Marcel Winatschek's Tokyopunk


This week, we were proud to welcome a number of dignitaries and experts to Qatar University as we hosted the THE Middle East Universities Summit co-organized with Times Higher Education (THE) magazine.  Members of government and diplomatic community, regional and international university leaders, and  high-level experts in higher education all came together in this first such conference in the Middle East.

The focus on university ranking was a timely topic for discussion for universities in the region and was an opportunity to highlight regional dynamics, perspective and challenges in this context.

Higher education in the region has witnessed some remarkable advances in the past few decades marked significantly by the boom of GCC economies and ensuing social and educational advances, the maturation of research cultures at established universities, and the fruition of the founding phases of many higher education institutions across the region.   The subject of university ranking is relatively new to the region, but interest in it  is gaining momentum in our societies and throughout our respective institutions.  We are conscious of the challenges and commitments involved in undertaking the rankings journey. We are also committed to the dialogue on the impact of geography, history, and the current political and economic environment on higher education and interested in contributing to the discussion on how to develop relevant and meaningful metrics for MENA university rankings.

As it addressed these and other topics, I hope this event will mark the beginning of a new and exciting era in MENA rankings as well in how universities in the region collaborate for excellence in research and education.

Last week, QU signed a series of agreements with several leading Japanese institutions and companies that will serve to strengthen the long-held links the university and Qatar share with Japan and its people.  MOUs with Osaka University, Institute of Developing Economies/Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO), and the Japan Institute for Energy Economics (IEEJ) will promote academic and research cooperation, student and faculty exchanges, and other areas that support joint educational and cultural programs and initiatives.

The agreements will benefit College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) initiatives such as Gulf Studies Center and the Arabic for Non-Native Speakers Center, and add to CAS’ continuing relationship with Japanese entities including its 2012 agreement with Marubeni Corporation that has engendered Chairs in humanities and social sciences, and provided new faculty members at the beginning of the academic year  to teach courses related to Japan, its history, culture and language.

The QU-Japan relationship can also be seen in the agreement between College of Engineering with Osaka University (September 2014), funding support from LNG Japan for the College of Education’s new Training Center for Early Childhood Teachers (TCECT) (June 2014), funding by Japanese company QPD for the College of Law and the Alumni Association (2013), and the Embassy of Japan’s annual donation of books to QU Library where a Japan Corner is also housed.

In closing, I would like to highlight research poster wins by College of Pharmacy students Aya Al-Shammaa, Heba Al-Taweel, Noran Zahran, Soumaya Allouch, Hanen Alrowashdeh and Tesnime Jebara at the 5th Annual Pharmaceutical Care Conference in Oman, and CAS BA Social Work student Mayasah Al Ma’mari at the first scientific forum for female students from universities and higher education institutions in the GCC.  Additionally, best of luck to the CENG students  – Abdulhadi Jaralla Al Qahtani, Ahmed Saleh Janahi, Ajad Hossain Howlader, Elrumisa Hassan Mohamed, Gehad Essam Desouky, Sirine Koubaa, Hamad Jassim Al-Bahar, Mohammed Talal El-gergawi, Khalid Ali Al-Qahtani, Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi, Ibrahim Al-Mulla, Mohammed A Abdulla, Luma Shalabi, Nour Alhouda Zargayoun, and Sherouk Mohamed Morsi — who will be taking part in upcoming Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) Asia which will be held in Manila on February 25 – March 1.