It is my pleasure to welcome you on behalf of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q). In 2005, Georgetown brought its two-centuries-old tradition of teaching excellence in the Liberal Arts and international affairs to Qatar with the aim to help build global leaders who will make a difference for their communities, their region and the world. True to the spirit of Georgetown, we focus on educating the whole person through exposure to different faiths, cultures and beliefs, and on critical engagement with diverse bodies of knowledge and argument.
In May 2013, we graduated our fifth class of 43 students, earning the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) degree, majoring in International Politics, Culture and Politics, or International Economics. In August 2013, we welcomed 73 new students for the Class of 2017, bringing our total student population to about 250, composed of 44 nationalities. Fully one-third of these students are Qatari. Within two years, student numbers will reach 300, as numbers and quality of applications from around the world continue to surge.
The Qatar campus represents the best of Georgetown’s rich heritage. We are a vibrant, multi-national community of outstanding students, faculty, alumni and professionals dedicated to the best in scholarship, learning and service. Our students and faculty are involved in cutting-edge research relevant to Qatar, the region and the world. Our Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) provides a forum for global scholarship specifically on international and regional affairs while encouraging in-depth examination and exchange of ideas.
Just a small sample of recent and on-going research at SFS-Q includes projects on Islamic Bio-Ethics, judged Qatar’s top social science project for 2012/13; Inflation in the GCC; Science Productivity and the Knowledge Society; the Effects of Human Rights Treaties on the GCC states; Sectarian politics and Regional Security in the Arab Spring; State-Building in Palestine; Islam and US Foreign Policy; Water Security in Asia; Energy and Climate Politics; Food Security; Migration in the Gulf; Transnational Families; Conflict Mediation and Resolution by Qatar and Saudi Arabia; Comparative Diaspora Politics; the Nuclear Question in the Middle East; Pedagogy for Heritage Learners of Arabic; Phonology of Gulf Arabic; the History of Marriage in Islam; Islam and US Foreign Relations; Arab Media; Weak States in the Greater Middle East; Social Change in post-Khomeini Iran; and The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East.
Qatar, a cross-roads of East and West and an ambitious center of investment in higher education, research and human development, provides opportunities unlike anywhere else in the world. Students at Georgetown’s Qatar campus take advantage of state of the art classrooms; a stunning library recognized as the best in the country, with full access to all of Georgetown’s electronic holdings; superb recreational facilities; and environmentally sound on-campus housing. Moreover, Education City offers a unique environment of interaction with some of the world’s top universities all in one place.
Our students gain an in-depth understanding of global affairs through immersion in a broad range of courses, beginning with a two-year Liberal Arts curriculum ranging across the social sciences, humanities and economics, and building on this during their specialization in the respective majors. While they grapple with the literature and polish their analytical skills in the classroom, outside the class, both in Qatar and around the globe they engage in service with community-based learning grounded in Georgetown’s values of ‘women and men for others’ and ‘care for the whole person’. Recently students participated in working trips to Rwanda, Cambodia, Bangladesh, East Timor, South Africa, Poland and Germany to understand the realities of post-conflict reconstruction, economic development, and in some cases to help build homes.
We offer opportunities for the community at large to engage scholars and hear from visiting speakers through our Faculty Seminars, Distinguished Lecture Series and the CIRS Monthly Dialogues. These public events provide a forum where scholars, decision-makers, and analysts share their insights and knowledge about the issues and policy decisions shaping our world. We are happy, too, that our library – open to all – is proving a popular destination for students and scholars from other universities in Qatar, as well as the wider public in Doha. With cooperation agreements now in place with Qatar University, the Institute for Diplomatic Studies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Brookings Institution in Doha, we are well placed to pursue our mission both to serve and to learn.
This is an exciting time for Georgetown University in Qatar. We have just introduced, this academic year, the only International History major in the Middle East; and we have launched a joint Certificate in Media and Politics with Northwestern University in Qatar. We are also mid-way through a major 3-year expansion of faculty, to support our aim of widening the curriculum and further strengthening our research environment. Over this period we are recruiting 24 new faculty. Of the 13 who already joined us, several did so specifically for our path-breaking Initiative in Teaching Arabic for Heritage Learners, which will place Georgetown in Qatar at the forefront of this critical field and will serve students of Arab heritage across Education City and eventually the wider community.
Other new appointments are adding significant capacity in the fields of Economics, History, World Literature, Politics & International Relations, Religious Studies and Philosophy – creating critical mass in these fields, in line with our identity as a world-class research-intensive and student-centered university.
Please explore our website and learn more about how you can share in our journey to contribute to the education of new generations and the development of a rapidly changing region at a critical time. Visit us in person, take part in our public events and activities, use our library, and experience first-hand how we live our values.
I look forward to seeing you on campus!
Gerd Nonneman , Ph.D.