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Three Named to Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chairs

Professorships named after Emir of Qatar

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January 5, 2010 | by Alan K. Cubbage
EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Qatar Foundation will provide funding support for three endowed professorships at Northwestern University named after the leader of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

Northwestern and the Qatar Foundation have been partners since 2008, when Northwestern joined five other leading American universities that had established branch campuses at Education City, a rapidly developing community of educational and research institutions on the outskirts of Doha, Qatar.

The three professorships in the areas of journalism, communication and Middle East studies reflect the vision of the Qatar Foundation to partner with institutions of academic excellence such as Northwestern to build a knowledge-based society in Qatar.

Northwestern University in Qatar offers undergraduate degrees in communication and journalism. The Medill School’s Journalism program prepares students for careers in print, broadcast and online news media, while the School of Communication offers a major in Media Industries and Technologies, preparing students for management and creative roles in the communication and media industries and for responsible civic participation in the proliferating world of global media. With liberal arts courses provided by Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, both of these programs replicate the quality of the curricula offered in Evanston, and graduates in Qatar will be awarded the same degree as their counterparts at the U.S. campus.

“For many centuries, and throughout the world, endowed professorships have provided important support for colleges and universities. We very much appreciate the funding of these chairs by the Qatar Foundation, which will enable Northwestern to enhance its programs in areas we have identified as high priorities for the University,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro. 

The appointments are:

• Frank Mulhern, professor and associate dean of research at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, has been named the Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in the Medill School of Journalism.

Mulhern conducts research on the impact of media technologies on marketing and media content and the changing business models for news and advertising. He has published numerous studies on marketing communications, econometric analysis of communications effects, media technology and the integration of communications across different audiences.  He is the is the co-author of the textbook “Marketing Communications: Integrated Theory, Strategy and Tactics.”

He served as department chair in integrated marketing communications at Medill for six years and was formerly on the faculty at Penn State. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

• Hamid Naficy, professor of radio-television-film and a John Evans Professor of Communication in the School of Communication at Northwestern, has been named the Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Communication.

Naficy is a leading expert on Iranian cinema and a key figure in the studies of Middle Eastern media. A prolific scholar, he regularly is consulted by the media and asked to deliver keynote addresses at conferences.

He has served on the advisory board or as a consultant to many national and international boards, including Film Quarterly, the Journal of Global Media and Communication, and Diaspora.

Prior to joining Northwestern, Naficy was the chair of the art history department and professor of film and media studies at Rice University and a faculty member at the University of California, University of Southern California, Television and Cinema College in Tehran and the Free University of Iran.

• Carl Petry, professor of history in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern, has been named the Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Middle East Studies.

Petry specializes in the Islamic World and North Africa, medieval and modern Egypt and the social history of the Middle East. He currently is working on a study of crime and criminal prosecution in the medieval Islamic world.

He is the author of “The Civilian Elite of Cairo in the Later Middle Ages,” a study based on a computerized data file containing biographies of 5,000 persons active in the administrative and scholastic communities of that city. His subsequent analyses of the political economy of Egypt preceding the Ottoman Conquest have resulted in two further books. He has edited and contributed to volume I of “The Cambridge History of Egypt: Islamic Egypt,” 640-1517.

Petry’s work has been supported by grants from the American Research Center in Egypt, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and the American Council of Learned Societies.

The Qatar Foundation was established in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad with the overarching goal of preparing the people of Qatar and the region for the challenges of the 21st century. Chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, the Foundation’s Education City is widely recognized as a pioneer in the globalization of higher education.
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