Posted on August 22, 2017

Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) hosted a seminar highlighting the history and evolution of the Qatari legal system, in conjunction with a delegation of legal scholars visiting Qatar from De Montfort University (DMU) based in Leicester in the United Kingdom. The seminar, which was held this past Tuesday, was in close partnership with HBKU’s College of Law and Public Policy (CLPP).

Focusing on the various factors that contributed to the formation and the continuous progression of the Qatari legal system, ranging from culture, norms and religion to economics, globalization and human development, the seminar analyzed current regional developments the country’s legal framework at-large.

The talk highlighted the legal aspects of the current political situation in the region, using a multifaceted lens to analyze Qatar’s mature stance on the crisis. In this first-of-its-kind event at CLPP, participants had the chance to speak candidly, not only about the legality of the matter, but also about geo-political ramifications in relation to food security, travel and movement, economics and beyond. By collaborating together with DMU, another leading global research institution, HBKU continues to remain a hub for sharing ideas that shape the professional leaders of tomorrow, and to help achieve Qatar’s sustainable development goals.

Clinton Francis, founding dean of CLPP, said: “Partnerships with renowned research-based universities create an academic and scholarly environment that is conducive to producing talent capable of functioning effectively and efficiently in Qatar’s knowledge-driven economy. Seminars and events like this specifically focus on providing our students with a robust platform for developing multidisciplinary thought leadership skills and cross-cultural communication techniques through engagement with diverse groups of people from different backgrounds.”

Dr. Reem Al-Ansari, who is the associate dean of graduate studies at Qatar University’s College of Law, led Tuesday’s seminar. Also serving as a visiting professor at HBKU’s CLPP and teaching within the Juris Doctor (JD) program, Dr. Al-Ansari engaged the DMU and CLPP attendees with a presentation on Qatar’s rich history and the advancement of its exceptional legal system. The presentation also examined how this legacy has enabled the country to successfully overcome local and international legal challenges that arise from the current-political developments.

Dr. Al-Ansari gave the attendees a holistic analysis of the Qatari legal system and the current regional situation, based on her expertise in the field, both locally and internationally. She said: “I always envision Qatar as a country that is young at heart and that is driven by a sense of invincibility, but that is still very flexible. Today's seminar proves how Qatar has been always been clear, transparent and noble, since day one of its history, dating back as far as 1913.” In matters of counter-terrorism, political stability, foreign policy, sovereignty, and international collaboration, Dr. Al-Ansari emphasized the importance of honesty, dialogue and being adaptive.

DMU’s delegation of legal scholars, who are scheduled to be in Qatar for one week, consisted of nine students and two faculty members – Dr. Rajnaara Akhtar and Dr. Kate Wilkinson Cross – from within the field of business law. The delegation will be visiting a variety of other public and private sector organizations, in addition to taking part in cultural, social and professional engagements, with the goal of strengthening their understanding of the Middle East, while sharing their own knowledge, expertise, and experiences from the United Kingdom.

“Our visit to Qatar is part of our university’s larger initiative, called #DMUGlobal. The idea behind it being: to provide our students with international experience so that when they graduate university, they have an awareness of other cultures, laws, and norms. With the recent regional situation, the Qatar trip became even more important as it illuminates fresh outlooks on the current crisis,” said the faculty advisor to the visiting students, Dr. Rajnaara Akhtar. As a part of the award-winning #DMUglobal program, which aims to give DMU students an international experience to complement and enhance their studies, students and faculty from DMU and CLPP were given the opportunity to engage in a lively discussion about the field of legal in the country, and expose themselves to Qatari culture and tradition.

Commenting on the seminar and the lively discussions that followed, Usman Ali, an undergraduate student at DMU, said: “It was enlightening to visit Qatar and get an on-ground perspective of the new political developments, especially from a legal perspective. You don’t always get the full picture through the news, so the seminar today was informative and interesting.” Several CLPP scholars attended the talk, and they enriched the quality of discussion with their international counterparts by sharing their own nuanced understanding of Qatar and the region from legal and cultural perspectives.

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