February 22, 2002

Univ. of Texas Considering Qatari School

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As Cornell presses onward with its plans for an extension of the Weill Medical College in Doha, Qatar, other universities are considering similar proposals by the Qatar Foundation to build campuses in the Middle Eastern country. Among those is the University of Texas at Austin’s (UT) Red McCombs School of Business and engineering school.

Officials at UT have been contacted by the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit educational organization established in 1995 by Sheikh Harnad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar. UT officials are considering establishing business and engineering schools in the “education city” that the Qatar Foundation is aiming to create in Doha.


UT President Larry Faulkner told The Daily Texan, UT’s newspaper, that the discussions with Qatari representatives do not constitute any sort of agreement. “We’re still a long way from making a commitment in that direction,” Faulkner said.

According to Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations, UT has contacted Cornell about its plans.

“We have been contacted by the University of Texas,” he said, “and we’ve had some good conversations.”

Construction is under way at Cornell’s campus in Qatar according to Cornell officials, and recruitment of faculty has been completed. The curriculum currently stipulates that the students in Qatar will go through a premedical program and a regular medical school program. The degrees awarded to graduates will be the same as those given by the medical college in New York City.

According to an admissions policy, 70 percent of the students at the medical college in Qatar will be from the country itself. The school will use the same application standards as the New York City medical school does.

Virginia Commonwealth University has already established a school of design in Doha.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) recently announced the conclusion to their yearlong discussions with the Qatar Foundation, deciding not to build the proposed campuses at the present time, although future discussions are possible. Chancellor James Moeser said in a statement released by the University, “both the University [UNC] and the [Qatar] Foundation held to a very high standard of academic excellence for the envisioned programs, but … we concluded that the distance between our two positions was beyond our ability to negotiate any further.

“We continue to have the highest admiration for the Qatar Foundation and its vision for building first-class educational institutions in Qatar. We wish them well in that pursuit,” he added.

The proposal originally considered establishing a branch of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in Qatar.

Archived article by Kate Cooper