Georgetown Students Host Al Jazeera Journalists for Talk About the Transforming Middle East

Press release
Published March 14th, 2018 - 06:58 GMT
The panel discussion will form part of the opening ceremony of MESSA’s annual student research conference.
The panel discussion will form part of the opening ceremony of MESSA’s annual student research conference.

A panel of expert speakers will explore Al Jazeera’s role in the Middle East at an upcoming student-run event at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q). Organized by GU-Q’s Middle Eastern Studies Student Association (MESSA), the event is part of the student club’s efforts to foster informed dialogue on the economic, social, and political issues facing the region.

The panel discussion will form part of the opening ceremony of MESSA’s annual student research conference, which will be convened under the theme of ‘Uncertainty, Stability, and Cohesion: A Transforming Middle East’ this year. The talk will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14 at GU-Q’s Education City campus, while the conference takes place the following day on March 15.

The opening ceremony will bring together a panel of speakers from Al Jazeera that includes director of investigative journalism, Clayton Swisher, News Hour presenter Folly Bah Thibault, and senior correspondent Jamal ElShayyal. The discussion will be moderated by associate professor of communication at Northwestern University in Qatar, Banu Akdenizli, and is open to the public.

“Holding an Al Jazeera panel fits in with this year’s theme perfectly as the network has played an instrumental role in this region, especially on the subject of free press and giving voice to those who don’t have one,” explained Haya Al-Thani (SFS’18), vice president of the MESSA conference. “Our influential panelists will be able to draw on their roles and diverse experience as leading journalists who have witnessed and sparked some of the monumental moments in this region’s history, and captivate our audience and researchers with their insights.”

The MESSA conference provides undergraduate students from GU-Q and other leading international universities with a platform to present their academic research to an audience of peers and experts. The research that will be presented this year focuses on a broad range of topics, from the impact of historical conflicts to contemporary issues of terrorism, nuclear energy, and online privacy.

“One priority for us was to ensure that the theme was as holistic as possible and applicable for all of the different majors offered at Georgetown University in Qatar. As a result, ‘Uncertainty, Stability, and Cohesion: A Transforming Middle East’ became an obvious and natural choice,” explained Al-Thani. “It encapsulates primary concerns and goals within the region and is applicable to the past, present, and future. It urges undergraduate students to critically engage with different aspects of the on-going events in the Middle East and hopefully allows them to envision the future for the Middle East and explore their role in it.”

Background Information

Georgetown University in Qatar

Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) is an additional location of Georgetown University, based in Education City in Doha. The University offers a four year undergraduate program in international affairs leading to the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) degree. Students have the opportunity to select one of four majors, a minor, and one of three certificates.

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