Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) welcomed His Excellency Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah (H.E. Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah), Director of the Qatar Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, to share his in-depth knowledge of Qatar’s environmental policy and international engagements in climate change negotiations, as part of SFS-Q’s Ethics: Environmental Politics course, yesterday at SFS-Q campus.
H.E. Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah began his guest lecture by expressing his admiration for SFS-Q’s on-going commitment to preparing an insightful generation armed with the ability to lead and make a change. He then went onto address the students directly; talking about Qatar’s remarkable progress in making environmental challenges a top priority toward human development, and most notably, the key task of combining economic growth and sustainable environmental policies, “Economic development and the protection of the environment are competing demands that must be reconciled with each other in order to ensure that the future generations can sustain the opportunities enjoyed by current generations.”
As well as complementing the student’s studies into climate change, the following insights proved highly topical ahead of Qatar’s hosting of COP18/CMP8 later this year; a key event in the on-going work and negotiations on climate change treaties and agreements, it is expected to draw more than 17,000 people to Doha as representatives of 195 nations and more than 5,000 observer organizations.
Drawing on his position as the President of COP18/CMP8, H.E. Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah spoke about Qatar’s role as host country, “Ever since the declaration of Qatar to be the host of and the Presidency for COP18, we have been seriously engaged in international climate talks with the aim to establish a fertile ground in Doha that can bring all parties together to build on firm political commitment at the highest levels…..Indeed, hosting COP18 represents an opportunity to show Qatar’s seriousness to protect the environment as outlined in Qatar’s National Vision 2030. It is also a platform for Qatar to showcase its long- term climate policy strategy.”
SFS-Q students listened attentively throughout the lecture with course instructor James Olsen, SFS-Q later commenting on the unique opportunity, “Having an official involved in such high level policy making to share his knowledge with our students is normally something I could only dream of, and evidences the unique and significant opportunities that our students are able to enjoy on this campus. We are extremely grateful to H.E. Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah for coming here today and engaging with our students.”
An important aim of the Ethics: Environmental Politics class is to get students actively involved outside the classroom, so lectures such as these complement assignments and field trips designed to get them thinking about both ethics, as well as the policies that need to be put in place. Among other assignments, students are required to complete a final project proposing and detailing a policy recommendation and they are also encouraged to actively try new ways of helping the environment; such as carpooling, going vegetarian for a week and avoiding using disposable items. SFS-Q is also organizing a lecture series around climate change issues, happening on campus in November.
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