Serving a Vision
The Convocation 2015 ceremony for the graduates of Qatar Foundation (QF) coincides with the organization’s celebration of its 20th anniversary. QF was born out of a vision His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Father Amir of Qatar, had and shared with Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson, QF.
They both put together a plan for the country’s development that gives Qatari citizens opportunities in education, science and research, and community development on a much larger scale than ever before. They began to turn this dream into a reality in 1995 with the creation of QF.
Over the last 20 years, QF has established a number of centers, initiatives, and joint ventures across its core areas of education, science and research, and community development. Today, there are more than 50 entities working together to support the Qatar National Vision 2030 of transforming the nation from a hydrocarbon to a knowledge-based economy.
The unique model of QF is based on a cycle of education and research, starting with providing the best educational programs to students at all levels as well as promoting a culture of research from a young age, so that the young men and women can become the researchers and innovators of the future.
Education And Research For A Prosperous Community
Education is the first pillar in Qatar’s journey towards becoming a knowledge-based economy. It is one of the key investments any country takes in order to enable its people and their future. In less than two decades, QF has been able to build a comprehensive learning environment, providing world-class opportunities for education and innovation in research and development.
QF’s science and research efforts are fully aligned with the five research priority areas determined by the Qatar National Research Strategy launched in 2012. The aim of the Strategy is to transform Qatar into a leading center for research and development excellence and innovation, and includes Energy and the Environment; Computing and Information Technology; Health; and Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities; as well as Research and Development.
The three major research institutes of QF, along with the related initiatives, focus on Energy and the Environment, Biomedical Research, and Computing. They all aim to improve the health and well-being of Qatar’s population, support the nation’s unique culture, and enhance the natural and urban environment. They also strive to give priority to developing local scientific talent and enable graduates to work side-by-side with the most prominent minds in the scientific world.
Class of 2015: The Largest In QF’s History
In total, Education City currently brings together 6,000 students in its various academies and universities under the umbrella of QF, from 90 different nationalities.
This year, 672 students graduated from QF’s universities. The result of the complete education cycle provided by QF, the young men and women were honored in a convocation ceremony on 5 May 2015, which was attended by a number of top dignitaries and the graduates’ families.
The celebration is the culmination of QF’s efforts in supporting the national economy, and empowering young people with the highest levels of education in order to serve the country and play their role in its journey of development and prosperity and realizing the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030.
The graduates of 2015 join 2,500 promising alumni who have graduated from Education City over the last few years, and, equipped with the best education and skills, will aim to play their role in the development of Qatar. These graduates are a powerful addition to the country’s workforce in both the public and private sectors, with specializations in education and research, oil and gas, communications, marketing, engineering, and finance.
QF’s Education City is home to Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), which was created to continue fulfilling QF’s objective of unlocking human potential. It provides a unique interdisciplinary educational model in various specializations serving Qatar through Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), which offers leading Master degrees in Islamic studies; Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII), which provides programs in translation, interpreting, and foreign languages; and its Executive Master in Energy and Resources.
HBKU also offers opportunities of scientific research for all of its students through collaborations with its current and future partners in order to provide a group of excellent educational programs aligned with the country’s current and future needs and challenges.
In addition to HBKU, Education City houses eight world-class partner universities, offering local youth degrees in medicine, engineering, journalism, arts and humanities, as well as higher education studies in business administration and heritage preservation.
Honored Graduates Of 2015 Express Happiness And Pride
Shaikha Rashid Al Naimi studied at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), a member of QF, where she graduated with a degree in Communication. Commenting on the strength of the university, Al Naimi said: “The strength of NU-Q was through the program. The curriculum was varied, and changed every semester. I’m proud of the quality of education I received, and I am proud of being a part of Northwestern. All of my classes were amazing; I continued to learn each and every day.”
“Graduation isn’t just about the degree; it’s about evolving as humans every day as we are shaped by the environment and the events around us. Spending four years in Education City has changed me drastically as I’ve experienced interacting within a diverse community,” she added, commenting on the effect QF has had on her personally.
“I can’t even begin to describe the moment when I will graduate. I am happy, but I will probably cry; I am sad to be ending my journey at Qatar Foundation. It has helped me unlock my potential and it’s amazing to be part of it. Only great teachers and a university would inspire a love of learning in its students, so I don’t want my journey to stop here. I don’t feel that I’ve accomplished everything, so even though I’m graduating, I want to do more,” she concluded.
As for Youssef Al Jaber, he is among one of the first batch of graduates from the Executive Master’s program in Energy and Resources at HBKU, which consisted of 28 students who all graduated successfully.
Youssef commented: “If I was asked to name one project that warranted Qatar’s investment to realize its National Vision 2030, I would not hesitate to answer: Qatar Foundation”.
Alumni Fulfilling Their Ambitions To Serve Their Country
The graduates of 2015 will join thousands of alumni who have left Education City to make their dreams and aspirations come true. Deema Al Thani graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar), a member of QF, in 2007 with a degree in fashion design and merchandising. “I had been interested in the arts from a young age,” she stated. “I originally wanted to travel abroad to study in an arts college, but I thought it was a good opportunity to study at VCUQatar because it is such a strong university, plus it was one of the first universities to open at QF.”
Al Thani went on to discuss the benefits of attending the university. “Back then, a very limited amount of people was accepted. So I think the strengths were that the professors were able to focus on each individual,” she said. “If you think about it, in massive art universities, professors are not able to do that. I also think another strength of the university is that they let us explore Doha on our own, for our own research.”
She added: “VCUQatar taught me to think about options. It helped me to become wiser in making decisions, and to spend more time brainstorming. It gave me a lot of strength in public speaking, in meetings, conferences, and presentations. It taught me how to communicate with different people from all over the world and different cultures. It widened my mentality and vision towards different people from different cultures.”
Noora Al Shahwani graduated from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q), a member of QF, in 2011 and currently works at Hamad Hospital as a trainee Pediatric Surgeon.
“University was the first mixed environment I experienced,” she said. “It really brought me out of my shell because I was quite shy before I joined. The social aspect of our work in college was great as there were people from all over the world in my class with very different backgrounds. This really helped me relax with other people.”
Al Shahwani pointed out that QF’s partner universities such as WCMC-Q provide the world’s highest levels of education in Qatar. “I chose WCMC-Q because I have always wanted to be a doctor ever since I was little girl,” she said. “I was going to travel abroad to study medicine, but WCMC-Q opened its doors in Qatar during my last year in high school. I joined because it was a well-known university. During my clinical training, I went through many departments, including pediatric surgery, which I liked because I wanted to be a surgeon and I love working with children and their families. After trying it out for a month, I decided that it was the field I wanted to work in.”
The young doctor is currently undergoing a six-year training program for pediatric surgery. “The training includes practice and theory and I am a member of a complete team of specialists, consultants and trainees,” she said. “Our responsibilities are gradually increasing at the moment. I am now a resident doctor in my fourth year, working in outpatient clinics and assisting in many operations as a trainee and as a resident doctor.”
“I am very fortunate to be Qatari. There are many people who wish to get the free education that I got and more. QF has given me the best possible education.
“When I complete my training and become a consultant, I will give back to my country through medicine and education,” she concluded.