Vox is trying out a new series, “Hoya Citings,” where we feature Georgetown students doing research, publishing work, or engaging in other interesting educational pursuits. First part of our series starts with a student on the SFS-Qatar campus.
The title of Nikhil Lakhanpal’s (SFS-Q, ’14) blog, “Southern Fried Kabob,” takes globalization to the next level. Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Lakhanpal never thought he would end up in the Middle East until the School of Foreign Service flew him and his family out to Doha, Qatar, offering him a scholarship and the opportunity to study for four years in Education City. ”After that weekend visit, we decided as a family that if anything else, the story of a Hindu-Indian-American from the Bible Belt of the United States studying at a Jesuit University in an Islamic Country would be a worthwhile experience. And I think it has, thus far,” Lakhanpal wrote to Vox.
Earlier this month, an article he wrote was published in the Atlanta-based Indian-American magazine Khabar. In the article, Lakhanpal describes three different perspectives of South Asians in the Middle East: the laborer, the privileged, and the student. He weaves together a narrative that juxtaposes the life of a hardworking, humble migrant laborer to the privileged and comfortable elite. His stories pull elements from the characters he has encountered throughout his time as a student and during his travels around the region. “This hasn’t been your typical study abroad,” Lakhanpal writes in the story. “This is my college experience.”
In America, breast cancer awareness has become somewhat of a national phenomenon—between the ribbons, the special clothing lines (some from the unlikeliest of retailers), and the White House turning into the Pink House for a night, Americans certainly take the fight for the cure pretty seriously. But in other parts of the world, like Qatar, the disease is not quite so well-publicized, and doesn’t reap the profits of quite as many fundraisers.
That’s where students in the Women’s Society and Development Club at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar came in. Last week, the students held a very successful fundraiser in honor of October being the U.S.’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the first of its kind in the country. The event consisted of sales from student-made and store-donated baked goods, as well as donations from local fashion designers.
“We wanted to organize an event that would involve all students in Qatar Foundations, would help spread awareness, [and] at the same time [would be] creative and fun,” WSDC co-founder Zarqa Pavez wrote in an email. “So we thought, what is better than fashion and cupcakes for a good cause?”
Fashion and cupcakes. What cultural divide?
The members of the WSDC realized that for the event to meet the most success, they needed to reach out to students all across Education City, where schools from the U.S., Europe, as well as Qatar itself have set up campuses.
“We had to reach out to every campus, and advertise for the event ahead of time,” Pavez wrote.
The sales from the four-hour event earned a total of QRS 15470, equivalent to over $4200 U.S. dollars, were all directly donated to the Qatar National Cancer Society. And with the immense success of this event, the WCDS is already looking ahead for more such events, including discussions, workshops, and awareness campaigns.
“We are convinced that EC [Education City] needs more such events that would encourage students to participate in activities outside the classroom,” Pavez said. “It is a way to give back to our community and encourage awareness and responsibility amongst the youth here in Qatar… We hope to receive the same response each time.”
This week, Vox wanted to give the Class of 2015 a sneak peek into each of Georgetown University’s four undergraduate schools. Today, we take a look at the School of Foreign Service (SFS).
A strong core builds a strong degree, so they say
With a heavy load of core requirements, you’ll still be stuck in Comparative Political Systems while your friends in the College are taking drawing classes.
One of those required classes is the proseminar. Freshmen SFS students takes this course—usually taught by a top professor—during their freshman fall in order to improve their writing and analytical skills.
Overall, the core consists of two government courses (international relations and comparative political systems), three history courses (one introductory course and two regional histories), and proficiency in a modern foreign language. Sincerest apologies to those who have spent countless years studying Latin—it counts for nothing in the SFS.
Perhaps to weed out the weak of constitution, the SFS also requires all of its students to take four—yes, four—economics courses, including international trade and international finance.
“I’m sorry, I have to go participate in (insert major world event)”
This might not make up for those four econ classes, but the School of Foreign Service faculty does boast a number of big shots in the domestic and international policy realms.
Dean Carol Lancaster has served as deputy administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, while her predecessor Robert Gallucci now runs the MacArthur Foundation. Other notable professors include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Council member Victor Cha, and former Special Envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios.
Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe served as a Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership this past year, an appointment that set off a firestorm of complaints from human rights activists. He and former Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, another controversial guest lecturer, left last spring.
“You mean you don’t know where Tuvalu is?”
Even though you’ll all take pretty much the same prerequisites, you may not all have the same tyrannical CPS professor. Map of the Modern World, meanwhile, unites all SFS students.
Several days after naming a new dean for the MSB, Georgetown has announced the selection of Gerd Nonneman as the new Dean of the School of Foreign Service in Qatar, effective in September. Nonneman will succeed interim dean Mehran Kamrava, who has served at SFS-Q since 2009.
“Dean Nonneman has had a rich and varied career working in both academia and foreign affair,” wrote President John DeGioia in an email. DeGioia wrote that Nonneman was selected by a search committee led by SFS professor David Edelstein, in consultation with Dean of the SFS Carol Lancaster.
Since 2007, Nonneman has been on the faculty at Britain’s University of Exeter, where he served as director of the school’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies before becoming director of its Center for Gulf Studies. Prior to his tenure at Exeter, Nonneman was professor at Lancaster University, where he served as professor of Middle East politics and head of the school’s M.A. program.
From 1998-2002, Nonneman was the executive director of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies; and in 2003-2004, he served in Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs designing the curriculum for the school’s Diplomatic College.
Dr. Nonneman holds honors in development studies and oriental philology (Arabic) from Belgium’s Ghent University and earned his Ph.D in Middle East politics from the University of Exeter.
Last Saturday, the Gulf Timesreported that the Georgetown Unviersity University School of Foreign Service-Qatar had graduated its third class of undergraduates. As in previous years, University President John DeGioia delivered the commencement address to the class of 46.
In his address, DeGioia told the graduates, “When we live our lives at the frontiers, we work at the forefront of the possible. We seek out new learning and knowledge, new ways of leading and being, new ways of understanding others and ourselves. We embrace the tensions and ambiguities created by the unexplored to address the greatest challenges before us.”
Thirty-three of the graduates were majors in international politics, while 13 majored in culture and politics. These were the only majors available at the satellite campus until international economics was added this year.
Approximately 38 percent of the students hailed from Qatar, but the U.S., Canada, India, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a handful of other Arab states were also represented at the podium.
Last Wednesday, students at Georgetown’s SFS-Qatar campus released the first issue of Diwan, a bilingual, student-run news and culture magazine.
“The term Diwan is an Arabic word that refers to a collection of poems or scholarly articles by an Urdu, Persian, Arab, or Turkish scholar or poet,” Noora Al-Manni (SFS ’13), co-editor of Diwan, said in a University press release. “We chose this name for the magazine because we would like it to be a collection of scholarly discourse for the benefit of Qatar’s community.”
The biannual publication will contain articles on politics, English and Arabic literature, Georgetown affairs, society, and economics. The inaugural issue of Diwan is organized around the theme of “revolution,” featuring coverage of the ongoing social and political revolutions in the Arab world.
In addition to a press release on SFS-Q’s website, Diwan has received recognition in twomajor Qatari English-language dailies.
Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar will officially inaugurate its third major on February 13th.
The international economics major joins international politics and culture and politics majors available for the campus’ 180 students.
Assistant Professor Alexis Antoniades cited “courses in economics, international trade, international finance, economic development and globalization” as the major’s core curriculum at a press conference earlier this week.
The first students able to major in the subject will be those who join the class of 2015.
Seymour Hersh, a writer for the New Yorker, spoke last week at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar on the differences in foreign policy between the Bush and Obama administrations.
“I don’t know how to describe Obama, as somebody who’s now in office for two years,” Hersh said. “Just when we needed an angry black man, we didn’t get one.”
After describing the Bush-Cheney years as a time when “eight or nine neoconservative whackos, if you will, overthrew the American government,” he continued to criticize the various abuses perpetrated by the U.S. during the War on Terror.
Hersh then went on to accuse several high-ranking members of the armed forces of being Crusaders.
Hersh said that General Stanley McChrystal and Admiral Bill McRaven are members or supporters of the Knights of Malta, as well as Opus Dei.
They “see what they are doing … [as] a crusade, literally. They see themselves as protectors of the Christians,” Hersh claimed.
Hersh accused Obama of turning over the war efforts to those who were perpetrating it and criticized further actions in Afghanistan.
Last Saturday, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service-Qatar graduated its second undergraduate class. President John DeGioia was on hand to award diplomas to the 31 members of the graduating class.
In his keynote address, DeGioia told the graduates, “Commencement is a beginning, a stepping forward into a world that desperately needs your skills, your dreams and your passions.”
The ceremony had its own political celebrity sighting when Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, arrived for the ceremony along with members of the Qatari Royal Family. (Editor’s Note: For all of you non-SFSers, this is akin to the Obama family showing up at commencement.)
The Class of 2010 had 23 International Politics majors and 8 Culture and Politics majors, the only two majors currently offered by SFS-Q. The graduates also represented 11 countries, such as Mauritania, Poland, and the U.S., and a handful of Middle Eastern states.
This also marked the end of the first year SFS-Q was without its founding dean, James Reardon-Anderson, who returned to the main campus this year.