July 23, 2020 | UHCL Staff
In partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, the University of Houston-Clear Lake is announcing a new initiative that does not exist at any other institution of higher education in the United States: The Diplomacy Institute at UH-Clear Lake.
Under the guidance of Assistant Vice President of Global Learning and Strategy Gigi Do and with the support of the State of Qatar, UHCL is commencing the development of the DI, which will provide an expanded range of educational services and training specifically designed to meet the needs of diplomats and consular officials throughout Houston. The DI will also provide new educational programs for UHCL students, as well as professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
“The decision by the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs to select UHCL for this first-of-its-kind partnership was predicated on the longstanding professional relationship between Assistant Professor of Political Science Edmund ‘Butch’ Herod and me,” Do said. “Dr. Herod will be special adviser to UHCL’s DI. Since 2010, he and I have worked with Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, worked with Qatari diplomats, as well as lived and worked in Qatar.”
The DI will offer new degrees and certifications to students, new opportunities for faculty to participate in seminars, lectures, and student and faculty exchanges, and the opportunity for partnership development with other institutions of higher education, governmental entities, NGOs and businesses.
“The University of Houston-Clear Lake’s approach to challenges has always been grounded in partnership. We work to find meaningful solutions to problems in our region, our world, and beyond,” said UHCL President Ira K. Blake. “The establishment of the Diplomacy Institute at UHCL and our primary partnership with the Diplomatic Institute of the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides us with a practice-focused component to tackle some of the most difficult issues facing humanity.”
“The United States and the entire world are in the midst of a diplomacy crisis,” Do said. “Now more than ever, we need individually and collectively to consider ways to create greater civility in our relations with each other, as well as among nations. UHCL will lead the nation in re-imagining ways to approach all aspects of diplomacy.”
Do said that diplomacy is more than just negotiations between diplomats. “Indeed, diplomacy underlies all human interactions since the ultimate goal is the resolution of differences between people, both individually and collectively,” she said. “Thus, we are at a moment where we must re-examine our beliefs, priorities, and actions to address the critical challenges affecting the entire world. The Diplomacy Institute will be an essential part of that vision for the future.”
She added that this is the first time Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has partnered with any university for any initiatives. “As one of America’s most international cities, this Institute will only further the reputation of Houston and the UH System as innovators at the forefront of creating a better future for the nation and the world,” she said.
UHCL’s Diplomacy Institute and the Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to establish and develop cooperation between the two entities through the exchange of programs, information, and activities in the area of diplomatic capacity-building and related fields. The event will take place Wednesday, July 29, at 11 a.m. in the Bayou Theater at UHCL.
In attendance via Zoom will be His Excellency Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Mohammed Al-Horr, director of the Diplomatic Institute in Doha, The Honorable Consulate General of the State of Qatar in Houston Rashid Al-Dehaimi, UH System Chancellor Renu Khator, representatives from the Houston Mayor’s Office and the UH System Board of Regents.