Qatar University‘s Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) presented its findings from its second Guests Workers’ Welfare Index (GWWI). The GWWI measures and tracks the welfare of blue-collar guest workers in Qatar. Attendees to the presentation event included Dr. Hassan Al Derham, President of Qatar University, Dr. Hassan Al Sayed, Director of SESRI, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs.
The second wave of the GWWI survey was conducted in April, 2018, assessing working and living conditions including safety and security, human rights, labor rights, finance and remittances, and more. The 2018 survey interviewed 1,028 guest workers with the largest group of respondents coming from India (29%), followed by Nepal (28%), Bangladesh (17%), Pakistan (9%), Egypt (6%), Sri Lanka (4%), Philippines (3%), and other countries (4%).
The results of the survey are measured by responses based on 6 indices (listed below) and are evaluated on a scale from 1 – 100. The results for calendar year 2018 stood at 81 out of 100, an increase from the 2017 rating (score: 75). The overall score is a composite measure of the six different factors or sub-indices that compose the index and which are rated on the same scale from 0 to 100. The greatest sub-index improvements included contracts, working conditions, and satisfaction with living and working conditions. The next Guest Workers’ Welfare Index survey will take place this month, May 2019.
The sub-indices breakdowns were as follows:
Mental Health: 87
Physical Health: 84
Living Conditions: 79
Working Conditions: 85
(Image Source: The Peninsula)
The Qatar Harvey Fund will give $1 million in scholarships to support Texas A&M University System students who were forced to withdraw during Hurricane Harvey. The grant will be provided in coordination with the Rebuild Texas Fund, a collaboration between the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and the One Star Foundation.
The scholarships will be available starting in the fall to any undergraduate or graduate students with qualifying GPAs (2.0 for undergraduates, 3.0 for graduates) who were unable to attend school as a result of Hurricane Harvey. The Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp stated that “The Texas A&M University System is very thankful for this grant. This money will help rebuild the future for hundreds of deserving Texans whose dreams of obtaining a degree were rained on by Harvey.”
The scholarships will cover tuition, fees, books, living, and emergency expenses at five colleges within the system: the College Station flagship, Texas A&M at Galveston, Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and Texas A&M Kingsville. Qatar has also supplied aid to students at Houston Community College, the University of Houston, and Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. The Qatar Harvey Fund is a $30 million fund established in 2017 to support recovery in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Other projects that have been funded by the Qatar Harvey fund include $2.5 million for the City of Houston’s Fund to Reduce Homelessness, $2.5 million for the renovation of the Riverside Hospital Center and $241,000 for the Wesley A.M.E Church. Additionally, the Qatar Harvey Fund has also partnered with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to establish the Qatar Veterans Fund. BWF will establish the Qatar Veterans Fund using a grant from the Qatar Harvey Fund (a $30 million gift from the state intended to help the 41 Texas counties impacted by the storm). The investment in the new veterans fund will be managed by BWF and will support Texas’ large population of former service personnel and military families.
On Tuesday April 16th, the Qatar-America Institute hosted an alumni event with the Cornell Club of Washington to celebrate the work of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar. Guests enjoyed Middle Eastern food, music, and learned about how the world-class medical school Cornell established in Education City, Qatar.
Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar works with the Supreme Committee in charge of organizing the 2022 World Cup to protect construction workers’ health and nutrition. This includes monitoring workers’ health and taking preventive measures, advising caterers and contractors on how to protect workers’ safety and health, and meeting with construction workers to advise them on how to stay healthy. WCM-Q experts are currently using high-tech devices to monitor workers’ health indicators, including heart rate, blood sugar, blood pressure, hydration, and more.
“We are delighted to continue our engagement with the renowned team of experts at WCM-Q. Protecting the health of our workers is of paramount importance to the SC, and this innovative project will further enhance our capacity to do that. This initiative is part of our broader suite of health and safety initiatives and complements the recent decision by the SC to mandate the comprehensive medical screenings for all workers, currently being carried out by the Qatar Red Crescent.” -Mahmoud Qutub, executive director of the Supreme Committee Workers’ Welfare Department.
WCM-Q was founded in 2001 in partnership with the Qatar Foundation. Its world-class campus has facilities in bioinformatics, imaging, clinical research support, and more. Its students represent more than 30 countries around the world, and its freshman medical class this year has a 50/50 gender balance. Currently WCM-Q has enrolled 200 students in its medical curriculum and 97 in its pre-medical curriculum, as well as 23 students in its special Foundation Program, designed to help students from Arabic-instruction high schools adjust to English-language curricula of WCM-Q’s six-year Medical Program. WCM-Q is not just a training center, but a research hub, and has published more than 900 academic papers just since 2010.
WCM-Q’s building was designed by Arata Isozaki and dedicated in October 2003 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser and Jeffrey Lehman, the eleventh president of Cornell University. The building is two 200-meter long halls linked with bridges that hold faculty and student lounges. Its geometric design pays homage to the role of geometry in traditional Islamic and Gulf architecture and art.
Alumna Dr. Aisha Ahmad AA Yousuf is the medical director of reproductive surgery at Sidra Medicine, where she specializes in robotic and minimally invasive gynecology surgery.
Dr. Rana Elmaghraby from the class of 2016 was recently elected as resident-fellow trustee-elect of the American Psychiatric Association – the largest professional psychiatric organization in the world.
Dr. Grigory Ostrovskiy, from the class of 2011, secured a highly competitive place at the emergency medicine residency program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and, after completing it, returned to Doha in 2016 to become the first WCM-Q graduate to return to the university as faculty.
During the reception, attendees had the opportunity to enter a raffle to win a model plane donated by Qatar Airways.
#HappyHourHighLight: At last night’s @Cornell Cornell Alumni happy hour, we raffled a Qatar Airways [model] airplane. We would like to congratulate Cornell alumni, John Henri Richardson, for winning our very first @qatarairways [model] airplane raffle! Congrats John! pic.twitter.com/3U7G7m2qeY
— Qatar-America Institute (@QatarAmerica) April 17, 2019
The reception featured remarks by Terry Horner, President of the Cornell Club of Washington, Joel Malina, Cornell Vice President of University Relations, and Paul Hamill, Executive Director of the Qatar-America Institute.
On April 3, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a watch party for Doha Debates forum on the future of artificial intelligence. Guests enjoyed a thought-provoking discussion with Swedish philosopher and University of Oxford professor Nick Bostrom, Kenyan data scientist Muthoni Wanyoike, British author and Brunswick Group director Dex Torricke-Barton, and Ghanian technologist and Rhodes Scholar Joy Buolamwini.
The panel showcased a wide diversity of views on artificial intelligence, from alarm at its risks to optimism at its opportunities to sharp criticism of algorithms’ negative impacts on people of color. The lively discussion kept the audience engaged, and remote viewers were encouraged to tweet feedback under the hashtag #DearWorld and vote in live online polls on the panelists’ stances.
The second half of the debate featured peace process expert Dr. Govinda Clayton, who worked to find common ground with panelists, moderators, and viewers. Dr. Clayton’s participation helped form a productive dialogue as participants cooperated to balance the opportunities, risks, and harms associated with the rise of artificial intelligence.
Doha Debates is a production of the Qatar Foundation. The next live debate will take place on July 24, 2019.
Georgetown University in Qatar hosted a gala, “GU-Q 100: A Celebration of Knowledge,” commemorating the publication of over one hundred books by faculty and staff of Georgetown University in Qatar since the branch campus opened in 2005.
The gala was attended by Qatar Foundation Chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al Thani, Qatar Foundation CEO Her Excellency Sheikha Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Lolwah Al Khater, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service Dean Joel Hellman, and many other leaders among Georgetown’s faculty in Washington and Qatar.
“Through its wealth of research in the field of humanities and social sciences, Georgetown University in Qatar has made a significant contribution to the international profile of QF and Qatar as a hub of new knowledge, original thought, and intellectual courage in confronting issues which influence what our world is, and what it can be.” – Her Excellency Sheikha Hind
The gala, coincidentally, coincided with the centennial of the founding of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. The School of Foreign Service Dean Joel Hellman took the opportunity to celebrate the prestigious institution’s legacy, shared between the United States and Qatar.
“One hundred years ago, SFS took on the mission to foster peace and stability through education rooted in a global perspective. I’m proud to see the continuation of that Georgetown tradition in today’s celebration of GU-Q’s contributions to multidisciplinary scholarship in Qatar and around the world.” – Dean Joel Hellman
On Thursday, March 28th, 2019 Georgetown University hosted its second annual 2019 Women’s Forum at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The two-day forum convened panels and discussions with experts in law, business, policy, science, technology, government, and the wider public sector.
Dr. Reem Al-Ansari, Director of the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center in Doha, Qatar and a graduate of Georgetown Law, was featured as an expert on the panel “Women in Peace Negotiations.” The panel was moderated by Ambassador Melanne Verveer, and featured fellow panelists Uzra Zeya, Rachel Milner Gillers.
“Women play a key role in advocating for and maintaining peace around the world. The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security says that women are largely excluded from conflict related negotiations, despite evidence that they are critical to achieving sustainable peace. Join us for lunch and a conversation about the role women play in peace negotiations and the importance of their expanded presence in the field.”
Dr. Al-Ansari spoke to the audience on her experience as a female leader in anti-corruption efforts in the Gulf region and the wider Middle East. She reported that in the Gulf region over the past decade, there has been a fundamental paradigm shift in thinking on a woman’s role in society, business, education, civil society, and government. Women have empowered themselves to engage in the most senior levels of these sectors, to the betterment of humanity. For example, in Qatar, woman now compose the majority of higher education students and hold seats in the Shoura Council, cabinet, and head major businesses and civil society groups.
Dr. Reem also mentioned “the #MeToo movement in the West is something that has enlightened women’s empowerment in the Middle East, and we are trying to replicate the lessons of that movement in our own societies. This is essential to advancing women’s roles in power structures, while holding everyone more accountable.”
Dr. Al-Ansari reported that when women are active participants critical dialogues, the outcomes tend to have higher success rates than without their participation. For example, Dr. Al-Ansari was tasked with interviewing high-risk youth involved with extremist organizations in Europe. She found that she was able to gain the trust of the male interviewees, and extract more information, than her male counterparts. As a result, female leadership proved vital to counter-extremism efforts in the region.
Overall however, female inclusion in peacemaking and peace negotiations is very low – less than 10% globally. When women do participate, they tend to build trust more effectively, forge compromises, and are more likely to be viewed as honest brokers than their male negotiator counterparts. The panel noted that when women are implementors of peace processes, evidence indicates that there is less corruption, less frivolous spending, and more durable peace plans.
On Tuesday, March 26th, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a Liqa networking event at the historic Explorers Club in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Over 60 young professionals and students, across several fields, learned about the US-Qatar relationship, as well as the new partnership between QAI and the Explorers Club. The event gathered young professionals and many other Qataris and friends of Qatar from a variety of fields, including architects, diplomats, and business people.
The event featured brief remarks by Milbry Polk on the history and legacy of the Explorers Club. Attendees had an opportunity to tour the historic building and its many unique artifacts, including busts of tribespeople, taxidermied animals captured for study and preservation, and several sleds used to explore the North Pole.
The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) has launched a new initiative, the Expert Voices Series. The initiative is envisioned as a medium for encouraging broader and more diverse conversations between Qatari experts and/or experts on Qatar with U.S.-based leaders in business, academia and politics.
In an effort to diversify outreach beyond the traditional East Coast hubs of Washington, D.C. and New York, QAI sought to initiate new channels of engagement with the key West Coast hubs of San Francisco and Los Angeles. With a population of 39.5 million and a GDP of $2.7 trillion – the fifth largest economy in the world – California (CA) was QAI’s natural choice for a first foray to the West Coast. The state boasts some of the world’s premier academic institutions and science labs, as well as America’s motion picture industry (Hollywood).
Silicon Valley in California’s Bay Area is the global capital for hi-tech innovation and entrepreneurship; the co-location of a critical mass of venture capital investors and a talent pool of unparalleled depth and quality has produced some of the world’s most valuable companies. California’s industrial origins in defense and aerospace remain integral to the state’s research and development (R&D) nexus and economic export composition.
Dr. Khalid Al-Ali – Qatari Tech Entrepreneur and Former NASA Specialist
The first participant in QAI’s Expert Voices Series was Dr. Khalid Al-Ali, a Qatari technology entrepreneur and Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Senseta, a Silicon Valley-based data analytics firm.
In the field of aeronautics and exploration technology, Dr. Al-Ali spent 10 years in NASA’s Ames Research Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratories. Dr. Al-Ali was also the CEO of the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), Qatar’s premier business “free zone” dedicated to the development of market-ready tech products
Having earned his PhD at UC Berkeley and worked at NASA and DARPA-administered labs, Dr. Al-Ali has made California his second home both professionally and personally. He is uniquely well positioned to provide a nuanced outlook of promising and fertile areas of collaboration between Qatari entities and the State of California.
California Engagement Snapshot
QAI hosted Dr. Al-Ali in Northern California, where he featured as a speaker on a panel, “Technology Trends in Emerging Markets,” at Stanford University’s inaugural MENA Forum. As the CEO of tech firm, which has created knowledge-intensive jobs in both Silicon Valley and Doha, Dr. Al-Ali spoke about Qatar’s commitment to increasing its GDP contribution to R&D that forms the basis of commercially successful tech-enabled products.
On the panel, Dr. Al-Ali spoke about his experience leading the complex negotiations that brought two of the seven U.S. universities that have established full degree-granting campuses in Doha’s Education City. With his appointment as the first CEO of QSTP, he spoke of the vision to “capture the intellectual property from the academic institutions and providing a finance bridge from QSTP to create value from knowledge.” Dr. Al-Ali spoke of his leadership role on national steering committees that have shaped Qatar’s technology policy and articulated Qatar’s vision of integrating its industry with the research and higher education infrastructure that it has been investing massive resources to develop.
On the sidelines of the Stanford MENA Forum, Dr. Al-Ali held meetings with Research Fellows at the Hoover Institution, a leading American think tank, to discuss potential partnerships between Hoover Fellows and research institutes in Qatar, such as the Qatar Computing Research Institute and the Qatari Energy and Environment Institute.
Similar consultations were held with Distinguished Fellows at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Affairs, with a specific focus on food security and energy markets and with the Stanford’s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development.
UCLA’s Center for Middle East Development (CMED) hosted QAI and Dr. Al-Ali at the university’s Faculty Club for discussions that will reinforce UCLA’s already deep ties with Qatar. CMED is UCLA’s dedicated center for Middle East expertise and, for many years, has partnered with Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host an annual conference in Qatar under the banner of “Enriching the Economic Future of the Middle East.”
RAND Corporation Santa Monica
At the RAND Corporation’s Santa Monica headquarters, Dr. Al-Ali gave remarks on “Qatar’s Economic Diversification and Tech/Innovation Policy” to a select group of researchers, followed by an engaging Q&A session under Chatham House rules. He highlighted the nexus approach of linking Qatar’s universities with government-backed funding mechanisms, such as Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and QSTP. He emphasized that enabling the private sector through access to credit and business incubators will facilitate the creation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that will help Qatar diversify its economy away from hydrocarbons.
Though the RAND Corporation no longer maintains an office in Doha, it remains an important strategic partner to many Qatari institutions who rely on RAND for research and advisory support.
The Larta Institute defines itself as providing a “mesh network” of mentorship resources, expertise, funding and connections to patient capital. In that sense, Larta is an Institute and not in the mold of traditional Bay Area “accelerators” that tend to be a source of one-time funding, office space for a limited time, and a scattered feedback loop.
Larta recognizes the fiercely competitive space of emerging technology start-ups and instead seeks to support nascent tech companies in every step of their lab to market transition. This starts with pairing companies with Principal Advisors who are experienced practitioners in both academia and industry. Larta is organized around the four pillars of Feed, Fuel, Heal and Innovation, with long-standing partnerships with the federal research funding arms of the National Institute of Health, Department of Energy and United States Department of Agriculture.
QAI and Dr. Ali had a very positive meeting with the Larta leadership. QAI expressed enthusiasm for converging some of Larta’s internationally renowned experience with Qatar’s efforts to cultivate its own organic “mesh network” of business enablers. This will help advance the Qatar National Vision 2030, which prioritizes economic diversification and human capital development.
The Pacific Council on International Policy
The Pacific Council is the West Coast’s premier member-based public diplomacy institute. It has hosted sitting U.S. Secretaries of State, Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, former presidents, and the list could go on.
The Pacific Council hosted a lunch in their LA headquarters in honor of Dr. Khalid Al-Ali. The lunch was well attended by Pacific Council members who hail from diverse industries: financial services, aviation, law enforcement, defense, academia and literature.
Dr. Al-Ali offered some remarks on Qatar’s journey from seeking partners in the 1960s to finance and provide the technology for a world-leading LNG industry, to its current investment-led boom in human capital development and a sovereign wealth fund with a global and diversified portfolio of assets. Under Chatham House rules, Dr. Al-Ali fielded many thought-provoking questions about Qatar’s role in international affairs, its sporting ambitions and engagement with the U.S.
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation (QF), announced a pledge to make women at least half the panel speakers in all its conferences and events, locally and internationally. This pledge reaffirms the foundation’s commitment to widening the possibilities and perspectives to crucial issues and challenges that Qatar faces.
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind said: “It is my belief, and that of Qatar Foundation, that neither gender nor any other consideration should present a barrier to a person’s development, their pursuit of opportunity, and their voice is heard in global conversations about topics, themes, and challenges that affect all of society.”
This pledge was announced in the wake of International Women’s Day and will take effect in 2020 across all QF events. Participants in discussions related to education, science and research and community development at every debate for every event will always be at least 50 percent female. This move will provide opportunities for women to participate in the advancement of society regardless of gender.
“Now, by committing to having at least 50 percent female representation on all our conference and event panels from 2020 onward, we aim to further emphasize Qatar Foundation’s role as a leader and driver of inclusivity and positive social change, nationally and regionally – and the necessity of both men and women being part of making this change happen.”
Qatar is a leader in the Middle East in women’s rights and empowerment and supports the United Nations’ focus on female empowerment as an aspect of addressing social and economic change. This pledge aims to strengthen the actions and commitments of Qatar Foundations to provide the opportunities needed to become a role model in the Middle East.
“The pledge we announce today is a natural, visible, and powerful extension of this belief. Through our investment in education and our ethos as an organization, Qatar Foundation’s commitment to providing opportunities for everyone to be an active participant in society is personified by the diversity of the achievers and role models we nurture, and the impact they are making in a broad spectrum of fields within Qatar and beyond.
Did you know that Qatar has a uniquely empowering education and business environment for women, and the country has many examples of women in prominent positions of leadership?
Click here for QAI’s” Women’s Rights and Leadership Roles in Qatar” fact sheet.
On March 11, 2019, Katara and Qatar-America Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand and enhance ties of cooperation in the culture field. The MoU was led by Dr. Khalid Bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, Katara’s general manager, and by Chase Untermeyer, Qatar-America Institute’s board of advisers chairman and former U.S Ambassador to Qatar.
Dr. al-Sulaiti declared that the MoU will open and create many opportunities for both signatories to collaborate and organize different cultural events such as art exhibitions and mutual publications of research. Furthermore, The MoU includes and envisages scientific projects and social-activities to promote national heritage. Most importantly, Dr. Al-Sulaiti acclaimed the MoU by stating that “the MoU is part of our strategic partnership with the Qatar-America Institute to build cultural bridges between the Qatari and American nations”. In addition, Mr. Untermeyer added that the purpose of the agreement is to spread awareness in the American polity about Qatari culture and to address areas of co-operation in the cultural field.