Al Maerifa Public Seminar Series
About the seminar series
Presented by Texas A&M University at Qatar, global industry leaders and distinguished faculty and researchers present community seminars to promote ideas on topics central to Qatar’s pursuit of a knowledge-based economy. These seminars are centered around Qatar’s grand challenges and research pursuits, including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, energy, water, food security and infrastructure, among other topics. The talks are designed for a general, nontechnical audience, and participants are invited to ask questions at the end of the presentation. Presented in English, we welcome students and visitors from across Qatar to interact with pioneers and catalysts of our future economic and industrial growth.
QNRF: 15 Years of Enabling Research Excellence in Qatar
Presented by Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie
19 October 2021
The talk will elaborate on how QNRF is enabling research excellence in Qatar to advance knowledge and education, improve the health and well-being of its people, and advance Qatar’s progress toward its national vision and sustainability goals by supporting original and competitive research in all fields of science through its rich and diverse portfolio of funding programs and initiatives.
In his talk, Dr. Al-Taie will shed light on QNRF’s remarkable journey and how it has grown in age over the past 15 years to become the leading research funding agency in the region. He will elaborate on QNRF’s pivotal role in building the much-needed local human capacity in research as well as a robust research infrastructure along with nurturing a thriving culture of scientific research to address the grand challenges and priority research areas for Qatar. Moreover, Dr. Al-Taie will share how QNRF has helped the scientific research community in Qatar forge fruitful partnerships both locally and internationally to raise Qatar’s profile as an internationally leading research hub.
Dr. Al-Taie will touch base on the agility and responsiveness of QNRF in addressing and adapting to the various changes and phases in RDI governance and ecosystem in Qatar beginning with the launch of Qatar National Vision (QNV 2030) in 2008, and detailing QNRF’s evolving role with the establishment of the ex-QF R&D Enterprise back in 2011, the launch of Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS) in 2012 and the identification of the country Grand Challenges in research in 2014, and finally ending with the establishment of Qatar RDI Council (QRDIC) in 2018 and the launch of the new Qatar RDI Strategy 2030 in 2020.
Finally, Dr. Al-Taie will allude to some landmark achievements and key societal, technological, and economic impact made possible through QNRF. To finish, he will share a selection of success stories of some outstanding projects awarded to key investigators coming from academic, government and private sectors covering diverse and wide-ranging research areas including Education, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Water Security, ICT, Environment protection, and Sustainable urbanization among many others.
Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie is the Executive Director of Qatar National Research Fund. He earned his BSc, MSc, and PhD, all from the Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, London.
Prior to his formative work at Qatar Foundation, Dr. Al-Taie held key positions in Iraq with the Ministry of Oil, the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, Ministry of Industry & Minerals, and the National Committee for Technology Transfer where he played key roles in the planning, design, and implementation of numerous strategic projects spanning various industrial sectors including Oil and Gas, Nuclear, Food and Drug, and pharmaceutical industries.
In 1991, he was appointed to lead the Supreme Supervisory Committee for the Reconstruction Campaigns where he led hundreds of engineers and technicians to rebuild the numerous oil refineries, electricity power stations, and the famous Baby Milk Plant destroyed during the Gulf War.
Later, in his role as a facilitator of the Pan-Industrial Sector Research Committee in Iraq, he participated in the identification of the research grand challenges and the development of the National Science and Technology Strategy for the Republic of Iraq. In addition, he was involved in the overseeing of a number of mega research programs.
In addition to the above roles, Dr. Al-Taie has also severed as an external lecturer at various Iraqi universities and supervised several MSc and PhD students.
Over a distinguished career spanning 30 years in Iraq, he received numerous accolades and decorations including the Jabir Bin Hayyan Medal, the Reconstruction Medal, the High Merit Accolade, and the prestigious Science Medal of the Republic of Iraq.
Under his leadership since 2006, QNRF has developed into a world-renowned organization enabling Qatar to achieve R&D excellence, progress towards realizing Qatar’s vision for economic, human, and social development, and achieve its goals to become a sustainable and diversified society.
Introduction to the American Bureau of Shipping
Presented by Pantelis Skinitis
16 September 2021
The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) is a U.S. based global maritime classification society established in 1862. Classification societies carry out engineering reviews and survey vessels before, during and after construction to relevant rules and regulations. ABS’ stated mission is to serve the public interest as well as the needs of our members and clients by promoting the security of life and property, and preserving the natural environment, primarily through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine and offshore assets. As technology advances, and the world requires sustainable solutions, ABS has taken an industry leading role in the areas of sustainability and digital, always focusing on safety, which is the core of our business.
This presentation will cover what classification is, a brief history on ABS and its operations and functions. It will also provide an overview on how ABS is striving to support the Qatar National Vision and local clients as they also work towards achieving this vision, which includes education and quality employment for nationals. It also focuses on reduced reliance on hydrocarbons , economic protection and development, and increased use of digital tools. ABS is addressing these challenges in its short, mid and long-term strategies and look forward to supporting local Qatari organizations’ work towards these goals.
Pantelis Skinitis joined the ABS Middle East Team in November 2020 as the Director, Business Development for ABS Qatar. Pantelis has been with ABS for more than 13 years in a number of different roles, and locations around the globe, which make his profile highly diversified. In his last role he was the Regional Director of Business Development for ABS Group, responsible for the Europe, Middle East and Africa Region.
During his time with ABS he has played a critical role in the global delivery and development of risk and reliability products. He has also worked in Houston as the Manager of Strategy and Business Development for Global Marine, in South Korea with new construction projects as a Senior Surveyor and in the Kingdom of Bahrain as a Senior Surveyor.
Pantelis holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration in information technology management from Drexel University, and a master’s degree in international transportation management from the State University of New York Maritime College.
The New Cold War with China
Presented by Will Hurd
25 March 2021
China’s emergence as a global military, economic and cultural superpower is one of the most important geopolitical developments in the twenty-first century, creating complex, high-stakes challenges for the United States and its allies. How can the U.S. best support the independence and territorial integrity of China’s neighbors? What can the U.S. do to promote human rights within China? And can the U.S. preserve its extensive economic partnerships with China while constraining Beijing’s ambitions for global influence and internal control? Former U.S. Congressman Will Hurd joins the Al Maerifa Seminar Series at Texas A&M University at Qatar for a fireside chat on the United States’s contentious relationship with China.
Will Hurd is a former member of Congress, cybersecurity executive, and undercover officer in the CIA. For almost two decades, he has been involved in the most pressing national security issues challenging the country, whether it was in the back alleys of dangerous places, boardrooms of top international businesses or halls of Congress.
After stopping terrorists, preventing Russian spies from stealing our secrets, and putting nuclear weapons proliferators out of business, Will helped build a cybersecurity company that prepared businesses for the next domain of conflict — cyberspace.
While in Congress, Texas Monthly and Politico Magazine called Will “The Future of the GOP,” because he put good policy over good politics at a time when America was often consumed with what divides us rather than what unites us. He was able to get more legislation signed into law in three terms than most congressmen do in three decades — substantive legislation like a national strategy for Artificial Intelligence.
Will is a native of San Antonio. Texas, and earned a computer science degree from Texas A&M University. He is growing the US transatlantic partnership with Europe as a trustee of the German Marshall Fund and is serving as a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
Football World Cup and its Engineering Feats
Presented by Bashir Mirza
25 February 2021
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM has not only broken the mold by bringing this mega event to the Middle East for the first time, but also created a new blueprint for stadium design, fan experience and national development. To top it all, engineers are at the heart of the preparation and organization of a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of the people involved in it.
Qatar promised to build iconic stadiums for the top 32 football teams of the world to display their skills. Seven new stadiums are being constructed while Khalifa Stadium has been completely refurbished and expanded in line with FIFA specifications. Doha Port is being remodeled to accommodate cruise ships which will provide first class luxury lodging for fans. State-of-the-art mobile apps will assist the fans and visitors to enhance their experience of visiting Qatar and watching matches.
A compact event means that avid fans will be able to watch multiple matches per day, thus making this World Cup a unique tournament. Intelligent transport systems will ensure that teams and officials can reach stadiums without fear of getting caught in traffic congestion.
Qatar aims to amaze football fans! #seeyouin2022
Bashir Mirza has worked in the oil, infrastructure and mega event industry for 33 years. His work has taken him to the U.S., Europe and the Middle East while working for Bechtel, Shell, Qatargas and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
Bashir is a mechanical engineer and has an MBA from Warwick Business School. He has developed his career from engineering to strategic program management. From 2007 until 2014, he worked as the project manager for a gas recovery environmental project in Qatar. Bashir joined the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in 2014 as Director Program Management Office. He is now the Director of Reporting and Risk in Program Services. He is the company’s subject matter expert on project management, risk management and strategic planning. He has led the development of online dashboards, web based integrated schedules and lifetime cost estimates for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. He has provided strategic direction on organization structure, legacy, safety and culture challenges.
Bashir and his team have developed customized project management methodologies for a sport event organization by melding classic project management principles with shorter term event management planning techniques.
He is passionate about the safety and well‐being of people, and has played a major role in promoting safety and workers welfare in the World Cup program.
Pathways to Success as Engineering Leaders in Qatar
Presented by graduates of Texas A&M University at Qatar
28 January 2021
Texas A&M University at Qatar takes pride in its graduates and the impact they are making in Qatar and abroad. Academic rigor, experiential learning opportunities and strong industry support pave the way to success for current and former students, shaping our Engineering Leaders in Qatar.
Please join a panel discussion on the pathways to success for a number of prominent Texas A&M at Qatar former students. They will elaborate on the experiences that prepared them for and influenced their success in the real world, as well as the skills required to overcome challenges such as those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ms. Alrbab Abuhelaiqa ’09, Reservoir Engineering Specialist, Qatargas Operating Company
- Mr. Bassam Ahmad ’11, Director of Sales and Operations, Petroleum Mechanical Trading Company
- Mr. Ali Dashti ’08, Operations Excellence Division Manager, Qatargas Operating Company
- Dr. Ahmed El Gamrawy ’10, Founder, CreoVenture
- Ms. Abtesam Yousef ’08, Senior Electrical Engineer, Rheinmetall Barzan Advanced Technologies
The Inescapable Inevitability of District Energy for Our Future
Presented by Yasser Al Jaidah, CEO, Qatar Cool
19 November 2020
The future of metropolitan energy systems and the evolution from conventional cooling to sustainable cooling systems is an ongoing topical debate. District energy supply can play a crucial role in reducing commercial costs and primary energy supply. District cooling is perceived as an indulgence for affluent cities which eclipses the true necessity for such systems to ensure the sustainability of the country and the planet.
Yasser Al Jaidah joined Qatar Cool in January 2015 as the Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Al Jaidah is primarily accountability for the planning, management and direction of the day-to-day aspects of the business of the company subject to such policies and directives as the board may adopt. Mr. Al Jaidah has the responsibility from legal compliance, mission, vision, policy and planning, governance, financing, and community relations. Mr. Al Jaidah’s main objectives for the organization will focus on three main themes operational excellence, customer management and aggressive growth through development.
Qatar District Cooling Company (Qatar Cool) is among the top five district cooling providers in the world, on top of which Qatar Cool owns and operates the largest district cooling plant in the world, situated on The Pearl Qatar. Qatar Cool is the driving force behind sustainable technology in the state of Qatar, providing cooling energy to two major districts with the total capacity of 237,000 tons of refrigeration. Qatar Cool are partners with key organizations in Qatar and overseas to further support the industry and growth.
Mr. Al Jaidah holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri in the United States, also certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP®) from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and has an Executive MBA from HEC-Paris in Shanghai, China.
Qatar Development Bank: Empowering SMEs Towards Business Growth and National Development
Presented by Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, CEO, Qatar Development Bank
12 November 2020
While entrepreneurs and SMEs are regarded as the backbone of a thriving, diversified economy, their impact extends far beyond that. From introducing future-defining products and services that shape consumer experiences to creating communities of like-minded innovators and contributing to the improvement of their communities, the influence of SMEs on Qatar’s socio-economic development is unmistakable.
In this presentation, Qatar Development Bank’s CEO Mr. Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa explores the role of the Bank and its affiliate institutions in advancing entrepreneurship and pushing forward the SME-ecosystem in Qatar. Al-Khalifa will also talk about how the Bank integrates within the country’s innovation ecosystem, with the aim of empowering business owners and private enterprises as Qatar continues its march towards building a knowledge-based economy and realizing its national vision for 2030 and beyond.
In addition to his role as the CEO of QDB, Mr. Al-Khalifa is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Elan, the Chairman of Qatar Business Incubator Center and the Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development.
With an accumulated experience of over 15 years, Mr. Al-Khalifa has a large and diversified exposure in the SME, private and entrepreneurship sectors. He played the leading role in the launch of several flagship development initiatives, including Al Dhameen Partial Guarantee Program, Tasdeer Qatar Export Development Agency and the Housing Loan Program for Qatari citizens, Moushtarayat Exhibition & Congress and Al Fikra National Competition.
Mr. Al-Khalifa holds an MBA from Qatar University, a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering from University of California, and has received several specialized diplomas from Harvard and Insead Universities.
Industry-Academia Collaboration in Advancing Qatar’s Gas Processing Research
Presented by Dr. Nimir O. Elbashir, Professor, Texas A&M University at Qatar
Qatar Foundation Distinguished Inventor of the Year 2020
29 October 2020
Qatar has one of the world’s most extensive gas processing facilities, presenting a unique diversification model in natural gas monetization. Texas A&M University at Qatar takes full advantage of this distinctive environment to foster global collaboration in research, and development, resulting in the creation of the Gas & Fuels Research Center, a hub for research excellence in the advancement of natural gas processing technologies. This talk will highlight success stories in building bridges between academia and industry in the areas of (a) understanding the fundamentals of natural gas conversion chemistries and processes; (b) creating world-class research capabilities to formulate and characterize fuels and value-added chemicals derived from natural gas; (c) interfacing midstream and downstream natural gas processing for energy integration and handling of CO2 emissions to produce lower carbon foot-print products; (d) exploring new avenues to diversify products from natural gas, and more importantly (e) developing human resources in this field critical to Qatar’s economy.
This one-of-its-kind model resulted in several synergistic collaborations leading to technological inventions, product development, and the training of a generation of global leaders in science and engineering, currently advancing gas processing technology in Qatar and around the globe.
Dr. Nimir Elbashir is a professor in the Chemical Engineering Program and the Petroleum Engineering Program at Texas A&M University at Qatar and serving as the director of Texas A&M’s Engineering Experiment Station Gas and Fuels Research Center. Professor Elbashir has extensive experience from academia and industry, and his research focuses on the design of advanced reactors, catalysts, and conversion processes for natural gas and CO2. He established and led several unique global research collaboration models between academia and industry with research funding exceeds multimillion dollars. Professor Elbashir holds several U.S. and European patents and numerous scientific publications in form of peer-reviewed journal articles, books and book chapters, conference papers, and industry technical reports. He received several awards and recognitions of his research activities from Qatar Foundation, BASF Corp, Texas A&M University, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Shell, ORYX GTL Co., and others. Professor Elbashir trained a large number of postdoctoral, Ph.D., master students and undergraduate students and served as a visiting professor in multiple universities around the globe.
Qatar’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned
Presented by Dr. Abdullatif Mohammed Al Khal, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Hamad Medical Corporation and Chairman of National Pandemic Preparedness Committee
8 October 2020
Dr. Al Khal earned his MBBCh from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1989. He undertook his internship at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) in the State of Qatar, and in 1991, joined the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, CT, USA, followed by completion of a 2-year fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Hartford Hospital. He was awarded the Diploma of the American Board in Internal Medicine in 1994 and Diploma of the American Board of Infectious Diseases in 1996. He was recertified in Infectious Disease in 2013.
Dr. Al Khal holds several clinical positions, chairs a variety of committees and has led number of strategic projects at HMC. Between 1999 – 2001, he served as the Chair of Family Medicine and as Chair of Department of Medicine from 2001 until 2012. Dr. Al Khal has been the Head of Infectious Diseases Division since 1998 and the Lead of the Communicable Disease Center and is also the National TB Program Manager and the Director of the Clinical AIDS Program. As Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Director of Medical Education/DIO, he has notably led HMC’s achievement of ACGME-I accreditation, and in 2018 received ACGME’s Physician International Award, to recognize his outstanding contributions to improving the quality of graduate medical education in Qatar. Dr. Al Khal also has an advisory role to several public health programs under the umbrella of Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health.
Dr. Al Khal has held a faculty appointment with Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar since 2007 and was promoted to Adjunct Professor of Clinical Medicine in 2020. He also holds an appointment as Clinical Professor of Medicine at Qatar University College of Medicine (QU CMED) as well as serves as QU CMED’s Director of the Clinical Affairs Department and was the College’s founding Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.
He remains active in research and publishes regularly in the fields of Internal Medicine, Pharmacology, Infectious Diseases and Medical Education.
The Joy of Discovery
Presented by Dr. Ben L. Feringa, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2016
Presented in partnership with the American Chemical Society, Qatar Chapter
1 October 2020
Exploring across the current frontiers of chemical sciences there is vast uncharted territory to experience the joy of discovery. Far beyond Nature’s design, the creative power of synthetic chemistry provides unlimited opportunities to realize our own molecular world as we experience every day with products ranging from drugs to displays that sustain modern society. In their practice of the art of building small, chemists have shown amazing success in the past decades. Moving from molecules to dynamic molecular systems the fundamental challenge is how to control and exploit motion at the nanoscale.
In this presentation the focus is on my journey in the world of molecular switches and motors, the process of discovery and my personal experiences through my scientific career. In particular I will address how fundamental questions and molecular beauty have guided me on this journey.
Ben L. Feringa obtained his Ph.D. degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands under the guidance of Professor Hans Wynberg. After working as a research scientist at Shell in the Netherlands and at the Shell Biosciences Centre in the UK, he was appointed lecturer and in 1988 full professor at the University of Groningen and named the Jacobus H. van’t Hoff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Sciences in 2004. He was elected Foreign Honory member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is member and vice-president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. In 2008 he was appointed Academy Professor and was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands.
Feringa’s research has been recognized with a number of awards including the Koerber European Science Award (2003), the Spinoza Award (2004), the Prelog gold medal (2005), the Norrish Award of the ACS (2007), the Paracelsus medal (2008), the Chirality medal (2009),the RSC Organic Stereochemistry Award (2011), Humboldt Award (2012), the Grand Prix Scientifique Cino del Duca (French Academy 2012), the Marie Curie medal (2013) and the Nagoya Gold Medal (2013). The research interest includes stereochemistry, organic synthesis, asymmetric catalysis, optopharma, molecular switches and motors, self-assembly and molecular nanosystems.
The Torch and the Hearth: The Universe of Meaning of Extremism
Presented by Dr. Marwan M. Kraidy, Dean and CEO, Northwestern University in Qatar
17 September 2020
In this seminar, I will share some of my research on the universe of meaning of extremists. Discussing primary data I have gathered on organizations from the broad rubrics of jihadism (mostly in the Arab world) and white power (mostly in North America), I will demonstrate the centrality of fire to these groups’ way of life, propaganda and meaning-making practices — fire is both a torch with which to burn the enemy, and a hearth around which to build community. Drawing on a multidisciplinary literature, but most centrally on the work of the mid-20th century French philosopher of science Gaston Bachelard, the seminar will explore the intimate connection between fire and extremist identities and ideologies — from the Ku Klux Klan in 1915 United States to “Islamic State” in 2015 Iraq — and shed light on the potency of pyropoesis, answering the question: “why is fire such a powerful medium?”
As dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar, Marwan. M Kraidy oversees academic programs in communication, journalism, and the liberal arts.
Kraidy, a scholar of global communication and an authority on Arab media, culture, and politics, has long been immersed in the study of geopolitics and media in the Middle East having authored numerous books and articles on the region’s geopolitics and media culture. He is fluent in Arabic, English, and French and conversant in Spanish.
An interdisciplinary scholar, Kraidy’s research focuses on the relationships between culture and geopolitics, theories of identity and modernity, and global media systems and industries.
Kraidy’s latest project is an Andrew Carnegie Fellow endowed book on war machines in the digital age, focusing on how the “Islamic State” leveraged on global communication platforms and tactics to spread global hostility and insecurity. Alongside this book, Kraidy is also researching the transnational geopolitics of Turkish media and culture.
In 2016, Kraidy published ‘The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World,’ an award-winning book that considers the resurgence of the body politic in the digital age, specifically during the Arab uprising of 2011. It explores the creative and artistic behavior of humans who used their physical bodies to express to express rebellion and power. The book received the Times Higher Education Book of the Year title and won the Best Book Award from the International Communication Association’s Division of Global Communication.
As an academic, Kraidy has taught courses on globalization; comparative media systems; the body in digital culture; culture and revolution; music video; transnational public spheres, and the geopolitics of global popular culture.
He has published 13 books and edited volumes, authored 130 essays and chapters, and has won more than 50 awards for teaching and scholarship. Kraidy is known for his contribution to the pedagogy of global communication through keynotes and lectures worldwide and has advised universities, civil society organizations, museums, foundations, and governments.
Prior to assuming his position at Northwestern, Kraidy served as associate dean for administration and professor of global communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of School for Communication. He was also the Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture, and director of the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication, an institute he founded in 2013 that is dedicated to the advanced study of global communication and understanding the diversity of global media and cultures.
Kraidy has been the Edward W. Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut, the Albert Bonnier Jr. Professor of Media Studies at Stockholm University, the Chaire Dupront at Sorbonne-Universités in Paris, and visiting professor at universities in China, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the USA.
Kraidy earned his bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Notre-Dame University in Louaizé, Lebanon, and his Lebanese baccalaureate in humanities at Saint Joseph College in Antoura, Lebanon. He holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from Ohio University, where he also earned his master’s degree.
Responding to COVID-19 in Qatar
Moderated by Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, Texas A&M University at Qatar
10 September 2020
When the global COVID-19 pandemic began, Texas A&M University at Qatar funded seven research projects to help Qatar combat the outbreak of the virus. During this seminar, Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, Associate Dean for Research and Advancement, will present the COVID-19 activities undertaken by Texas A&M at Qatar in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Qatar Foundation, Barzan Holdings and Qatar Red Crescent Society, followed by faculty members who will present their research work and discuss project outcomes.
“Code Design and Modeling to Improve Testing”
Dr. Bing Guo, Mechanical Engineering
“Establishing Aerosol Virus Monitoring Capability in Qatar for Mitigation of COVID-19 and Future Epidemics”
Dr. Marwan Khraisheh, Mechanical Engineering
“3D Printing of Critical Need Medical Parts and Devices”
Dr. Othmane Bouhali, Physics
“Investigation of the Feasibility of Large-Scale Sterilization of Medical, Industrial and Food Using Electron Beam Technologies”
“Tailored Prevention of Coronavirus”
Dr. Luc Véchot, Chemical Engineering
“Investigation of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Control of the Process Safety Risk in Major Hazards Industries in Qatar: Data Collection, Analysis and Recommendations”
Dr. Sara Hillman, Liberal Arts
“Laboring to communicate: Use of Migrant Languages in COVID-19 Awareness Campaign in Qatar”
Explaining Why Donald Trump’s Rhetoric is So Dangerous
Presented by Dr. Jennifer Mercieca, Texas A&M University
9 July 2020
A demagogue — a leader of the people — could be a hero or a villain. What kind of demagogue is Donald Trump? He is both a hero and a villain — a hero to his supporters and a villain to everyone else. Demagogue for President tells the story of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and shows how Trump took advantage of pre-existing distrust, polarization, and frustration to attack America. Within a crisis of public trust in which the very viability of democracy was at risk, Trump ran a campaign that was designed to increase distrust for government and traditional leadership. Within a crisis of polarization in which Americans believed that they had little common ground with their political opposition, did not share the same values, and that their opposition was an enemy of the state, Trump ran a campaign that was designed to increase polarization. Within a crisis of frustration in which Americans believed that government was the biggest issue facing the nation, that the nation was on the wrong track, and that anybody else would do a better job running the country than current leaders, Trump ran a campaign that was designed to increase frustration. Trump used rhetoric as a weapon — as a “counterpunch” — and in so doing Trump attacked America’s public sphere and its democratic process. Demagogue for President gives Americans a vocabulary to use to understand Trump’s rhetorical strategies and explains why those strategies are dangerous for democratic stability.
Dr. Jennifer Mercieca is an historian of American political rhetoric. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University and is a Contributing Editor for Zócalo Public Square. Jennifer writes about American political discourse, especially as it relates to citizenship, democracy, and the presidency. Jennifer has published two books about political rhetoric: Founding Fictions and The Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations: Establishing the Obama Presidency. Her third book Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump is out just this week. Demagogue for President has already received praise: Jack Shafer at Politico says it’s “highly recommended” and LitHub has listed it as one of “the best new books to read this summer.”
Jennifer has written about rhetoric and politics for The Conversation, Zócalo Public Square, USA Today, Washington Post, and other major media outlets. And she has been interviewed about rhetoric and politics by the BBC World News, NPR’s All Things Considered, NPR’s 1A, Diane Rehm, The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, Vice News, Australia’s ABC Radio, Slate, USA Today, and many other outlets throughout the United States and Worldwide.
The Role of Cryptography in Our Information-Based Society
Presented by Dr. Joseph Boutros, Texas A&M University at Qatar
2 July 2020
In ancient history, classic cryptography referred to the science of writing in a secret manner, where “crypto” stands for hidden or secret and “graphy” stands for writing, in Ancient Greek language. The use of cryptography during the second world war indirectly boosted the invention of computers. Modern cryptography appeared five decades ago via a mixture of Mathematics and Computer Science, in the same decade when microprocessors were built for personal computers and the Internet was built to create a wide area network between academic and governmental institutions. Nowadays, the mobile cellular network revolution followed the Internet revolution directly hitting our lives by social media applications, online banking applications, remote work and remote teaching as recently observed in the course of the coronavirus crisis. This big change in our society is due to all types of information being translated into numbers, i.e., we live in an advanced phase of the digital era.
Numbers, also known as data, allow information to be processed and transmitted at high speed. Information is constituted by still images or video recordings, by text written in electronic messages or in files, or by any physical measurement converted into numbers/data. Cryptography plays a major role in our information-based society by offering techniques to secure our data, whether data is stored on electronic devices or transmitted via the Internet. A simplified model of cryptography assumes that the sender encrypts data (encryption) to make it unreadable by any adversary (a spy or a hacker) except for the legitimate receiver who can decrypt the data (decryption).
I will start my talk by a brief history of cryptography. Then I will describe modern algorithms for key exchange, symmetric and asymmetric encryption, and digital signature. I will describe the aim of a young branch of cryptography known as post-quantum cryptography in devising new encryption algorithms that are secure against attacks by future powerful quantum computers. I will also briefly cite practical examples such as the role of a password on your computer, how secure communications are encrypted (web and virtual private networks), and the algorithms used by WhatsApp for securing data communications between smartphone users.
Joseph Jean Boutros received the M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1992 and the Ph.D. degree in 1996, both from Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications (ENST, Telecom Paris), Paris, France. From 1996 to 2006, he was with the Communications and Electronics Department at ENST as an associate professor. Dr. Boutros also was a member of the research unit UMR-5141 of the French National Scientific Research Center (CNRS) in Paris. In 2007, Dr. Boutros joined Texas A&M University at Qatar as a professor in the Electrical Engineering Program. Dr. Boutros teaches courses in signal processing, communication theory, probability theory, and computer programming. His mathematical approach for teaching communication theory is combined with a strong practical computing component. Dr. Boutros has been a scientific consultant for Alcatel Space, Philips Research, and Motorola Semiconductors, and member of the Digital Signal Processing team at Juniper Networks Cable. His fields of research are codes on graphs, sphere packing and lattices, iterative decoding, codes for security, and connections between coding theory and other areas, such as cryptography and machine learning. His research is mainly performed under grants and tight collaboration with private companies and public institutions such as Mitsubishi Electric Europe (Rennes, France), Google Pittsburgh (USA), Nokia Bell-Labs Paris (France), and the Qatar National Research Fund. Dr. Boutros is a senior member of the IEEE society. He is co-inventor of 14 industrial patents, including algorithms and techniques in channel coding and digital communications. In 2019, Dr. Boutros was appointed holder of the Occidental Petroleum Professorship in STEM Leadership.
Innovation by Evolution: Bringing New Chemistry to Life
Presented by Frances H. Arnold, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2018
Presented in partnership with the American Chemical Society, Qatar Chapter
25 June 2020
Not satisfied with biology’s vast catalyst repertoire, I want to create new enzyme catalysts and expand the chemistry of life. We use the most powerful biological design process, evolution, to optimize existing enzymes and invent new ones, thereby circumventing our profound ignorance of how sequence encodes function. I will show that we can build sustainable, biological routes to important fuels and chemicals. Evolution can also innovate, generating new enzyme catalysts, with a little insight from chemistry. Whole families of new-to-nature enzymes increase the scope of molecules and materials we can build using synthetic biology and move us closer to a sustainable world where human-invented chemistry will be genetically encoded.
Frances Arnold is the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology. Arnold received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2018) for pioneering directed enzyme evolution methods, which she has used to engineer enzymes for alternative energy, chemicals, and medicine. Arnold received the Charles Stark Draper Prize of the US National Academy of Engineering, the US National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama, and the Millennium Technology Prize. She has been elected to all three US National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering as well as Foreign Member of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She was appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2019.
Arnold is a Director of Illumina and Alphabet, chairs the Advisory Panel of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowships in Science and Engineering, and is a Trustee of the Gordon Research Conferences. She received her B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Donald Trump is Recession Proof: Partisan Polarization and the End of Economic Voting
in the United States
Presented by Dr. Joe Ura, Texas A&M University at Qatar
18 June 2020
There is substantial evidence that American voters blame or credit the president for the state of the economy when making electoral decisions. However, a variety of findings on economic voting, cognitive biases in information processing, and party polarization, indicate that both objective and subjective economic information should become less important to voters as partisan polarization increases. Together, these suggest partisan polarization attenuates the link between economic performance and citizens’ votes. Empirical analysis of individual-level vote choices and aggregate election results support this theoretical claim, providing evidence that the economy matters less to the vote when parties are highly polarized than when they are not.
Joe Ura is Associate Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University at Qatar. He is also currently Interim Chair of the Liberal Arts Program at Texas A&M University at Qatar. He previously served as Associate Head, Director of Undergraduate Programs, and Director of the American Politics Program for the political science department at Texas A&M in College Station.
Dr. Ura’s research addresses American national politics, especially judicial politics, public opinion, and political representation. He and his coauthors have contributed articles to the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and other peer-reviewed journals in political science, and his research has been supported by the United States’s National Science Foundation.
Dr. Ura is also recognized as an outstanding teacher. He has won the Association of Former Students Award for Teaching Excellence in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M, the Texas A&M Student Led Award for Teaching Excellence, the Student Undergraduate Teaching Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Earle Wallace Award for outstanding teaching in the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina.
Process Safety: When Engineering Meets Safety
Presented by Dr. Luc N. Véchot, Texas A&M University at Qatar
11 June 2020
Our current socially desirable industrial activities contribute to our economic growth, the human well-being, and the building of a sustainable future. Yet these activities are inherently associated with the risk of occurrence of major hazard events (fires, explosions and toxic releases) that if not properly controlled can lead to severe consequences (injuries, fatalities, economic and environmental losses). How to prevent major hazard events and mitigate them? How to ensure the safety of workers and public while running our oil and gas and chemical plants? The answer is: Process Safety Engineering. This presentation will introduce to the public about the discipline of Process Safety. It will show how industry currently uses engineering to identify, assess and control the risks of major hazard. The speaker will present some historical case studies that defined the discipline and will present the efforts done by industry and academia in Qatar to assess and improve our knowledge of process safety and train a future generation of engineer committed to process safety.
Dr. Luc N. Véchot is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) and the Managing Director of the Qatar branch of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center (MKOPSC). Dr Véchot holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Étienne (France) in 2006. He started his career in 2007 at the Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL) in Buxton, UK, where he served as a process safety engineer. In 2010, he joined TAMUQ as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering where he developed the process safety research, outreach and teaching activities. In 2013, he led the establishment of a satellite of the MKOPSC at TAMUQ. Under his leadership as Managing Director, with the support of the local Oil and Gas and Petrochemical industry, the satellite center has become a unique process safety research institution supporting the industry on major process safety issues and training the new generation of process safety engineer of Qatar.
Photonics: The Science of Light that Shapes Our Modern Technological World
Presented by Dr. Stylianos Tzortzakis, Texas A&M University at Qatar
4 June 2020
Photonics is the science of harnessing light. Light is an integral part of nature and the key enabler of life. Since the beginning of history, humans understood the value of light and devised ways of producing it and using it to improve their quality of life. Over the last few decades, though, the science of light has been pushed to horizons never imagined before. Environmentally friendly and cost-effective lighting offered by LEDs, optical fiber-based broadband Internet, wireless telecommunications (4G, 5G, and beyond), photonic sensors for our smartphones, and self-driving cars, but also high-power lasers enabling industrial manufacturing, precision medicine, and nuclear fusion, are just a few examples. Photonics science has received more than twenty Nobel Prize awards over the years but is also a key enabling technology that drives a trillion-dollar business. In this presentation, we will be reviewing some of these technological advances and their impact, including related research performed at Texas A&M University at Qatar.
Dr. Stylianos Tzortzakis is Professor of Physics at Texas A&M University at Qatar. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of high-power lasers with numerous prestigious distinctions. He has more than 150 publications in the highest impact journals in his field and has delivered more than 100 plenary and invited talks at international conferences. He is advisor for the largest scale laser installations in Europe and consultant of institutions and governments for related scientific strategies.
Air Quality: The Burden of Locally Produced Fugitive and Airborne Particulate Matter
Presented by Dr. Konstantinos E. Kakosimos, Texas A&M University at Qatar
14 May 2020
We are all aware that the color of the sky in Qatar is not as blue as in a child’s painting, and that our desks gather a great deal of dust in a matter of minutes. Have you ever wondered where all this dust is coming from, what the impact of it is on all of us, and if there is any solution to it? Unfortunately, this presentation will not answer all these questions. On the other hand, it aims to improve our understanding of airborne particulate matter, to identify some of the plausible sources, and discuss recent research performed locally and internationally.
Dr. Konstantinos E. Kakosimos is an associate professor of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University at Qatar. He has more than 55 peer-reviewed publications and four books/chapters in the English and Greek languages. His main research activities are focused on the experimental and numerical modeling of transport and reacting phenomena with applications in Environmental fluid mechanics and monitoring for air quality, risk analysis and effects estimation of fires, explosions, and toxic gases dispersion, and Solar photo- and thermochemical processes, reactors, and materials. Moreover, Dr. Kakosimos researches new educational methods and techniques, for which he received the 2015 IChemE Hutchison medal. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Research Laboratory Safety, 2017 Research Excellence for Early Carrier Faculty, and 2019 Faculty Excellence Awards at Texas A&M University. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Kakosimos serves the local and international community in various ways, as secretary of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry – Arabian Gulf Branch (2014-15), Chair of the Principle Investigators Council at Texas A&M Qatar (2017-2018), Chair of the Qatar National Air Quality Standards subcommittee of the Ministry of Municipalities and Environment (2018), and task force member at the Ministry of Public Health (2018-today).
Water Desalination: An Imperative Way for Water Security in Arid Countries
Presented by Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Wahab, Texas A&M University at Qatar
7 May 2020
Desalinated seawater is the main source for municipal water supply in Qatar and in other countries with limited fresh water resources. Desalination, also called desalting, is the removal of salt from seawater in order to make it suitable for drinking and other domestic uses. This presentation will provide an overview of different water resources with a focus on water desalination. It will discuss how desalination works and will present different methods for removing salts from water with emphasis on desalination technologies implemented in Qatar.
Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Wahab is a professor of chemical engineering at Texas A&M University at Qatar. He has more than 25 years of experience on water and environmental engineering teaching and research. His research has led to publication of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in leading research journals and more than 80 refereed conference publications/presentations. Dr. Abdel-Wahab is an editorial board member of the Journal of Water Process Engineering (Elsevier) and an associate editor of Emergent Materials Journal (Springer).
Rise of the Autonomous Intelligent Internet
Presented by Dr. Hussein Alnuweiri, Texas A&M University at Qatar
23 April 2020
In the span of four decades, the Internet became the single most pervasive technology used by everyone in the world, and all the time. While initially designed as an information internetwork, the Internet quickly evolved into a worldwide web in which a multitude of devices and platforms contribute smart services to rich digital environments. Augmented reality, digital twin technologies, autonomous vehicles, and AI-based services, are all but examples of the evolution towards an Internet that can sense, feel, think, and interact with humans. This talk will present a quick journey into how AI and the Internet of smart things will shape the future of our world.
Dr. Hussein Alnuweiri is professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the Texas A&M University, Qatar. He is a Senior member of the IEEE, and served previously as a Canadian delegated to the ISO where he contributed to the MPEG4 video streaming standard. His current research interests include The Internet of smart things, fog/edge computing, machine learning, and autonomous systems. He authored many conference and journal papers in these fields. He is also an inventor with four issued U.S. patents. His industrial partnerships have been long-standing with several large companies around the world.
Exclusive Interview with H.E. Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada
16 April 2020
Global energy markets face volatile uncertainty amid fluctuating demand and surging oversupply as a pandemic grip the world. This exclusive conversation with H.E. Dr. Al-Sada, a renowned energy industry leader, will examine key factors impacting energy markets and consider possible outcomes in the weeks and months ahead. H.E. Dr. Al-Sada also will answer questions from current and former students of Texas A&M University at Qatar, as well as the general public. H.E. Dr Al–Sada will be interviewed by Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, associate dean for research and advancement.
His Excellency Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada was Minister of Energy & Industry and Chairman of the Board of Qatar Petroleum (QP) from 2011 to 2018, and Managing Director of QP from 2011 to 2014. From 2007 to 2011, he was Minister of State for Energy and Industry Affairs and Member of the Cabinet. During his tenure, H.E. Dr. Al-Sada consolidated and expanded Qatar’s energy business and further improved the energy sector governance. He assumed leading roles in government organizations and was a member of the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment, Chairman of RasGas, Qatar Gas Transport Company Ltd. (Nakilat) and Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC). He also chaired the Permanent Water Resources Committee at Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation, Kahramaa.
H.E. Dr. Al-Sada has more than 35 years of experience in the energy sector. In 1983, he joined QP and started moving up the corporate ladder. He successfully led many responsible roles in QP, which included engineering and project execution to safety and environmental engineering of a number of major oil, gas and infrastructure projects. He is a strong advocate of safety and protection of the environment. He also has chaired a number of international organizations and is a frequent speaker at many prominent international conferences and forums. In 2017, the UK Energy Institute presented H.E. Dr. Al-Sada with the “International Oil Diplomacy Man of the Year” Award in recognition of his efforts and contributions to restoring balance to the oil market during Qatar’s tenure as President of the OPEC Conference in 2016.
He is an active member of the Qatari community and has served as a member of several distinguished committees and organizations, including Qatar Constitution Preparation Committee, Supreme Education Council and, as a founding member, Qatar National Committee for Human Rights. He holds an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in the UK, and a B.Sc. degree in marine science and geology from Qatar University. He also received an honorary doctor of letters degree from Texas A&M University. He is married with three sons and two daughters.
Technological Breakthroughs and Challenges in High-Energy Physics
Presented by Dr. Othmane Bouhali, Texas A&M University at Qatar
9 April 2020
This presentation will introduce the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and its vast scientific and outreach program. It will introduce the Large Hadron Collider and its major achievements. The Qatar group has been involved in these activities in the past eight years. The presentation will summarize these research activities, including efforts of capacity building and technology transfer within Qatar.
Dr. Othmane Bouhali is a research professor and director of research computing at Texas A&M University at Qatar. Since 1994, he has been involved in the research program of the Large Hadron Collider Project (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear and Particle Physics (CERN). He was also a member of the fixed target experiment HERMES the Deutsches Electronen Synchrotron (DESY) and a member of the AMANDA/ICECUBE neutrino telescopes at the South Pole. His field of expertise includes: charged particle detectors, high energy and medical physics and high performance computing. He is the founder of the TAMUQ Advanced Scientific Computing (TASC) center. He is also affiliated with the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) in the computational Science and Engineering group. He is leading the High Energy Physics group in Qatar.
Road Design and Safety: Recent Developments and Future Directions
Presented by Dr. Eyad Masad, Texas A&M University at Qatar
2 April 2020
This presentation will give an overview to the public about the main factors that influence road safety. These factors include road design, driver behavior, vehicle condition and condition of infrastructure. The speaker will discuss the outcomes of research studies that were performed in Qatar to assess and improve road design and safety. The presentation will also cover expected changes in traffic characteristics, road design and technologies that would influence and hopefully improve road performance and safety.
Dr. Eyad Masad is a professor at Texas A&M at Qatar. He is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Masad teaches and conducts research in the areas of road design and development of innovative materials. He is the co-author of a book on pavement design and materials, which is adopted for teaching pavement courses in many universities around the world.