Some of the world’s top scholars can be found teaching and conducting research at Georgetown University in Qatar. But on March 28th, 2019, it was some of the world’s top student scholars who gathered in Doha to take part in the 8th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference (AURC).
This year’s AURC conference was held under the theme “Borders, Boundaries, and Identities: Tackling New Global Challenges.” Students from Qatar and around the world presented their research papers on a wide range of global issues, including the changing dynamics in the Gulf, plurality of national identity, sovereignty and borders, a historical analysis of the evolution of religion, America and the politics of contestation, and the new economic challenges in Asia.
“As the board brainstormed themes for this year’s conference, we wanted to make sure we chose a theme that was relevant to the worldwide events occurring today,” explained AURC president, Sara Al Haj Abed, a junior majoring in International Politics at GU-Q. “Right now, unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of political unrest and instability plaguing many different regions of the world. There are conflicts about borders and boundaries, and just how individuals identify themselves, so we asked students to submit research on these topics.”
Previously, the university’s undergraduate research conference was called MESSA (Middle Eastern Studies Student Association), and it focused on issues relevant to the Middle East region.
Explaining the name change, Dr. Kai-Henrik Barth, Senior Assistant Dean for Research Support at GU-Q, said: “After seven years of holding this conference with a focus on the Middle East, we felt it was time to take this research conference to the next level. So starting this year, we encouraged students from all of our majors to contribute to this conference, not just those who work on topics related to the region we live in,” he said, adding: “Instead of a geographical focus we now highlight research in history, politics, culture, and economics on a global scale, the same holistic approach to international affairs that is reflected in the university’s undergraduate curriculum.” Dean Barth gave the opening remarks at the conference.
“One of the most important ways researchers share their work is through academic conferences. And through the AURC, undergraduate students from Education City and top universities worldwide had a chance to engage with their peers, gain guidance from mentors in the academic world, and present their research in an academic setting,” said the Dean of GU-Q, Dr. Ahmad Dallal. “This is an essential training ground for the next generation of scholars who will contribute to the development of their countries both here and abroad.”
The call for undergraduate paper submissions ended in February of this year. Selected papers will be published in the AURC academic journal. The opening session was held at the Georgetown University Building in Education City this Thursday, and was open to the public.