Welcome to the 2023 Middle East & North Africa Regional Institute

On behalf of Georgetown University in Qatar, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to our campus in Qatar Foundation’s Education City.

The International ACAC Middle East & North Africa Regional Institute–2023 brings an impressive number of participants together, including secondary school counselors, college and university representatives, and institutional partners from around the world. Warm greetings to you all.

I am particularly pleased to welcome International ACAC and its members to Georgetown University in Qatar because of our shared values. We are committed to offering an education that knows no political or geographical borders, that transcends the apparent constraints of nationality, culture, and creed, and that is accessible to all students regardless of socioeconomic background. And it is these beliefs that foster our collective dedication to transforming the lives of students — through access to and success at leading educational institutions in the region and beyond.

The Regional Institute – a fantastic occasion to meet face-to-face – convenes admissions teams, counselors, and partners to make lasting connections, discuss topics of interest or concern, and exchange professional expertise. I encourage you to engage, participate, network, and explore. Be inspired, be proactive: as Gandhi put it, “you may never know what results come from your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”

I am grateful to the International ACAC for choosing Georgetown University in Qatar as the host for this Regional Institute, and wish you a productive, dynamic, and memorable conference.


Safwan Masri, Ph.D.
Dean, Georgetown University in Qatar
Distinguished Professor of the Practice, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University


My name is Michelle Hadebe, and I am a third-year student at Georgetown University in Qatar from Pretoria, South Africa. I am majoring in International Politics and minoring in African Studies, and I aspire to be a policymaker solving socio-economic challenges in my country.

Being an international student in Qatar has been a truly enriching experience. It has offered me a unique opportunity to be immersed in the rich and diverse culture of this region. The vibrant tapestry of Qatar’s society, influenced by its deep history and modern outlook, has become an integral part of my educational journey at GU-Q. Whether it’s exploring the bustling souqs, attending world-class art exhibitions, or engaging in local traditions, my cultural immersion here goes beyond textbooks and classrooms.

At Georgetown, our classrooms, lecture halls, and atrium are not just physical spaces; they are a representation of curiosity, diversity, and community. Our campus, nestled in the heart of Education City, provides our students the opportunity to pursue their wildest intellectual ambitions. Beyond the classrooms, the diversity of our student body, hailing from various corners of the globe, creates a unique cultural exchange. This diversity extends to thought-provoking discussions, collaborative projects, and a deepened appreciation for the interconnectedness of our world. Because of Georgetown, I can boast about having friends from countries I never knew existed!

While Georgetown might be an intense place, challenging you academically to excel, we are still a community that looks out for each other. During my morning dash to class, I am always warmly greeted by my Qatari friend with a heartfelt exchange of two (or is it three?) kisses on the cheeks. She often follows it with “Yalla Habibti, don’t be late to class!”. These small yet endearing gestures not only brighten my day but also make me feel at home.

My university has given me an opportunity to expand my global perspective and forge lifelong friendships. During your time at the Middle East & North Africa Regional Institute, I hope you get to experience a glimpse of what our community has to offer.

Yours Truly,

Michelle Hadebe

A Signature Scent

One should not think of Qatar without scent and perfume coming to mind. From the rich aromas of spices to the smell of frankincense and oud wafting through the souqs, in Qatar scent is not just a luxury or a personal choice, it is part of a larger cultural lexicon. Like the often lingering trail of perfume in the corridors of Doha, we wanted to create a scent of our own to create a lasting and memorable connection with you all.

When we approached The Perfume Factory, the nose behind your diffuser, we were met with varied and enchanting aromas. We had fun creating for you, but the most compelling part of this perfume story is that of the Perfume Factory’s co-founder, Mohammed Rashid Al-Matwi. Mr. Al-Matwi has been a part of the Education City community for many years. First as a high school participant in Georgetown’s Educational Enrichment programs then as a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (2015). Mr. Al-Matwi represents the impact of the universities present here in Education City and the nurturing of creativity that begins long before graduating from secondary school.

There is a certain kind of magic that happens at Education City. It’s magic we hope you’ll experience directly and indirectly throughout the weekend. Like the many notes that come together to create this signature scent, Education City has, for over 25 years, been a place where political scientists, economists, and historians join engineers, doctors, artists, computer scientists and more to address the world’s most pressing issues.

When you open your diffuser, you will smell aquatic and spice notes infused with incense, orange flowers, gardenia, and amber, creating a warm and effervescent aroma that we hope will be emblematic of your time in Doha.

A Signature Tote

When GU-Q student, Jood Ikram Sheikh, envisioned the design of the Regional Institute’s tote bag she thought of nexus. She understood the importance of Doha as a hub of education, culture, and connectivity and the Regional Institute as a forum for connecting counselors and empowering students. This led her to design an artwork in which the facade of our building envelopes the skyline of Westbay in Doha, Qatar – creating an intimate portrait out of a metropolitan city.

Georgetown University in Qatar’s building was designed by the Architectural firm of Legorreta + Legorreta (Mexico) with Langdon Wilson International(USA). GU-Q’s home in Qatar was re-named the “Humanitarium” by the Qatar Foundation in 2017, a combination of the words “humanities” and “atrium” the name honors the Georgetown community’s role in the study of the humanities.

The Atrium, where you will spend a significant portion of your time, is known for its three-story high ceiling that lets in an abundance of light and hosts our hall of flags. Conceived as a gathering space for all, it is where Georgetown’s community spirit comes to life. From the outside to the inside, the Humanitarium has design elements from Qatar and Washington D.C. and it reflects the nexus in which Jood found inspiration.