Mission of Public Diplomacy and Global Policymaking in the 21st Century
Our mission is to mentor Rice students interested in public diplomacy and the Middle East, teach them to be scholars, and develop tomorrow’s policy leaders and statesmen.
Purpose of Colloquium and Overarching Theme
In 2009, President Barack Obama expressed his desire for “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.” Based on Obama’s call, a group of undergraduates at Rice worked with the Baker Institute to create the Public Diplomacy and Global Policymaking Program. The program links Rice undergraduates with their counterparts in the Middle East to discuss issues relevant to both sides, including public diplomacy, interfaith dialogues, social lives and media.
Since its creation, the program has sponsored two cohorts of students to the Middle East. In summer 2010, 10 Rice students traveled to Cairo, Egypt, to engage students from the American University in Cairo (view pictures from trip to Cairo). The following spring, six Egyptian students visited Rice. In spring 2012, Rice and the Baker Institute organized a student colloquium in Doha, Qatar, with students from Education City. Education City is the flagship project of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development — a private, nonprofit organization that houses six branch campuses of U.S. universities and supports numerous other institutions, research centers and student training programs.
Future student colloquiums will be organized jointly by the Qatar Foundation and the Baker Institute, alternating locations each year. The goal of colloquiums is to demonstrate how public diplomacy has the potential to give countries the tools and direction necessary to inform, influence and engage the global society of which we are all a part as well as develop future leaders in the United States and Qatar to address these issues. Rice students will engage in discussions with Qatari students on key issues including scientific diplomacy and modern research, interfaith dialogue, democracy, new media technology, knowledge-based economies and other topics. Through discussions, students can learn from each other’s cultures, histories and perspectives that can lead to mutually beneficial relationships, with the shared hope of preventing conflict.
In spring 2012, students participating in the Public Diplomacy and Global Policymaking Program traveled to Qatar to discuss policy-related issues with students in the Middle East.