Posted on March 12, 2014

Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU) a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), has collaborated with the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy (Baker Institute) in hosting a student exchange program in Doha, the program is dedicated to public policy and diplomacy issues, with a particular emphasis on Qatar-US relations.

Between March 3rd and March 6th, 7 participants from HBKU and its partner universities discussed a wide range of policy issues with counterparts from Rice University in the USA under the theme “The role of civil societies,” at the HBKU Student Center.

The Baker Institute, a think tank located on the Rice University campus in Houston, Texas, is renowned for its public policy analysis, with a major focus on Arab media research. This year, HBKU and its partner universities hosted 12 students from Rice University.

Alternating locations annually between Doha and Houston, this is the third exchange program which was designed to allow the visiting students to experience Arab or American culture in the context of their policy discussions.

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Participants from a variety of academic disciplines explored international issues of relevance to both Qatar and the US within a general framework of how to educate and inspire the next generation of public policy leaders.

Discussions covered humanitarian aid, natural resources and health, and also addressed specific issues such as the humanitarian response to conflict in the Middle East, social determinants of health, viable transportation systems,  sustainable development of natural resources, and the roles of biotechnology, bioterrorism and chemical warfare in today’s society.

Commenting on the current exchange program, Lolwah Al Khater, a student from HBKU’s Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies said: “Exchange programs serve as a form of education diplomacy which then becomes an eye opening experience for all parties. It is exciting to be able to take part in such exchange programs and I hope that HBKU organizes more of these events.”

HBKU partners with leading educational institutions, such as Rice University, to provide its students, and students of its partner universities, with unparalleled experiential learning opportunities. HBKU is committed to empowering its students to think creatively so that they will have a positive impact in the local, regional and global community.