- Special Pages
By Isabel Ovalle
DOHA: The Ambassador of the United Kingdom, Michael O’Neill, hopes that links between Qatar and British universities will grow in the near future, with other centres following in the footsteps of the University College London, which began classes in Doha this semester.
During a press roundtable at the British Embassy, O’Neill stated that “we would like to see a stronger UK presence in Qatar at the university level”, therefore the Embassy will support any university who decides to come. With this idea in mind, officials from British universities will visit Qatar this year.
The Ambassador also talked about the valuable collaboration between the British Library and Qatar Foundation and informed that 1,100 Qatari students are studying in British universities this year, while the Embassy has received 2,299 student applications up to October 8 this year and the total number in 2011 was 2,093, which represents a 10 percent increase over 2011.
The total number of visa applications processed by the British Embassy between January 1 and October 8 is 27,242, which represents a 29 percent increase over the same period in 2011. The number of British nationals is around 15,000 and the Embassy represents approximately 10,000 Commonwealth nationals whose countries don’t have representation in Doha.
“There are many Qataris who have been educated in the UK and many who visit the UK as tourists; we are delighted of the human links, as well as the political and economic ones,” the Ambassador said.
He also referred to the two business schools that are teaching here as well, Henley Business School from the University of Reading, and the Judge Business School from the University of Cambridge. The Embassy and the British Council work together to promote links like these. Both representatives met recently with the president of Qatar Foundation looking to “develop further in both directions, not only with Qataris studying in the UK, also promoting more links in Qatar itself”.
The creation of partnerships in the health care sector is a “very high priority” for the UK as well that is why the Ambassador has met with the head of Hamad Medical Corporation. In addition, a number of British doctors are working in Doha and every year Qataris travel to the UK for medical treatment. The cooperation goes both ways, we have British medical staff coming here as well,” he said.
O’Neill considered ‘equally impressive’ the project to build a National Library in Qatar and lauded “everything Qatar has done in healthcare and education”.
“There is ground breaking development taking place, we can learn from Qatar and I hope we have some expertise we can share,” he said. The Ambassador informed that, before the end of the year, there will be numerous representatives of the British Government from different areas that will visit Doha.