Intertwined: Love & Sustainability Part 1

If someone asked me what my favorite word it I would have to say love.  It is love that really does move mountains and helps us to overcome enormous challenges; it is also that which holds the greatest potential for joy and sorrow.  Through love, we can embrace humanity and strive to make it better for our progeny.  This thought process is what leads me to the second topic of this essay which is sustainability.  No amount of love in the world can preserve and enrich the Earth, allowing it to provide for upcoming generations if we do not also embrace sustainable practices.  The rise of green energy, combined with teaching the youth of today how to cultivate the earth without damaging it, to preserve it in place of polluting and destroying it, is what can turn this world around from a pollution filled planet with struggling or dying ecosystems.  How many species must be hunted into extinction, or their habitats destroyed pushing them into extinction, before we listen to what the Earth is so loudly and clearly telling us?  We are not being proper stewards of this beautiful, unique and precious planet? In fact, mankind now stands as it’s greatest enemy.  Thankfully, the tides of thought are changing and entire community’s and nations are awakening to the dire need for sustainable practices.

Qatar, one of the fastest growing nations in the middle east, is impressive with it’s innovation and commitment to green practices, education, policies and commitment.  A siple Google search for “Qatar Sustainability” brings up lengthy results.  For example, “Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) is a non-profit, membership-driven organization providing leadership and encouraging collaboration in conducting environmentally sustainable practices for green building design and development in Qatar. QGBC also aims to support the overall health and sustainability of the environment, the people, and economic security in Qatar for generations to come. The council, a member of Qatar Foundation, was formally established in 2009 by a decree signed by H.H. Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser and is helping Qatar on its journey to establish a post-hydrocarbon, knowledge economy and progressive society.”

As a former college professor, one the the projects I am most thrilled about is Education City which will be a car free zone and home of a state of the art green transport system capable of transporting up to 3,000 students and faculty per hour.  The modern sleek design reminds me of the prototypes of such things I used to be enthralled with at Epcot Center as a child when they would have shows of “Future Transportation”.  However, I digress…. Education City makes me wish I was a young woman again looking for a college to attend. There is something for everyone at Education City, regardless of their area of study as many colleges and schools and research facilities have made it home.

Six American universities, one British university and one French university have branch campuses at Education City. They are:

  • Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar School of the Arts (VCUQ). Founded in 1998, VCUQ has offered students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (4 years) in fashion design, graphic design, interior design or painting and printmaking as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Design Studies (2 years).
  • Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q). The Medical College was established by Cornell University in 2001 and offers a two-year pre-medical program followed by the four-year medical program leading to a Doctor of Medicine degree.
  • Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ). TAMUQ was established in 2003 and offers undergraduate degrees in chemical, electrical, mechanical and petroleum engineering. As of 2011, it also offers a master’s degree in chemical engineering.
  • Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q). CMU-Q has since 2004 offered undergraduate degrees in business, computer science programs, and as of 2007 an undergraduate degree in information systems. From Fall 2011, it has recently established a joint program with Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar offering Biological Sciences and Computational Biology.
  • Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar). SFS-Qatar has, since 2005, offered a four-year program leading to a bachelor’s degree in foreign service.
  • Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) began degree programs in journalism and communication in Fall 2008.
  • HEC Paris began offering graduate executive education programs for mid-career and senior executives in 2011.
  • UCL Qatar UCL Qatar arrived in 2011 and offers postgraduate degree programmes in the areas of archaeology, conservation, cultural heritage and museum studies.

It also has one Qatari university:

  • Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS). Founded in 2007, QFIS initially offered a two-year General Diploma in Islamic Studies. It subsequently established Diploma or Masters degree programs in several fields, including contemporary fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), public policy in Islam, and Islamic finance.


More on this later….

By Jennifer Riaz