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Riyadh Summit

Qatar has formally been invited to attend this year’s Arab League summit, set to be held in Riyadh on April 15. Saudi Arabia had earlier postponed the summit to April, saying the original date in late March clashed with Egypt’s presidential election. According to Lulwa al-Khater, a spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, Qatar will take part but has yet to decide on the level of participation.

Maybe, just maybe, the upcoming summit could lead to the thawing of the bitter relationship between Qatar and the Arab bloc, although going by the attitude of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who categorically pointed out earlier in March that he would not tolerate outside mediation in the resolution to the Gulf crisis, the possibilities are remote.

But going by the historical role the League has played, there may be some hope of at least a start of reconciliation.

After all, the League’s prime objective is to draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries. It facilitates political, economic, cultural, scientific, and social programmes designed to promote the interests of the Arab world.

In the past, it has served as a forum for the member states to coordinate their policy positions, to deliberate on matters of common concern, to settle some Arab disputes and to limit conflicts such as the 1958 Lebanon crisis.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates imposed a sea, land and air blockade on Qatar on June 5, 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilising the region. Doha has consistently denied these charges.

Starting with only six members in 1945, the Arab League now has 22 members. Qatar joined in 1971. One of the significant agendas will be to seek to prevent Israel from gaining a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council in 2019.

 

In the last few years, Qatar has emerged as Asia’s leading education hub and global center of learning. It is a direct result of its rising position as a destination of choice among overseas students seeking international quality education. The tiny Gulf nation is home to a number of international universities and academic institutions with best-in-class and diverse range of courses. The Government’s effort to enhance and improve the education sector is aligned with the goal of knowledge-driven economic development and growth.

For way too long, Qatar has been reliant on foreign workforce to stir it from an oil and gas-based economy to one that is more service and knowledge oriented. Recognising the changing dynamics, the country realizes that becoming an education hub will support its efforts to train and retain the large expatriate population of students as well as attract international students and workers from the region and beyond.

It has been almost a decade since the launch of the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030 development plan, providing the wealthy state with a blueprint of transformation and growth. The country has been one of the top advocates of the significance of education

Recently, in a high-level panel discussion organised by the Education Above All Foundation (EAA), in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of EAA and advocate for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, urged the global community to facilitate access to quality education for displaced children and to enforce severe penalties on perpetrators of armed conflict. She stated that “Education must be given priority as it is the tool for the children of the present and future.”

In line with the stated approach to prioritise education and ensuring quality education within the country, Qatar’ Ministry of Education and Higher Education outlined its Strategic Plan from 2017-2022, including development and expansion of early education and the promotion of attractive educational environment.

The most recent initiative taken by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to promote quality education environment is designing a new Career Advising System (CAS), which is all set to be rolled out in the current academic session across public secondary schools in Qatar. The new CAS is a result of an MOU between Qatar Career Development Centre (QCDC), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

The new CAS is designed to cater to the futuristic needs emerging from Qatar’ social and economic environment. It is equipped with diverse and innovative components, as well as psychometric and personality assessment tools to help students identify the most appropriate academic and career paths in line with needs of the job market in the country.

Another major event, Career Guidance Stakeholders Platform 2018, was organised in line with Qatar Foundation’s efforts to promote career guidance in Qatar. The event, themed ‘Moving Operationally to Strategically Enhance Career Guidance in the State of Qatar’, was attended by 250 policy-makers, decision-makers and senior executives from various government institutions from Qatar and international organisations from the rest of the world at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

As stated by QCDC director, Abdulla al-Mansoori, “Nation-building requires a diverse set of competencies, skills, and jobs to ensure self-sufficiency when it comes to the local labour force required to bolster the state’s economy at present and in the future”. The initiatives to upgrade and direct talent in the country may be derived by Qatar’s ambition to become self-sufficient in the coming years to meet its workforce demand.

The innovation-driven approach highlighted in a recent event organised by HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE), entitled Qatar Towards a Smart Future, indicates that the move towards a knowledge-based economy is equally a strategic bend towards diversification of economy by becoming a major hub of quality education in the region.

 

 

Children are the most vulnerable section of any society throughout the globe and are also the future of a country. Understanding the importance of the proper framework of Child Rights, the Government of Qatar has sought to upgrade its legislation surrounding Child Rights to match the international standards.

Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) recently organised a forum addressing safe childhood in co-operation with Qatar Social Work Foundation under the wise leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The event highlighted that Qatar is committed toward securing Child Rights on both legislative and institutional level. Constitution of Qatar already includes legal provisions that consider family, maternal and child rights.

It was highlighted that Qatar has further ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child making it a part of its internal law. It also adjoined the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of child, child prostitution and child pornography and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of child in Armed Conflict (OPAC), for upgrading the legislation for Child Rights.

The Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Dr. Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi stated the importance of enriching child culture, consolidating, promoting and protecting child rights and extracting their creative energy to create a new generation that is able to lead the future. He stressed that is an important factor in achieving and maintaining a positive communication between the next generation and the society.

Dr. Saad further stressed that this is a combined responsibility of responsible forces in the society such as family, educational institutions, preachers, media outlets, civil organisations and the overall environment.

Protecting Child Rights is one of the major goals of Qatar National Vision 2030, in sync to achieve sustainable development. To achieve the same, the government is taking efforts toward updating the programmes that guarantee rights.

Moreover, as securing Child Rights needs contribution from all sectors of the society, the ministry is planning and taking various steps to spread social awareness and raise intellectual, factual and behavioural levels in children of the society. The aim is to promote and stimulate proper behaviour by which individuals communicate constructively with previous and coming generations, to enhance educational, social, health, cultural, skills, intellectual, creative and literary scenes among children in Qatar in various fields.

Further, the consequences on children in political crises such as the diplomatic blockade was pointed out as a violation of international law and human rights, especially considering the rights of children whose families have been separated.

Qatar Foundation for Social Work (QFSW) chief executive officer Amal Abdullatif al-Mannai committed that QFSW will promote the basic rights of children such as the right to identity, physical integrity, education and access to all information and services, as well as living in the family, physical and psychological rehabilitation, social reintegration, and the right to enjoy all rights without any discrimination, including the right of the disabled and orphan child to lead a decent life.