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Journalism and Communication Important to Qatar's Future

NU-Q Dean Everette E. Dennis discusses the importance of Northwestern’s decision to develop journalism and communications programs in Doha.

Dean Dennis: First we must look at the choice of the country, and we see Qatar is moving beyond extractive industries -- moving from a dependence on oil and gas reserves -- to a knowledge-based economy, focused on other industries as well. And it’s the media and communications skills taught here that will help sustain the economy once the oil runs out. The idea is that a media sector and a communications cluster can develop here as an important part of Qatar’s future.

There needs to be a competent talent force with leadership and management skills to guide that future.

So there was real interest when, in 2008, Northwestern decided to draw on the renowned Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and School of Communication, and bring elements of those institutions together here. They bring to the table values of freedom of expression, curriculum, faculty members and the expertise that has already been certified by Evanston to make this happen. These two majors are now under one roof at NU-Q, operating independently, but collaborating, too.

Moreover, our third collaborating school is the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. It’s not just the schools of Medill and Communication that are represented at NU-Q. Weinberg helps us recruit first-rate talent for our liberal arts instruction, which is an integral part of the academic program.

More broadly, we see ourselves at NU-Q as one school here, and one of the things I find gratifying is that President Morton Schapiro now calls us one of the three campuses -- Evanston, Chicago and Qatar -- not just a branch campus. We are part of a whole, and that’s symbolic and it’s real. Seeing the culmination of this happen at graduation is a benchmark of how the school turned out overall.

Did this first graduating group make it through successfully and complete all the work? Yes, it did, and these students are going places. Some have jobs already and will be employed.

Twenty different companies showed up recently at a career fair here to look them over. Those are pretty good odds when you only have 36 graduating students.

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