The GU-Q Community Unites Through a Shared Passion For Football
As the World Cup approaches, a focus on football has infused the campus community from the classroom to the pitch. But the unique potential of sports to develop and reinforce positive values and life skills had an even more important role to play when the community needed it most.
As the pandemic restriction began to be lifted in Fall 2021, a few GU-Q students took the initiative to organize intramural football matches for teams of students at the HBKU student center and invited the faculty to play in a tournament and to serve as referees in the final game.
For Dr. Yehia Mohamed, Associate Professor of Arabic, the student initiative was an unexpected way to re-engage with students. “My introduction to the men’s football team began the year prior, in my role as a volunteer coach. This intramural initiative was a wonderful way to open bridges and create connections outside of the classroom with students, and a reminder of the outstanding sports resources and facilities we have access to as part of the Multiversity in Education City.”
“Staff, students, faculty and their families coming together and sharing a fun evening outside the walls of the campus greatly boosted the sense of community,” said Anwaar Malik (SFS’24), who is also the president of the GU-Q Football Club.
In Spring 2022 a faculty versus students grudge match leveled up the competition by including customized jerseys and an audience of students, staff, faculty, and family members who cheered on their favorite team from the sidelines. The student team dominated, winning against the faculty team 6-2. "It’s a really nice feeling to be able to engage with the professors outside the classroom, especially in something that we are all really passionate about,” said International Economics major Hamza AlSioufy (SFS’24).
The semester of activities culminated in a three-hour long “festival of football” which saw four teams composed of students and one member of faculty or staff compete for the winning title. After six intense matches, the team captained by Visiting Associate Professor Ramon Cobo Reyes Cano nabbed the victory, with the team led by Associate Professor Omar Khalifah garnering second place.
Fans cheering on players included Dean Clyde Wilcox, and Visiting Professor and cruciverbalist Leonard Williams. “I genuinely loved watching my students play football in Education City, and they clearly appreciate faculty and staff who care enough to join in the fun,” said Dr. Williams.
Dr. Yehia Mohamed says future plans include ensuring opportunities for women’s football competitions and activities as part of a regular football calendar of events that will bring the GU-Q community together. The upcoming World Cup tournament has also inspired plans for a diverse array of events and activities to connect the games to the key issues in international affairs students study in the classroom.
Enisha Sharma (SFS’24), International Economics major and head of public relations with the Football Club, summed up the significance of the intramural activities that emerged in response to unprecedented circumstances. “With different cultures, finding an event that unites the Georgetown community could be a challenge. With football, we’ve been able to overcome that barrier, allowing us to develop a sense of a well-knit community despite the challenges that had kept us apart.”
Georgetown University in Qatar
Established in 1789 in Washington, DC, Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), founded in 2005 in partnership with Qatar Foundation, seeks to build upon the world-class reputation of the university through education, research, and service. Inspired by the university’s mission of promoting intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding, GU-Q aims to advance knowledge and provide students and the community with a holistic educational experience that produces global citizens committed to the service of humankind.
Located in Doha’s Education City, GU-Q offers the same internationally recognized Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree as Georgetown’s Capitol Campus in Washington, DC. This unique, interdisciplinary program prepares students to tackle the most important and pressing global issues by helping them develop critical thinking, analytic, and communication skills within an international context. GU-Q alumni work in leading local and international organizations across industries ranging from finance to energy, education, and media. The Qatar campus also serves as a residency and delivery location for the Executive Master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management along with the Executive Master’s in Leadership.