RAND-Qatar Policy Institute Opens to Focus on Middle East Issues

For Release

April 28, 2003

DOHA, QATAR—Qatar Foundation and RAND today signed an agreement to establish the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute, which will harness the research and analytic skills of hundreds of RAND experts in the United States and Europe to study some of the most important issues facing the Middle East.

The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Doha by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Misnad, chairperson of the Qatar Foundation and Consort of the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and by RAND President James A. Thomson.

This agreement with RAND is the latest of several education and research initiatives launched by the Qatar Foundation. The RAND-Qatar Policy Institute will be a part of the Education City being created in Doha as a regional center of excellence in learning, research and technology development. It will forge ties with medicine, science, engineering and other educational programs opening in Doha, and train the region's policy analysts in research methods that can help leaders make informed policy decisions.

The RAND-Qatar Policy Institute will be directed by Dr. C. Richard Neu, a RAND economist with broad experience in government service, international affairs and security issues, who will move to Doha to become the institute's first director. Neu has extensive experience in the Middle East and has visited the region many times.

The RAND-Qatar Policy Institute will work closely with RAND's Center for Middle East Public Policy, which is directed by Dr. Jerrold Green and is based in Santa Monica, California.

RAND officials expect the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute to grow significantly in the future, adding staff from other RAND locations, hiring analysts from the Middle East and using consultants from the branch campuses of top quality universities in the Qatar Foundation's Education City and other universities of the region. Like RAND, the new institute will be a non-profit organization.

“The integration of RAND-Qatar into Education City is an exciting step in a joint effort in initiating objective research and analysis and transforming these studies into practical action plans that address the essential prerequisites for our future progression,” commented Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al-Misnad. “The dynamic relationship between research and policy making will assist Qatar and the region in constructing our own course toward development that utilizes the full capacity of our citizens and preserves our cultural identity.”

“RAND has been helping leaders in government, non-profit organizations and the private sector improve policy and decisionmaking through objective research and analysis for 55 years,” Thomson said. “The RAND-Qatar Policy Institute will give us the opportunity to focus on issues facing nations in the Middle East and help this important region rich in history build a better future. Qatar is an excellent location for the new institute, given the nation's strong commitment to academic and professional excellence.”

Initial discussions between RAND and Qatar Foundation on the establishment of a Regional Public Policy Institute started as early as August 28, 2000. Further, RAND's staff has been working with Qatari educators since September 2001 in reforming the nation's publicly supported K-12 educational system.

The new institute will strengthen Qatar's standing as the Middle East's center for analysis and research and help build regional policy analytic capabilities. Qatar has been in the forefront among Middle Eastern nations in applying careful and objective analysis to key policy problems.

RAND enjoys a worldwide reputation for research excellence, providing policy analysis to the United States and many other governments around the world, as well as to businesses and organizations in the private sector. Creation of the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute extends the worldwide reach of RAND's applied research and analysis efforts.

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