Marcel Winatschek's Tokyopunk


24/03/2014

Last week saw a number of high-level and critical forums held at QU that drew participants from the diplomatic community, government ministries, academia, and civil society to advance dialogue on timely issues relevant to Qatar and the region.

The two-day conference “Perspectives on Middle East Studies” held jointly by QU and Cambridge University, organized by College of Arts & Sciences, drew the attendance of a number of ambassadors, top academics, experts on the GCC and the Middle East, faculty and researchers from QU, Cambridge, and other academic institutions in Qatar, students from QU, and several visiting from Peace College of North Carolina.

In this very important forum, participants discussed issues such as language, culture, media, women, literature, politics and others. This was a wonderful example of the importance of an interdisciplinary perspective, scholarly exchange and collaboration. We continue to seize opportunities such as these to expand collaboration activities with current and new partners to support dialogue that is critical not only for Qatar and the Gulf but also worldwide.

Labour markets and migration are also key issues for the Gulf region and the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute and Gulf Studies Center were instrumental in bringing together top experts in academia, research and government at a 2-day roundtable to share insights and findings on “Labour Migration in the Arab Gulf Countries: Issues, Data, Documents and Research”. Both SESRI and the Center stand as two very important partners with institutions and organizations in Qatar and the Gulf in bringing to the fore topical issues to build constructive dialogue on ways through which possible solutions can be examined.

Education reform continues as a critical area of focus in Qatar. The College of Education’s annual conference on March 22-23 highlighted the institutional commitment to contributing to successful education reform and the College’s key role in providing the forum for educators, policymakers, teachers and parents to participate in dialogue, seeking solutions and making recommendations. The College’s recent Open Day “Teacher and Proud” was a further showcase of this dedication.

The event was an opportunity to promote the teaching profession. It received the support of the Qatar Minister of Education and Higher Education and featured students’ oral presentations of research projects, “Teacher Memories” presentations, and information booths from teachers from 7 preparatory, elementary and secondary independent schools in Doha. The teaching profession stands at the forefront of Qatar’s growth and progress and it was a proud moment for the College who is a leading partner in developing a cadre of excellent teachers and educators whose work will help to advance the goals outlined in the national vision and development strategies.

Our road safety initiatives received a US$1 million contribution from ExxonMobil Qatar n March 16 in a 2-year partnership signed with Qatar Road Safety Studies Center to raise awareness of road safety and accident prevention. The partnership which has support from MOI Traffic Department, will serve to conduct research including in-depth analysis of vehicle accidents, safety assessment of school buses, pedestrian traffic studies, traffic management, and safety of Doha’s highways. Extensive research will also focus on predicting potentially- hazardous road conditions through to 2022. Road safety is an area of critical importance in a country that is experiencing such rapid development as Qatar. It is incumbent on us to collaborate with these two partners and others in finding long-term solutions for this issue that stands at the heart of the welfare and safety of the people of Qatar.

I am pleased to share news of the launch of QU Model United Nations which is scheduled for May in Katara Hall. About 300-400 students from universities and high schools in Qatar — of which 80% will be from QU — will take part in the opening session which will discuss the Arab Spring, Syrian crisis, Palestinian question, global and GCC economics, and trade and sustainable development. The initiative is organized by CAS Department of International Affairs and the Student Services Department — it gives students hands-on experience to tackle contemporary world issues and helps them to hone their negotiation skills and build their self-confidence.
The launch was announced at the discussion session featuring Hamas political bureau leader Khaled Mashal on The Palestinian Cause and the Dynamic of Reconciliation. This event highlighted QU’s commitment to providing its students with opportunities to interact with leaders in Qatar, the Gulf and internationally, on topics that impact their environment and their communities.