His Highness the Amir of Qatar Attends QF’s Convocation Ceremony

Press release
Published May 11th, 2022 - 04:39 GMT
His Highness the Amir of Qatar Attends QF’s Convocation Ceremony
During the event
Highlights
His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, attended the annual celebration which sees graduates of universities at Education City step into the next phase of their lives

His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, attended the annual celebration which sees graduates of universities at Education City step into the next phase of their lives – Qatar Foundation’s Convocation ceremony, held at Al Shaqab.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Hamad bin Suhaim Al-Thani, Wife of His Highness the Amir of Qatar, were also in attendance.

The ceremony was also attended by His Excellency Mr. Hassan Abdulla Al-Ghanim, Speaker of the Shura Council, ministers, diplomats, university presidents, deans, and faculty, and the families of graduates.

Convocation celebrated more than 800 students from the Class of 2022 of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and its partner universities – who, through their time at Education City, have been equipped to innovate, excel, and drive positive change in Qatar and beyond – as they took center stage to reflect on their achievements, and look to what the future holds.

And this year’s Convocation celebrations also included QF’s Classes of 2020 and 2021, with hundreds of graduates of these two classes attending the ceremony. They joined their 2022 counterparts in walking through the Door to the Future, the symbolic and traditional Convocation moment that represents the start of a new stage in their journeys after their experience and accomplishments within QF’s globally unique educational landscape.

The Convocation ceremony saw QF pay tribute to its first president, Dr. Fathy Saoud, who played an instrumental role in the organization’s evolution and the creation of its education ecosystem. Dr. Saoud passed away in January, and during the Convocation ceremony – at which a film chronicling his contribution to QF was shown – it was announced that the position of Chair Professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Health and Life Sciences at HBKU will be created in his name, with biological sciences having been Dr. Saoud’s field of study.

Addressing graduates at the Convocation ceremony, Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, said: “There are no orphan ideas, no orphan generations. We will always be connected to those that came before us. We will always be the continuation of our forefathers.

“If you find some truths unbearable, listen to them anyway. Take the time to understand what our forefathers stood for and why. Then take the time to understand what your role is in this journey. Your learning journey has just started.”

The graduation of the Class of 2022 sees QF’s ranks of university alumni rise to almost 8,000, with this year’s Convocation ceremony celebrating students who have excelled in fields ranging from medicine, engineering, art and design, communication, and international affairs to Islamic studies, law and public policy, computing, humanities and social sciences, and business – and, by being part of the QF community, have benefited from myriad opportunities to explore new fields and interests, broaden their skills and mindsets, and identify their goals in life.

Among them was Weill Cornell-Medicine Qatar graduate Fatima Al Shibani, who said: “Initially, I wanted to be a doctor to help others, but as I’ve gone through my education at QF, I’ve learned more about other ways in which I can help patients, which is why I will now pursue a Master’s in Public Health.

“I would like to do more in the field of research and advanced technologies, and find better outcomes for patients.

Noof Al-Naama, who has graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, said she has “always seen herself as a QF student” having been taking classes and summer courses at the university since she was 13. “I have an artistic background in the family, and I hope I can carry forward that legacy for the next generations to come,” said the granddaughter of Jassim Zaini, Qatar’s first fine artist.

“It is important that people fulfil their passion in education, because this is how we give back as much as we can to our community.”

Eid Al-Bordaini, who has graduated sport and entertainment management from HBKU – his second degree from the university – explained: “I am looking forward to giving to my community and my country, because Qatar has been working hard to host mega-events. It has let the whole world know who Qatar is – and I want to be part of this.”

Texas A&M University at Qatar electrical and computer engineering graduate Khalid Al-Emadi spoke about how the highlight of his university experience at QF was “coming back to university after COVID-19 led to online classes, and seeing faces for the first time in years”, while Sotirios Koumaridis, an Executive MBA graduate from HEC Paris in Qatar, said studying at QF had allowed him to “meet interesting personalities from diverse cultural backgrounds, and seeing interactions become friendships.”

“Very empowered,” was how Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar computer science graduate Waad Al Khenji described her emotions at graduating, as she said: “With the pandemic and remote learning, it wasn’t the easiest journey, but it was a beautiful one with the beautiful people I met along the way – I wouldn’t have done it without their support.

“Moving toward the future, I want to be a role model and an inspiration for women considering a career in computer science.”

Iman Abdelbagi Ismail, who has graduated in culture and politics from Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), explained how studying at QF afforded her the “incredible experience” of joining a conference on female theologians in Islam, co-organized by one of her professors. “We learned about what it means to be a woman within any field of academia, and what it means to asset yourself and your influence,” she said. “This is one memory that really stands out for me, and has had a lot to do with shaping my future choices and outlook.”

And Hessa Al Khulaifi, a communications graduate from Northwestern University in Qatar, summed up the impact that being a QF student has had on her by saying: “Today, I’m more confident and clear-minded when it comes to decision-making, compared to four years ago, and I want to use what university has taught me to help build the future of my country.

“The advice I’d give to current and new QF students is: it goes by faster than you think, so enjoy it and create memories. And be part of the QF community and learn about the people who are on this ride with you – they may become your lifelong friends.”

Returning to Qatar as the keynote speaker for this year’s Convocation ceremony was QF alumnus Dr. Mohammed Al-Nufal, who graduated from WCM-Q in 2012 and is now a pediatrics physician in the US. As a QF student, he was among the speakers in Qatar’s bid to secure the FIFA World Cup 2022™.

With less than 200 days to go before the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East kicks off, Dr. Al-Nufal told graduates: “I have learned that if you want to achieve anything, big or small, that reflects QF’s vision, you have to first believe in your idea as QF believed in its vision.

“Define your ambitions and expectations – and when the idea exists, and your ambitions are defined, the real work starts. And what matters is not necessarily the time you give to your work, but the sacrifice you make and how you ensure that the time you give is valuable.

“The final lesson I have learned is that you should surrounding yourself with people who have the same spirit, ambitions, and sense of responsibility as you. This team will be the reason for your success, so choose your team wisely.

“Believe in your potential as I believed in mine, because you can achieve the best.”

Background Information

Qatar Foundation

Qatar Foundation (QF) is a non-profit organization made up of more than 50 entities working in education, research, and community development.

Our unique ecosystem—supported by partnerships with leading international institutions—is built on initiatives that address our most pressing challenges, create global opportunities, and empower people to shape our present and future.

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