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Article - is QF growing too fast?

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Write to us: qft@qf.org.qaThursday 1 noveMBer 2012

QATAr FoUndATion (QF) iS groWing, And rAPidlY. THe rATe oF exPAnSion mATCHeS THe CommiTmenT To move From A CArbon-bASed To A KnoWledgebASed eConomY in line WiTH QATAr nATionAl viSion 2030. rigHT ACroSS QF, THere iS A STrong WillingneSS bY PeoPle To PlAY THeir PArT in THe ConTinUed groWTH And SUCCeSS oF THe orgAnizATion.

on the right trackKhalid Allouba, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar: I dont

But with any growth, particularly rapid growth, there are going to be growing pains. And while the focus needs to be on making QF the best it can possibly be in the fields of education, research and community development, is enough attention given to providing an adequate level of support services and infrastructure in a timely way? Academic Bridge Program student Mohamed Abuhindi believes that QF must grow quickly in order to meet the future needs of Qatar and that if this fast pace causes challenges, then these challenges must be overcome. He explains: The rate of growth is a good thing because we need to meet the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030. We need to progress so that students can achieve more in the future and contribute ideas towards this vision. Tembela Eweje, Grants and Contracts Specialist at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatars Research Division, agrees that the future rate of development of QF needs to be at a fast pace. She says: In order to build a research culture here, there needs to be growth across various fields, so bringing in new organizations is important. I think it is essential for Qatar Foundation to continue its rapid growth. In fact, the majority of those who spoke to QF Telegraph say that they understand and support the need for constant growth in order to move forward and to lead the charge towards making Qatar a country that, in the future, will be defined as having a knowledge-based rather than a carbon-based economy. However, amid the support, concerns regarding the pace of change are being voiced. Mae Saleh, a student at

think the rapid growth has negatively affected the QF community. From what I can see, everything is planned out and the vision for QF is very clear. There is rarely a stone left unturned when it comes to development on campus and this can only be a good thing for the future.Ali Albloushi, Academic Bridge Program: Qatar

is the pace of growth at Qatar Foundation too fast?is there a risk of not having the support services and infrastructure to cope with the ever-growing number of elements of QF that need supporting?Northwestern University in Qatar, sounded a cautionary note by saying: The pace of growth is fast, and clearly there is a desire to attract more students to study at QF, but with this comes a need to have appropriate support services and infrastructure. Unfortunately, the two factors are definitely not in synchronisation. For example, I know that at many of the universities there is not ample parking available. At Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q), there is no parking for students whatsoever. This is one aspect of not meeting the demands of the growth of QF. On the other hand, I think approvals for the construction of new facilities and buildings are made quite quickly, but that the end product arrives very late.THiS SenTimenT is echoed by Salman Mohammad, a student at SFS-Q. Transport is a major issue. The bus service is very irregular and this greatly affects international students who are living on campus without their own transport, he says. There is definitely room for improvement in support services for students and probably for staff at QF, too. The situation for staff working within the various QF Directorates and Divisions who are not based in a permanent building was highlighted by a male staff member we spoke to who works in one of QFs many temporary buildings.

Foundation has very quickly built a city for education and attracted some of the best universities in the world to improve education in Qatar. The pace has been fast, but as a result, many Qatari students will become engineers, doctors and other types of professionals.Omneya Kilany, Public Relations Executive, Qatar Science & Technology Park:

interact with us through social media.QF Telegraph is on Facebook and Twitter, and were keen to hear your views. Join the debate via @QFTelegraph and facebook.com/ QFTelegraph

As temporary buildings go, the ones at QF are of a high standard, he says, but they are creaking at the seams because of the number of people increasingly being crammed into them in order to meet the increasing needs of QF. Theyre fine as short-term solutions for weeks or maybe a few months but not for years, as is the case now. Maybe people at a high level know what the plan is for us, but this rarely filters down. Its not so bad if youre in one of the temporary buildings in the center of Qatar Foundation, but if, like me, youre in Portacabins 5-8, youre effectively stuck in the middle of nowhere. Even going out for lunch has to be a major trek. Dr Cyndy Howman, Assistant Dean, Texas A&M University at Qatar, is positive regarding the current pace of growth at QF. However, she is concerned that it is too easy to lose the chance to interact because of a lack of information regarding the ever-increasing number of events taking place across the many

QF centers. With more people and more events, there is the risk of losing the sense of community. She says: So many wonderful things happen at QF, but so often we miss whats going on at other places. Because there are so many departments, entities and programs within QF, good communication is essential. All of the partners have to work hard to communicate what is going on in their operations and whats going on in the Foundation.For Some, there is a strong belief

Progress here is neither too fast or too slow. The relationship between Qatar as a nation and Qatar Foundation as an organization is reciprocal. Qatar is progressing to meet the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030, so it makes sense that Qatar Foundation is developing at a rate to match.

IS THE PACE Of gROwTH AT Qf TOO fAST??Send us an email at qft@qf.org.qa with your views (Yes or No to the above questions followed by a sentence stating your reason). All submissions are confidential unless you state that your name can be used.

that the rate of growth is not simply a challenge, it is a serious problem. Ahmed Hassouna, a finance student at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies says: Qatar Foundation is developing too fast. They are opening new centers and facilities but not concentrating enough on the centers that are already here. Education centers take time to develop they are not factories. I also feel that sometimes institutions are competing with each other and there is a lack of harmony in terms of connecting together as one organization. Sebastian John, Head of Enterprise Applications in the IT Directorate, also says that development has bee too rapid. Qatar Foundations growth is too fast compared to the pace of growth of the nation. A simple example is that we have a world-class Convention Center that lacks adequate access roads leading into it. We also have a world-class

hospital, Sidra, opening in the near future, but again, as of now, theres still no accessibility. Qatar Foundation needs to re-align its goals with the national goals and set priorities accordingly. So, some have concerns, but for others, the rate of growth at QF is something that simply inspires. According to David Moore, Head of Public Relations for Qatar National Research Fund: The pace of growth is just right. Qatar has set relatively short lead times to complete so much infrastructure and I find it stimulating to see such frenetic growth. Regarding the risk of not having the necessary support services, as long as the planning procedures are aligned with the construction and commissioning of the structures and systems then there should be complete integration - of course this is what happens in an ideal world! My main frustration is a lack of signboards indicating just what exactly is being built, but this is only a small issue.