Through December 14th-15th 2019, the Qatar-America Institute (QAI) was pleased to attend the Doha Forum. Widely regarded as one of the world’s premier international policy conferences, this year’s theme was “Reimagining Governance in a Multipolar World.” The Forum convened heads of state, policymakers, scholars, journalists, business leaders, and other distinguished participants to explore new approaches for a more pragmatic, sustainable, and collaborative governance around the world.
HH the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, opened the Forum with a speech calling for greater international cooperation and emphasizing the vital role that non-governmental and non-profit organizations play in civil society.
In between dozens of official panels and sessions covering every topic from foreign affairs to culture, the Forum also serves as a convening space for stakeholders in the U.S.-Qatar relationship. QAI’s leadership attended the 2019 Doha Forum in order to build relationships, gain valuable insight into the topics our audience cares about, and raise international awareness of QAI’s mission.
Additionally, a broad array of American individuals, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senior Advisor to the U.S. President Ivanka Trump, among others, participated in this forum. Also, entities extended their support to this forum with organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg, the Stimson Center, The McCain Institute for International Leadership, The Wilson Center, The Middle East Institute, The Brookings Institution, Aspen Institute, The U.S. State Department and USIP, as well as academic institutions such as Yale University, Georgia State University, and Cornell University, and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security.
Dr. Khalid Al-Ali, former Executive Director, Advisor, and Scientist at NASA and a member of QAI’s Advisory Council was a speaker on the panel titled “Developing the High-Tech Sector in Russia: Prospects for Venture Investment.” Dr. Al-Ali previously participated in QAI’s Expert Voices program touring Stanford, UCLA, The Rand Corporation, Larta Institute, and The Pacific Council on International Policy.
“Technology is disruptive. It’s going to be interesting to see a multipolar approach to governance to see who owns the technology that comes out of the 4th industrial revolution.” pic.twitter.com/ZlMlmBtlYF
— Doha Forum (@DohaForum) December 15, 2019
(Image Source: Twitter – @arightside)
On 21 November 2019, HH Sheika Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation awarded the 2019 WISE Prize for Education Laureate to Larry Rosenstock, CEO, and founder of High Tech High, a network of public charter schools in San Diego, California. Mr. Rosenstock received the award at the opening session of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). The event included leaders in education from around the world, as well as thought leaders and experts in modern education.
Mr. Rosenstock praised past recipients of the award and offered hopeful words for the future of education stating:
“I am tremendously honored to receive this prize from such a distinguished jury. For me to be in the company of past winners of this prize, who have now made an impact on education around the world, is very moving…
I hope the prize will allow us to share the work of High Tech High students and teachers even more widely. The prize confirms two of my strongest beliefs: that the work of hands and minds can and must be integrated into our schools. And that all young people are capable of doing work that matters when we give them the opportunity.”
Additionally, the CEO of WISE Stavros Yiannouka said of the award and Mr. Rosenstock:
“The prize aims to raise awareness about the crucial role that education plays in all societies for creating a platform for innovative and practical solutions to alleviate some of the challenges around the world.
The work of the 2019 laureate encapsulates the essence of the prize. His decades-long work on education was a force for positive individual and social transformation manifested through impactful work and tangible achievements as a visionary educator, policymaker, thinker, and social entrepreneur.”
QAI congratulates Mr. Rosenstock and the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) for their successful efforts in advancing education around the world.
2019 marks the ten year anniversary of the inception of Qatar Foundation International (QFI). QFI, which is an entity of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, launched its operations in 2009 in Washington D.C.
QFI fosters cross-cultural dialogue and discourse by focusing on student-centered learning framework to provide a deeper understanding of the Arab world. QFI primarily achieves this by providing Arabic classes that are coupled and integrated within a comprehensive syllabus that deals with the region’s diverse cultural heritage.
Specifically, QFI is committed to accomplishing the following objectives: increasing primary and secondary students’ accessibility to high-quality Arabic language programs; partnering and engaging with key universities and/or academic institutions to augment greater understanding of Arab societies; supporting effective professional development of Arabic language teachers, including pertinent subjects that cover the Arab world; and improving global competence, a long-term educational objective identified and deciphered by the OECD.
QFI’s global reach and capacity underline the institution’s commitment to amplifying transnational exchanges, understanding, and harmony.
Most notably, this factor also demonstrates Qatar’s exemplary leadership in recognizing the value of education, research, and community development in the international arena as a means in forging and solidifying relationships with societies and cultures across the globe.
The Qatar-America Institute congratulates Qatar Foundation International on 10 years of outreach and education, and wish it every future success!
(Image Source: Twitter – @AmalChmouny)
On November 20th, 2019, Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) celebrated its 100 years of service via its School of Foreign Service Centennial Gala Weekend, which convened and attracted more than a thousand alumni, students, and special guests from around the world.
The Centennial Gala Weekend featured a series of panel discussions and lectures about a range of topics pertaining to international affairs from esteemed scholars, public officials and former heads of state.
Speaker of the United States House of Representative Nancy Pelosi gave the opening remarks:
“The School of Foreign Service has given the world generations of presidents, public servants, professional diplomats who have built a future worthy of the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform and the aspirations of our children.”
While these celebrations were unfolding in Washington D.C., Georgetown University in Qatar contributed to this historic commemoration via GU-Q 100 – a special collection of the institution’s first 100 published books since its inception in 2005.
Furthermore, GU-Q’s celebrations also emphasized and highlighted the institution’s commitment to SFS’s mission by promoting intellectual understanding via sustained cross-cultural engagements and dialogue.
This was demonstrated by key events held at GU-Q throughout 2019 that include the following: “Annual Faculty Research Conference: Transformations and Continuities in Islamic Intellectual Thought; Indian Ocean World Symposium: Towards a Re-mapping of Diasporic Circularities in the Indian Ocean World; Palliative Care Conference: Muslim and Christian Perspectives on Palliative Care and End of Life”.
Other notable events held at GU-Q with both a local and global scope and focus included “In Conversation with H.E. Saad Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs”; “In Conversation with H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs”; and “Public Lecture on Workers Movements and the Arab Spring”, to cite a few.
In essence, the events that GU-Q hosted underscore the institution’s pledge in upholding and sustaining SFS’s mission and international reputation. Here, Qatar Foundation has played a fundamental role in developing Qatar’s knowledge economy, which is one of the objectives contained in Qatar National Vision 2030.
On November 3rd, 2019, Qatar Foundation congratulated two students from Northwestern University in Qatar, Juyoung Choi and Saad Ejaz, on receiving a grant from Pulitzer Center. The grant was announced after the Pulitzer Center’s sixth annual Campus Consortium Student Fellows Washington Weekend, which was held in Washington D.C on October 18th – 19th, 2019. For the first day of the Washington Weekend event, presentations and discussions focused on migration and displacement, the impact of religion, cultural identity, and women’s health.
Saad Ejaz and Juyoung Choi were lauded for their valuable video-reporting about Yemeni refugees in South Korea. “Our story isn’t really about the politics around the war, or the politics in South Korea […] What our story is about is the people who are being affected by it,” commented Ejaz. As the students emphasized, the purpose and intent of their video-reporting project were to capture and reveal the experiences of refugees on Seju Island, South Korea. Their project reported the love story between a Yemeni refugee and a South Korean dancer.
(Image Source: Pulitzer Center)
On October 21, 2019, Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) celebrated its 10 year anniversary. QSTP, which is a free zone and business park, has three main objectives: to support entrepreneurs via funding, technical expertise, training, and mentorship; to accelerate and facilitate product innovation and/or development by collaborating with the private sector or with the Qatar Foundation; and to foster an environment of cooperation to attract and/or assist the commercialization of promising products or services.
QSTP’s avant-garde work in research, development, and innovation can be seen with the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA). AIA is the largest entrepreneurship program in the Arab region that offers the unparalleled opportunity for entrepreneurs to successfully build and establish their start-ups in only 10 days. Currently, QSTP houses a total of 108 companies from 17 different countries worldwide. Examples of such companies and/or entities include Gulf Organization Research & Development, Meeza, Qatar Mobility Innovation Center, Cisco, Siemens, and ConocoPhillips.
In addition, QSTP’s Incubation Center attests to Qatar’s global leadership in the fields of innovation, research, development, and entrepreneurship.
This can be seen with MENA Dojo, an accelerator program that organizes intensive one-on-one business mentoring sessions over a period of six weeks, or with the center’s technical assistance to Qatar-based start-ups to enable them to develop and finalize their products for commercialization. So far, more than 1,000 entrepreneurs have benefited from such a platform and opportunity.
Yousouf Abdulrahman Saleh, executive director of QSTP, emphasized its important role in Qatar by stating, “research, development, and innovation (RDI) are integral to Qatar’s sustainability and resilience, and it is, for this reason, it is a priority in the country’s agenda. RDI will play a key role in developing and diversifying the economy as well as enhancing the capacity to create solutions to address national challenges and make a global impact. The unique ecosystem we have created here at QSTP encompasses the entire value chain of education, research and development, innovation, and entrepreneurship. QSTP is the place where technology goes to work.”
In essence, QSTP underscores Qatar’s commitment to becoming an international hub for technology and innovation, while augmenting the country’s long-term national development goals delineated in the Qatar National Vision 2030.
(Image Source: Qatar Museums)
Since its inception in 1994 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), October 5th of every year marks World Teacher Day. This year’s theme was ‘Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession.’ The day provides the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession worldwide, to take stock of achievements, and to address some of the issues central for attracting and keeping the brightest minds and young talents in the profession.
Qatar celebrated with the participation of a number of UNESCO-affiliated schools in a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
Education plays a vital role in the Human Development Pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030). The Human Development Pillar looks to enable the Qatari people sustain and grow the country’s progression in all areas. Education is the foundation of the Human Development Pillar. Qatar is actively focusing on education from primary school all the way to higher education levels, in an effort to have one of the top education systems in the world.
Education City is a major part of Qatar’s education initiative. There are various programs ranging from IB-accredited school systems to specialized schools for K-12. For higher education, there are offerings that include a range of degrees from undergraduate to postdoctoral degrees. In total, there are 20 schools located in Education City; 11 are K-12 schools and 9 of them are universities. Of the universities, six of them are American universities: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar School of the Arts, Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar, and Northwestern University in Qatar.
“Education is one of the basic pillars of social progress. The state shall ensure, foster and endeavor to spread it.”
– Permanent Constitution of Qatar
The State of Qatar has been a member of UNESCO since 1972, and currently holds a seat on the Executive Board. Qatar has 82 UNESCO associated schools (6 pre-schools, 39 primary, 9 primary and secondary, and 28 secondary schools). Qatar also hosts a UNESCO office in Doha, which was established in 1976 and serves as a cluster office for Qatar and other countries in the Gulf region.
(Image Source: Qatar Foundation International)
On September 18, Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser spoke at Georgetown University in a seminar titled “The Right to Education for All.” The Thought Leadership Seminar was co-hosted by the Education Above All foundation and Georgetown University.
During the panel discussion, she stressed the need for education to continue during and after times of crisis so that upcoming generations gain the capacity of creating and sustaining more stable futures.
She also urged universities and educational organization to take the lead in using innovative technology’s and techniques to find solutions that can accelerate progress for protection of education.
The event also featured Dr. Alaa Murabit, who currently serves as the United Nations High-Level Commissioner on Health, Employment & Economic Growth and Ambassador Melanne Verveer, the executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. The panel discussion was moderated by Georgetown University President John J. Degioia.
On Wednesday, September 11th, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) Reception in honor of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 49thAnnual Legislative Conference. The event had three prominent speakers: Dr. Reynold Verret, Congressman Cedric Richmond and Brandon Garrett.
Dr. Reynold Verret is the sixth and current president, as well as second lay leader of Xavier University of Louisiana. Congressman Cedric Richmond is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Louisiana’s second district, which is the district in which Xavier University is located.
Richmond also serves as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Brandon Garrett is from the greater New Orleans area, and serves on the Board of Trustees for Xavier University.
Of the 107 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and 262 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States, Xavier is the only Catholic HBCU in the nation. XULA is one of the schools that has a partnership with Qatar.
“The generosity of Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani and the nation of Qatar is a testament to the value of a quality education as a universal need for students to lead and serve in a global society. Our goal is to cultivate the ability, creativity, and ingenuity of these young minds; and I’m proud to say that Qatar’s support has helped Xavier’s College of Pharmacy achieve distinction as one of the top three colleges in the nation for African American Pharm.D. graduates”
-President Reynold Verret, Xavier University of Louisiana
Xavier University was originally founded as a high school in 1915 by Katherine Drexel (later canonized) and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament; ten years later it would become a four-year college program. Even though it is established as Catholic and HBCU, of the 3,200 students, about 25% is not African American and roughly 75% is not Catholic. Xavier University’s doors are open to any qualified students.
The partnership between Qatar and Xavier University of Louisiana began in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. The State of Qatar established the Qatar Katrina Fund in September 2005 to provide direct assistance to people and institutions in most dire need in the wake of the storm. Of the $100 million that Qatar donated, $17.5 million went to the Qatar Katrina Fellowship Fund and College of Pharmacy, which went to Xavier University. $5 million was established for scholarships for students affected by the hurricane, with the remaining $12.5 million was donated to finance a 60,000 square foot expansion to the College of Pharmacy facilities. This expansion would provide construction jobs and make it possible for the university to increase enrollment.
The college receives about 1,000 applications each year for a first-year class that has grown from 120 students at the time of Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion’s dedication, to 155; for a total enrollment of more than 600 in the fall of 2018. The Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion also has laboratories with the latest equipment. These facility upgrades allowed Xavier to have competitive footing with their local counterparts Louisiana State University (LSU) and Tulane University.
Xavier scientists will be collaborating with their counterparts from those institutions because the three institutions are partners in the Louisiana Cancer Research Center. As the only HBCU in the consortium, Xavier is able to broaden the representation of communities of color and serve as a powerful equalizer in health disparities.
July 15 marks World Skills Day for Youth. 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15 and 24 make up 16% of the world’s population. The UN’s sustainable development goals require citizen participation from all age groups. Young people, as the decision-makers of the future, play an enormous role in this citizen participation. Young people are the key to building sustainable, just, inclusive and stable societies in order to avoid or address the threats of tomorrow. These include climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender equality, global conflicts, and exponential migration.
However, young people between 15 and 24 years of age are three times more likely to be exposed to unemployment than adults. In addition, they are continually exposed to lower quality jobs, greater labor market inequalities and longer and less secure school-to-work transitions.
Going further, women between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely to be underemployed and underpaid and to work part-time or on temporary contracts.
Silatech, a non-profit company in Qatar, has a mission to include and connect young people around the world, especially in the workplace. Silatech provides innovative solutions in the field of youth employment. The company works with national, regional and international partners to provide financial, technical and operational contributions to young people who wish to develop their skills and employment opportunities.
In an interview between Forbes and Ms. Sabah Al-Haidoos – CEO of Silatech, on 29 January 2019, Ms. Al-Haidoos elaborated on the scope of Silatech’s work, the importance of the role of young people in the world and their values: “Without economic and social empowerment of young people after graduating high school, education won’t be as useful. Investing in innovative educational solutions and tools at the grassroots level is a worthwhile venture because it is the conduit to economic opportunities when all enabling factors align. (…) We also work with partner organizations that believe in our mission to empower and inspire youth to transform their lives for the better and lead the change in their communities. ”
The current challenge regarding youth employment is the central point of the organization’s values. Silatech believes that it is necessary to educate society on this global problem, to achieve the development of a political strategy for governments. In addition, Silatech proposes to launch media campaigns to encourage and support innovative and innovative employment methods for young people, but also for companies.