Applying the lessons of an international affairs curriculum to the real work of managing international relations, ten female students enrolled at QF partner Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) served as “Diplomat for a Day” as guest members of Qatar’s diplomatic community.
The program was organized in advance of International Women’s Day by the female Heads of Mission serving as Ambassadors of Austria, Canada, Ethiopia, Greece, Mexico, the Netherlands, Tanzania and the USA, and the Director of the regional UNESCO and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) offices in Doha, with the aim of mentoring female Qatari students.
GU-Q reached out to potential participants through the university’s Ambassador Club, as well as the Al Liwan Qatari student club, which is headed by senior Culture and Politics major, Dana Darwish.
“I was happy to have the privilege to use my position as a Qatari heritage representative to connect Qatari women with this opportunity,” said Dana, who was also a participant in the program, shadowing H.E. Stefanie McCollum, the Ambassador of Canada to the State of Qatar for the day. She also met with leadership figures in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and the Institut Français.
For Maryam Al Thani, Culture and Politics major and dedicated football fan, the opportunity to engage with H.E. Ambassador Graciela Gómez García and the Mexican embassy staff including the cultural affairs attaché gave her valuable insights into the world of sports diplomacy and the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022, a major focus of research at GU-Q. “The amazing mentorship I gained through this program demonstrated to me how being a woman brings strength to diplomacy.”
An interest in the way societies and cultures are shaped by global issues drew sophomore Shaikha Al-Obaidan to a degree in Culture and Politics at GU-Q. And through her engagement with H.E. Karin Fichtinger-Grohe, the Ambassador of Austria to the State of Qatar, Shaikha said she was able to examine those connections, and “learned how small states operate through diplomacy, a defining aspect of Qatar’s international relations.”
International Politics senior Roudah Al-Neama was connected with the IOM Chief of Mission in Qatar Iman Younis Ereiqat, and participated in a program held in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which trains diplomats on how to identify human trafficking. “By shadowing the Chief of Mission I learned more about the important work of the IOM. I’ve studied the planning of those projects in the classroom, but I got to actually see it happen, which was an amazing experience.”
Senior International Politics major Hessa Al-Kubaisi, who shadowed U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Greta Holtz said, “What I learned from Ambassador Holtz inspires me to continue striving towards my goal to work as a minister or a diplomat representing the Qatari government. I am hopeful that with all of the opportunities provided, the future of Qatar is in the hands of capable young Qatari women.” This year’s program also included the participation of three young students from the American School of Doha, and was held under the theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The initiative included a virtual closing session with the diplomats to allow all participants to meet, ask questions, and share their experiences in the program.