Education City is an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. Located in Al Rayyan City on the outskirts of Doha, the capital of Qatar, Education City covers 14 square kilometers (5.4 square miles) and houses educational facilities from school age to research level and branch campuses of some of the world's major universities. Education City aims to be instructing students in fields of importance to the Gulf Cooperation Council region. It is also conceived of as a forum where universities share research and forge relationships with businesses and institutions in public and private sectors. Moza bint Nasser was a driving force behind the foundation and construction of Education City.
Education City is considered to be the Qatar Foundation's most important project.
Education City was launched by Qatar Foundation in 1997. The same year, Virginia Commonwealth University became the first institute to establish itself on its campus. The city was officially inaugurated in 2003.
Over the past 20 years, Education City has grown from a single school to a multi university campus with students from over 50 countries and an enormous research fund, offering significant opportunities for the advancement of knowledge and research across all disciplines.
Six American universities, one British university and one French university have branch campuses at Education City. It also has one Qatari university. They are:
· Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar School of the Arts (VCUarts Qatar). Established in 1998, VCUarts Qatar was the first international partner university to open in Education City. VCUarts Qatar offers students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fashion design, graphic design, interior design and painting and printmaking, a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in design. A total of 680 students have graduated from VCUarts Qatar.
· Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). WCM-Q was established in 2001 as a partnership between Cornell University and Qatar Foundation. WCM-Q's innovative six-year program of studies leads to the Cornell University MD degree. The two-year pre-medical curriculum focuses on basic sciences relevant to medicine, while the four-year medical curriculum follows the highly successful program of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. A total of 335 students have graduated from WCM-Q.
· Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ). TAMUQ's campus was established in 2003. The university offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Petroleum Engineering. The university began offering graduate degree programs in Chemical Engineering in 2011. A total of 975 students have graduated from TAMUQ.
· Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q). CMU-Q joined Education City in 2004. CMU-Q offers undergraduate programs in Biological Sciences, Business Administration, Computational Biology, Computer Science, and Information Systems. With 10 graduating classes, the total number of graduates from CMU-Q is nearly 800.
· Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q). GU-Q was established in 2005. It offers a holistic four-year Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree in one of four majors: International Economics, International Politics, Culture and Politics, and International History. Students follow the same curriculum as their peers at Georgetown's campus in Washington, DC. while taking part in experiential learning activities and benefiting from world-class facilities and individual interactions with their professors. A total of 441 students have graduated from GU-Q.
· Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q). NU-Q was founded in 2008 and offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Journalism and Strategic Communication, and Communication. It also offers students the opportunity to earn a minor in Middle East Studies and a minor in Media and Politics. Additionally, students can earn a certificate in Strategic Communication. A total of 343 students have graduated from NU-Q.
· HEC Paris in Qatar was established in 2010. Courses on offer include Master's programs, Summer School, MBA, PhD, Executive MBA, TRIUM Global Executive MBA executive short programs, and customized executive education programs for companies. HEC Paris launched Qatar's first international Executive MBA, and also provides a Specialized master's degree in Strategic Business Unit Management. A total of 593 students have graduated from HEC Paris in Qatar.
· UCL Qatar opened a campus in Qatar in 2010. It offers a rigorous and dynamic learning environment, with an MA in Library and Information Studies and an MA in Museum and Gallery Practice. A total of 254 students have graduated from UCL Qatar.
· Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU). HBKU was founded in 2010. It houses three national research institutes: Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Qatar Computing Research Institute, and Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute. HBKU's academic portfolio is tailored to meet the needs of the local community, inspiring Qataris to continue their pursuit of education with a diverse offering of degrees, Master's programs, and PhD courses. HBKU's educational efforts comprise five colleges and an entity devoted to executive education: the College of Health and Life Sciences, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Islamic Studies, College of Law & Public Policy, College of Science & Engineering, and the Executive Education Center.
Other educational centers located at Education City include:
Qatar Academy (QA) Doha was established in 1996, as Qatar Foundation's first school. It is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Council of International Schools. There are five Qatar Academy schools in different locations throughout Qatar, including QA Al Khor, QA Al Wakra QA Msheireb, and QA Sidra.
Academic Bridge Program (ABP) was established in 2001 and is a rigorous, two-semester general studies program that focuses on English, math, science, and computer skills. Studies in these four areas help ensure students make a successful transition from high school to university.
Awsaj Academy was established in 1996 and is a K-12 specialized school that addresses the needs of students with mild to moderate learning challenges. Awsaj Academy is the only school of its kind in Qatar, and one of only a handful of schools worldwide dedicated to working with students who have demonstrated aptitude in certain areas while facing academic challenges in others.
Renad Academy was launched in 2016 and is an educational facility dedicated to helping children who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Qatar Foundation's vision is that the center will provide education and specialized services to students, training and support to parents, and establish for the community a center of best practices for people with ASD.
Qatar Leadership Academy (QLA).
QLA opened in 2005, and is a school that aims to promote personal growth in young men by engaging them in academics, military discipline, leadership skills, and athletics. QLA follows a US curriculum model, with a full high school program in Grades 9-12.
Several centers based at Education City focus on science and research. These include:
· Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), a state-of-the-art facility comprising 45,000 square meters of office and laboratory space. As a hub of scientific and technological innovation, tech-based entrepreneurship, and leading global hi-tech companies focused on commercializing scientific research, QSTP provides incubation, funding, training, mentorship, and connection to the regional and global tech innovation ecosystem.
· Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), through its portfolio of programs, provides financial support and expert guidance for original, competitively-selected research.
- Al Shaqab is a leading global equine center passionately committed to preserving Qatar's heritage by promoting the Arabian horse breed and setting the highest standards in horse welfare, breeding, equine education, and research.
- Doha Debates, a public forum for dialogue modeled on the Oxford Union debates.
- Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, houses the ‘Mathaf Collection’, co-owned by Qatar Museums and Qatar Foundation, which is the world's largest specialized collection of its kind. · Oxygen Park is a landscaped open space that incorporates sports, recreation, and heritage in a relatively cool environment. The 130,000-square-metre park was commissioned by Qatar Foundation to be an outdoor oasis for its community and the general public.
- QatarDebate, the national debating organization for Qatar. It aims to shape the global citizens of today and the intellectual leaders of tomorrow in the region, through the delivery of diverse debate learning programs featuring Arabic and English.
- Qatar National Convention Centre, one of the largest and most technologically advanced venues in the Middle East. · Education City Mosque, which aims to be the premier community-focused mosque in Qatar and the region. With the capacity to host 1,800 worshippers in its main prayer hall and another 1,000 in its exterior courtyard, it also serves as a community mosque for the surrounding Al Rayyan area.
The American universities which have established campuses in Education City have been the subject of ongoing criticism of whether it is appropriate to maintain a campus in Qatar, given the alleged Qatari links to state-sponsored terrorism, the lack of freedom of speech in the country, and the country's absolute monarchy. In an interview with Gulf News Journal, Herbert London, president of the London Center for Policy Research and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said "universities I think have compromised themselves" by having campuses in a country like Qatar where academic freedom and freedom of the press are severely limited.
Along with other universities with campuses in Qatar, Georgetown has received criticism for accepting money from Qatar due to their support of terrorism worldwide and their abysmal human rights record, especially in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup. Some question if universities who profit from campuses in Qatar are thereby complicit in Qatar's alleged sponsorship of terrorism and human rights abuses.
In Qatar, the monarchy has absolute authority over all aspects of life, including its strict adherence to Sharia Law. There are also strict censorship laws that at times have spilled over into Education City, despite the country's stated claims that the institutions there have total academic and intellectual freedom.
In 2014, Love Comes Later, a book by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, English professor for Georgetown University in Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar, and Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, was banned by the State of Qatar with no explanation. Rajakumar has stated that she wrote the book with the Qatari “sensibilities of the public culture” in mind, meaning that the book did not include the main three objections: sex, atheism, and politics. Some art that has been displayed at VCUarts Qatar has had to be taken down as some Qatari students found it to be disrespectful to their culture, an issue that reflects the differences in conservatism and social practices that are present at the Qatari campus.
In an article by The Washington Post, Susan Dun, an assistant professor of communication at NU-Q said that some professors do exercise caution with statements, written work, or speeches that may reach a wider audience than just the Education City community.
Everette Dennis, the dean of NU-Q led a six-nation survey in 2015 that was financed by the Qatar National Research Fund and asked questions such as if people think their country is “headed in the right direction”. While the UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia all had answers to the question, there was no data from Qatar as the government blocked the question from being asked to survey participants.
Freedom of SpeechEdit
Students at Northwestern University in Qatar have said that they face challenges due to the lack of first amendment rights protecting the media. Students have been harassed and intimidated when trying to capture images that would be considered routine or not offensive in the U.S. Some faculty members maintain that this teaches students persistence and creativity in overcoming obstacles to report on a story.
- Dominic J. Brewer; Catherine H. Augustine; Gail L. Zellman; Gery W. Ryan; Charles A. Goldman; Gery Ryan (2007). Education for a New Era: Design and Implementation of K-12 Education Reform in Qatar. RAND Institute Qatar. pp. 27–28.
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