CHICAGO
11/02/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Northwestern's Qatar Campus

On a vast, half-built campus rising from the desert sands of this Arab emirate, the Medill School of Journalism's newest freshman class is being schooled in basic journalistic principles such as asking questions and challenging authority.

It's a world away from the lush green environs of Northwestern University's Evanston campus, but the 17 students from 10 nations in the journalism program here are being taught the same courses as their stateside counterparts, by professors drawn from Evanston.

And when they conclude their degrees in four years, they will get certificates identical to those of their Evanston peers, with no mention that they completed studies in a desert 7,000 miles away.

Medill's new Qatar campus, which opened in August, puts Northwestern on the cutting edge of a lavishly bold experiment aimed at bringing top-flight U.S. education directly to the Arab world, funded by the vast influx of oil and gas wealth that has accompanied soaring energy prices in recent years.

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