Posted on March 29, 2017

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.

The GSC engages in interdisciplinary, Gulf-focused studies and research in three main areas: Energy and Economics, Politics and Security, and Social Issues. Led by the director Dr Abdullah Baabood, the Center offers a MA and a PhD programs in Gulf Studies. Registration for both programs started in January 2 and will continue until April 3, 2017.

As the Gulf countries emerge as major international players, there is a growing need for in-depth research and scholarship on the Gulf, Dr Abdullah Baabood said, adding, “the field of Gulf studies is one that is wide-ranging from issues of politics and regional security, labor migration and education to resource management and sustainable development. Due to the increasing regional and global interest in this strategic area, the GSC developed further and established a Research Center in the Fall of 2013.” The MA and PhD programs were developed in response to a growing need among stakeholders in the region for highly qualified graduates in the field of Gulf studies and vastly growing general interest and focus on the Gulf region, Dr Abdullah Baabood said. He added: “The programs aim to provide students with an in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding of issues related to the contemporary states of the Gulf.”

Commenting on the programs, GSC Associate Professor in Contemporary History and Politics Dr Mahjoob Zweiri (pictured) said: “The MA and PhD programs in Gulf Studies provide students with opportunities to contribute to one of the world’s most rapidly developing regions while instilling a solid foundation for lifelong learning. They also provide students with internship and assistantship opportunities on a competitive basis to gain work experience and off-set tuition costs, preparing them to excel in their future professional and academic pursuits.”

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Dr Mahjoob Zweiri noted that the MA (launched in Fall 2011) and PhD (launched in Fall 2015) are the first of their kind in the region. “The programs offer students a unique opportunity to study the Gulf while living in the region itself”, he said. He also noted that the programs provide an advanced interdisciplinary understanding and in-depth knowledge of issues related to GCC countries, and advance a level of scholarship on Gulf issues that is much-needed at this time. He said: “Students have the unprecedented opportunity to engage with leading academics and practitioners in the field through classes and coursework, conferences, special seminars, guest lectures, research and extracurricular activities.”

Dr Mahjoob Zweiri further noted that both programs draw on an interdisciplinary curriculum to provide a holistic examination of the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as well as Iran, Iraq and Yemen. This includes topics within the areas of politics, economics, history, literature, international relations, security, the energy industry, ecology and culture, he said, adding, “students engage in research on Gulf-related issues, which will prepare them to contribute specialist skills to professional sectors in Qatar in line with the country’s ambitions towards a knowledge-based economy. The programs also offer international students an opportunity to understand the culture, politics and develop a deep understanding of the region.”

PhD student Buthaina Alkhelaifi said: “The Gulf Studies program provides us with the opportunity to learn many new aspects about the GCC region. It also prepares us to help our countries to find resolutions and answers to the challenges and issues in the region.” MA student Betul Dogan said: “The Gulf Studies program offers us the opportunity to learn by doing in an international environment. Everyone brings a different voice to the classroom discussions. This is really important for both local and international students as it helps them to develop their culture and communication skills.”