Qatar-America Institute hosted the Cornell Club of Washington for a delightful evening featuring Qatari food and interesting conversation. The event featured speakers Annalise Schoonmaker (a recent Cornell graduate who worked at the Weill-Cornell Campus in Education City, Qatar), Terry Horner (President of the Cornell Club of Washington), and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (of New York’s 12 congressional district).
Terry Horner gave the introductory remarks and was followed by Annalise Schoonmaker who commended the university’s efforts in Doha. She stated,
“As all you Cornell graduates know, Ithaca is the coldest place on this planet. So when I decided to go to Qatar, I ended up moving to the hottest place on the planet. Initially, I was only supposed to stay at the campus for one year but ended up falling in love with the people and the overall experience. So, I decided to stay another year and a half making my time in Qatar a full two and a half years.”
Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney commented on the strength of the US-Qatar partnership, discussing the origins of the friendship, Qatar’s commitment to progressive liberal values, and the nations passionate emphasis on the state and quality of education in the country.
Specifically, she stated,
“When you go to Education City, you have all the top American schools. You have Carnegie Mellon on this side and Texas A&M on that side, and you have all these schools and what I really commend Qatar and the Qatar Foundation for is their insistence in having a degree from an Education City campus hold the same weight as the degree from an American campus.”
She went on to say that,
“Qatar was the first country in the Middle East to give both men and women the right to vote in municipal election. This was a really big thing, this was before any of this modernization efforts currently going on.”
In regards to the bilateral relationship between the United States and Qatar, she stated,
“Qatar was already pursuing and establishing a base of values that Americans also hold. Qatar’s Cornell campus opened in 2001, long before the US had a military base in the country. In fact, when we were asked to leave our previous base, Qatar gladly welcomed us and offered to build a base for us. I think the bond between Qatar and the United States is a strong one and I think it will continue to be so.”