Today, I traveled to Virginia Commonwealth University, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University and Georgetown University … all without leaving Qatar. How is this possible? We visited Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) or Education City (EC). This unique collaboration has essentially built a campus/institution by bringing highly rated programs from specific host institutions together in one place. That isn’t the “best” description, but is the easiest.
It is actually very hard to describe today – WOW doesn’t come anywhere near the word I want to use. There just aren’t words to sum up Education City! The Qatar Foundation has definitely brought incredible people and institutions in to create an impressive and unusual place.
The buildings in EC are each showpieces in their own right. Each campus’ home in Qatar outshines most, if not all, buildings on their home campuses. The sheer scale, finishes and features make even our newest US campus buildings pale in comparison. Add incredible shared spaces (student center, athletic arena, library, etc.) and it becomes unbelievable.
What makes this even more unique, are the people working both at the Qatar Foundation and the individual institutions. I felt like we were at the UN in NYC – the diversity, languages and backgrounds of everyone we met was extraordinary. They all however, had at least one thing in common – passion for what they are doing and building here. Their dedication, sacrifice and creativity is admirable and you can see how their efforts are impacting this region.
Everyone involved with this grand “experiment” should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished and where they are heading.