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Qatar

The “Crazy College of Qatar”

As you may know, Houston Community College opened a satellite campus in Doha, Qatar, a couple of years ago. Apparently there have been a few bumps in the road along the way.

HCC Qatar West Bay Campus

The dean chosen by the Qatari government was replaced in November by a veteran HCC employee, Butch Herrod, as part of an administrative overhaul. Enrollment has reached 750 students, less than two years after HCC signed an agreement with the Qatari government to create that nation’s first community college.

But students have not received HCC credits for their classes there – a cornerstone of the promises made when the partnership was announced – and for now it appears unlikely their coursework will transfer to the six U.S. universities with operations in Qatar. After months of student protests, a deal signed last month will allow graduates of the new community college to enroll in Qatar University.

Things were so bad last spring an HCC administrator in Qatar wrote HCC Chancellor Mary Spangler that Community College of Qatar, or CCQ, had become known as “the Crazy College of Qatar.”

From the beginning, Spangler said the Qatar contract was a way to earn money as state funding dropped and property tax revenues remained flat. HCC records indicate the college has collected $640,034 from the deal; it projects a profit of $4.6 million by 2015, slightly more than expected.

Deputy Chancellor Art Tyler said in a recent interview that things now are running smoothly, and that misunderstandings are unavoidable in any international operation.

“The world is not exactly flat,” he said. “It may have gotten smaller over the years, thanks to technology, but when you’re dealing with people, with communities, you can’t know everything.”

There’s more here. I included that bit about the profit HCC expects to make from this deal because I’m sure you’re wondering why they would open a campus overseas like that. I know I discussed it in my interview with new Trustee Carroll Robinson. Anyway, my take on this is that part of the problem was the usual growing pains with any new operation, part was the dean that has since been replaced, and part was attributable to cultural differences. If they can get the issue of being able to transfer credits resolved, then this venture can be judged a success. If not, it’s a failure and there will be some embarrassing questions to answer.

No World Cup for you!

Bummer.

In a mild upset, tiny but oil-rich Qatar was awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup only a few minutes after Russia was awarded the 2018 bid in a process that was decided by a vote of FIFA’s 22-member executive committee today in Zurich.

[…]

The Go Houston Bid Committee held a private viewing breakfast at the George R. Brown so top city and county leaders could watch the announcement’s broadcast together with some of Houston’s top soccer officials and backers.

“There’s 17 other U.S. cities that are as disappointed as we are,” said Robert Dale Morgan of the Houston Bid Committee. “I think the U.S. bid committee did an outstanding job. Whenever you bid on something of this magnitude you know the competition is going to be stiff.”

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and District I councilman James Rodriguez, two supporters of the city and county’s decision to help the Dynamo build their new stadium on the East End, attended the viewing party.

Both were visibly dejected.

“I’m disappointed that the U.S. will not host the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” Rodriguez said. “Our country would have put on an amazing World Cup. Many thanks to our local World Cup Bid Committee for all of their efforts.”

Emmett, whose children played soccer growing up, vows to continue to help further soccer’s growth in Harris County.

“It’s a major disappointment because I thought the U.S. bid was very strong,” Emmett said. “And locally it would have really benefited us a great deal. The soccer community is ready for it. By 2022, just think about that, that’s 12 years from now and how much more soccer we would have going on in this community. Now I think all we can do is accept the decision, take the energy that we have for soccer here locally and channel it.”

Qatar is apparently going to spend a ton of money on stadia and infrastructure, including solar-powered air conditioners to battle the 120 degree summer heat. I wish them the best of luck. In the meantime, it may be awhile before the US gets another shot at this.

China is already tabbed as the front-runner to host in 2026, and the tournament would be expected back in Europe for 2030. There is no timeline for those decisions.

That’s a little too far into the future for me. Anyone know where the post-2011 Women’s World Cup events will be? I couldn’t find an answer via Google.