The American system of higher education has long been the envy of foreign onlookers — that’s why the governments of many countries are inviting U.S. universities to open satellite campuses in their centers for higher learning, in hopes of adopting some of the U.S.’s best home-grown practices.
But it’s not just the foreign countries who benefit from the deal. In what the New York Times called an “educational gold rush,” U.S. universities are rushing to claim their turf in cities across the Middle East, East Asia and India.
Where these two aligning interests come together is at education hubs, such as Doha, Qatar’s Education City. When most people think of the Persian Gulf states, things like oil tycoons, casinos and over-the-top hotels come to mind. However, the government of Qatar has taken enormous strides to present the capital city as a regional center for education and research, as the home of the 14-acre hub of universities located on the city’s outskirts.
At Doha’s Education City, students from all around the Arab world can receive medical degrees from Cornell, computer science degrees from Carnegie Mellon, or journalism degrees from Northwestern, without the culture shock of moving, or the post-9/11 fight for a visa facing many Arabs who hope to study or work in the U.S.