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Story | Education
27 October 2019

Qatar Sustainability Week: QF students are changing their lives for a good cause


For many young Qataris, learning about sustainable development isn’t just a smart career move. It’s a duty to the nation, and the planet.

Enabling Qatar to achieve its sustainability goals – whether they relate to environmental, economic, or social development – is seen as being everyone’s responsibility, with all members of its society having an important role to play.

Sustainable development is a very important issue at both a local and global level.

Dr. Sami Al-Ghamdi

That’s why Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of Qatar Foundation, is highlighting the importance of studying sustainability topics, as it aims to build students’ specialized skills through its programs – and emphasizing that following this academic path can lead to a career that provides the opportunity to make a real difference to the nation, and the world.

“Sustainable development is a very important issue, at both a local and global level,” says Dr. Sami Al-Ghamdi, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development at HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering. “And at HBKU, we are dedicated to teaching various sustainability specializations which are among the most in-demand disciplines within Qatar’s labor market.

“Sustainability is integral to many fields of development, and there are many career opportunities for graduates of sustainability specializations. As Qatar prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, sustainability is set to be one of its main pillars, and HBKU students are working on projects directly related to the tournament.”

Dr. Sami Al-Ghamdi says sustainability opens up many career opportunities for young people.

One of these projects focuses on how the type of plants used in stadiums, and where they are planted, can play a role in reducing carbon emissions, while another focuses on concrete in playgrounds and the impact of used water on the sustainability of Qatar’s water resources. The continuation of these projects even after the World Cup is over will show the availability of career opportunities for students in this area.

Speaking about the opportunities that studying sustainability offers to students , Mariam Al Hail, a graduate of HBKU’s Master of Science in Sustainable Energy, from HBKU says: “HBKU has given me great scientific experience because it focuses on promoting intellectual awareness and empowering us with the tools to contribute to the sustainable development of our nation.

Sustainability is one of the most important disciplines required today.

Maryam Al Hail

“It does this by linking education programs to research that helps to find solutions to the challenges different sectors face in achieving sustainability,”

Al Hail agrees that the skills associated with learning about sustainable development are among the most sought-after by companies across various sectors. “Sustainability is one of the most important disciplines required today,” she says, “because, through sustainability, we are seeking to improve communities, enhance the economy by providing more job opportunities, protect the environment by lowering emissions and pollution are lower, ensure continued access to basic resources, and protect people’s health while encouraging them to live sustainable lives.

Sustainable development has been made the focus of academic programs at HBKU, where students are working on projects directly related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™

"As a specialist in sustainable energy, I really encourage students to study this specialization, because it enables us to contribute to Qatar’s vision, and the diversification of the country's economy in the context of energy.”

Wadha Al Thani is one of those aiming to make such a contribution. She is currently studying for a Master of Science in Sustainable Energy at HBKU and says: “Most major projects in Qatar are driven by sustainability standards; for example, the stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup were built with the most environmentally-friendly standards in mind.

As members of society, we must all play a role in supporting Qatar's drive to achieve its sustainable development goals.

Wadha Al Thani

“When I was studying electrical engineering at Texas A&M University in Qatar [a Qatar Foundation partner university], I saw many studies on sustainability challenges and how to find solutions to them. I wanted to discover more about this field, and going on to study at HBKU has provided me with an opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills by attending regional and international conferences, and engaging with experts from different countries in this field.

“Qatar has provided us with the best and most advanced health and educational services. That means, as members of society, we must all play a role in supporting Qatar's drive to achieve its sustainable development goals.

According to Fatima Essa Al-Thawadi, a Master of Science student in Sustainable Environment at HBKU, choosing sustainability as a course of study opens up the opportunity to identify and provide solutions in areas such as energy consumption, waste management, recycling and reuse of waste, and the design of green, eco-friendly buildings that reduce energy and water use.

We all have a responsibility to raise awareness about how important sustainability is to society.

Fatima Essa Al-Thawadi

"Sustainability is linked to all areas of our life, and, as an architect, I take the sustainability component of architectural development into account in all aspects of my work, from design to creation to operation,” she explains. “My choice of materials is based on which ones cause less damage to the environment, and I make sure that a building's architectural design helps to consume less water and energy.

“There are many aspects of the way we behave that can have a negative impact on our environment – and our lives. That’s why we all have a responsibility to raise awareness about how important sustainability is to society.”

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