UNCP's ambassador to the United Arab Emirates
Oxendine (left) with His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan
Mabarak Al Nahayan
additional photos from trip
Very few higher
education conferences have been described as a life-changing events.
But that's how UNCP computing consultant Reggie Oxendine described his
latest academic adventure.
The February conference
was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It was sponsored by the
U.A.E.'s Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT).
With war seeming
to be imminent in the Middle East, Oxendine was faced with one of the
toughest decisions of his life.
"At first I
had mixed feelings about traveling abroad, especially to the Middle
East," Oxendine said. "After doing some research on the conference
and the United Arab Emirates, I realized that this could be a once in
a lifetime opportunity."
"So, I packed
my bags, and, after an 18-hour flight, I arrived in Abu Dhabi,"
Oxendine, who works
for the Office of Outreach and Distance Learning at UNCP, said he never
imagined reaching out this far. The greater the risk, the greater the
reward, Oxendine maintained today.
was both eye opening and life changing," he said. "I realized
that people are people no matter where they live, the color of their
skin, or their religious beliefs. We all have similar needs, views and
While working on
his Master's of Education in Instructional Technology at East Carolina
University, Oxendine heard of the conference through the graduate office.
They were soliciting papers for the "E-ducation Without Borders"
entitled, "E-learning Delivers Global Perspectives," was one
of more than 300 papers submitted. Only 30 were chosen to be presented
at the conference.
in Abu Dhabi, I realized that I was among an elite group of students
studying at many prestigious universities from around the world,"
Oxendine said. "The students presenting papers represented about
20 countries from around the world and the students attending the conference
represented over 50 countries."
As an American in
the Middle East, Oxendine admitted that he felt a little lonely at times.
He made the most of it.
were nine other Americans in attendance at the conference, I was the
only one from the southeastern United States," he said. "That
gave me the chance to tell others about how wonderful North Carolina,
UNC Pembroke, and East Carolina University are to live, work, and receive
One of the keynote
speakers was His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the UAE
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The conference
objectives were to create an environment conducive to the transfer of
information, ideas and concepts and expose delegates to a variety of
cultures and philosophies drawn from a global pool.
Also, the conference
provided a nucleus of high profile speakers that increased delegate's
perspectives on a variety of issues and topics. In addition, it provided
the latest technologies and their interrelationship with the learning
process. The conference also provided a catalyst for e-ducation and
profiles the UAE and the HCT as purveyors of high quality education
with concern to their role in the global community.
was an opportunity to discuss these ideas and views with one another
and apply it to the e-learning and e-ducation environment," Oxendine
said. "I intend to spread the word to other potential students
that may want to attend the E-ducation Without Borders Conference in
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