NU-Q presents lectures, documentaries, and a student showcase in Evanston

Northwestern University's campus in Evanston, IL, USA

Faculty, staff, and students from Northwestern University’s Qatar campus introduced individual scholars and their research efforts as well as students showcasing journalistic projects, documentary films, and undergraduate research during a week-long series of events on the Evanston campus.

“Connections between the Qatar campus and its home campus in Evanston offers a vision of NU’s 12th school and only international campus at a time when the university is accelerating its global activities,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q).

Speaking to the Association for Higher Education Administrators' Development (AHEAD@NU) on "At Home Abroad: Northwestern's First International Campus,” Dennis provided an overview of the history of Northwestern’s campus in Qatar, which he said began with a simple letter to the president of Northwestern asking if it was interested in collaborating with Qatar in creating a journalism and communication school in Doha.”

Dennis told the group that the collaboration between Northwestern and the Qatar Foundations is essential to building a strong academic program, and encouraging freedom of expression and the development of robust media industries in the country, which he said has a “sense of destiny and wants to play a role on the world stage.” He also presented a video of NU-Q’s new building, which the school will be moving to in 2017.

At a faculty colloquium hosted by the the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Klaus Schoenbach, associate dean of research, Urooj Kamran Azmi, a student at NU-Q, and Dean Dennis provided faculty with an overview of the collaborative research taking place at NU-Q.

Schoenbach told the group that the research taking place at NU-Q includes institutional research, and faculty and student research. Pointing to what he referred to as the school’s “signature research program,” Schoenbach discussed NU-Q’s first ever Media Industries Report and the fourth annual Media Use Survey, which focuses on finding out what people are doing with media in six countries in the Middle East. A short video on the 2016 survey, which was released in early May was also presented.

Schoenbach pointed to a recent $300,000 grant from the Qatar National Research Fund in which he is collaborating with Ellen Wartella, an Al Thani professor of communication, psychology and education on the Evanston campus, to study how Qatari adolescents use digital technologies for health information and health monitoring as an example of the kind of collaboration that is possible between the two campuses. He encouraged the group of faculty attending the session to consider collaborating with faculty at the Qatar campus on similar research projects in the future.

At a student showcase held at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, NU-Q students presented documentaries, a news package, and a research paper. A documentary presented by communication student Valerie Marinova focused on car racing in Doha. Another student, Azmi, presented a trailer on a documentary she produced that has been acquired by Al Jazeera and broadcast as part of its “Witness” program. The news package presented by journalism student Rouda Al-Attiyah focused on domestic workers in Doha who care for other people’s children. The research paper, by Jueun Choi, a journalism student, argued for a permanent residency program in Qatar for highly-skilled expatriates.

Other events included a lecture at NU’s MENA Monday series, “On The Loss of Humanity: The Case of Former Militia Fighters in Lebanon," by Sami Hermez an assistant professor in residence at NU-Q and an award winning film by Danielle Beverly, assistant professor in residence at NU-Q. Beverly’s documentary, “Old South,” was broadcast over PBS in February.

In addition to multiple visits between faculty, staff, and students on both campuses, the annual NU-Q in Evanston week serves as an opportunity for the wider Evanston community to experience first-hand the wide variety of activities and research taking place in the Qatar campus.