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Story | Education
3 September 2020

Five historical facts about QF you probably didn’t know


News article from VCU’s campus newspaper, dated 17 August 1998.

Qatar Foundation (QF) was first established in 1995 with a single school, and the vision of providing high-quality education to the people of Qatar.
Now, 25 years later, QF consists of more than 50 entities, including 13 schools and nine universities as well as various scholastic, research, and community-focused centers and initiatives – collectively working to advance knowledge and benefit humanity in Qatar, across the region, and beyond.

Here are five facts from the beginning of QF’s story that you might not be aware of.

Arabian horses have played a vital role in the history of Qatar, something Qatar Foundation has valued since its inception. 

The site where QF’s Education City stands was once a historic battleground
The area around Education City was the scene of Battle of Wajbah (also known as the Battle of Shaqab) that took place in 1893 and resulted in the victory of Qatari tribes against the Ottomans, paving the way for Qatar’s independence. QF’s founders decided to build Education City at this location to link Qatar’s heritage to its future development. There are several historic buildings located in or close to Education City that are linked to the country’s foundational years, including stables in Al Shaqab, QF’s equine and equestrian center, that once housed the Arabian horses who fought in the Battle of Wajbah.

Al Shaqab was established before QF was founded
Al Shaqab, and one of Education City’s most prominent landmarks, was founded in 1992 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, in honor of the place that the Arabian horse breed holds in Qatar’s history. While Education City was built around Al Shaqab, the equine and equestrian center did not join QF until 2004, when it became an official member of the organization.

QF’s offices weren’t always in Education City

QF started its life with its offices based in the Al Ali Compound in Rumailah, a neighborhood in central Doha. From there, the QF offices were switched to a villa in Souq Al Ali in the western part of the city, before ultimately moving to their permanent home in Education City. The Qatar Academy Senior School also started from the same compound in Rumailah before moving to Education City.

In its first year, QF catered to 24 students
When Qatar Academy, QF’s first educational institute, started from a small villa compound in 1996, it had a total of 24 students in its inaugural class. Today, the school has nearly 2,000 students, who are part of a student body that totals more than 9,000 across all QF schools and universities.

VCUarts Qatar was formerly named Shaqab College of Design Arts
The first university established in Education City was Shaqab College of Design Arts (SCODA), which opened its doors in 1998 to a class of 33 female students. SCODA was established through a collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, USA, and later became a formal branch campus of VCU in 2002, now named Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar and a QF partner university.

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