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QU and Waseda University in Japan launch Chair of the State of Qatar in Islamic Area Studies at Waseda University and host webinar on Gulf-Asian relations | Qatar University

QU and Waseda University in Japan launch Chair of the State of Qatar in Islamic Area Studies at Waseda University and host webinar on Gulf-Asian relations

2021-06-05 00:00:00.0
Chair of the State of Qatar in Islamic Area Studies

In a virtual ceremony, Qatar University (QU) and Waseda University in Japan launch the Chair of the State of Qatar in Islamic Area Studies at Waseda University, which will see the contribution of faculty members from both institutions with the aim of enhancing research cooperation between academic institutions and research centers in various aspects of Islamic civilization.

A number of international dignitaries as well as a large number of experts in the field of Middle East and Islamic studies attended the ceremony including Ambassador of Japan to the State of Qatar, HE Kazuo Sunaga; Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Japan, HE Hassan bin Mohammed Rafi Al Emadi; President of Waseda University, Dr. Aiji Tanaka; QU President, Dr. Hassan Al-Derham; and Chair of the State of Qatar in Islamic Area Studies and Visiting Professor at Waseda University, Dr. Abdullah Baabood. The session was introduced by Director of International Affairs Office, Mr. Cesar Wazen and Waseda University Professor Dr. Keiko Sakurai.

QU President Dr. Hassan Al-Derham said during the ceremony, “Although this event is happening virtually due to the current health and safety precautions - it does not detract from the significance of this occasion.” He adds, “Through establishing the Chair, we draw on the expertise of our two institutions, in order to enhance research cooperation in numerous fields related to Islamic civilization and build greater understanding of the Islamic identity. We aim to develop a network of researchers and research institutions around the globe that promote international and interdisciplinary research in the field of Islamic Area Studies.”

President of Waseda University, Dr. Aiji Tanaka said, “This project began as a proposal from Waseda University to His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, during the Japan-Qatar Economic Forum in 2015. The support of numerous individuals and organizations made it possible to sign an agreement in January 2019. We are grateful for the support and cooperation over the past few years. It is a great honor for Waseda University to contribute to the friendship between Qatar and Japan through research and dedication.”

Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Japan, HE Hassan bin Mohammed Rafi Al Emadi also spoke during the ceremony saying, “This inaugural ceremony holds special importance, we feel a great sense of pride in launching this great academic project, as it follows the direction of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to strengthen academic and cultural cooperation between educational institutions and research projects between Qatar and Japan.”

Ambassador of Japan to the State of Qatar, HE Kazuo Sunaga said, “I would like to congratulate both universities, who have come a long way to establish the Chair of the State of Qatar in Waseda University. My appreciation goes to the government of Qatar for their very generous support. Qatar and Japan have been developing a mutually beneficial relationship in the last half century, and the Qatar Chair has opened a new chapter in our excellent relations.”

Dr. Abdullah Baabood, who previously held the position of Director of the Gulf Studies Center in QU, was appointed Chair of the State of Qatar in Islamic Area Studies and Visiting Professor at Waseda University. He says, “It is indeed a great honor and a real privilege to be appointed as a Chair of the State of Qatar for Islamic Studies at the prestigious Waseda University in Japan. The mission and the objectives of the chair are both far-reaching and wide-ranging and will certainly prove to be both stimulating and inspiring in promoting academic cooperation between both universities, as well as between Qatar, the Gulf region, Japan and the rest of the world.”

He adds, “The aim of this chair is to enhance in-depth knowledge of issues related to the contemporary Islamic area studies and to enrich and contribute to research in numerous fields. As such, the project will involve cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, and will engage in innovate and thought-provoking studies.”

The agreement is of mutual interest and draws from the two universities common potential through exchange of best expertise, and expertise in supporting research activities in the fields of language, literature, culture, religion, history, politics, economics, international relations and the two countries relationship with aspects related to Islamic civilization.

A number of professors from Waseda University working on the Qatar Chair project shared their plans and projects including Dr. Tetsuya Ohtoshi, Dr. Alexander Mallett, Dr. Woohyang Chloe Sim, Dr. Matthew Gray, Dr. Shohei Sato, and a closing address by Prof. Maji Christine Rhee, Dean of International Affairs at Waseda University.

Following the formal session, the two institutions jointly hosted an public webinar on “Gulf-Asia Relations within the Changing Global Order,” led by a number of senior officials in both universities, which aimed to discuss, analyze and dissect Gulf-Asia relations following the shift in global economic relations over the last decade.

It is worth noting that this event takes place on the 50th anniversary of the Qatar-Japan relations, a relationship built on common values and mutual respect and trust.

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