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Statement on Northwestern University in Qatar

Statement by Dr. Abdulla Al-Thani, Vice President for Education for the Qatar Foundation

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November 1, 2007

Friends and colleagues:

Thank you all for joining us to celebrate another milestone in the history of Education City.

As you know, Northwestern University, from Illinois, and Qatar Foundation have agreed to establish a branch campus here offering Northwestern's renowned programs in journalism and communication, starting next summer/fall.

Northwestern is one of the best in this field, and the arrival of this institution and these programs will, I think, further enhance our combined reputation.

I am particularly excited by the addition of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and its School of Communication, because I believe they will promote a maturing of our society into one where everyone can have a voice and everyone is accountable. A vibrant, healthy media scene will bring about greater transparency and accountability, and these are hallmarks of successful, participative societies. They are not qualities for which our region is well known internationally, but they are essential to the implementation of Her Highness' vision of releasing and developing human potential for the common good.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no journalism and communication programs of this calibre anywhere in our region. I think we should see their establishment here as evidence of Qatar's real commitment to progressive social change.

I also believe Qatar Foundation and Northwestern University have a great deal in common.

Northwestern came into being more than 150 years ago in an area of the United States that was then regarded as frontier territory, and that held great commercial promise. Your founding fathers were people of vision who saw that a great society also needed a great centre of learning and research. And so Northwestern was founded [on a swamp] outside the city of Chicago.

Just like Chicago in the 19th century, Doha is becoming a commercial and industrial powerhouse in the 21st century. Like your founders, our leaders understand that education is essential to long-term well-being, and we are investing to ensure that the people of this country have access to the best education the world can offer.

I hope you at Northwestern share this view of our common heritage, and have already recognised at Qatar Foundation some of the pioneering ambition on which your university was founded. I think it represents a good foundation for our partnership.

I also hope you are inspired by the potential of our country, by the vision of Qatar Foundation and the contribution that the branch campuses of the Education City community are making to this society.

Friends from Northwestern: welcome to the Education City family!

Topics: University