FAU Is The Most Diverse University In The State University System Of Florida


During our February 16 webinar "Cross-Border Business Development; Palm Beach & Bahrain" we were honored to have so many diplomats and professionals speak about the evolving relationship between the business and educational communities of Palm Beach and Bahrain, including Peter Ricci, EdD, Director, Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida Atlantic University.



Thank you Al, it's great to be here this morning — the conversation fascinating. Thank you so much.


You know, the first thing I'll say is we are one of the top hospitality schools in the world, and I had the pleasure last year - we offered a certificate during COVID, and I met many people from Bahrain through the certificate. The Kingdom is such a fascinating tourism destination itself, with the underwater adventure park and our similarity to Manatees came up in the dugongs.


We talked about that, and we had students from all over the country, primarily when I'm in the capital. But we are a tourism business focused program that is very global. FAU is the most diverse University in the state University system of Florida. During our certificate, we had visitors, I'll call them from 165 countries. Our programs are predicated on a distance learning or face to face combination, whichever benefits the student of the time.


So we do hybrid. We do countries that come periodically and stay for six months and then the rest online. We do online virtually from all over the world. So all these opportunities are there. Our faculty, if you notice, around the globe, many hospitality programs are moving into business colleges within their host universities.


And there's a very important reason for that. That's because the business has turned very much into metrics, finance, and criteria measured by business success more than the historical tourism of just guest service and welcoming others. So our program is AACSB accredited, which is the association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business. That only comprises about 20% of the programs in the world in business schools. So our students have been attracted now globally, and I think there's tremendous synergy with the Kingdom because of our similarities in offering — the beauty of the water, the diving, the resorts, the temperature, the climate, all these things very much match.


I believe if we did a joint program where we could go to both countries and have experience, the students experience both societies, it truly would be a global force. The comments from the certificate takers in Bahrain, they were fascinated when they came to Florida to see us – as our students were fascinated in the similarities when they went to Bahrain. They found it very welcoming. They found it very tourism focused and quite honestly a fantastic destination for the value. So I think the next decade we could really partner on something of great synergy without any marketing dollars. Our program has grown to be one of the largest in the States within its short decade plus history.


We're already over 1000 students per seat, and I just love the diversity. So our program information, my contact information will all be shared with you thanks to Al's great efforts on this, but I would love to carry a tourism conversation further. Not only will they get a very strong business education to take their businesses to the next level in the Kingdom. But if they choose to stay in the States for six or nine months and experience our resorts or our theme parks, there's so much synergy there. I mean the pearls and your date palms. So many things that are unique to the Kingdom really translate well to South Florida.


I'm just super happy to be here and I'd really love to carry this conversation forward. I thank you very much.


— Peter Ricci, EdD

Director, Hospitality & Tourism Management

Florida Atlantic University



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