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Alyaa Al-Mannai

By all accounts, the close of 2019 through the first half of 2020, was an anxious, difficult, and, in many ways, tragic time. But if your field is emergency management and you were spending that period in a high-level, globally-based training program, it was an instructive time as well.

“Once we started, a lot of crises and disasters happened, starting with the Amazon fires, then the Australian fires, and California fires—and we finished the program with COVID-19,” said Alyaa Al-Mannai, of Qatar, who graduated from Georgetown’s International Executive Master’s in Emergency & Disaster Management program in 2020 and won the program’s Community Engagement Award. “We could work and learn theoretically and, at the same time, look at what was going on in the world and apply our perspective.”

The program took her to Paris, France, where her class spoke with officials from Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization; to Washington, D.C.; and to Oman, where the students learned from officials who responded to recent hurricanes and floods.

Al-Mannai wrote her Capstone on preparing for potential refugee challenges in Qatar, developing a framework that can be used in Qatar and other countries.

As head of the Education and Training Division for the office of the Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Defense Affairs, Al-Mannai develops emergency and disaster training programs for young men, who are required to do one year of service in the military after turning 18. Her office is also dealing with the implications of the pandemic, an ongoing blockade by several neighboring countries, and security preparations for Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

She said Georgetown’s International Executive Master’s in Emergency & Disaster Management “is an amazing program that helped us understand different perspectives and different opinions from experts around the world.”