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LU students to attend all-expenses paid trip to Doha Forum in Qatar

Two Lamar University Qatar Harvey LU Strong Scholars have won an all-expenses-paid trip to Qatar. David
Doha Forum
Nichole Kyles-Burton and David Adams
Adams, a senior undergraduate accounting major, and Nicole Kyles-Burton, a recent MBA graduate, are traveling to Doha, Qatar Dec. 12-19, to attend the annual Doha Forum, an international conference for global dialogue on critical challenges facing the world.

Lamar University’s delegates are joining students from four other universities - Lone Star College, Houston Community College, Texas A&M University and the University of Houston System - that participated in the Rebuild Texas Fund and Qatar Harvey Fund scholarships. The 10 students will experience the culture and natural beauty of Qatar through tours and activities, with the trip culminating on Qatar National Day, Dec. 18, one of the most festive days of celebration in Doha.

All students impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey who received funding from the Rebuild Texas Fund and Qatar Harvey Fund Scholarship were invited to apply for the trip. Students were selected for their academic standing, interest in international affairs and cross-cultural knowledge and were also required to pass security clearances in order to attend the Doha Forum.

“The trip revolves around the forum, but we’ll go to the U.S. embassy; Al Jazeera; education city, where there are six universities and take a ride out in the desert on dune buggies,” said Adams, who became a Qatar Harvey LU Strong Scholar when he lost all of his personal belongings in Tropical Storm Harvey. “We’re going to even meet the World Cup Committee, because they are planning the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.”

When Adams returns from the trip, he’ll be starting an internship in January with BDO USA, an international accounting firm. There, he’ll learn to audit oil and gas companies. He is interested in the energy sector and plans to pursue a career doing accounting work for a global energy firm. He is also a member of the board of directors for Junior Achievement, which helps teach children life lessons such as managing budgets, paying bills and paying taxes.

“I see this trip as a business trip, with high level dignitaries,” said Adams. “We have to keep our identification with us at all times for security purposes.”

Kyles-Burton, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and will pursue a Ph.D. in higher education and cultural studies in the fall, has performed research in China and Taiwan at National Cheng Kung University and attended VIP international business seminars in Costa Rica and Panama with the CEO of the Panama Canal. Like Adams, Kyles-Burton lost all of her belongings including her car in Tropical Storm Harvey.  

“I’ve traveled a lot but never thought I’d be amongst people like this. We’re going to be amongst hundreds of people who are coming together to try and make a difference on an international level to make the world a better place,” said Kyles-Burton, who will be missing commencement in order to go on the trip. “It’s going to be amazing.”

In addition to the fully-paid trip for the ten students, the Qatar Harvey Fund has granted $30 million from the State of Qatar for the long-term recovery of southeast Texas. The funding is granted through a partnership between the Qatar Harvey Fund and the Rebuild Texas Fund. The Rebuild Texas Fund, a collaborative project of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation, was created to support the rebuilding of Texas communities hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. Across all the college systems, approximately 1,757 students are expected to receive scholarships from the grants.

“We have heard so much about the negative ripple effect of Hurricane Harvey on the communities of southeast Texas. The damage goes far beyond physical damage and people are still recovering from the enormous financial burden that caused so many to stop or delay their education in order to meet urgent needs,” said His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S. “We are honored to work with the Rebuild Texas Fund on what we hope will serve as a multiplier effect, a balance against the life-upending impact of Harvey, and allow these students to achieve in their academic studies and beyond.”

Kyles-Burton, who had made three car payments on a new vehicle to replace one lost in Harvey when Imelda hit, says she is grateful for Qatar’s generosity.

“They’ve (Qatar Harvey Fund) already done so much,” said Kyles-Burton. “After being devastated twice, I’m honored and humbled by their giving attitude and that they would want to give more. I really couldn’t believe it but it’s why on graduation day I’ll be in Qatar wearing my cap and gown and take a picture on a camel.”