Dotted around Education City’s 14-kilometre campus are giant word sculptures, encouraging passers-by to ‘Think,’ ‘Innovate’ and ‘Believe.’ These concepts underpin the ethos of this district, which was set up in 2001 to provide a centre for educational excellence in the region and drive Qatar’s development into a hub for knowledge and innovation.
This is where the wealthy Gulf State is channelling much of its recent economic success – building prestigious academic institutions and welcoming the leading international names in education to fuel its drive towards developing a knowledge-based economy. Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar,
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and Northwestern University in Qatar are just a few of the high-profile academic institutions that have launched campuses in Education City, offering students access to world-leading standards in education as the state seeks to equip the upcoming generation with the skills to take on the next stages of its development.
The plan feeds into Qatar’s broader ambition, as outlined in the Qatar National Vision 2030, to increase human capital in the city and foster a diverse economy that moves away from the current reliance on oil. The body behind the establishment of Education City,
Qatar Foundation, has spearheaded several large-scale initiatives that feed into these overall aims, including the nearby Qatar Science and Technology Park and a global education summit launched in 2009 called the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE).
Attendees at the schools, universities, research and science centres and other seats of learning in Education City benefit from the district’s world-class education and recreation facilities. The Qatar National Library and Sidra Medical and Research Centre are a couple of the research bodies based here, operating in a spirit of cooperation with the academic institutions to create a climate of collaboration and intellectual progress. A host of cultural and leisure attractions located nearby includes the Al Shaqab Horse Racing Academy, where Qatar’s equestrian heritage is nurtured by some of the region’s top Arabian horse breeders. There are also several art galleries in the district, including the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf) and Ansar Gallery, where students and visitors can tap into Qatar’s rapidly evolving art scene, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in the international community. Of course, Education City is also home to the impressive Qatar National Convention Centre – the lead venue of the country, which is home to a conference hall with 4,000 seats, a 2,300-seat theatre, three auditoria and a total of 52 flexible meetings rooms, as well as 40,000 square metres of exhibition space across nine halls.
The new light-rail tram system in the works will take Education City closer to becoming a fully integrated ‘smart-city’ and boost its status as a benchmark for green development.