Dr. Khalid Al-Khelaifi – a member of QF’s Class of 2008 – sends his message to QF’s latest batch of graduates as their university days end, and a new phase of their journey begins, in a COVID-19 world
Dear QF Class of 2020,
The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly not something that any of us could have anticipated; even if we did, we could never have foreseen the extent of its impact on us.
As I write this, some of us are away from family. Others are struggling to understand the situation we are in. Some are fighting to survive. And almost everyone is looking for ways to stay calm, find an equilibrium, and maintain a sense of purpose in their daily routines.
For these very reasons, this year’s graduation may not be the commencement you had dreamt of. Your family and friends will not be able to physically attend or have a celebratory dinner with you. Your graduation photo will be far less likely to be the perfect social media profile photo that you had in mind. And you will not gather in groups, hard-earned diplomas in hand, to throw your mortarboards or academic caps into the air.
It is crucial to remember that the current situation cannot dull your achievements, nor can it diminish the skills you acquired over the course of your studies.
Through all of this, it is crucial to remember that the current situation cannot dull your achievements, nor can it diminish the skills you acquired over the course of your studies.
On the contrary, in the future, you will look back with pride that you made it through the toughest of times. Future cohorts of students and researchers will look to you for inspiration, and for lessons in grit and tenacity. And this is what will make you unique, setting you apart from any graduating class that has preceded or will succeed you.
We’ve heard it often, but I’d still like to repeat it: “It is in times of crisis that heroes are born”. As one of the first to graduate from a QF partner university, trust me when I say this: QF has equipped each one of you with the potential to be a hero.
I see these upcoming months as a true test for a QF graduate, because each one of you will get a chance to prove – and apply – the soft skills you acquired during your years at Education City.
I see these upcoming months as a true test for a QF graduate, because each one of you will get a chance to prove – and apply – the soft skills you acquired during your years at Education City. You will be the proof that true education is more than a diploma or a degree.
There is no doubt that this year is momentous. And if you look at it from a different perspective, it is a great period: for the very time in the history of mankind, countries are fighting together against a common enemy.
This drops the ball squarely in your court, because the world you are stepping into, more than ever, genuinely wants to get better; it is willing to listen to people with compassion and sensitivity – people like you who have solid ideas and solutions to help change things so that our mistakes are not repeated; so that a pandemic never happens again.
Class of 2020, I wish you the very best. Have faith in yourself, step out with confidence – and start fighting for a world that is better than the one we left behind.
Dr. Khalid Al-Khelaifi is a Sports Orthopedic surgeon at Aspetar in Doha. The class valedictorian of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s (WCM-Q) inaugural batch – its Class of 2008 – Dr. Al-Khelaifi trained in orthopedics at McGill university in Canada, and completed a Fellowship in Orthopedic Surgery and Arthroscopy in the field of Sports Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, in the US. He also holds an Executive Master’s Degree in leadership from Georgetown University, Washington D.C, USA.
Dr. Al-Khelaifi is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Canada and a member of American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He is also an Assistant Professor at WCM-Q.