ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management brings ‘100 Million Learners Global Initiative’ to Dubai

Arizona State University’s (ASU) Thunderbird School of Global Management (Thunderbird), home of the world’s No. 1 ranked Master’s in Management and ranked No.1 for innovation in the U.S., today announced that its transformative new global initiative to educate and empower 100 million learners by 2030 will be available to learners in the Middle East. The programme, launched in Phoenix early this year, will be rolled out through the school’s centre of excellence in Dubai which was set up in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre.

Thanks to a historic $25 million donation from the Francis and Dionne Najafi Global Initiative, Thunderbird will offer an online Global Management and Entrepreneurship Certificate, consisting of five world-class courses in 40 different languages, including Arabic. The certificate will be covered by full scholarships and thus will be made available at no cost to learners due to the philanthropic support undergirding the initiative. Learners can pre-register at  to be among the first to be notified when courses are released in the desired language. Starting April 8, 2022, the first course will be available in English.

Thunderbird Director General and Dean, Dr. Sanjeev Khagram, who was in Dubai for the launch, says: “We are using Dubai as a launchpad to drive regional transformation through our 100 Million Learners programme to educate and empower learners in the Middle East, whether it be women, entrepreneurs, or refugees. Education can transform lives, and my life is an example of that. My family of humble origins in India moved to the USA as refugees from Idi Amin’s Uganda. My father had technical education, but my mother never went to college. I was blessed, because of their sacrifices, with a world-class education that transformed my life. I want millions in the Middle East to have access to that world class education, at no cost, to transform their lives.”

The event in Dubai to announce the regional launch of the programme was attended by Mohammed Alblooshi, Sector Head Fintech & Innovation at DIFC; Ali Jawad, Head of Royal Leadership Academy of Oman; Nada Al Harthi, Former VP for Business Affairs at ZainSaudi Arabia; Navin Gupta, Managing Director for South Asia and MENA region at Ripple and Naji El-Khalil, Human Resource Manager at MAK Holdings Limited.

“Our lives were transformed by access to quality education at Thunderbird and we wanted to extend that same transformative experience to people around the world who lack access to quality education,” said the Najafis. “We are excited and deeply humbled to be part of such a bold initiative.”

Learners will receive a badge for each course they complete and a Thunderbird executive education certificate upon successful completion of all five courses. They will gain 21st century skill sets to catapult their professional careers. Learners will also have an almost limitless number of lifelong learning options and alternative educational pathways through Thunderbird and ASU and may even apply for an accredited 15-unit certificate from ASU Thunderbird upon completion.

Educating 100 million learners by 2030 will require a strategic, phased approach. In year one, the Global Initiative aims to reach learners in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India, Colombia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Indonesia, Senegal, Brazil, and Vietnam in ten languages. By year two, the program will be expanded across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America to at least 25 languages. By year four or earlier, the Global Initiative will have expanded to Europe and Central Asia and 40 total languages—thus available for learners worldwide. Eventually, the initiative will be available for all learners around the world, reaching our goal of 100 million learners.

The United Nations estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic has erased 20 years’ worth of educational gains and digital online education has accelerated and expanded dramatically to fill the gap. In addition, the uncertainty and disruption that has come to characterize this era of rapid technological change has displaced many workers and professionals all over the world, increasing the need for upskilling and reskilling in order to seize the immense opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Francis and Dionne Najafi Global Initiative will provide millions of people with the global management and entrepreneurship skill sets that are not only imperative to accelerate personal success and economic prosperity but also to address persistent poverty and increase inequality worldwide. Interested individuals can request additional information and pre-register at: