Education City is an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. Located on the outskirts of Doha, the capital of Qatar, Education City covers 14 square kilometers and houses educational facilities from school age to research level and branch campuses of some of the world's 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 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.
Six American universities, one British university and one French university have branch campuses at Education City. They are:
- Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar School of the Arts (VCUQ). Founded in 1998, VCUQ has offered students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (4 years) in fashion design, graphic design, interior design or painting and printmaking, a Bachelor of Arts (4 years) in Art History as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Design Studies (2 years).
- Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q). The Medical College was established by Cornell University in 2001 and offers a two-year pre-medical program followed by the four-year medical program leading to a Doctor of Medicine degree.
- Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ). TAMUQ was established in 2003 and offers undergraduate degrees in chemical, electrical, mechanical and petroleum engineering. As of 2011, it also offers a master's degree in chemical engineering.
- Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q). CMU-Q has since 2004 offered undergraduate degrees in business, computer science programs, and as of 2007 an undergraduate degree in information systems. From Fall 2011, it has recently established a joint program with Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar offering Biological Sciences and Computational Biology.
- Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar). SFS-Qatar has, since 2005, offered a four-year program leading to a bachelor's degree in foreign service.
- Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) began degree programs in journalism and communication in Fall 2008.
- HEC Paris began offering graduate executive education programs for mid-career and senior executives in 2011.
- UCL Qatar UCL Qatar arrived in 2011 and offers postgraduate degree programmes in the areas of archaeology, conservation, cultural heritage and museum studies.
It also has two Qatari universities:
- Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS). Founded in 2007, QFIS initially offered a two-year General Diploma in Islamic Studies. It subsequently established Diploma or master's degree programs in several fields, including contemporary fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), public policy in Islam, and Islamic finance.
- Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU). Founded in 2010, the university is a member of the Qatar Foundation, and began graduating students in 2014. It was named after Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former Emir of Qatar (1995-2013). It has four colleges including College of Science and Engineering (CSE), College of Islamic Studies (CIS), College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) and College of Law and Public Policy (CLPP).
In light of similar arrangements recently made between Abu Dhabi and institutions such as INSEAD, New York University and Université Paris-Sorbonne, observers have noted that while the oil-rich Persian Gulf nations may be using their wealth to buy prestige through these marquee universities, the presence of these Western institutions may have a liberalizing impact on the culturally conservative region.
Colleges and schools
Other educational centers located at Education City include:
- Qatar Academy. QA offers an international education for boys and girls from preschool to university entrance. This is a school for students who have average or above average potential but have experienced academic problems; it assists students in developing compensatory skills for their individual learning differences.
- Academic Bridge Program. Established in 2001, this center offers a university-preparatory program and aims to equip specially selected secondary school graduates for admission to degree programs of both Qatar Foundation's Education City campuses and other universities.
- Awsaj Academy. Established in 1996, Awsaj Academy, formerly known as The Learning Center, is a specialist school serving students with learning challenges in grades K-12. Awsaj is accredited by two internationally renowned Accrediting agencies: the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Middle States Association (MSA).
Research and industry
Several centers based at Education City focus on science and research. These include:
- RAND-Qatar Policy Institute, which complex policy problems and helps implement enduring solutions for clients across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
- Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), a state-of-the-art facility comprising 45,000 square meters of office and laboratory space. QSTP aims to fuel Qatar’s knowledge economy by encouraging companies from around the world to develop and commercialize their technology in Qatar, and by helping entrepreneurs to launch start-up technology businesses.
- Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), which supports research that is in the national interest. It was established to provide opportunities for researchers at all levels, from students to professionals, in the private, public, and academic sectors. The first of its funding programs, the Undergraduate Research Experience Program, was launched in 2006.
- Doha Debates, a public forum for dialogue modeled on the Oxford Union debates and broadcast on the BBC.
- Qatardebate, a youth civic engagement initiative which aims to foster a culture of debate and discussion in Qatar and the wider Arab World, creating 'debaters today, leaders tomorrow'.
- Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC), a pan-Arab youth television channel which aims to strike a balance between education and entertainment.
- Fitch studio, an extension of the Fitch London studio.
- Qatar Computing Research Institute is a research center established in 2010, which collaborates with Carnegie Mellon University in the form of joint seminar series and joint projects.
- Qatar National Convention Centre
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development
Education City is part of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, a private, chartered, non-profit organization in the state of Qatar, founded in 1995 by decree of Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar. Under Qatar Foundation’s umbrella are Education City which comprises universities, several academic and training programs and Qatar Science and Technology Park which hosts more than 21 companies involved in scientific research and development. Qatar Foundation has also launched the World Innovation Summit for Education – WISE – a global forum that brings together education stakeholders, opinion leaders and decision makers from all over the world to discuss educational issues. The first edition was held in Doha, Qatar from November 16 to 18, 2009, the second from December 7 to 9, 2010. The third edition was held from November 1 to 3, 2011.
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