The vision of Qatar
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is one of six international universities at Education City
Doha's new Museum of Islamic Art has a world-class collection of Arab art and science artifacts
Just as the patrons of early Arab-Muslim science like Harun Al Rashid and Al Mamun in Baghdad, Al Hakim in Cairo, and the Umayyads in Al Andalus sought to create states that encouraged research and development of ideas and products that would in turn serve the world and its people, so is Qatar embarked on a modern campaign to do the same.
The overall vision of Qatar, articulated in a far-seeing document titled Qatar National Vision 2030, is more than anything about balancing many needs and objectives. As the report states:
Qatar National Vision 2030 builds a bridge between the present and the future. It envisages a vibrant and prosperous country in which there is economic and social justice for all, and in which nature and man are in harmony. We need to galvanise our collective energies and direct them toward these aspirations. Strong Islamic and family values will provide our moral and ethical compass.
The welfare of our children, and of our children yet to be born, demands that we use our resource-wealth wisely. Qatar must continue to invest in its people so that all can participate fully in economic, social and political life. Qatar must invest too in world class infrastructure to create a dynamic and more diversified economy in which the private sector plays a prominent role. This requires continuous improvements in the efficiency, transparency and accountability of government agencies.
The report focuses on all the aspects that make up a healthy society and sets out a road map for achieving a critical balance among them, including modernisation versus preservation of traditions; the needs of this and future generations; managed growth versus uncontrolled expansion; the size and the quality of the expatriate labour force and the selected path of development; and economic growth, social development, and environmental management.
Just as the early Arab rulers sought to combine their resources with many other contributors, so is modern Qatar building a broad local, regional, and global network to translate vision into reality.
One key partner is Qatar Foundation. Founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and supported and guided by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, the overall vision and mission of Qatar Foundation is quite clear:
Vision: To support centres of excellence which develop people's abilities through investments in human capital, innovative technology, state of the art facilities and partnerships with elite organisations, thus raising the competency of people and the quality of life.
Mission: To prepare the people of Qatar and the region to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world, and to make Qatar a leader in innovative education and research. To achieve that mission, Qatar Foundation supports a network of centres and partnerships with elite institutions, all committed to the principle that a nation's greatest natural resource is its people. Education City, Qatar Foundation's flagship project, is envisioned as a Centre of Excellence in education and research that will help transform Qatar into a knowledge-based society.
More specifically, Qatar Foundation has since 1995 committed tens of billions of dollars and thousands of man-hours to multiple initiatives.
The activities and programmes of Qatar Foundation, while many and varied, all conform to a clear and simple strategy. Qatar Foundation, through its education unit centred at a vast campus on the outskirts of Doha known as Education City, looks to its seven university partners to undertake teaching and academic research: the fruits of that knowledge are then applied to the real world at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP). More specifically, first-class education is delivered by the schools and universities. Research is prioritised and funded by a grants body. The research is undertaken by the universities and by companies at the science park, and fruits of the research are commercialised at Qatar Science & Technology Park.