Georgetown’s president celebrated Columbus Day by making his own trip across the ocean.
This was John DeGioia’s first visit to Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar, which opened in August.
During his one-day stay in Doha, DeGioia met with students, faculty, staff and academic administrators. He also received the honor of inaugurating the Qatar Campus Library with its first book.
The Qatar campus is the result of a May 2005, university partnership with the Qatar Foundation, a private, non-profit group headed by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned.
The group also sponsors Education City branches of Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M University, Weill Cornell Medical College and Virgina Commonwealth.
“Georgetown’s new campus in Qatar is a natural extension of the university’s long tradition of international education and its history of scholarship in the Middle East,” Qatar-based newspaper the Gulf Times reported yesterday.
Representatives from the other Education City branches joined Qatar Foundation guests, Qatari students and Georgetown alumni for a Monday-night dinner hosted by Q-SFS Dean James Reardon-Anderson.
The evening’s featured speaker, Lubna Kayyali (Q-SFS ‘09), a member of the first class of Qatari Hoyas, told the audience she already felt part of a close community. Reardon-Anderson and DeGioia entertained questions following their own brief remarks.
According to Q-SFS interim Director of Public Affairs Sara Yamaka, the overall message was one of unity.
“At the end of the day, the message was ‘This is Georgetown,’ very simply,” she said. “Despite a geographical distance, the core of the institution is very familiar.”
Nearly half of the Q-SFS students come from Qatar, with the remainder hailing from 10 different countries as wide-ranging as Bangladesh, Syria and Bosnia/Herzegovina.
DeGioia called the Qatar student body’s diversity an asset to Georgetown as a whole and an important building block for the future.
“While we’re international today, within our lifetimes we’ll become a ‘global university,’” he said. “We must address, and prepare our students to address, global issues and situations in all their political, religious, economic, cultural and developmental complexity.”