Abbey Borghee from Texas Wesleyan (standing, eighth from left) and fellow delegates traveled to Qatar to kick off their fellowship program year.
Abbey Borghee, junior political science/pre-law major and SGA vice president, just returned from a trip to the Middle East as part of the Qatar Exchange Fellowship/Malone Fellowship. Borghee is one of 10 students in the nation to receive the fellowship and participate in the all-expenses paid study trip.
Borghee and fellow participants traveled to capital city Doha, from Nov. 28-Dec. 5, 2014, where they met with Qatari government officials, civil society actors, educators and students, businesspeople, journalists and others.
"Qatar is truly visionary," Borghee said. "I learned firsthand about the economic and social modernization that is increasing throughout the region."
The fellowship is sponsored by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, in cooperation with the Embassy of Qatar to the United States.
"Speaking with government officials, I was able to better understand the relationship between the U.S. and Qatar through their environmental sustainability, social globalization and economic growth," Borghee said. "This opportunity has awarded me with countless benefits as I pursue a career in International Law and Public Policy."
Borghee said that as part of her fellowship, she will work to apply knowledge she gained in Qatar toward building an internship program for Texas Wesleyan international students.
The Qatar Study Visit Exchange and Malone Fellowship is unlike any other in existence; it gives students and professors firsthand exposure to a nation with outsized influence in the Gulf, the Middle East and Arab World, as well as international energy markets, media and transportation industries.
"Qatar was breathtaking and the people were incredibly hospitable," Borghee said. "I've learned so much about U.S.-Qatar relations through this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I was extremely honored to represent Texas Wesleyan on an international scale."
Delegates tour the Cornell Medical College in Education City. The student to faculty ratio at Cornell's medical school in Qatar is 2:1.
Aside from the inherent educational and professional benefits for the delegation members, the study visit brings positive and much-needed dialogue between Americans and Arabs, as it also serves as a cultural and people-to-people exchange.
Al Jazeera representatives discuss the challenges journalists face today with the delegates, and invited them to watch a live broadcast.
Borghee represented Texas Wesleyan University, alongside students from Mercer University, University of La Verne, McDaniel College, Shawnee State University, Georgia State University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Texas A&M University at Commerce, Converse College and Northeastern University.
To be selected for the program, students must submit an essay, letter of recommendation, resume and transcript, and must have participated in the national Council's Model Arab League program. The Model Arab League is a student debate and leadership development program which places students in a position to role-play as diplomats for the weekend and tackle key issues from a new perspective.
Ibrahim Salih, Ph.D., faculty advisor for Texas Wesleyan's Model Arab League program, is one of the five faculty members from the U.S. that was selected for the Malone Fellowship.
Salih has just recently returned from his trip to Saudi Arabia, and more information about his experiences will be published in the coming weeks.