Casteen's Statement Regarding Qatar
August 10, 1999 -- For 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.
new university is important and eminently feasible. At the same
time, the barriers to developing a University of Virginia 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.
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.
the Qatar Foundation is continuing to work on this project, University
officials will make no further comments at this time.