This is how Education City looks in a COVID-19 world.
Over the past few weeks, the home of Qatar Foundation — like academic campuses around the world — has been empty, devoid of its usual hustle and bustle, and the community of staff, students, and visitors who bring it to life.
For now, the usually vibrant Education City has the appearance of a ghost town, with the occasional wad of tumbleweed blowing across deserted spaces that are used to being lined with people, chat, and laughter.
The minarets of Minaretein (Education City Mosque), even amid the Holy Month of Ramadan, look down on no worshippers flocking to pray and to come together in the spirit of reflection and community. The cafeteria of Multaqa (Education City Student Center), normally filled with conversation, now houses empty grey and white tables. In the playgrounds of QF schools and Education City’s parks, normally brimming with the commotion of energetic children playing, laughing, and exploring, the only sound is the squeak of abandoned swings blowing in the wind.
But even amid this eerie silence, there is a message of resilience and solidarity. In these times of global crisis, the fact that Education City stands silent is a sign of collective commitment to the common good. The Qatar Foundation community may be physically separated, but the pandemic has only brought it even closer together in this global fight against COVID-19, and these photos – even without people – symbolize this union.
What these images do not show is how QF’s students are continuing their classes online; how QF’s staff are working from home to keep its operations running; and how Qatar’s community is continuing to actively engage with QF’s virtual events and lectures – because, pandemic or no pandemic, learning and knowledge never stop.
But what these images do illustrate is much more than temporarily deserted spaces. They speak of hope, strength, and unity.