QF, HBKU announce education, research partnerships with US
September 16 2020 09:56 PM
A screenshot of the Education and Culture Session, held as part of the Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue.
A screenshot of the Education and Culture Session, held as part of the Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue.

*MoUs signed on the sidelines of the third Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue

Qatar Foundation (QF) and Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) have sealed a trio of agreements with American institutions – including the country’s space agency – that span educational connections, water and climate change research, sport, and heritage preservation, at the latest in a series of annual meetings to strengthen ties between Qatar and the US.

The third Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue took place over two days in Washington DC this week, building on the established bilateral relationship between the two countries and opening up opportunities for the two countries to embark on new collaborations.

They include a partnership between QF, Qatar Museums (QM), and the Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest museum and research complex; as well as the announcement of a Mission Concept Formulation Study between QF member HBKU and Nasa to analyse the impact of rising sea levels and their effect on Qatar, and how changing climates affect the world’s arid regions. Meanwhile, a further agreement will see two members of the Fulbright Scholars Programme in the US spend a semester in Qatar to conduct research at HBKU’s research institutes.

“For Qatar Foundation, partnerships and connections with the US are long-established, and immeasurably valued,” said Dr Ahmad M Hasnah, president of HBKU, who represented QF at the US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the Smithsonian Institution and announcing the Nasa partnership during the meeting.

“From the leading US universities who partner with Qatar Foundation and have branch campuses within our Education City development in Doha, to the myriad research collaborations between our scientists and their US counterparts, these partnerships truly demonstrate how knowledge transcends borders.”

By partnering with the Smithsonian Institution, QF and the US organisation will combine to building knowledge and skills, and share experiences, in innovation and STEM education at K-12 level; promote connections between sport and science through public engagement activities ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022; and work together to preserve heritage documents, explore opportunities to co-develop and deliver digital education, and look at forming sustainability-focused research collaborations.

The MoU will also see QM and the Smithsonian Institute explore collaborations to mark the Qatar-US Year of Culture 2021, and share knowledge in areas including cultural innovation, digital literacy, digitising museum collections, and e-learning; as well as organising conferences and joint training programmes, and organising the Woven Treasures Exhibition at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M Sackler Gallery in Washington DC in 2021, which will showcase textiles from Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art.

Qatar Museums CEO Ahmad Musa al-Namla, said, "Qatar Museums' partnership with the Smithsonian - a global and esteemed cultural institution - paves the way for Qatar and the United States to further strengthen their ties and collaborate in the fields of arts and culture.

“The collaboration will create exceptional opportunities for knowledge transfer and exchange between both nations as Qatar Museums works to promote Qatar's national heritage beyond its borders and nurture a thriving cultural landscape for an engaged society.”

Through the collaboration between QF and Nasa, researchers from the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Earth Science Programme and Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute at HBKU will work together on a project to design a mission to probe beneath the sand dunes and ice sheets of some of the planet’s driest places.

The project reflects the need for greater understanding of aquifer systems to support Qatar’s water security goals, and will also provide new knowledge about the effects of rising water levels due to melting polar ice caps. The latter is of critical importance for Qatar, where most urban areas are only a meter above sea level.

During their semester at QF in 2021, the two Fulbright scholars will work on research projects and teach at HBKU, with their areas of expertise being Alzheimer’s disease treatments and hydrology, and the application of Artificial Intelligence in civil and environmental engineering.

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