The Emirate of Dubai as a modern example of paradiplomacy
Material posted: Publication date: 05-01-2020

Modern international relations can be characterized by several new trends: geopolitical instability, the information revolution, diffusion (bundle) power. The latter trend is due primarily to the ongoing process of globalization and characterized by increasing prominence of sub-state elements – units of Federal States (regions, regions) and cities that allows you to develop paradiplomacy. Actors of paradiplomacy have become increasingly influential players in the process of creating a network of international relations of the state, without affecting the validity of state sovereignty.

In this regard, it is necessary to consider the efforts of the Emirate of Dubai to implement the diplomacy of the United Arab Emirates as an example of paradiplomacy. Dubai is the most populous and second largest Emirate in the UAE. Considered an unofficial center of the country, where the majority of foreign companies, educational institutions, the largest number of foreign residents, and that attracts the largest number of tourists in comparison with other Emirates. Due to the significant financial resources and sophisticated advertising companies, the UAE government managed to transform Dubai into the main compiler of the country's soft power internationally. Speaking about the criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of the paradiplomacy of sub-state units, we can distinguish five most important: government, cultural, educational, economic, information and criterion for inclusion.

From the point of view of the government's criteria, goals and objectives conducive to the implementation of the strategy of soft power embodied in the official documents of the government of Dubai. So, in the document “Eight principles of Dubai” has such provisions as: “Dubai is the capital of the economy”; “development of the Dubai occurs in three dimensions” (this refers to the sustainable management apparatus, the openness of the private and parastatal sectors to foreigners); “the Society of Dubai is unique” (open to all, by setting positive examples)[1]. This document is the government of the Emirate of Dubai reinforce the goals of paradiplomacy and confirms that Dubai will strengthen its reputation through tools of soft power.

This criterion may also include information. An important activity of the leadership of Dubai – the creation of “smart” government (smart/digital government) as an example of “government of the future” for other countries. For this purpose, in 2001 a project was launched electronic government (e-government). The referenced sub-index includes the promotion of Dubai in any of the available online platforms through diplomacy social networks, where authorities are actively developing their accounts. No doubt, these modern mechanisms of management of the city more accessible to help translate and explain the policies of Dubai for the international community.

Speaking of cultural and educational criteria, it is important to note that Dubai is an international cultural platform for the creation of a broad network of relationships with foreign partners. In addition, the Dubai - influential art centre in the middle East: here there are such large international events, like festivals, Art Dubai and Sikka Art Fair. It is important to note that when a large number of collaborations with representatives of other countries, the UAE authorities attach great importance to broadcast Emirati cultural values to an international audience – for that special centres of the traditions and heritage of Dubai Centre for Heritage Development and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding[2]. The most high-profile cultural event, is expected to become the international world exhibition Dubai Expo 2020, which will be held in the middle East. As for education, Dubai is rightly positioning itself as an international educational hub – there are more than 25 branches of foreign schools and 63 higher educational institutions, including the United States, England, Australia, Canada, Russia (some of them are only in the middle East)[3]. Foreigners make up the majority of students in Dubai – only students from the UK there are over 12 million (which is 40% of the total number of students in the Emirate).[4] Therefore, the Dubai authorities successfully cope with the task of increasing the number of educational exchanges with the purpose of showcasing Emirati model of life to other States and attract young specialists for their further work in the UAE.

The criterion of involvement is correlated with several indicators. First of all, this business environment and attractiveness for investors – here Dubai has managed to achieve impressive results. So, the Emirate has earned a reputation as an important financial and investment hub in the international rankings[5], leaving behind, for example, Riyadh (KSA). Also the Emirate of Dubai is the third attraction in the world for foreign investors (in 2019 the number of foreign investment into the economy of Dubai has increased by 20%[6]). Thus, in the eyes of the international community have a strong image of Dubai as a stable and promising financial centre.

The development of international relations in the field of tourism and sport also can be an indicator of the success of implementation of paradiplomacy. Annually attracting around 16 million tourists (the majority from India, Saudi Arabia and Russia), Dubai in 2019 became the seventh most visited city in the world[7]. As for the sporting events in Dubai is most developed horse riding is an annual event the Dubai World Cup in this area is the international competition with the largest prize Fund ($35 million.), where involved more than 20 countries, mostly European[8]. In addition, Dubai emerged the initiative to hold sports competitions between governmental, non-professional sports teams – Government Games, involving civil servants from different countries. So, in 2019 these competitions for the second time with the participation of teams from USA, UK, Russia, Saudi Arabia[9]. Designated activities will definitely allow Dubai to establish various contacts with foreign colleagues more effective informal ways.

To the criterion of involvement include the international relations of sub-state actors of paradiplomacy. In this connection it is appropriate to mention the bilateral practice of the twin cities – the international cooperation for the realization of the goals of cultural and public diplomacy, and, accordingly, soft power. Dubai has a similar relationship with 32 cities including Moscow, Shanghai, Geneva, Istanbul, etc.[10]

Based on the foregoing, we can say that the Dubai government has achieved some success in implementing such directions of paradiplomacy as culture, education, tourism, sports, economy, public administration, becoming a leader in many international rankings. The success of these tracks has enabled Dubai to create a recognizable and positive image in the international arena both in reality and in the online space that enables the Emirate to become one of the actors in soft power States without affecting avtoritet the Central government.


[1] محمد بن راشد يضع 8 للحكم مبادئ في دبي [Mohammed bin Rashid outlined 8 principles of management Dubai]. URL: (

[2] About the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanfing [Electronic resource] / Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanfing [website] URL: (accessed: 22.07.2019)

[3] Higher Education in Dubai [Electronic resource] / India Education [website] URL: (date accessed: 22.07.2019)

[4] Dubai strengthens its position as a regional education hub [Electronic resource] / ICEF Monitor [website] URL: (accessed: 22.07.2019)

[5] The Global Financial Centers Index 24 [Electronic resource] / The Global Financial Centers Index [website] – 09.2018 – URL: (date accessed: 02.02.2019)

[6] Why Is Dubai an Attractive City for Investors? [Electronic resource] / Company in Dubai Corporation [website] URL: (accessed: 17. 07.2019)

[7] The 50 Most Visited Cities in the World [Electronic resource] / Big Seven Travel [website] URL: (date accessed: 17.07.2019)

[8] Dubai Racing Club Releases Dubai World Cup 2019 Day Nominations [Electronic resource] / Emirates Racing Authority [website] URL: (date accessed: 26.07.2019)

[9] Hamdan bin Mohammed to lead F3 Team in Games 2019 Gov [Electronic resource] / Crown Prince of Dubai Office [website] – 08.03.19 – URL: (date accessed: 26.07.2019)

[10] Dubai Sister Cities [Electronic resource] / by Dubai City Guide, [website] URL: (date accessed: 26.07.2019)


Anastasia Ilyukhina

Tags: assessment , Near East