We were delighted to welcome Dr. Mahmoud Al-Batal to the Academy recently. Dr. Al-Batal heads up the Arabic Flagship Programme at the University of Texas and is the representative of Qatar Foundation International. He was the guest of honor at a recent meeting with the goal of evaluating recent efforts in Northern Ireland to introduce the Arabic language to the business sector, and exposing students to culture and art of the Middle East.
This project is a collaboration between the Qatar Foundation and the British Council. Belfast Royal Academy is a hub school for this venture, and representatives from Methodist College, one of QFI’s partner schools, were also in attendance. Dr. Al-Batal was delighted to meet Arabic teachers and pupils, and was impressed by the proficiency of the pupils who chose the language as an enrichment subject.
Noel Johnston of Invest NI was also present. Johnston is currently working with the schools to showcase business opportunities that exist in Arabic-speaking counties for students who are able to speak the language and understand the business culture. He will meet representatives from the Qatar Foundation in the next few days to present his findings. He stated that he was most impressed by what he saw and heard while here with us.