A new course in Gulf studies, the first of its kind in the Middle East and only the second in the world, has been launched in Qatar University, the national university of the Gulf state of Qatar.
The Master's programme in Gulf Studies at Qatar University comes at a time when the world's gaze is increasingly becoming focused on this region, as tensions in the Middle East continue into a second year and Qatar enhances its international profile as an often outspoken state.
The two-year full-time programme is designed to provide students with an advanced interdisciplinary understanding and in-depth knowledge of issues related to the states of the Arabian Gulf. Courses covered in the programme relate to heritage, society, politics, economics, the environment, media, international relations, and the energy industry of the Gulf. The programme is also offered on a part-time basis for those currently employed.
Students have the opportunity to learn from leading in-house and visiting experts in the field such as University of Bahrain award-winning professor of sociology Dr Baqer Al-Najjar, who taught the course 'City and Society in the Gulf' in Spring this year.
Launched in September 2011 and competing only with Exeter University in the UK, Qatar University's course has already attracted interest from students across the world. Those starting the course this September will also have the opportunity to undertake an internship in one of a number of public organizations within Qatar.
Further evidence of the organization's unique role in addressing Gulf issues was the hosting in November 2011 of the first-ever forum to be held in the region to commemorate the anniversary of the establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The two-day scientific and academic conference was organized by the Gulf Studies programme and the Department of International Affairs (DIA) under the theme "The GCC at 30: Past Achievements and Future Prospects". The event brought together regional academic and experts to discuss the alliance's gains and challenges, its growing international role and the way forward, and gave students the opportunity to be oriented on the GCC's political, economic and social progress and development.
College of Arts & Sciences Dean Dr Eiman Mustafawi said, "The Gulf region is growing in importance on a regional and global level. Thus, QU embraces its responsibility to connect with issues that impact on the region and to develop programmes that reflect this. There is considerable student interest in this topic and the Gulf Studies Master's will provide an opportunity for them to pursue such studies at a higher level in the Gulf region rather than abroad. It is a subject that is also attractive to students from outside Qatar and the region, and we expect it will attract students and interested faculty from around the world."
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