May 8, 2007 saw the official opening of the University of Calgary-Qatar (UC-Q) campus, the then largest overseas program developed by a Canadian university. A gala evening event at the Diplomatic Club in Doha inaugurating UC-Q boasted a guest list that included Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, consort to the Emir, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, and a delegation of Alberta and U of C representatives. Videotaped messages from Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Calgary Mayor David Bronconnier and U of C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten were part of the celebrations.
The UC-Q branch campus initially offered a baccalaureate degree in nursing, with the intention of phasing in master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing, as well as specialty nursing programs, during the course of the 10-year agreement. The program is supported by the Qatari government as part of its Qatar National Vision 2030 campaign, which charts a course for the country that includes goals for both an educated and healthy population. Those goals include offering education and research programs that meet international quality standards, as well as creating a new nursing education and research facility that features the latest in academic programs and medical technology. Announcing the creation of UC-Q, University of Calgary President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Harvey Weingarten said, “The University of Calgary is excited to be playing a lead role in delivering world class health care in Qatar. It’s an opportunity to broaden our international exposure while assisting the Qatari government in its efforts to redefine health care in Qatar and the Gulf region.”
The program offered prospects for local personnel as well, said President Weingarten. “Calgary students and professors will also have an unprecedented opportunity to gain international experience teaching and learning overseas. They will bring new skills and insights to their health care practices when they return to Canada.”
In addition to the nursing school, UC-Q campus includes a Learning Commons, writing centre, bookstore, language resource centre, and student services centre which offers student advising, recruitment, admissions and recreational activities.