CMU Qatar celebrates its 10th anniversary in Doha
In 2004, Carnegie Mellon opened a branch in Education City, a region of educational facilities on the outskirts of Doha, the capital of Qatar. Last Tuesday, the university celebrated the tenth anniversary of the CMU Qatar campus with an hour-long ceremony featuring key leadership from both campuses, as well as alumni, faculty, students, and distinguished international guests.
When Carnegie Mellon opened its Education City campus in 2004, it began by teaching only 41 students in two academic programs. Now it offers five programs, including biological sciences, business administration, computational biology, computer science, and information systems to over 400 students.
CMU Qatar has graduated over 300 students in its decade of education, all of whom have enrolled in top graduate programs or been sought out by the world’s leading companies.
Mark Kamlet, provost and executive vice president of Carnegie Mellon, spoke on behalf of Ilker Baybars, the dean of the CMU Qatar campus, at the ceremony in Doha on Tuesday.
“I will say — and the students know — that the Carnegie Mellon curriculum in Qatar is every bit as rigorous, as challenging, as thorough, and as demanding as in Pittsburgh. I also want to say that the students here have done extraordinarily well. And I mean not only academically but as ethical, bright, hardworking, and humane leaders,” Kamlet said. “Indeed we are here helping to create the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, thinkers, and problem solvers.”
CMU Qatar has received much recognition from the international community. One measure of this recognition, a university press release notes, is the many high-profile visitors that the university’s campus in Qatar has hosted, including Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, and former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
University president Subra Suresh said that the success of CMU’s Qatar campus is a hallmark of Carnegie Mellon’s leadership in the field of higher education.
“Higher education and governments are awakening the need for greater educational opportunity, and many are taking action. But I can think of no other nation that has responded as vigorously and imaginatively as has Qatar,” Suresh said in a university press release. “The story of Education City has been a powerful example for the entire world, and the world has taken notice of this success.”
The tenth anniversary celebration comes on the heels of the annual Initiating Meaningful Pittsburgh and Qatar Ties (IMPAQT) program, which sends Carnegie Mellon students from Pittsburgh to Qatar every Spring Break.
IMPAQT, according to its website, began in 2008 as part of a fifth-year scholar initiative. The program is meant “to develop strategies and initiatives to best leverage the relationship between the two campuses toward enhancing student life and the student experience on both.”
Gail Wilson, a sophomore computer science major who recently returned from IMPAQT, said that CMU Qatar is an important way to expand Carnegie Mellon’s international name. “Carnegie Mellon is getting on a much more international level, which is really, really cool. But also they’re starting anew there, in a way,” Wilson said.
“The dynamic between the two campuses is really interesting — they’re still Carnegie Mellon students, they’re still just as passionate, all that stuff,” Wilson continued. “But the campus is so small they’re also like a huge family there. Especially for us visiting, everyone knew us, everyone was saying hi to us, introducing us to friends. It was really, really cool.”
Students who participated in IMPAQT each came up with a project to bridge the two campuses.
Wilson planned to have students from both campuses answer questions to see the differences and similarities between the cultures of the two branches.
Wilson, however, said that her project evolved along with the rest of the group’s. “When we got there we decided, though — although a lot of us are keeping the same projects — but a lot of us are focusing on getting people at Carnegie Mellon Pittsburgh to know more about the Qatar campus.”