The international 2-day conference titled “Perspectives on Middle East Studies” held at Qatar University (QU) drew about 200 participants from the diplomatic community, academia, and government.
Organized by the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in cooperation with Cambridge University Centre of Islamic Studies, the event featured presentations from academics, researchers and experts from QU, Gulf Studies Center, Cambridge University, Hamad bin Khalifa University, University College of London in Qatar, Northwestern University Qatar, and University of Sarajevo.
Its aim was to engage dialogue on issues relevant to the Middle East and Gulf region which were highlighted in presentations and discussions on Language, Culture and Society; International Relations; History; Gulf Region; Media; Urban Planning and Museums; Gender and Women’s Studies; and Arabic and Beyond.
Attendees included H.E. Saad Mohammed Saad Jassem Al Rumaihi, HH The Emir’s Secretary for Follow-up Affairs and Chair of CAS Advisory Board, QU President Prof Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad, H.E. Ms Rosanna Surballe (Argentina); H.E. Hamodi Cheick (Central African Republic), H.E. Mrs. Yvette van Eechoud (Netherlands), H.E. Martin Aeschbacher (Switzerland), and H.E. Nicholas Hopton (UK), including deputy head of mission of the Swiss Embassy and embassy representatives from Bosnia Herzegovina, Oman, Singapore, and USA.
QU VP for Research Dr Hassan Al-Derham and VP and Chief Academic Officer Dr Mazen Hasna were also present along with Mr Nasser Al Sowaidi of the Qatar Military College of Defence Studies, officials from Qatar Museums Authority and UNESCO, the new Assoc Dean of Research at Northwestern University Qatar Dr Klaus Schoenbach and academics from QU, Community College Qatar, Georgetown University Qatar, American University of Cairo, University College London in Qatar, Al Jazeera Center for Studies, as well as QU students of international affairs, Gulf studies and humanities.
The Cambridge University delegates included Centre of Islamic Studies Director Prof Yasir Suleiman, Master of Corpus Christi College Mr Stewart Laing, and Senior Fellow of the Centre of International Studies Prof George Joffe.
QU VP for Research Dr Hassan Al-Derham said: “The topics presented today are timely for discussion among academics, experts and observers on developments in the Middle East and Gulf region. In hosting this important forum, the College of Arts & Sciences has highlighted the institutional commitment to being a leading partner in addressing new and emerging issues in the region and providing the forum for dialogue and collaboration”.
CAS Dean Dr Eiman Mustafawi said: “This is a very prestigious event which meets one of our strategic objectives as a College that fosters an intellectually stimulating environment, and provides opportunities for faculty and students to engage in such dynamic academic discussions”.
Prof Suleiman said: “The symposium is a unique opportunity to establish new connections between universities in Qatar and Cambridge aiming at fostering joint research projects and academic exchanges at various levels”.
He added: “This event builds on successful visits to Morocco, China, Sarajevo and the United Arab Emirates”.
Gulf Studies Center Director Dr Abdullah Baabood said: “Dialogue and collaboration such as this are critical not only for Qatar and the Gulf but also worldwide. I am pleased that the College has seized on the opportunity to bring together these experts on Gulf issues to share their invaluable academic and research knowledge”.
QU MA Gulf Studies student Manami Goto from Japan said: “This conference provides such a variety of unique perspectives on the Middle East, specifically the Gulf region. It is really exciting to get to hear from and meet well-known academics personally whose work I study in class”.
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