On August 2, 2022, the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) held an open house for GU-Q students, faculty, and staff to learn more about CIRS, the CIRS Undergraduate Research Advancement (CURA) program, and how they can be involved in the Center’s work. Over 25 attendees met CIRS staff members and listened to a presentation by Elizabeth Wanucha, CIRS Operations Manager.
In the presentation, Wanucha explained how CIRS conducts and organizes its research projects under three thematic clusters: Regional Studies, Environmental Studies, and Race & Society. She highlighted projects under each theme, particularly the largely web-based projects that have a lot of interactive content on the website such as the “Building a Legacy: Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022” project led by GU-Q Professor and CIRS Visiting Research Fellow Danyel Reiche; the “Energy Humanities” initiative led by GU-Q Professors Vicky Googasian, Trish Kahle, and Firat Oruc; and the “Cinematic Afterlives: Film and Memory in the Black Atlantic” project led by GU-Q Professor Trish Kahle.
Aside from the web-based projects with engaging online content, Wanucha also highlighted the over 40 academic publications CIRS has produced since 2005, which are available in the GU-Q Library and bookstore, and the many online publications available to download for free on the CIRS website.
Wanucha presented the core components of the CURA program that are open to all undergraduate students: research presentations, research skills workshops, and the Beyond the Headlines series. Students can have the opportunity to present their research findings from an honor’s or certificate theses, UREP project, or other substantial research project they have undertaken. Maram Al-Qershi, CIRS Coordinator, is responsible for organizing the CURA research presentations and students should approach her with any queries or proposals. The research presentations take place as a lunch talk open to internal and external audiences. Through this experience students learn and practice the important skill of presenting their research clearly and succinctly, and fielding questions about their work.
In CURA research skills workshops, students get hands-on experience with a foundational research skill. The workshops are led by faculty experts, and students work with their peers to apply the concepts presented in the workshop. Wanucha highlighted the upcoming two-part CURA Workshop, “Writing Women into Wikipedia: Information Creation and Peer Review” led by GU-Q Professor Phoebe Musandu and GU-Q Librarian Paschalia Terzi. CIRS plans to hold at least one research skills workshop per semester and they are open to students at all levels. Elizabeth Wanucha is responsible for the CURA research skills workshops, and interested students should be in touch with her on this series.
Finally, Wanucha spoke about the CURA Beyond the Headlines (BTH) series. This program offers students an informal space to discuss current news events with GU-Q faculty and their peers. In a BTH event, students consider a news story from different perspectives, and with more context than what may be provided in the media. Wanucha highlighted the upcoming CURA Beyond the Headlines on “The Global Economy after the Pandemic: Lessons from Sri Lanka,” featuring GU-Q Professor Firat Oruc as the moderator, and GU-Q Professors Emmanouil Chatzikonstantinou and Lamis Kattan as panelists, along with GU-Q class of 2023 student, Abdullah Nazeer. Misba Bhatti, CIRS Research Analyst, is responsible for the Beyond the Headlines series. Students should approach Bhatti to share any ideas for topics to organized a BTH event around, or to express interest in serving on a panel.
In summary, Wanucha explained the different ways students can engage with CIRS and the CURA program: they can attend public CIRS events, engage with CIRS website content, follow CIRS social media, propose a research presentation, attend a BTH event or suggest topics and serve on a panel, and attend research skills workshops.
Article by Elizabeth Wanucha, CIRS Operations Manager