Six journalism students from the universities of Canberra and Adelaide in Australia have wrapped up a very successful week-long visit to Qatar.
The students were here as part of the Australia-Middle East Journalism Exchange (AMEJE) programme of study tours which aims to enhance cross-cultural understanding between Australian and the Arab world by fostering better informed journalism.
While in Doha, the tour group visited the Al Jazeera Media Network and numerous cultural institutions. The students also met with Australia’s Ambassador to Qatar, Dr Axel Wabenhorst, and representatives from the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In between tour activities, the students worked with a diverse range of local residents to gain deeper insights about life in Qatar.
On Wednesday, the group accepted an invitation to take part in an early morning photo walk around Souq Waqif with local photographers. University of Adelaide student Dale Anninos-Carter relished the opportunity to collaborate with fellow photography enthusiasts. “The photo walk was an especially interesting way to explore traditional Doha, all while taking advantage of the magic morning light,” Anninos-Carter said.
“Having locals guide us through the quiet alleyways before the shops opened gave us the opportunity to get creative without the worry of being in the way of the crowds.”
Earlier in the week, University of Canberra student Gabrielle Kneipp joined a team of dragon boat racers for a training session and found the experience to be uplifting.
“We’re here in the Middle East to experience cultures first-hand and it was really exciting to go down to Katara beach and meet people from different communities and of many nationalities,” Kneipp said. “In that boat we had to work together and it was a great way to get to know each other. It was a perfect example of cultures coming together.”
This was the fourth time that AMEJE has brought students to Qatar on study tour and the organisation’s Managing Director, Dr Scott Bridges, says the links between Australia and Qatar are only growing stronger.
“Each year our delegates are overwhelmed by the hospitality shown to us by Qatar and its people,” Dr Bridges said. “The students leave Doha having made new friends and with a deeper understanding of new cultures. Such experiences, paired with our parallel academic programme, prepare these future journalists to better report on and represent diversity to their home audiences.”
The 2018 AMEJE study tour was generously supported by the Australian government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Council for Australian-Arab Relations. It was also supported by the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Australia and Qatar Airways.