Omani Ambassador to lead roundtable at UHCL student conference

April 2, 2018 | Katherine Adams

omani ambassadorUndergraduate and graduate students across all colleges at University of Houston-Clear Lake have the opportunity to present their research work to their peers, professors, community members and students from other universities, and expert evaluators at the 24th Annual Student Conference to be held in the Bayou Building April 16-19.

This year’s conference features a unique highlight: a visit on April 16 from Her Excellency  Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to the United States.  

Over the last several years, UH-Clear Lake has worked to build a special relationship with the Sultanate of Oman, having represented that country in the Model Arab League, as well as sending two student groups to Oman for two-week faculty led study abroad visits to experience culture and life.

Maria Curtis, UHCL associate professor of anthropology and cross-cultural studies, is co-adviser of Model Arab League and organized the student trips to Oman. “H.E. the Ambassador take part in  a roundtable discussion entitled, ‘Women in International Diplomacy and Global Leadership’ at 4 p.m. and will also be visiting exhibitions of pre-historic Omani cave art featured in a photographic collection that we will display on our campus. We will use that collection as the basis for our 40th Annual Art School for Children summer programming,” Curtis said.   

“We are also working with the Arab American Cultural and Community Center to bring this collection to Houston,” she continued.  “The photographs will be on display there as a part of Arab American History Month. This is an incredibly important and unique collection. UHCL is  the first American university to exhibit it, and we are very fortunate that it will be coming to Houston on loan from the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington D.C.”

Curtis said that the university is also very pleased to have Her Excellency Al Mughairy joining us to launch the annual student research conference. “Her visit and her talk resonate well with our Women's and Gender Studies focus. That program is first of its kind in Texas,” she said.

Other Student Conference events include the Mock Trial, a hallmark event presented by students majoring in legal studies. “This year, Judge Win Weber is organizing and sponsoring this event,” said Director of Student Conference Pilar Goyarzu. “Students from the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities will make a presentation, and the Animation Symposium Festival is another highly anticipated annual event.”

Over the course of the four-day conference, students present their research and gain valuable experience in how to present their research work at conferences. “This conference is unique because students are given helpful feedback in a non-competitive, scholarly environment about how conferences operate and how they can most effectively present their work,” Goyarzu said. “They are evaluated by professionals and experts in their fields. We give commendations for presentations. Students’ abstracts can be published online if they desire, which can be put on their resume.”

More than 225 applications encompassing 400 authors were submitted for this year’s conference, Goyarzu said.  Posters of students’ research work will be presented on Wednesday, April 18 from 3-5 p.m. and will be left on display in Atrium II through April 27.

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