Former students of Portland State University in Oregon were welcomed to US Ambassador Joseph LeBaron’s residence yesterday evening.
The envoy, himself a graduate from the school, spoke about the strong relationship between the university and Qatar.
LeBaron, who studied sociology and urban development at the university before completing his PhD at Princeton, talked about the particularly strong ties between Portland State and Qatar, adding that many prominent Qataris studied at the university, including the Minister of Justice, HE Hassan bin Abduallah al-Ghanem.
LeBaron, whose wife also graduated from Portland State, added that the people of Oregon had made a real effort to welcome people from the Middle East, which was a major contributory factor to the popularity of the university with students from the Gulf.
He said that he would continue to work to ensure that the bond between the university and Qataris remained strong, and provide prospective students with all the information they require.
“Whether families want their children to study in the US or to study at one of the US universities at Education City, we are here to do everything we can to help them make their choice happen,” he said.
Associate vice provost for enrolment management and student affairs at Portland State, Agnes Hoffman explained that the university had been popular with students from the Gulf since the establishment of a Middle East studies centre some 50 years ago, which was aimed at developing relations between the US and the Arab World.
Although there are only a few Qatari students currently studying at Portland, Hoffman estimated the number of Qatari alumni at something like 200.
As well as the fact that the school is strong in subjects such as engineering, business studies and the sciences, Hoffman pointed to the “international” atmosphere as one of the institution’s most attractive features.
LeBaron said he was aware of a number of other US universities exploring the possibilities of opening branch campuses in Qatar, and although unaware of specific details, said he would be looking forward to offering more Qatari students the chance to study at US institutions in Qatar.
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