We are excited to announce Berklee’s first educational programs in the Arab world at the Berklee Abu Dhabi Center. 

Berklee is the world’s preeminent institute of contemporary music, dance, and theater. Our global vision is to create an interconnected ecosystem of activities that foster and inspire new artistic expressions, idioms, and ideas through leading educational programs.

The Berklee Abu Dhabi Center is the next chapter in our mission to transform arts education and empower artists to better our world. 

Abu Dhabi is situated in one of the most culturally diverse and historically rich parts of the world. Berklee’s new center will be able to partake in the rich and prolific tradition of Arabic music and culture. As Abu Dhabi’s economy continues to grow and diversify, international cultural institutions including the Louvre, the Guggenheim Museum, New York University, and now Berklee are playing a highly valued and critical role in its transformation. 

One-third of the world’s population lives within a four-hour flight of Abu Dhabi. The reach of Berklee’s new center will therefore stretch far beyond Abu Dhabi itself. The center will offer exceptional educational experiences and public performances for students from across the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. 

Berklee alum Steve Vai performs at the opening of the Berklee Abu Dhabi center, February 2020


Berklee's Abu Dhabi Center during the opening weekend in February 2020.

This partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism also encompasses $5 million in fellowships, representing the single largest scholarship program in Berklee’s history, through which students from the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region will be given opportunities to attend Berklee College of Music; Boston Conservatory at Berklee; Berklee's campus in Valencia, Spain; Berklee Online; and summer programs, and to have an impact on the life of Berklee internationally. 

The Berklee Abu Dhabi Center leadership team: Roger Brown, president, Berklee; Mayssa Karaa, artistic director, Berklee Abu Dhabi; Panos Panay, Senior Vice President, Global Strategy and Innovation, Berklee; and Gael Hedding, Director, Berklee Abu Dhabi


His Excellency Chairman Mohamed Khalifa al Mubarak, His Highness Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed, and Berklee President Roger H. Brown

Programs offered at the center in Abu Dhabi will serve local and regional students of all ages with ensembles, private instruction, a recording studio, and instruction in production, songwriting, dance, theater, and more. The programs will not be degree-granting, nor include courses for college credit.

Musical and cultural careers will continue to be more globally dispersed as new markets develop. The Berklee Abu Dhabi Center will prepare students to thrive in a changing environment, adopt a global mindset, and explore fast-developing career opportunities. 

Since its foundation as the first college-level school in the U.S. with a curriculum based in contemporary music, Berklee has had a long history of innovation. We are not simply training people for their careers—we are helping to generate the creative work of the future. Berklee has a history of engaging with global music cultures through the Berklee India Exchange, the Mediterranean Music Institute, and the Latin Music Studies program; through music education programs in Mexico, Italy, Colombia, Japan, Israel, China, South Korea, the Dominican Republic, and many other countries; and through partnerships with 19 music schools spanning four continents.

At Berklee, we believe that an education in the arts deepens cultural awareness and empathy, enhances self-confidence and personal growth, and develops the openness and curiosity essential to creativity. Berklee’s new center will inspire a new generation of globally minded artists eager to make a creative imprint on a connected world and will promote the power of the arts to create positive change in our world.


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