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May 11, 2012

International Focus Draws Campuses Closer

By Sarah Nightingale

More than 6,900 miles separate Pittsburgh from Doha. But the two campuses are much closer than you think.

Carnegie Mellon's international focus and emphasis on diversity has shrunken that gap and made others similarly insignificant.

Last month, 10 students from Doha traveled to Pittsburgh during mid-semester break as part of the university's IMPAQT (Initiating Meaningful Pittsburgh and Qatar Ties) program, founded in 2008. A week later, seven students from Pittsburgh followed them home by traveling to Doha for their own cultural experience.

For Amal Osman, a junior in business administration, this was her first visit to Pittsburgh. She said she was on a mission to "enrich student experiences on both campuses." She also visited Washington, D.C., and said traveling to the two U.S. cities shed some light on the diverse American landscape and helped her "realize how different the two cities are - in terms of people, urban design, lifestyle and much more."

Pittsburgh students had similar thinking.

William Mistiano, an international relations and politics major, became interested in visiting Doha upon hearing about IMPAQT during orientation. He applied to travel to Qatar, searching for a chance to see what life is like for his fellow students.

"Having gone to Qatar, I have realized how much of an amazing place it is, and how great it is that Qatar Foundation is putting resources into education, which will prove invaluable in the future," Mistiano said.

Pittsburgh students visited such sites as Al Jazeera's Studios and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, as well as participated in a Qatari cultural event, "Freej," which was put on by Carnegie Mellon's Qatar Student Association.

International Day

Carnegie Mellon Qatar recently celebrated its diverse student population, representing 39 different countries from around the world, at International Day in mid April. Performances included everything from bagpipes, to flamenco and traditional desi dance groups from the Indian subcontinent.

Jevika Shetty (TPR'13) said she is excited to be a part of the multicultural student body at Carnegie Mellon.

"Everyone is proud of their identity and is open to share it," Shetty said. "I thank the administration at Carnegie Mellon for providing us with the opportunity to get in touch with our roots and give a true representation of our culture and heritage."