By: Griffin Sikkema
Grand Rapids Community College Political Science Professor, Keith St. Clair, will be hosting a seminar about Qatar, a middle-eastern country in the midst of an economic and political boom on Tues., Feb. 20.
St. Clair traveled to Qatar last April with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) and spent a week learning about the country.
“I and a number of faculty across the United States were lucky enough to be selected for the Malone Fellowship,” St. Clair said, “with the intent of coming back and sharing what we learned.”
The Malone Fellowship is a program that includes a variety of activities throughout Arab nations for the purpose of increasing understanding and knowledge in the United States. This past year the chosen nation was Qatar.
Qatar is a relatively small country, roughly the size of New Jersey with a population slightly under 3 million. However, distribution of the population is heavily skewed with native Qataris being the minority.
“The Qatari population is 11.6 percent,” St. Clair said, “the other 88 percent are non-Qatari.”
This skewed population is one of many factors in the current political and economic changes. The workforce is made up of mostly non-Qatari foreigners.
Recently, Qatar has been stuck in the middle of conflicts between Saudi Arabia and Iran along with other Arab Nations.
“If someone wants to come, they would learn about the country of Qatar, they would learn a little bit about its history, … its culture, … [and] its politics,” St. Clair said. “More importantly, they would learn about why Qatar is in the news as of late, … the role that it’s kind of found itself in, this ‘Cold War’ between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and what it means for relations with the United States going forward.”
The seminar is free to attend and will be held from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Sneden Hall in room 108.