Qatar looks to Oregon

| Print |  Email
Articles - July 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The crew that arrived from Oregon in May 2010 was an unusual sight to the Qataris. Used to hyper-aggressive business delegations pushing for reduced  tariffs or academic wonks a bit detached from reality, the Qataris were impressed by the collaborative nature of the hybrid group.

“They are interested in building private-public partnerships,” says David Kenney, executive director of Oregon BEST, the private-public research institution that helps fast-track research projects of Oregon’s universities to the commercial stage. “They don’t have their own expertise, though. They can afford to hire whomever they want to build their buildings. They will hire whomever they think is the best in the world.” Kenney says that is good news for Oregon when the subject is green building because “Oregon has some of the best resources in the world.”

Over the course of the week, the Oregon delegation visited farms in the Qatar desert. They toured the sights of Doha, including Education City, a massive conglomeration of buildings that houses Qatar University as well as programs from Texas A&M, MIT and Carnegie Mellon. PSU could be added to their ranks in the future. “During the trip in May,” says PSU’s Kaiser, “the vice president of academic affairs of Qatar University told me ‘Here’s what I need from you, Marvin. Would you help us develop our sustainability program?’” PSU will submit a proposal this fall to Qatar University that it fund a sustainable urbanism program in that country for three years at a cost of about $2 million. A decision is expected next summer.

Last November, Fahad Al-Attiya came to see for himself what Oregon had to offer and signed a memorandum of understanding with Kulongoski that declared Oregon and Qatar’s intent to work together on agricultural and sustainability issues. It signaled the next chapter of Oregon’s decades-long relationship with Qatar. In April, Qatar and the U.S. also signed an MOU on enhancing global food security.

Another example of future plans is the collaboration around the Oregon Sustainability Center. Kaiser and Pawlowski have approached through intermediaries Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who oversees the educational Qatar Foundation, to help fund the center and construct a similar one in Doha that could serve as a bridge between Portland and Doha. “Imagine a place where young Qatari and Oregonian women can meet without leaving home,” says Pawlowski, referring to the proposed state-of-the-art video conference room in the center. “They can sit at a table and talk to each other.”

And Oregon State University dean of engineering Ronald Adams has been working with OSU researchers and Eastern Oregon’s agriculture players to develop a pilot farm to be developed in Qatar. OSU researcher Chadi Sayde impressed Al-Thani with his research involving the use of fiber optics for monitoring moisture levels in soil. Echo-based Madison Farms already has experimented with the fiber optics system and is working with OSU on other technologies to be integrated into the pilot farm project. The proposal has been made to the Qatar food security program and awaits approval and funding.

In a future that will be defined by access to technology and food, Qatar hopes to leverage its partnerships with Oregon to help secure the stability of not only its future, but that of its region.

“We want boots on the ground, evidence of experience. Oregon has the natural infrastructure for research,” says David Raboy, chief economist with the Qatar National Food Security Program.

“It is a country with a lot of resources,” says Kaiser. “It’s a country of aspirations, but also of needs. They’re looking for strong partners that can help meet those needs.”



 

Comments   

 
thinking about Oregon
0 #1 Oregon's Not A Pawn Shopthinking about Oregon 2011-06-27 00:48:24
Why so cheap to fund their program for only 2 Million for 3 years? That is a long time for such few dollars when Qatar is so rich with money.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...

Intrepid reporter checks out ZoomCare rebrand

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
dentistthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes. 


Read more...

Knight Cancer Challenge No Biotech Dream

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The Knight challenge is an important instance of philanthropy. But we should not assume it will magically transform OHSU into a business- and job-spinning engine for the local economy.


Read more...

Man for All Seasons

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

A longtime technologist and entrepreneur, Dwayne Johnson, 53, is managing partner of PDXO/GlobeThree Ventures, a strategy and business consultancy in Portland.


Read more...

Short Shrift:The threat of just-in-time scheduling

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Companies can benefit when they use software to meet staffing requirements and address employees' family and life commitments.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS