The Gulf state of Qatar is small, only about a third the size of Belgium (or about the size of Abruzzo, if you prefer!), but has reached a significant global profile in the past years.
Once, one of the poorest Gulf states, Qatar is now one of the richest countries in the region.
Qatar is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which is a consortium of the world’s biggest oil producing nations, and its production counts as 77m tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
In June 2017, Qatar offered what is known as the Qatar diplomatic crisis: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt boycotted trade with Qatar by imposing a “land, sea, and air blockade” which significantly affected the movement of goods within the Middle East.
In addition, several other countries withdrew their diplomatic relations. The embargo, that is still in place today, came after Qatar would not agree to the other nations’ demand, among which cutting all ties with Iran (with whom Qatar shares the world’s largest LNG field) and stop all not permitted by US sanctions trade.
The Study Mission project will help students to understand the importance of diplomatic relations between countries and how they are directly linked to their economic ties.
Students will elaborate analysis on controversial topics: economic crisis and sanctions, terrorism, financial crisis.
The stay in Qatar will also be a unique opportunity to interact with Qatar’s ruling class.
By the end of the program, students will have gained a deeper understanding of the motivations and consequences of the embargo imposed on Qatar.
The goal of the Study Mission is to allow participants to open their minds and leave the pre-existing narrative behind. We will try to understand how Qatar’s political tie with Iran has determined the blockade imposed by Suadi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in 2017 and especially what are the future prospects.
Participants will also have the opportunity to discover in practice how a small country such as Qatar can be so valuable both in the Gulf region and at the international level.
The structure of the Study Program is divided into three parts:
- Before the study visit, a webinar course held by experts, with a specialization on Qatar and Middle East history, organized in 4 lessons in which students will receive elements of the recent history of Qatar, with special focus on the isolation of the State, on the embargo and on relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran. It will also be interesting to understand how Qatar is adapting to this situation, reorganizing its entire economic and commercial system.
- In Doha, 7 days of meetings with Qatari public/private-sector representatives, diplomats, experts, professors, opinion makers.
- Site-visits to historically important Qatari locations, both from a religious-cultural standpoint, and from a social-political point of view.