Monthly Talks

June Talk 

Date & Time: Wednesday, 7th,  talk starts at 7pm.
Title of the talk:  Plastic Oceans:  A Growing Ecological Threat  

Speaker: Dr. Jeff Obbard, Research Professor Environmental Science Center, Qatar University 
Synopsis of the talk:

About eight million metric tons of plastic waste now find their way into the world's oceans each year. This is equivalent to dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute! In this talk the sources, types and fate of plastic in our oceans is presented, as well as the impacts of plastic on ocean life. In the talk, the significance of a new emerging ecological threat to our oceans known as ‘microplastic’ is highlighted, and the first data on microplastics in Qatar’s coastal waters will be shown.
Speaker Biography

 Dr. Obbard is a Research Professor and the former Director of the Environmental Science Center (ESC) at Qatar University. An ecologist by training, he was previously the Research Director at the Tropical Marine Science Institute, and the Director of the Sustainable Development & Water Alliance at the National University of Singapore. He held a joint academic appointment with the Agency for Science, Technology & Research in Singapore as a Principal Scientist, and was the Vice-President for Science & Technology at a renewable energy company based in Hawaii for Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum. In the 1990’s Jeff has worked as a consultant ecologist and environmental scientist for the British company SKM enviros, and was based in Hong Kong. In 2012, he served as an Expert Reviewer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and in 2005 won the United Nations Mondialogo Engineering Award for his work on the UN Millennium Sustainable Development Goals. He was recognized as a Top 100 ‘Global Sustainability Leader’ in 2014. Currently he serves on the Qatar National Research Foundation’s Science Committee on Energy and the Environment. His spiritual home is the island of Anglesey in North Wales – the ancient island of druids surrounded by the sea.

Speaker Biography
Dr. Obbard requests that you collect and bring along the (cleaned) plastic waste generated by you and your family over a 2 day-period to the talk for illustration purposes.



May Talk 

Date & Time: Wednesday, 3rd  
Title of the talk:  Weather and Climate of Qatar  

Speaker: Richard Angwin, Broadcast meteorologist with Al Jazeera English TV
Synopsis of the talk:

As this last winter has shown, there is a surprising variety of weather in Qatar. This talk will explain why our weather is usually hot and sunny, and why, sometimes, it is not!
Speaker Biography

 Richard began his career with the UK Met Office in 1979.  He became a weather forecaster in 1990 and spent almost a decade providing weather services for a range of clients before working with the BBC as a weather presenter in Bristol. He joined Al Jazeera in 2011 and provides weather forecasts for a global TV audience.



April Talk 

Date & Time: Wednesday, the 5th  
Title of the talk: To green or not to green urban cities in Qatar? A panel discussion on the sustainability aspects of turning urban areas in hot, arid climates into green oases. 

Moderator: Dr. Alex Amato, Head of Sustainability, Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC)

  • Dr. Cynthia Skelhorn, Research Specialist Sustainability, QGBC
  • Ms. Sara Abdul Majid, Research Specialist Ecology, Weil Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) / Consultant, Richer Environments
  • Mr. Tony Russell, Landscape Architect, Director of Russell Associates Design
  • Dr. Aspa D. Chatziefthimiou, Research Scientist Ecology, WCM-Q and ExxonMobil Research – Qatar / Consultant, Richer Environments
Synopsis of the talk:

As research data are accumulating on the vital benefits that urban ecology contributes to human health and the implementation of the Master Urban Plan for Doha approaches, lively discussions are taking place on the future of urban ecology in Doha and other urban areas of Qatar. What should urban landscapes look like and how can they be designed sustainably? Our panel team of experts in the fields of sustainability, ecology, landscape architecture and urban planning will present the overarching idea of ecology in cities and how it can be designed to incorporate plants which are adapted to arid climates, support a rich diversity of wildlife, and have a strong cultural significance.  A brief presentation will be followed by an extended Q&A session.
Panellist & Moderator Biographies

Dr. Alexander Amato:  has over 40 years’ experience in the architectural design and construction industry.  He has worked in both the private and public sectors in the UK, SE Asia and now in the Middle East.  Since gaining his PhD at Oxford Brookes University 20 years ago, he has sought to resolve the perplexing problem of integrating sustainability into the built environment. In Qatar, he spent the first three years providing sustainable consultancy within Davis Langdon but for the last four years he has held the position of Head of Sustainability at QGBC, part of Qatar Foundation.

Dr. Cynthia Skelhorn:  is a Research Specialist with QGBC. She completed her PhD through University of Manchester, UK, investigating the changes in building energy consumption that may result from urban greening initiatives. Her overall research interests include GIS analysis and modeling of urban areas, building energy modeling, and investigating the energy and microclimate exchanges between landscape and the built environment. Most recently, she has been working on a QNRF-funded project with Qatar University, analyzing data on the Urban Heat Island of Doha, including a GIS analysis of heat factors in Salwa Road and Al Rayyan Road corridors, and performing microclimate modeling on several case study sites.
Ms. Sara Abdul Majid:  is an environmental scientist with experience in ecological surveys, lab analysis and environmental impacts assessments. She holds an MSc in Conservation from University College London, UK. Sara currently works at WCM-Q on a National Research Fund project exploring the ecology and microbiome of Qatar’s Barchan sand dunes. Born and raised in Qatar, Sara is passionate about conserving the Qatari natural environment and heritage, through her ecological consultancy Richer Environments. She is co-author of “An Illustrated Checklist of the Flora of Qatar” (2009).
Mr. Tony Russel:  Is the Director of RAD, a SME landscape design office in Doha in business since 2010. He has 26 years’ experience in landscape on major design projects in the Middle East and Australia. Major project work in Qatar includes design management of the HIA airport landscape and landscape design for the Katara “Hills”. Tony also supervised the landscape construction phase of a major infrastructure project which included the planting of 90,000+ trees. Tony’s sustainable design interest in Qatar is supporting implementation of low water use, salt tolerant plant types from the local Qatar and MENA region species palate that are suitable for urban landscapes in arid regions. 
Dr. Aspa D. Chatziefthimiou: Received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University, USA, and is a certified Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America. At WCM-Q she investigates how cyanobacterial toxins impact air and water quality, and human health. Dr. Chatziefthimiou is very active in the field of sustainability and urban ecology in hot arid climates, collaborating with professional at QGBC, EMR-Q, and MetaSUB. In 2015, she co-founded the Ecological Consultancy Richer Environments.




March Talk

Date & Time:  Wednesday, 15th of March 2017, 7pm

SpeakerDr. James Reardon-Anderson
Title and current work affiliation: Dean, Georgetown University in Qatar 
Title of Presentation: Geography of the Middle East

Talk Venue:  Georgetown University, Qatar - Location Map
Synopsis of talk
The impact of physical geography on the history and politics of the Middle East  

Speaker's  Biography
James Reardon-Anderson is Sun Yat-sen Professor of Chinese Studies and Dean of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (GUQ).  He formerly served as Interim Dean of the School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC (2014-2016), and as Dean of GUQ (2005-09), and has taught at the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  He is the author of five books on China, covering foreign policy, the environment, and history, and is awaiting publication in 2017 of a new book on China and the Middle East.
Talk Pictures
Dr Aspasia Introducing the Speaker 
Speaker  James Reardon-Anderson
Talk Amphitheatre   
James Reardon-Anderson receiving QNHG present from Aspasia 


Date & Time:  Wednesday, 1st of March 2017, 7pm

SpeakerFatma Saleh Al-Khulaifi
Title and current work affiliation: Project Manager, Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG)
Title of Presentation: The Qur’anic Botanic Garden

Talk Venue:  Doha English Speaking School - DESS
Synopsis of talk
Types of gardens and the Qur’anic Botanic Garden concept and objective  

Speaker's  Biography
B.Sc. Biology/Chemistry, Education College – Qatar University
Professional MBA, Missouri University – USA
Education field – 6 years
Private business – 4 years
Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG) – present
Additional Information
Articles in newspapers
Speaker in some local & international universities
Speaker receiving present from David Yates QNHG Chairman



February Talk 


Date & Time:  Wednesday, 1st of February 2017, 7pm

Speaker: Dr Christopher Warren, Environmental Research Lead, ExxonMobil Research Qatar
Title of Presentation: Dugong research in Qatar

Talk Venue:  Doha English Speaking School - Map

Synopsis of talk
Present ongoing research and conservation efforts related to the Qatari dugong population. 

Speaker's Biography: Working in Qatar for past two years on environmental and water reuse research.  Previously worked project development and research for ExxonMobil in the USA.  Born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, receiving PhD from Trent University in Ontario, Canada.

January Talk 

Date & Time:  Wednesday, 11th of Januaryr 2017, 7pm

Speaker: Dr. Mats Troedsson
Title and Current Work Affiliation: Consultant Director of Al Shaqab Equine Veterinary Medical Center
- Professor at the University of Kentucky, MHG Equine Research Center
Title of Presentation: The Arabian Horse
Talk Venue:  Multipurpose hall, Al Shaqab Main Arena Building- Map
Meeting Place: Meeting place is the Shaqab main car park, accessed from Gate 7 or Gate 8 on Al Shaqab St. 
Synopsis of talk
The talk will cover the history of the Arabian horse, its importance in the history of Qatar, and current strategies for horse breeding and equine welfare at Al Shaqab.
Speaker's Biography
Dr Mats H.T. Troedsson, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, ECAR is Consulting Director at Al Shaqab’s Equine Veterinary Medical Center, Qatar. Qualified at the Royal Veterinary College, Stockholm, he has a PhD in Reproductive Immunology from UC Davis and 40 years of experience in Equine Veterinary care and Academia, most recently as Director of the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center. Dr Troedsson is one of the world’s leading experts on Equine genetics and reproduction. 


December Talk 

Date & Time:  Wednesday, 7th of December 2016, 7pm

Speaker: Dr. Aspa D. Chatziefthimiou
Title and Current Work Affiliation: Research Scientist / Weill Cornell Medicine and Exxon Mobil Research, Ecological Consultant / Richer Environments
Title of Presentation: “Giving voice to microbes, plants and animals to understand life in the desert”
Talk Venue:  Doha English Speaking School - DESS
Synopsis of talk
The hot arid desert is a spectacular scenery of extremes where diverse organisms struggle constantly for survival. During her talk, Dr. Chatziefthimiou will take us on a virtual tour of the Qatari ecosystems and the environmental extremes that define them. She will also give voice to the organisms that inhabit them recounting ecological tales of physiological and behavioral adaptations. Please note that this is an interactive presentation and kids’ participation is highly welcomed and encouraged.
Speaker's Biography
Dr. Chatziefthimiou is an ecologist and her work centers in extreme environments from the Deep Sea Hydrothermal Vents of the East Pacific, which she visited on board the Deep Submersible Vehicle Alvin, to the desert of Qatar. She received her PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University, USA, and currently is a Visiting Research Scientist at Weill Cornell Medicine investigating how cyanobacterial toxins impact air and water quality, and human health. She is an Ecological Consultant at Richer Environments contributing to Environmental Impact Assessment reports and a Research Scientist at Exxon Mobil using microbes to treat waste water. Dr. Chatziefthimiou is very active in the field of sustainability and urban ecology as a Scientific Advisor at QGBC and a Principal Investigator for MetaSUB, devising strategies to attract “healthy” microbiomes in the built environment. Dr. Chatziefthimiou is a passionate educator and organizes a myriad of outreach activities to expose the general public to the beauty of nature.  




November Talk

Date: Wednesday 2sd November 2016 Time: 7pm

Speaker: Hani Dalee
Title and Current Work Affiliation: Astronomy Research Associate / Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)
Title of Presentation: “Earth in the Sky”
Talk Venue:  DESS
Synopsis of talk
The lecturer will take us into a journey through the universe; its building block the galaxies, stars and Nebula. We will then show the other objects appear in the night sky like the Moon, the planets, the comets, the day and night and explain some astronomical phenomena.
Speaker's Biography

Hani Dalee is an Astronomer holding a Master Degree in Astrophysics from Jordan. He was one of the founding members of both The Jordanian Astronomical Society and the Arab Union for Astronomy & Space Science. He moved to Doha to supervise the program called “Fascination Astronomy” run by QEERI at HBKU, in which he is training the students of the Qatari Team for the International Olympiad on Astronomy & Astrophysics taking place in India in December 2016. He visits schools for outreach and he, with his team, organizes the 2nd edition of the Qatar National Astronomy Olympiad, a competition devoted for the schools.


October Talk

Date: Wednesday 5th October 2016 Time: 7pm

Speaker: Robert Carter
Title and Current Work Affiliation: Professor of Arabian and Middle Eastern Archaeology, UCL Qatar
Title of Presentation: Fuwairit and the Former Capitals of Qatar
Talk Venue:  DESS
Synopsis of talk
Professor Carter will talk about the history and archaeology of the site of Fuwairit. Although better known as a picturesque beach and turtle sanctuary, Fuwairit hosts an extensive archaeological site, which was formerly a coastal pearl-fishing town. Along with Huwaila, Zubara and Doha, Fuwairit can lay claim to having been one of Qatar’s major historical urban centres, and in the mid 19th century was the leading town of the peninsula prior to the emergence of Doha (then Bida’) as the capital of the country. The historical records indicate that there were repeated occupations, abandonments and re-occupations of the town during the 19th century, and this is backed up by preliminary archaeological work. Test excavations were conducted by UCL Qatar early in 2016 provide a glimpse into the sequence and nature of occupation, while early aerial imagery from the mid 20th century reveals the final stages of the abandoned town as it collapsed into the archaeological record.

Short biography
Robert Carter is Professor of Arabian and Middle Eastern Archaeology at UCL Qatar, where he coordinates and teaches the Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World MA. His main research concerns the origins of the Gulf towns, and his chief research project is the Origins of Doha and Qatar, a multidisciplinary project that combines archaeology, historical research, GIS, architectural studies and oral histories to explore the development of Doha and Qatar. Professor Carter holds a PhD in Bronze Age Eastern Arabia and an MA from the UCL Institute of Archaeology, London. Since 1993 he has conducted fieldwork, artefact studies and consultancy in many parts of the Gulf, including Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Iraq and Iran