Emina Osmandzikovic

Ideas are also currency that Emina Osmandzikovic, Class of 2017 uses to enrich her adopted city. As a researcher at TRENDS Research & Advisory, an independent think tank based in Abu Dhabi, she studies migration, displacement, and security. So far, her biggest projects have been in Saudi Arabia, where she studies economic and social integration of Syrian migrants. Through data research she’s mapped out how more than a million displaced Syrians have found shelter in the country.

But she’s also eyeing social trends in the UAE, and everywhere she looks, research is impacting life in positive ways.

For example, residents with special needs in the UAE — people with determination — have access to a growing list of services, a development that Osmandzikovic says has been supported by the work of social scientists. 

Another example is Abu Dhabi’s future interfaith complex, The Abrahamic Family House, which will contain a church, a mosque, and a synagogue on Saadiyat Island. That, too, is an idea supported with research. “You’re seeing all these projects that result from understanding the community better,” she says.

In the years ahead, Osmandzikovic believes that her work, and the work of researchers like her, will help power the UAE’s continued upward trajectory. The UAE has accomplished a lot in less than fve decades, she says, from innovations in clean energy to having one of the region’s strongest passports. “But with more and more initiatives, we will need more and more data to back them up and to make them sustainable.”

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