Last week, we announced a renewal of the partnership between the Qatar Foundation and Georgetown University. This partnership, which started in 2005, successfully built the School of Foreign Service in Qatar in Doha, Qatar. The Bachelor’s of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) program is one program among many at Education City, an invention of the Qatar Foundation.
At Education City, students can pursue journalism and communications degrees from Northwestern, medical degrees from Cornell, engineering degrees from Texas A&M, art and design degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University, archaeology and museum studies degrees from University College London, biological sciences, computer science and business degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University, and an executive MBA from HEC-Paris. As a totality, Education City is a key tool in building a research and education-based society in the coming decades in Qatar.
From all indications, the work of our colleagues in Doha and the leadership and faculty of the SFS in Washington are greatly appreciated. Graduates of the BSFS program in Qatar already provide leadership in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other key institutions and businesses in the country. All the signs indicate that the campus has achieved its original goals.
The new agreement provides for a continuation and expansion of the size of the student body for the BSFS program. It also seeks more activity on the part of Georgetown. The Qatar Foundation appreciates the outreach to the wider society in Qatar through community activities, the training of employed staff in ministries, and the service activities of students, faculty, and staff to the Doha community. It wants us to expand these services to the Qatari society.
The agreement also lays the groundwork for new educational programs through our campus there. These already include programs in sports management, through the School of Continuing Studies. They will include executive education in leadership and related skills through the McDonough School of Business.
The Qatar Foundation is launching a related institution, Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), which will concentrate on graduate programs. Our faculty in Doha already contribute to a mid-career Master’s program in Energy and Resources, along with Texas A&M and HEC-Paris. There are future possibilities of collaborating with other branch campuses in joint programs, which could take advantage of complementary strengths in the various campuses. Other Master’s programs, joint with HBKU, are possible.
In a real sense, the new agreement seeks to build on the success of the School of Foreign Service in Qatar to create a larger set of educational programs — a Georgetown in Qatar.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI urged the Jesuits to go to the frontiers to do their work. The Doha campus of Georgetown was launched in a society that is undergoing dramatic change. While the country is one of the richest in the world, it is a culture quite different from that which spawned Georgetown. Thus, it is a cultural frontier that requires planful translation of US elite higher education programs.
We have successfully imported a strong academic program. We have recruited a global student body and an international faculty. We are now called on to do more. With the new agreement we have an opportunity to expand this example of working at the frontiers.