September 26, 2001

Cornell Continues to Develop Qatar School

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Daniel R. Alonso, dean of the Weill Medical College in Qatar, announced yesterday that Cornell harbors no reservations concerning the progress of the new branch of the medical school in Qatar, in light of the current events and controversy surrounding the Middle East.

“Our plans have not changed,” said Hank Dullea ’61, vice president for University Relations. “The government of Qatar has offered full support to the United States at this tragic time.”

Tentative plans for the school began almost two years ago when the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community sought out Cornell University to make their proposal a reality. The endeavor is made possible by the $750 million the Qatar Foundation will provide over the next 11 years.

When the branch opens in early September 2002, it will be the first established American medical school in a foreign country.

Qatar is located near Saudi Arabia and has a population of about 700,000. It is considered a rapidly developing nation and has been instituting relationships with other universities in order to establish programs in engineering, information technologies and other expanding disciplines.

The design phase of the school is nearly complete, and construction will begin in January 2002 with completion in the summer of 2003. Temporary quarters equipped with pre-existing laboratories and classrooms are being renovated for the first year students.

The classes will be taught in English by professors from the Weill Medical College, or by other New York-based professors. Faculty recruitment is currently in effect.

“The interest and response of the Cornell faculty has been most rewarding and I am confident that we will recruit highly qualified individuals,” Alonso stated in an e-mail to The Sun.

Also underway is the admissions process for the medical program, which, according to Alonso, is progressing nicely.

“We are doing appropriate research on the secondary educational system of the region, preparing informational materials for prospective students and feeder schools, and working out the logistics of the process; as evidenced by the number of inquiries that originate from our web site, the level of interest is very high and not just from students from the region but throughout the world,” Alonso stated in the e-mail.

Cornell has complete control over admissions to ensure that only students who can meet the medical school’s standards are accepted. Cornell also oversees staffing and curricula.

There are currently no Cornell personnel who living in Qatar, but colleagues in Qatar are keeping the Cornell administration abreast of local safety conditions.

According to Alonso, the plans for the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar are on schedule and the college will open as intended.

Archived article by Rachel Einschlag