Students from Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU) recently visited Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy (Baker Institute) as part of the Public Diplomacy and Global Policymaking Program (PDGP).
The program seeks to promote cross-cultural understanding and facilitate dialogue on public policy and diplomacy issues among students from the United States and Qatar, with this year’s PDGP exchange supported by Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
Established in 2013, the PDGP exchange program offers students the opportunity to experience Arab or American culture in an effort to learn how cultural identity, political context, and geography affect policy.
Eight Qatari students - Hamad Al Obaidly, Latifa Al Amri, Noof Alejji, Mona Al Saadi, Abdulla Al Shaiba, Ahmad Al Jassim, Alya Bint Mohammed and Mohammed Al Buenain – traveled to Houston, Texas this year with Dr. Mohammed Evren Tok, the coordinator of Public Policy in Islam program at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS).
The cohort discussed current issues in public policy in detail and Dr. Tok shared information from his forthcoming book with the program participants. The book, entitled Policy Making in a Transformative State: The Case of Qatar, is co-edited by Lolwah Al Khater and Leslie A. Pal and will be available in May 2016.
As part of the week-long learning trip, each student presented a policy memo, written under the supervision of Dr. Tok as a key component of the PDGP program. Students offered their perspectives on a wide range of policy issues, such as preventative health care, science diplomacy, energy sustainability, the development of knowledge-based economies, interfaith dialogue, the role of social media, and U.S. and Qatari Middle East foreign policy.
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