Siham Abduallah Al Zadjali was the 2003 winner of the Be Here: Design Now Competition, the prize being the prestigious Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned Scholarship for Creativity. This is one of two full four year scholarships to attend VCUQ, generously donated by Her Highness, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, the Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation.
Back home in Oman, in 1997 Siham was in her final year of high school. During her spare time in the evenings, Siham attended an art workshop. When her high school art teacher Shadia, learnt that Siham had won a certificate from the workshop she encouraged her to enter the 2003 Be Here: Design Now competition.
The theme of the competition was what would happen if an alien was to land in the Gulf Region. The aim was to design a presentation communicating what is important about the Gulf region and what the student would like the alien to know about the region. For the first phase of the competition Siham submitted a drawing depicting ancient art of Oman.
When Siham learned that she was one of the winners in the first phase of the design competition she was extremely happy. For the second phase she submitted a 3-D work of the Khanjar the traditional Omani dagger worn by local men which shows pride.
A few months later, sitting at home with her family when she received the news that she had actually won the Scholarship for Creativity to attend VCUQ, in Qatar, Siham was ecstatic. “It was a dream come true” she said, about hearing the news.
Winning the competition was a big achievement for Siham. She is the first member of her family to attend university. With genuine smile and sincere heart Siham thanks Allah first, then her teachers’ diligence and the support of her family for her success in winning the scholarship and coming to Education City in Qatar.
Upon her arrival in Doha, Siham felt a little lonely as it was her first time away from both her family and country. She was patient and kept going, as she knew she was making her parents proud through her achievements. However, Siham soon felt right at home when she made friends with other students from Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan and Qatar at VCUQ.
VCUQ currently has one hundred eighty one students from twenty five different countries, including five from Bahrain, two from Iran, one from Iraq, seven from Jordan, one from Kuwait, four from Lebanon, two from Oman, one from Saudi Arabia, three from Sudan, three from Syria and five from the United States.
Siham is now in her first year of Art Foundation, next year she will start to work toward her Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. Although she is very interested in both fashion and interior design, she feels that her native country of Oman is in need of graphic designers.
Prior to her arrival in Doha, Siham says she didn’t have a lot of knowledge about graphic design, however her former roommate a VCUQ graphic design alumna, now working for Al Jazeera Children’s Channel gave her good insight into the design discipline.
“When I first came to Doha, I missed my family so much, but now I love Doha. I didn’t get the chance to go to university in Oman, but I have something much better. Winning the Scholarship for Creativity has changed my life” said Siham.
The VCUQ Be Here Design Now competition resulting in two Scholarships for Creativity is open to female students in their final year of high school in Bahrain, Dubai, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey. Applications and rules for the competition can be downloaded at www.qatar.vcu.edu/admission.html, by emailing email@example.com or by calling +974 492 7213. The deadline to submit entries for Phase one is January 31st.
The first BFA degrees were awarded in June 2002. In June of 2005 VCUQ graduated its 4th class of 18 students, 8 with degrees in interior design, 9 in Graphic Design and 1 in Fashion Design. This brings the total number of graduates to 39 in Interior Design, 37 in Graphic Design, and 9 in Fashion Design. Today VCUQ has a total of 85 graduates working in various positions at Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee (DAGOC), Qatar National Olympic Committee (QNOC), Design Research Center, Qatar Foundation, Social Development Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Supreme Council of Family Affairs, Public Works Authority, Fitch International, Emiri Diwan, Ministry of Civil Service Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Urban Planning and Development Authority, Al Mana Company, Qatar International Hotels, Kharamma, Qatar Tourism Authority, KEO Consultants, Pearl Qatar, Al Jazeera International, and Al Jazeera Children’s Channel. VCUQ currently has one hundred eighty one students from twenty five different countries, including seven from Jordan, five each from Bahrain and the USA, four each from Canada, Egypt, Lebanon, three each from Pakistan, Palestine and Syria, two each from Australia, Bosnia, Iran, Oman, UK and one each from Austria, Brazil, Germany, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
VCUQ hosts an annual design competition in the Middle East which concludes in the dissemination of two full four-year Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned Scholarships for Creativity to attend VCUQ. Currently the competition is open to girls in their final year of high school in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and UAE. Rules and application can be downloaded for the Scholarship for Creativity at www.qatar.vcu.edu/admission.html or call +974 492 7238.
VCUQ also hosts the annual design conference Tasmeem Doha. Tasmeem Doha invites world class industry professionals in the various fields of design to share their insight with an international audience of students, professionals and visitors. The weeklong conference in 2005 hosted such well-known Designers as Rick Poyner, Shashi Caan, Fred Dust, Ibrahim Jaidah, April Greiman, Erwan Bouroullec, David Wolfe, Valerie Steele and Ruth Carter. For more information please visit www.tasmeemdoha.info or call +974 492 7245
VCUQ also holds the honor of the only University in the world that is accredited by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER) outside of the United States and Canada. FIDER provides the foundation for excellence in the interior design profession by setting standards for education and accrediting academic programs that meet those standards.
VCUQ offers specialized programs in three different design professions. Students can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design, fashion design, or interior design. Highly qualified professors provide rigorous curriculums that prepare students to assume leadership roles in the professional field of their choice. VCUQ also organizes exhibitions, gallery events, film programs, and world-class fashion shows. VCUQ is supported and funded by Qatar Foundation. For more information please visit www.qatar.vcu.edu or call +974 492 7200.
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