In September, the University of Arizona welcomed the Sultanate of Oman Armed Forces delegation as part of the weeklong Arizona National Guard Oman Leadership Summit. Coordinated by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, the summit was a celebration of Arizona’s newest state partnership through the State Partnership Program (SPP) and an opportunity to explore areas of collaboration.
“Arizona National Guard is excited to build the relationship with Oman through the State Partnership Program and expand with a whole of government approach to grow ties between the public and private sectors for long-term mutual benefit and understanding,” said State Partnership Program Coordinator Col. Pete Caffrey.
The delegation visited multiple Arizona locations, including the 161st Air Refueling Wing, 162nd Fighter Wing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Arizona State University campus, and the University of Arizona Biosphere 2 and campus.
At Biosphere 2, delegates heard from a panel of UArizona experts in sustainability research. Jon Chorover, interim associate vice president for the Research Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences and Cooperative Extension shared details of prior collaboration between UArizona and Oman, including the development of the Central Date Palm Laboratory in Oman, part of the One Million Date Palm Trees Project, which aims to increase sustainable date production in the country.
Dean of the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Iman Hakim discussed how climate change is the biggest health threat facing humanity and the role that UArizona will play in helping communities adapt to this global crisis. Shane C. Burgess, Charles-Sander Dean of the College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences and vice president for the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension, discussed the University’s research in the fields of sustainability, future agriculture, commerce and technology, human sciences, biomedical and human wellness, and natural resources.
The UArizona campus visit included presentations and discussions on the University’s many accomplishments in the areas of data, environment, health, national security, quantum, and space. University representatives included Dr. Elliot Chue, interim senior vice president of Research and Innovation, Tom Koch, dean of the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, Marcia Rieke, professor of astronomy and principal investigator for the near-infrared camera (NIRCam) on the James Webb Space Telescope, Kray Luxbacher, professor and head of the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering, and Karthik Kannan, dean of the Eller College of Management.
The visit to UArizona concluded with a reception and dinner attended by Vice President for Arizona International and Dean of International Education, Dr. Jenny Lee who commented,
“The Arizona National Guard Oman Leadership Summit has provided a platform for the University of Arizona to explore areas of mutual interest and growth. We look forward to harnessing our diverse expertise and capabilities for the benefit of both parties and broader communities, and to continuing our long history of collaboration with the Omani government and institutions.”
In addition to the University’s involvement with the One Million Date Palm Trees Project, Eller Executive Education formalized an agreement in 2021 with the Oman Ministry of Finance to provide leadership development services. Since then, this partnership helped establish the prestigious Institute of Public Administration in Oman as a regional hub for leadership programming, thought leadership and research.
In 2012, under the guidance and vision of His Excellency Sultan AL Harthy – the recipient of the UArizona 2010 College of Architecture most distinguished alumni award – Omani experts created the world’s largest outdoor Omani Falaj (irrigation system) exhibition at the University of Arizona Biosphere 2. The exhibition was funded by the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center and became the most popular attraction at Biosphere 2.
Arizona Defense Department State Partnership Program
The Arizona Defense Department State Partnership Program is managed and administered by the National Guard Bureau. The program links a state’s National Guard with a partner nation’s military, security forces and disaster response organizations in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship. Arizona has a 30-year partnership with the Republic of Kazakhstan and in March of 2023 established a partnership with the Sultanate of Oman.
Learn more about the State Partnership Program.