about a year, we have worked with the Qatar Foundation for Science,
Education and Community Development on planning for a new university
to be located in the State of Qatar. We continue to support this
project, but it seems unlikely now that the new university will
be structured as a branch of the University of Virginia.
The new university is important and eminently feasible. At the
same time, the barriers to developing a U.Va. branch in a distant
place are considerable. The standard American accreditation criteria
work well for U.Va. After detailed analysis and much effort on
all sides, the academic design for the proposed new campus in
Qatar cannot be made to fit the accreditation criteria to which
we are subject. For example, the established criteria on campus
organization and administration do not apply readily to the special
situation of a foreign campus operating as a part of U.Va. but
located far away.
have suggested possible alternative arrangements. These include
a partnership with a consortium of several universities or with
a multi-campus university system, a relationship with a private
American university, and a cluster of stand-alone programs of
restricted scope like Virginia Commonwealth University's successful
design program in Doha, Qatar. We will continue to assist the
Qatar Foundation as requested. This undertaking has underscored
the importance of international education to students and faculty,
and to the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has brought to light many
links between Virginia corporations and the Gulf Region, including
particularly the State of Qatar. And it has revitalized our long-standing
academic engagements in the Gulf Region and the Arabian Peninsula.
have come to know and admire H.H. Sheikha Mozah Al Misnad, who
originally proposed the new university. We believe she will succeed
in this undertaking, and we have only the highest regard for her
and for those who work with her.
are grateful to many persons who have supported this venture.
These include members of the University's Board and faculty; state
officials, including Governor Gilmore, who submitted the enabling
legislation under which we have explored the proposed arrangement;
individuals from the U.S. Department of State and private industry;
and many others who have had prior experience in the Middle East.