UCL Qatar formally opens in Doha
10 September 2013
UCL Qatar – the first ever campus to be set up in Education City, Qatar by a UK university – was today formally inaugurated under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser at a ceremony in Doha attended by HRH the Duke of York, KG and former UCL Provost, Professor Sir Malcolm Grant.
The ceremony brought together UCL staff and students with key stakeholders from the community who have played an important role in establishing UCL Qatar. Among the guests were senior representatives from Qatar Foundation, Hamad bin Khalifa University and Qatar Museums Authority. Qatari nationals who have previously graduated from UCL in London also attended the event, which included a short film on UCL Qatar’s students, facilities, achievements and objectives. The creation of a Consultation Committee was also announced at the ceremony.
Created in collaboration with Qatar Foundation and Qatar Museums Authority, UCL Qatar is a leading centre of excellence for the study of cultural heritage at postgraduate level. A partner of Hamad bin Khalifa University, the campus draws upon UCL’s world-renowned academic expertise, with leading academic scholars, teachers and scientists implementing UCL’s unique curriculum and research.
We share the same vision of establishing Qatar first of all as a regional and later as a global leader in cultural heritage, and our partnership work towards this end is extremely productive - and also enjoyable
H.H. Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani
Having welcomed its first intake of 29 Masters students in August 2012, UCL Qatar has already seen further growth with the arrival of an additional 39 students in August 2013. In addition, five PhD students from the UCL’s Institute of Archaeology are based at UCL Qatar to conduct high-level research into heritage issues of relevance to the Arab and Islamic world.
The Masters programmes offered at UCL Qatar in Museum Studies, Archaeology and Conservation have a significant focus on Qatar and the wider region, providing students with the practical skills required to pursue career as leaders in the cultural heritage sector.
H.H. Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority, said: “UCL is a key strategic partner in terms of building capacity for QMA’s museums and for our work in archaeology and cultural heritage, both through their Masters programmes and through their Short Course programme. We share the same vision of establishing Qatar first of all as a regional and later as a global leader in cultural heritage, and our partnership work towards this end is extremely productive - and also enjoyable.”
H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, President of Hamad bin Khalifa University, said: “UCL Qatar has shown itself to be an enthusiastic partner of Hamad bin Khalifa University and I look forward to its participation in our new graduate programs. UCL has always been a pioneer in higher education and I believe it has much to contribute to our emerging research university. The globally recognized quality of its scholarship in many areas will enrich our collaborative, interdisciplinary model of teaching and research.”
Professor Michael Worton (UCL Vice-Provost), said: “We are delighted that UCL Qatar has now been formally opened. Later this year our first cohort of Masters students will complete their studies and by December 2013, we will have delivered more than 50 short courses for professionals working in the local museum and cultural sector.
“We are also working closely with a range of sectors within the community, such as schools, explaining the personal and social importance of cultural heritage to everyone. UCL Qatar’s published research is already having significant impact in the region, and we are working in close partnership with Hamad bin Khalifa University to develop new postgraduate programmes, such as a Masters in Library and Information Studies that fit specific needs of the local population.
“UCL Qatar is young, but we are committed to fulfilling the educational, research, social and ethical visions of both UCL and its key partners Qatar Foundation and Qatar Museums Authority,” Professor Worton added.
Professor Thilo Rehren, Director of UCL Qatar, said: “Within the next five years we intend for UCL Qatar to be a global leader in cultural heritage studies, thanks to the outstanding academic calibre and dedication of our staff and students, and the continued support of Qatar Foundation and Qatar Museums Authority. Their backing allows us to develop an exciting programme of research, training, education and public outreach exploring why culture matters, particularly in a region so culturally rich and diverse as the Arab and Islamic World, with Qatar at the very heart of it.”
UCL was established in 1826 in order to open up education in England for the first time to students of any race, class or religion. Its founding principles of academic excellence and research aimed at addressing real-world problems inform the university’s ethos to this day.
In establishing UCL Qatar, UCL seeks not only to create the leading centre of excellence in the Gulf region for the study of archaeology, conservation, museology and librarianship, but also to strive with the community to bring cultural heritage to the forefront. UCL Qatar’s outreach programmes, school activities and public lectures are allowing the community to learn more about Qatar’s rich cultural past, as well as archaeological and historical issues within the wider region.