November 16, 2010 –The university has launched one of the first women’s centers in Education City – at its School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q).
Education City, an initiative of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, comprises SFS-Q and five other American universities in Doha, Qatar.
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Georgetown’s Women’s Center, the Qatar campus launched its own women’s center branch under the guidance of Brendan Hill, associate dean of student affairs, and Elena Lopez-Khoury, a student wellness counselor.
“Education City, by its very nature, is an empowering environment for women,” Hill says. “The Women’s Center at Georgetown’s Qatar campus is designed to help our female students take full advantage of this environment by encouraging them to think consciously about the role gender plays in all societies.”
Lopez-Khoury says many female students in Qatar asked to have a space to discuss matters common to women and to support each other.
“The Women’s Center is a safe place for women to come and discuss issues that are relevant to them in their lives,” she explained.
Striving for Excellence
Laura Kovach, director of the Women’s Center on Main Campus, believes extending the center’s mission to the Qatar campus is an important step for the female community.
“We’ve spent the last 20 years serving the Georgetown community in Washington, D.C.,” she says. “We are thrilled to have a Women’s Center at SFS-Q to continue the work of supporting students, faculty and staff.”
With the number of female students on the rise at Georgetown’s Qatar campus, the initiative has been met with enthusiasm and appreciation.
“As female students continue to strive for excellence in their lives,” explains Aminah Kandar (SFS ’14), “I believe that it is essential to provide an environment in which they can exchange ideas, receive support and, of course, simply have a place to which they can retreat.”
Providing Role Models
Despite the growth of female students in the Middle East, and particularly in the Gulf region, women remain underrepresented in professional fields.
“In general women have still not achieved the same status as men, and this is especially true within the region,” observed Lopez-Khoury. “This leaves our students without many role models or avenues to discuss the challenges that many women face, such as finding that balance between work and family.”