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Why Global Dialogue Matters: The View from Doha

By Safwan Masri

February 22, 2024

In Response to Why the Georgetown Global Dialogues?

Georgetown University in Qatar’s students—who hail from some 75 nations, many of which are in the Global South—have experienced firsthand or witnessed up close sustained turmoil—social, political, economic, environmental—which reflects the norm rather than the exception in many parts of the world.

As the horrific humanitarian crisis in Gaza grows more acute by the hour, and war threatens daily to expand regionally, our community, which includes members who have lost relatives, is painfully aware of the intersecting scourges of fanatical nationalism, inequality and injustice, environmental degradation, and a broken global system riddled with suspicion and distrust. As for the young, across the Global South in general and Palestine in particular, future prospects indeed appear bleak.

Still, there is hope. And conviction. And on some days—especially when GU-Q releases into the world a new cohort of passionate graduates determined to address many of the world’s most vexing problems—optimism.

Worldwide, positive change can, and does, occur daily. Progress can be sweeping or incremental at the international, national, and local levels. Regardless of where, when, and how it manifests, much of it is being ushered in and propelled by a new generation of young leaders keen to disrupt the status quo. And educational institutions like Georgetown are uniquely positioned, and morally obliged, to help maintain this momentum.

To that end, a combination of old and new strategies—from leveraging ancient philosophical and faith traditions that compel the peoples of the world to live in harmony with the natural environment and each other, to new ideas and approaches that challenge us to think differently—are worthy of sober consideration, engaged and respectful discussion, and (re)introduction into a refreshed global conversation.

This is exactly what the Georgetown Global Dialogues promise to deliver and why members of the Georgetown University in Qatar community are eager to participate in this important and timely conference.

Safwan Masri is the dean of Georgetown University in Qatar and Distinguished Professor of the Practice at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.