The Australian embassy in Doha is focusing on strengthening its co-operation with Qatar in the field of education, aimed at exploring academic collaboration and research, as well as fostering cultural understanding and student exchanges, Australian ambassador Dr Axel Wabenhorst has said.
“Qatar’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education has approved 20 Australian universities for online degrees, and there are 33 Australian universities approved for Qatari government scholarships,” the envoy told Gulf Times.
He noted that student groups have exchanged visits in the fields of journalism and Middle Eastern studies, and “I expect these exchanges to continue.”
The University of South Australia (UniSA), which saw the visit of its senior officials to Doha recently, is also exploring research and academic collaboration with Qatar. It aims to foster cultural understanding and exchanges between the two countries.
“There is co-operation on implementing the school curriculum in Qatar, and an Australian college has been providing a vocational finance course in two Qatari high schools,” Dr Wabenhorst said.
Australian universities and research institutions also collaborated with Qatar National Research Fund, with additional opportunities in areas of scientific and sports therapy research.
In 2018, the envoy said Qatar University and UniSA signed a memorandum of understanding on education for further collaboration, especially in Islamic studies.
Another visit to Doha early this year by UniSA officials, Centre for Islamic Thought and Education director, professor Mohamad Abdalla; and School of Education Division dean and head, associate professor Graham Hardy, was aimed at fostering cultural understanding and exchanges between the two countries.
In small and medium entreprise collaboration, Dr Wabenhorst said he travels to Australia to inform small and medium-sized companies about the opportunities in Qatar.
“The embassy’s role is to understand the opportunities in Qatar and inform Australian companies of these,” he said.
“There are some visits and exchanges planned in the field of agriculture, where Australia’s expertise in dryland farming matches with Qatar’s priority to be more self-sufficient in food production,” the envoy added.
Around 30 Australian companies also operate in Qatar, with the biggest belong to the engineering and construction sector. They participate in big projects, including in the construction of Hamad Port, the Doha Metro, World Cup stadiums and in servicing the hydrocarbon sector.
Australian companies also worked in building Qatar State Mosque, Hamad International Airport, shopping centres and sports consulting.
“With the focus shifting to Qatar for the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and the increase in direct flights between our two countries, I expect an increase in the interest shown by Australian companies to operate in this country,” he added.