Institute for Developing Across Differences

High-level Roundtable: Realizing Effective Diversity in Education City

The IDD led a high-level roundtable discussion: “Realizing Effective Diversity in Education City — Adopting a More Strategic Approach to Intercultural Competence Development Across the Multiverse” for education leaders in Doha, Qatar on October 3, 2023.

The event was part of the inaugural 2023 Middle Eastern Developing Across Differences Learning Lab & Community Week that was organized by the IDD together with Education City’s Intercultural Collaboration & Communication Forum (ICCF).

Over 30 senior leaders from six universities —Carnegie Mellon University Qatar (CMU-Q), Georgetown University Qatar (GU-Q), Northwestern University Qatar (NU-Q), Texas A&M University in Qatar (TAMQ), VCUArts Qatar, and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q)— and faculty from the Institute for Developing Across Differences convened in early October to explore the benefits of more closely coordinating their diversity initiatives across campuses and the region.

Recognizing inclusive global and intercultural competence development as core to their respective and collective missions, the participants affirmed their commitment to more regular sharing of  diversity and intercultural efforts. 

Through this, they aim to identify opportunities to cooperate across institutions so that they might better align resources and optimize policies and processes to ultimately benefit their students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders — and ensure Education City’s position as a future-ready global education hub that models collaboration across differences of all kinds.


Participants learned about initiatives planned and underway within and across six of the university campuses across Education City. For instance, Dr. Schiewietz shared results from her recent study with a VCU-Q colleague that examined the unique roles that international branch campuses play in helping students and other higher education stakeholders develop their global competence (Williams & Schiewietz, 2020).

Ongoing sharing with similarly-engaged peers in a forum such as the roundtable will Education City leaders to “deliver more effective teamwork and quality outcomes,” said Maha Elnashar, Director of the Center for Cultural Competence in Healthcare (CCCHC) at WCM-Q’s Institute for Population Health (IPH). Elnashar sits on the organizing committee of the ICCF.

“It’s encouraging to see that this topic is a priority for leaders whose own professional and national backgrounds are so widely varied — they range span hard sciences, finance, political diplomacy, and the arts and come from around the world. They demonstrate how differing perspectives and experiences can be a genuine institutional asset when opportunities are offered to understand and harmonize them,” said Melissa Liles, Director of the Institute for Developing Across Differences (IDD), who facilitated the session.

The roundtable was designed to help ensure Education City’s position as a future-ready global education hub that models collaboration across differences of all kinds.


Among the faculty, administrative and support leaders in attendance were:

  • Christine Schiewietz, Assistant Dean for Curricular and Academic Advising at Georgetown University-Qatar (GU-Q)
  • Lynda Chinenye Iroulo, Assistant Professor, International Politics at GU-Q
  • Sohaila Cheema, Assistant Dean for the Institute for Population Health at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q)
  • Majda Sebah, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at WCM-Q
  • Rosalie Nickles, Assistant Dean for Finance Compliance and Administrative Procedure, Texas A&M University-Qatar (TAMU-Q)
  • Dalia Rehal, Associate Dean for Student Affairs at at Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar (CMU-Q) 
  • Kira Dreher, Associate Dean, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) at CMU-Q, and
  • Mirza Baig, Chief Technology Officer and DEI Chair at VCUarts Qatar (VCU-Q).

Images courtesy of L Poniman.