Qatari graduates such as Aisha Al-Ishaq and Thamer Al-Kuwari are blazing a trail for younger generations to follow, as they endeavour to move the nation forward. Recent graduate Aisha stresses the importance of having clear goals that are backed by a plan. She is among 130 successful Qatari graduates who received their degrees at Hamad bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Convocation 2012 yesterday.
“I don’t believe in dreams. I have well-defined goals for the next 20 years. My ultimate goal is to make a difference in the financial sector. I have a plan and it is working very well,” says Aisha.
Aisha’s determined approach has distinguished her from fellow students and earned her a Mansion House scholarship last year – the first to be awarded to a Qatari by the Lord Mayor of the City of London. The high achiever was presented with the scholarship in February 2011 at a ceremony held at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), where she was completing her Master’s degree in Islamic finance. Teachers at QFIS nominated Aisha for the award, and she was required to go through a series of interviews in order to qualify. In her role as a scholar, Aisha undertook an internship in June 2011 with Gatehouse, an Islamic investment bank in London. The placement offered her an insight into the world of Islamic finance which complemented her postgraduate courses, as well as her job at Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA). “The internship helped me understand how an Islamic investment bank works and to understand the difference between conventional banking and Sharia compliant (Islamic) banking,” she says. Aisha feels very fortunate to have gained a wealth of practical knowledge while completing her part-time degree. For the duration of her studies, she has held the demanding role of senior business analyst at QFCA. “The best part is that I completed my studies with work experience. In other words, I did not miss out.” The ambitious Qatari’s next challenge is to become a chartered financial analyst. “Having healthy and safe financial institutions will guarantee economic growth and continual development in all sectors,” she explains.
Another model student is Thamer Al-Kuwari, who was also part of yesterday’s convocation. He hopes to play a part in furthering Qatar’s national development. “I would like to lead my country in one way or another, especially since we are hosting the 2022 World Cup,” he says. “We need better security, better equipment and higher education for everyone. Hopefully we will start doing things nobody has ever done before - that is why we need new minds and new technology.” Thamer has been awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in mathematics from Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ). The 25-year-old has proven to be an active member of the TAMUQ student body and has participated regularly in extracurricular activities.
He will soon be commencing work with the Ministry of Interior in Qatar. “I am actually going to be the first person to graduate from TAMUQ to represent the Ministry of Interior,” he announces proudly. “In my final year, the path I chose in electrical engineering was computer engineering and communications. This is why I would like to work in the ministry’s communications department.”
Thamer believes that in the last four years he has become a better problem-solver and has developed his leadership skills through participating fully in university life. He constantly encourages young people to concentrate on subjects that they are passionate about.
“Every time I represent the university and talk to younger students I tell them that they have to fight for their dreams,” he says. “Everybody thinks it is hard, but we are the proof that it is not hard. Everything is available to us from our country, all we need to do is take these opportunities and use them.”