Posted on March 20, 2018

Founded in 2011, the Gulf Studies Center (GSC) at Qatar University College of Arts and Sciences (QU-CAS) is committed to advancing cutting-edge research and scholarship on the Gulf region. The center offers faculty and students a rare opportunity to be exposed to academic research in the field of Gulf studies.

GSC engages in interdisciplinary, Gulf-focused studies and research in three main areas: Energy and Economics, Politics and Security, and Social Issues. The center offers a MA and a PhD programs in Gulf Studies. Registration for both programs has already started and will continue until April 10. During an interview, GSC Director Dr Majoob Zweiri outlined the center’s academic programs, collaboration opportunities and future plans.

Tell us about the future plans about GSC’s MA and PhD programs

We are seeking to make GSC the academic destination for those who wish to specialize in Gulf studies.The MA in Gulf Studies in Arabic is undergoing a progress process, which will contribute to launching a PhD in Gulf Studies in Arabic after a careful evaluation of the MA experience. The center is also studying the establishment of a joint MA between Qatar University and Durham University in the UK, as a continuation of the collaboration between the two institutions in the PhD track. The center will also continue to closely evaluate the MA and PhD programs in terms of courses, quality of thesis and dissertations, while attracting qualified faculty members with expertise in the field of Gulf studies.

How does GSC support interdisciplinary programs at QU?

The Gulf Studies Program is the first of its kind interdisciplinary program in the field of humanities and social sciences. The program benefits from the expertise of academics from various programs at QU, which enhances the teaching experience. Additionally, the Gulf Studies Program is the unique program in the region that implements an interdisciplinary approach to its courses.

Are there any plans to introduce new courses in the program that align with the Gulf situation after the crisis?

The center is certainly keeping abreast of the current situations in the Gulf region. Hence, we have special topic courses that could be used to study the current situation of the Gulf after the crisis. It is expected that the crisis and its implications will open up new areas for research in MA and/or PhD dissertations. In this regard, there are dissertations on the impact of social media on the Gulf crisis.

Tell us about the center’s collaboration with internal and external entities

GSC is committed to provide its expertise to the local community and to cooperate with academic and research institutions that serve its vision. In this regard, the center is open to new collaborations with a number of relevant institutions in Qatar such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the aim to exchange experiences. Additionally, the center will launch a postdoctoral research program for distinguished researchers who completed their PhD studies and who are interested in the Gulf region. This makes GSC the starting point for the academic and research work in the area of Gulf studies.

What are the centers’ events in Spring 2018?

The center will host a workshop titled “Making Qatar the World’s First "Recruitment Fee-Free" Work Zone: Labor Supply Chain Management and Migrant Worker Welfare in Construction” in collaboration with New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. It will also host a student symposium engaging students to present the papers they have produced during their studies in the program. This will allow them to enhance their presentation skills, which they need for acting as excellent student ambassadors in regional and international conferences. Additionally, the center is continuously working on designing activities that will prepare the students to become influential in the society.

How did GSC deal with the Gulf crisis?

GSC faculty participated in events on the crisis inside and outside Qatar. They also contributed through various media platforms in analyzing the dimensions of the crisis and its political, economic and social consequences. GSC students also studied some issues related to the blockade imposed on Qatar. In this regard, they studied the local expansion of “Tamim Al-Majd slogan” as an expression of respect and loyalty.

What is the center’s position towards the recent Qatari-Iranian relations?

GSC is interested in staying well informed with Iran’s foreign and domestic policies as Iran is part of the geopolitics in the Gulf region. This interest is growing in an attempt to understand how to deal with the results of the Iranian foreign policy in the region. In this context, the development of the Qatari-Iranian relationship is examined in light of the blockade imposed on Qatar. There seem to be no change in Qatar’s position towards Iran’s policies because of the post-blockade issues.