the emirate.
Dubai is the most populous and second largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates after Abu Dhabi. Dubai is distinct from other members of the UAE in that revenues from oil account for only 6% of its gross domestic product. A majority of the emirate's revenues are from the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ)<ref>.:: Dubai Trade ::., Dubai Trade</ref> and increasingly from tourism.
With enormous construction and development in various industries, Dubai has attracted world-wide attention through innovative real estate projects, sports events, conferences and Guinness records. However, this increased attention, coinciding with its emergence as a world business hub, has also highlighted potential human rights issues concerning its largely immigrant workforce.
The earliest recorded mention of Dubai is in 1095 AD, in the Arabic book "Mojam Ma Ostojam men Asmae Al belaad wal Mawadhea" (معجم ما استعجم من أسماء البلاد والمواضع) by Abdullah Bin Abdu Aziz Al Bakri Al Andalasi. He refers to 'Dubai' as a vast place. Later, in 1587 AD, the Venetian pearl merchant Gaspero Balbi mentions the name of Dubai as one of the places where Venetians worked, diving for pearls.
There are records of the town of Dubai from 1799. Earlier in the 18th century the Al Abu Falasa lineage of Bani Yas clan established itself in Dubai which was a dependent of the settlement of Abu Dhabi until 1833.
In 1833, the Al Maktoum dynasty of the Bani Yas tribe left the settlement of Abu Dhabi and took over the town of Dubai, "without resistance". From that point on, Dubai, a newly independent emirate, was constantly at odds with the emirate of Abu Dhabi. An attempt by the Qawasim to take over Dubai was thwarted. In 1835, Dubai and the rest of the Trucial States signed a maritime truce with Britain and a "Perpetual Maritime Truce" about two decades later. Dubai came under the protection of the United Kingdom (keeping out the Ottoman Turks) by the Exclusive Agreement of 1892. Like four of its neighbours, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain, its position on the route to India made it an important location.
The rulers of Dubai fostered trade and commerce, unlike the town's neighbours. The town of Dubai was an important port of call for foreign tradesmen (chiefly Indians), who settled in the town. Until the 1930s, the town was known for its pearl exports.
After the devaluation of the Gulf Rupee in 1966, Dubai joined the newly independent state of Qatar to set up a new monetary unit, the Qatar/Dubai riyal. Oil was discovered 120 kilometres off the coast of Dubai, after which the town granted oil concessions.
On 2 December 1971 Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi and five other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates after former protector Britain left the Persian Gulf in 1971. In 1973, Dubai joined the other emirates to adopt a single, uniform currency: the UAE dirham.
The following is a list of rulers of Dubai, going back at least to 1833.
- ... - 9 June 1833 Sheikh `Ubayd ibn Said
- 9 June 1833 - 1852 Sheikh Maktoum I ibn Bati ibn Suhayl (d. 1852)
- 1852 - 1859 Sheikh Said I ibn Bati (d. 1859)
- 1859 - 22 November 1886 Sheikh Hushur ibn Maktoum (d. 1886)
- 22 November 1886 - 7 April 1894 Sheikh Rashid I ibn Maktoum (d. 1894)
- 7 April 1894 - 16 February 1906 Sheikh Maktoum II ibn Hushur (b. 18.. - d. 1906)
- 16 February 1906 - November 1912 Sheikh Bati ibn Suhayl (b. 1851 - d. 1912)
- November 1912 - 15 April 1929 Sheikh Saeed II bin Maktum (1st time) (b. 1878 - d. 1958)
- 15 April 1929 - 18 April 1929 Sheikh Mani ibn Rashid
- 18 April 1929 - September 1958 Sheikh Saeed II bin Maktum (2nd time)
- September 1958 - 7 October 1990 Sheikh Rashid II ibn Said Al Maktoum (b. 1912 - d. 1990)
- 7 October 1990 - 4 January 2006 Sheikh Maktoum III bin Rashid Al Maktoum (b. 1943 - d. 2006)
- 4 January 2006 - Present Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (b. 1949)
The current ruler of Dubai is H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Like the preceding ruler, his older brother H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, he is also the Vice President and the Prime Minister of the UAE.
Dubai is unusual in that its population is comprised mainly of expatriates, with UAE nationals (Emiratis) constituting the minority. The majority of these expatriates come from South Asia and South East Asia. A quarter of the population reportedly trace their origins to neighbouring Iran.<ref>"Young Iranians Follow Dreams to Dubai" The New York Times, by HASSAN M. FATTAH. Published: December 4 2005</ref> Dubai is also home to some 100,000 British and other western expatriates. The UAE government does not allow any form of naturalization or permanent residence to expatriates. However, foreigners are permitted to purchase and own property without a local partner or sponsor.
Nearly all of the commercial establishments are run by expatriates with a silent local partner who merely "rents" the business license for a negotiated annual fee without taking part in any capital investment. The numerous free trade zones allow for full expatriate ownership.
There is an increasing number of "freehold" villas and apartments on artificial islands such as the Palm Islands and in many parts of Dubai for example The Greens, Dubai Marina, International City, etc. Ownership is either permanent or on a 99 year lease depending on which area—freehold areas were announced in the press in July 2006.<ref>"Registration of freehold property gets under way"</ref> Ownership or lease of a completed residence allows the owner to apply for (but not guarantee) a residency visa on a three year renewable basis. The Federal Government does not state whether foreigners may or may not own property and has left individual emirates to formulate their own property laws.
 Language and religion
The official language is Arabic but English, German, Hindi/Urdu, Malayalam, Tamil, Persian, and Tagalog are also widely spoken. Islam is the majority religion of the Emiratis and while a vast majority of the locals are Sunnis, there is a significant Shiite minority. There are also minority Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians. Dubai is the only emirate that has Hindu temples and a Sikh Gurdwara.
In early 2001, ground was broken for the construction of several additional churches on a parcel of land in Jebel Ali donated by the government of Dubai to four Protestant congregations and a Roman Catholic congregation. Construction on the first Greek Orthodox Church in Dubai (to be called St. Mary's) began at the end of 2005. The land for the construction of the church was also donated by the government to the Greek Orthodox community of Dubai.
Financial support to non-Muslim groups from the Dubai government comes in the form of donated land for the construction of churches and other religious facilities, including cemeteries. They are permitted to raise money from among their congregants and to receive financial support from abroad. Christian churches are permitted to openly advertise church functions.
Oil reserves in Dubai are less than one-twentieth those of Abu Dhabi, and oil income represents a small proportion of the emirate's income.
Dubai and its twin across the Dubai creek, Deira (independent at that time), became important ports of call for Western manufacturers. Most of the new city's banking and financial centres were headquartered in the port area. Dubai maintained its importance as a trade route through the 1970s and 1980s. The city of Dubai has a free trade in gold and until the 1990s was the hub of a "brisk smuggling trade" of gold ingots to India, where gold import was restricted.
Today, Dubai is an important tourist destination and port (Jebel Ali, constructed in the 1970s, has the largest man-made harbour in the world), but also increasingly developing as a hub for service industries such as IT and finance, with the new Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Transport links are bolstered by its rapidly-expanding Emirates Airline, founded by the government in 1985 and still state-owned; based at Dubai International Airport, it carried over 12 million passengers in fiscal year 2005.
The government has set up industry-specific free zones throughout the city. Dubai Internet City, now combined with Dubai Media City as part of TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority) is one such enclave whose members include IT firms such as EMC Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, and IBM, and media organisations such as MBC, CNN, Reuters, ARY and AP. Dubai Knowledge Village (KV),an education and training hub, is also set up to complement the Free Zone’s other two clusters, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, by providing the facilities to train the clusters' future knowledge workers. Internet access is restricted in most areas of Dubai with a proxy server filtering out sites deemed to be against cultural and religious values of the UAE - this includes any .il (Israeli) domains. However, areas served by TECOM (an internet service provider) are currently not filtered.
 Real estate and property
The government's decision to diversify from a trade-based but oil-reliant economy to one that is service- and tourism-oriented has made real estate more valuable, resulting in the property boom from 2004-2006. Construction on a large scale has turned Dubai into one of the fastest growing cities in the world, equalled only by the large Chinese cities.
The property boom is largely driven by Mega-Projects -
The aspirations of the ruling sheikh are reflected by the ultra-modern architecture of the city; home to iconic skyscrapers such as Emirates Towers, which are the 12th and 24th tallest buildings in the world,<ref name="enquirer">"Dubai to build mega project", by Jim Krane, The Enquirer, 4 February 2005</ref> and the Burj al-Arab located on its very own island in the Persian Gulf and currently the tallest hotel in the world.
Emaar Properties is currently constructing what will become the world's tallest structure, the Burj Dubai. The final height of the skyscraper is a closely guarded secret - an indication of the developer's resolve to attain the title of the world's tallest building and its intention to hold on to it for as long as possible - but estimates so far point to a height upwards of 810m. Burj Dubai is expected to be completed in 2008. Burj Dubai's neighbour is another behemoth under construction: the world's largest shopping mall - the Dubai Mall.
Also under construction is what is planned to become Dubai's new Central Business District, named Business Bay. The project, when completed, will feature a phenomenal 500 skyscrapers built around an artificial extension of the existing Dubai Creek.
In February 2005, the construction of Dubai Waterfront was announced,<ref name="enquirer" /> it will be 2½ times the size of Washington D.C., roughly seven times the size of the island of Manhattan. Dubai Waterfront will be a mix of canals and islands full of hotels and residential areas that will add 800 km (500 miles) of man-made waterfront. It will also contain Al Burj, another one of the tallest buildings in the world.
Dubai has also launched Dubiotech. This is a new park to be targeted at Biotech companies working in pharma, medical fields, genetic research and even biodefense. The aim of this park is to foster the growth of this sector in Dubai and to utilize the region's talent in addressing this rapidly growing sector.
The International Media Production Zone is a project targeted at creating a hub for printers, publishers, media production companies, and related industry segments. Launched in 2003, the project is scheduled to be completed in 2006.
A new project was announced on May 1 2006 by the authorities. It is named Bawadi and will consist of a 27 billion US-dollar investment intended to increase Dubai's number of hotel rooms by 29,000, doubling it from the current figure offers now. The largest complex will be called Asia, Asia and will be the largest hotel in the world with more than 6,500 rooms.
The first villa freehold properties that were occupied by non-UAE nationals were The Meadows, The Springs, and The Lakes (high-end neighbourhoods designed by Emaar Properties, collectively called Emirates Hills).
Expatriates of various nationalities have been pouring capital into Dubai in the past several years, greatly contributing to the city's prosperity. Iranian expatriates alone are estimated to have invested up to US$200 Billion in Dubai.
Dubai interests have also purchased large amounts of real estate in foreign countries, in particular snapping up trophy properties in global centers like New York and London. Purchases in 2005 included New York's 230 Park Avenue (formerly known as the New York Central Building or the Helmsley Building) and Essex House on Central Park South.
See the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing's list of developments  in Dubai for more information.
Since 2000, Dubai's municipality has initiated a plethora of construction phases and plans across the entire city of Dubai, predominantly in the Mina Seyahi area, located further from Jumeirah, towards Jebel Ali. In many areas, it is not easy to see Dubai's sky without at least one crane in your view; Industry experts cautiously estimate that 15% to 25% of the world's cranes are in Dubai.<ref>Burj cranes of Dubai, by Emmanuelle Landais, Gulf News, May 13 2006</ref> Construction in Dubai and the UAE in general is a much faster process than in any Western country. This is partly because labourers from the Indian subcontinent accept lower wages than those from other countries.
One of the main reasons for the boom in construction in Dubai is its drive to diversify the economy. The Dubai government does not want to depend on its oil reserves which are largely believed to become exhausted by 2010 and, as such, has diversified its economy to attract revenues in the form of expanding commercial and corporate activity. Tourism is also being promoted at a staggering rate with the construction of Dubailand and other projects that include the making of mammoth shopping malls, theme parks, resorts, stadiums and various other tourist attractions.
Another reason for the construction boom is the recent reversal of a law in 2002 that allows non-nationals of the UAE to own property (not land) in Dubai (albeit freehold and 99 year leases are actually sold to people with ownership still remaining with private companies). The larger of the property tycoons are Al Nakheel and Emaar Properties. In Dubai, demand is currently outstripping supply by a significant margin and is showing no signs of slowing in the near future. Rents have skyrocketed with the recent inflow of professionals and companies from around the world who are attracted by Dubai's no-tax benefits although rises have been capped to 15% per annum up to 2006 under a directive from Sheikh Mohammad. Legislation in this area is still developing as the property market for foreigners is relatively new.
 Human rights and labour
People born in the United Arab Emirates are not considered citizens unless their parents are citizens. Thus those born in the UAE to expatriates are also considered expatriates. The massive construction projects currently in Dubai have required more construction workers than there are citizens of the city (note: over 80% of Dubai's population consists of expatriates/non-citizens). This has led to massive importation of low-wage workers, mostly from India and Pakistan.<ref>Dubai - Global Talent Magnet, by John Hagel, Edge Perspectives with John Hagel, December 11 2005</ref> Most of these workers are forced to give up their passports upon entering Dubai, making it very difficult to return home. NPR reports that workers "typically live eight to a room, sending home a portion of their salary to their families, whom they don't see for years at a time." Others report that their salary has been withheld to pay back loans, making them little more than indentured servants.<ref>"Dubai Economic Boom Comes at a Price for Workers", by Ivan Watson, NPR, March 8 2006</ref> The BBC has reported that "local newspapers often carry stories of construction workers allegedly not being paid for months on end. They are not allowed to move jobs and if they leave the country to go home they will almost certainly lose the money they say they are owed. The names of the construction companies concerned are not published in the newspapers for fear of offending the often powerful individuals who own them.".<ref>"Workers' safety queried in Dubai", by Julia Wheeler, BBC News, September 27 2004</ref>
In December 2005, the Indian consulate in Dubai submitted a report to the Government of India detailing labour problems faced by Indian expatriates in the emirate. The report highlighted delayed payment of wages, substitution of employment contracts, premature termination of services and excessive working hours as being some of the challenges faced by Indian workers in the city.<ref>"Indian government gets report on problems of Indians in UAE", newKerala.com, December 23 2005</ref>
On 21 March 2006, tensions boiled over at the construction site of the Burj Dubai as workers upset over low wages and poor working conditions rioted, damaging cars, offices, computers, and construction tools. A Dubai Interior Ministry official said the rioters caused approximately one million U.S. dollars in damage. On March 22 most workers returned to work but refused to work. The work stoppage also caused workers building a new terminal at Dubai International Airport to strike.<ref>"Workers Riot at Site of Dubai Skyscraper", by Jim Krane, Breitbart.com, March 22 2006</ref>
The alleged labour injustices in Dubai have attracted the attention of various Human Rights groups. Mafi Wasta, for example, is a website created specifically for the purpose of persuading the government of the UAE to sign up to 2 of the ILO's (International Labour Organization) 7 core conventions - namely 87 and 98 - which allows for labour unions. The site lists examples of human rights violations in the country. Human Rights Watch said that the men were treated "less than human".
However, the UAE government has denied any kind of labour injustices and has stated that the watchdog's (Human Rights Watch) accusations were misguided.<ref>UAE to allow construction unions BBC News, March 30 2006, retrieved April 24 2006</ref> Towards the end of March 2006, the government announced steps to allow construction unions. UAE labour minister Ali al-Kaabi said: "Labourers will be allowed to form unions."
Prostitution, though illegal by law, is conspicuously present in the emirate because of an economy that is largely based on tourism and trade. There is a high demand for women from Eastern Europe. According to the World Sex Guide, a website catering to sex tourists, Russian and Ethiopian women are the most common prostitutes, while Indian prostitutes are part of a well organized trans-Oceanic prostitution network.<ref>Globalising Prostitution in the Middle East, by Dan Stoenescu, AMCIPS- American Center for International Policy Studies</ref>
Sources disagree on whether or not Jews are "banned" from Dubai; Der Spiegel writes that "all Jews are strictly banned from entering the country",<ref>Osama's Nightmare, Der Spiegel, 2006</ref> while other sources suggest that only Israeli citizens have their visas routinely denied and that rejection of visa applications for Jews of non-Israeli citizenship is "expat urban legend."<ref>Freedom of Religion, Mandy Cosser, 2005</ref>. The official line reported by local newspapers is that the Dubai government is anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic. This would seem to be supported by posts on Dubai-based internet forums from Jewish residents, which confirm that there are expat Jews living in Dubai and also visiting for purposes of business or tourism.
Residents are now required to take permission from their employers to obtain a driving licence, if they do not already hold a foreign one. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), reinstating a rule abolished about four years ago, issued a circular to all driving schools in Dubai asking them to make it mandatory for applicants to obtain a no-objection-certificate (NOC) from their employers to take driving lessons. No one is allowed to learn driving with effect from October 1 without getting a NOC from his or her employer; however, expats who already hold a foreign licence and wish to convert it to a UAE one do not need a NOC.
Dubai has a fairly large bus system run by the Dubai Municipality. The bus system has 59 unique routes on weekdays and transports over 200,000 people each week. Although the Public Transport bus system is large it is not large enough to accommodate the volume of people who would like to use it. The system has come under increasing criticism because of lack of capacity. The government has issued plastic, swipable "e-go" cards. There are also several discounts and period pass options available. Unfortunately though, the bus network is used extensively by lower income groups and does not do enough to attract higher income earners who would do well to use the bus transport system and ease traffic congestion that has recently become a major problem in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Traffic congestion has come about mainly due to lack of foresight on the recent rapid population increase, the relative ease of credit facilities for obtaining a car and the convoluted road networks that are constantly being changed, improved or reconstructed. Furthermore, Dubai has developed a reputation for having the most deaths and road accidents in the developed world clocking in with a statistic of having a minor road accident at least every 3 minutes. Due to the frequency of such incidents, road networks are blocked and held up quite frequently.
Dubai also has an extensive taxi system, by far the most frequently used means of public transport within the emirate. There are both government-operated and private cab companies. The Dubai Transport Corporation operates cream-coloured taxis. Some of the private cab companies are Cars Taxi, National Taxi, Cititaxi and Metro Taxi. Prices are reasonable (the meter begins as Dhs. 3, which is approximately 50 pence, or 1 USD), and are charged by distance, although if the cab stops for more than 1 minute, 1/2 a dirham will be added to the meter. Taxi drivers will usually try to avert this happening in traffic queues by moving slightly forward every 30 seconds or so. Cabs can be found anywhere, any time although difficulties may be experienced during large events.
There is currently a $3.89 billion Dubai Metro project under construction for the emirate. The Metro system is expected to be partially operational by 2009 and fully operational by 2012. The construction contract for the project was given to Dubai Rapid Link (DURL),<ref>Dubai Municipality signs Dhs12.45 billion Metro contract, Dubai Metro, May 29 2005</ref> a consortium led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Also involved are two other Japanese corporations, Obayashi and Kajima, and a Turkish company, Yapi Merkezi. The metro will comprise two lines: the Green Line from Rashidiya to the main city center and the Red Line from the airport to Jebel Ali. The Dubai Metro (Green and Blue Lines) will have 70 kilometres of track and 43 stations, 33 above ground and ten underground. Trains are expected to run every 90 seconds when the project is completed. Recently, the Blue Line connecting Dubai International Airport to the new Jebel Ali Port and Dubai World Central International Airport was announced. The route will run 47 km through Dubailand, but the exact number of stations is unknown. Dubai is building this train system to ease congestion on its road network and to meet the transportation demands of its growing population. Seven monorails are also slated to be constructed to help feed the Metro system, connecting various places such as Dubailand, Palm Jumeirah, et al, to the main track.
 Ports and water travel
Dubai is serviced by several commercial ports and Dubai Creek is still used by local traders in Dhows:
One of the more traditional methods of getting across Bur Dubai to Deira is through abras, small boats that ferry passengers across the Dubai creek, between abra stations in Bastakiya and Bani Yas Road, for a nominal charge of 50 fils (1/2 AED).
The Dubai International Airport is a hub for Emirates airlines and has a large Duty Free shopping centre. The airport has won numerous awards for its excellence in design and services. A third terminal is currently under construction and is due to open in 2006. The new terminal will be dedicated to Emirates airlines and will fully support the new Airbus A380. When completed this will double the capacity of the airport.
A second airport located at Jebel Ali — (which has been renamed as Dubai World Central International Airport although still retaining the IATA code of JXB) and a new free trade area within Dubai, marking the centrepiece of the Jebel Ali Airport City — was announced in 2004 and construction began in January 2005. The first part is expected to be completed by 2008. Although initially intended as a predominantly cargo airport, plans are afoot for the new Jebel Ali airport to handle some 120 million passengers per annum within 20 years, and would likely surpass Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, currently the world's busiest airport, which handles 88.4 million passengers as of 2005.
Dubai is investing heavily in developing the reach of its airline, Emirates. The idea is to develop Dubai's air transportation ability so that passengers from any city can fly direct to Dubai. When Emirates Airline receives the Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner series aircraft, it will be able to offer direct access to virtually any major city in the world. The airline has placed an order of 45 of Airbus's A-380 'superjumbo' doubledecker aircraft, the largest of which has a capacity of 641 passengers. The A380 aircraft have already been charted to fly from 2007 onwards. In addition, Emirates has placed an order of 42 of the new Boeing 777 aircraft in November 2005.
Dubai's location makes it unique in its international connectivity and access.
 Postal system
In parts what is being dubbed as "New Dubai," or some parts of Dubai that range west from Sheikh Zayed Road to Jebel Ali Free Zone, the formal addressing system is: sector number, community number, street number and building number. In common practice, an address consists of: street number, building number and community name although the order may vary. For example:
Street 1a, Villa 2
Umm Suqeim 3
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
In older parts of Dubai (Deira, Bur Dubai), or what comprises Dubai City and the newer commercial/business area of Dubai, street or sector addresses, historically, tend not be used; however, use of the official street map will show that all sectors and thoroughfares have been designated. Location tends to be identified via building name and a landmark, which may very well mean that a person not familiar with or new to Dubai may be unable to find his/her destination. For example:
Suite 803, City Tower 2
Opposite Emirates Hotel
Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The UAE post is delivered to post office boxes. There is no home delivery.
 History of the postal system
A post office of British India was opened August 19, 1909. It used the stamps of India on mail, with postmark "Dubai Persian Gulf", until India's independence in 1947, then stamps of Pakistan until March 31, 1948. When Pakistan came into existence, the British government set up a postal administration for Eastern Arabia and used overprinted British stamps until January 7, 1961, when Dubai issued its own stamps inscribed "Trucial States". Despite the name, these were only on sale in Dubai's post office.
The Dubai Post Department took over the postal service on June 14, 1963 and the following day issued a series of stamps depicting sea life, views of Dubai, and Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This was the opening salvo of a barrage of stamp issues over the next few years. The emirate discovered that stamp collectors were willing to give it money for colored labels with "Dubai" printed on them, and by the time the postal system was merged with those of other emirates in mid-1972, it had issued over 400 stamps, few of which ever saw usage on mail.
Some primary schools conduct entrance tests. Most schools cater to one or more expatriate communities. Our Own English High School, the Dubai Modern High School, and the Indian High School offer either a CBSE or an ICSE Indian syllabus. Dubai English Speaking School, Jumeirah Primary School, Jebel Ali Primary School, Jumeirah English Speaking School, King's School and the Horizon School all offer British primary education up to the age of eleven.Dubai British School Dubai College, English College, and Jumeirah College are all British eleven-to-eighteen secondary schools which offer GCSE and A-Levels. St. Mary's Catholic High School offers the British curriculum GSCE and A-Level programmes to the Dubai community. The Emirates International School, Wellington School and Cambridge International High School are also secondary schools that offer a combination of GCSE, IGCSE, and IB courses to the expatriate community. Cambridge International and St. Mary's are popular choices for the Indian expat community. The International School of Choueifat and Emirates International School offer both British and American curricula. Dubai English Speaking School and Jumeirah English Speaking School are the number one primary schools of choice for many expats, with Dubai College leading the list of secondary schools.
A growing number of K-12 schools offer the American syllabus. The American School of Dubai (ASD), which is located in Jumeirah, and Dubai American Academy (DAA) in Al Barsha have been around the longest. ASD offers an accredited American high school diploma; DAA offers both an American-accredited high school diploma and the International Baccalaureate [IB] diploma. There are also some primary and high schools that offer Canadian and Japanese syllabi.
Many expatriates tend to send their children back to their home country or to western countries for university education. However, a sizable number of foreign accredited universities have been set up in the city over the last ten years. Some of these universities include the American University in Dubai (AUD), The American College of Dubai, Al Ghurair University, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Heriot-Watt University, Middlesex University, Dubai, the Higher Colleges of Technology (Dubai Women's College and Dubai Men's College campuses,University of Wollongong in Dubai, Dublin's Dubai business school, European University College Brussels, Dubai, Mahatma Gandhi University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, British University of Dubai, SP Jain Center Of Management(part of India's reputed Business School SP Jain Institute of Management & Research) and Zayed University.
 Cultural and Artistic Developments
Dubai is quickly aspiring to enrich its cultural scene with the $13.6 billion development of the Dubai Cultural Village. This development will include art museums and performing arts centers as well as libraries, schools for music and dance, rare book stores and open spaces for recreation.
- Dubai has a growing number of stages including the Royal Hall at the Dubai Pearl, and the Dubai Community Theatre. The Madinat Theatre is also one of the most significant and luxurious theaters in the region, hosting many West-End productions.
- The Dubai film festival is an annual film festival that attracts the stars from all over the world. Dubai is also developing the Dubai Studio City which aims to be a center for artistic production on the screen.
- Dubai is currently building an island opera house which has been designed by Zaha Hadid.
- An art museum and a general museum are currently being built.
- The Dubai Chamber Orchestra was founded in 2002 and performs in the various existing and newly developed concert venues.
Dubai maintains cultural, economic and educational ties with: