His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), tonight attended QF’s annual Convocation ceremony, honoring the academic achievements of 786 new QF graduates.
His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO, Qatar Foundation, and His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of Qatar Olympic Committee, also attended the event in Education City's Ceremonial Court, alongside ministers and dignitaries, university deans, faculty, and family members.
The Class of 2019 now join QF’s growing global alumni network – which already has more than 5,000 members – having graduated in fields including medicine, engineering, art and design, computer science, law, communication, and Islamic studies. Tonight’s Convocation ceremony was an opportunity for graduates from QF’s nine universities to collectively look back on their time and accomplishments at Education City – and look to the future.
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind said: “For our Class of 2019 graduates, Convocation is many things: a personal and shared celebration, a source of pride, and a time to reflect on their achievements and experiences at Education City. It is a culmination – but it is also a beginning.
“At Convocation, the talented, dedicated, and ambitious young people that Qatar Foundation is proud to have called our students step out of one phase of their lives and into the next. A future that holds challenges and possibilities awaits them, but wherever their path leads, they will travel it empowered by the knowledge that they are as well-equipped to create, innovate, contribute, and thrive as any set of graduates in the world.
“Every member of our Class of 2019 has recognized and maximized the unique educational opportunity that Qatar Foundation provides. Their academic excellence has been matched by their growth as knowledge-seekers, critical thinkers, and active citizens who are determined to be drivers of positive change. As embodiments of QF’s belief in what quality education stands for, and what it makes possible, they will always be part of our story – and we will watch with pride as they write their own.”
Tonight’s proceedings began with students from Qatar Leadership Academy – a school under the umbrella of QF’s Pre-University Education – performing the Qatar national anthem. This was followed by the City of Knowledge, the alma mater song of Qatar Foundation, which is sung by its graduates every year at Convocation.
The 2019 Convocation keynote speaker was Brandon Stanton, author of ‘Humans of New York’ – a photo blog and book chronicling the lives of people in the US city – who, in his address, urged the new QF graduates to concentrate on the things in life that they alone have the power to influence and command.
“The modern world has trained us to judge all our efforts by the immediate feedback that they get, but the more sustainable and more sturdy path to success is to forget about those things that are outside your control, and focus on the things that you can control – the amount of work that you put in, and what you do on a 24-hour basis with your time,” he said.
“What Humans of New York eventually became was nothing that I originally intended. All I focused on was going out and photographing every single day – and I did that thousands of days in a row. Through focusing on the work, and ignoring what people were saying about it, I was able to innovate and slowly build something that was beyond my wildest dreams.”
Following the keynote address, the project Mobsron was announced as the winner of Cycle 2 of QF’s Akhlaquna Award – an initiative announced by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in 2017 that aims to help nurture positive behavioral change within society. Created by students Nawal Al-Kurbi, Almazun Al-Marri, and Amal Al-Gherainig, Mobsron is a mobile app that helps people who are blind and visually impaired to order food, review ingredients, and compare prices.
A film featuring testimonies from Class of 2019 students was also screened at the ceremony before, at the conclusion of the ceremony, each graduate passed through the ‘Door to the Future’, a long-standing QF tradition that symbolizes students entering a new stage in their lives.
Since it was first held in 2008, Convocation has been a platform to collectively celebrate the graduation of students from QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and QF partner universities Texas A&M University at Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar, UCL Qatar, and HEC Paris in Qatar.