May 6th – Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), and VCUarts Qatar (VCU-Q) hosted commencement ceremonies for their 2019 graduates. On May 9th, Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) and Texas A&M at Qatar (TAMU-Q) also hosted graduation ceremonies.
CMU-Q, which turns 15 this year, graduated 78 students from 16 countries. 46% of the graduates hail from Qatar. The 2019 class comprised 10 graduates in biological sciences, 32 in business administration, one in computational biology, eight in computer science, and 27 in information systems. They bring the total number of CMU-Q alumni to nearly 850.
“Never has life been more complex or so full of potential – and more in need of CMU graduates like you. The story of this century will depend on the things that you do best: answering the questions that will be critical to our future and exploring exciting new modes of discovery.” –
VCUarts Qatar graduated 76 students total – conferring 68 bachelor’s degrees and eight master’s degrees. The graduates’ specializations include fashion design, graphic design, interior design, painting and printmaking, and art history. The commencement comes just after VCU-Q hosted a fashion exhibition highlighting the use of khadi – a South Asian fabric increasingly popular among Indian designers – as part of the Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture, organized by Qatar Museums.
“You are creative scholars who embody the very best of our university and illuminate the very meaning of our humanity. I know you will use your vast talents to benefit humankind.” –
Northwestern University in Qatar, which specializes in journalism and communications, graduated its largest and most diverse class yet – 68 students, speaking 12 languages and representing 17 countries. 70% of the graduating class is female, and 16 earned minors. Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and alumna Sara Abdullah Al Saadi – a graduate from NU-Q’s inaugural class – spoke at the commencement.
“[NU-Q had] an incredible impact on the person I am today; this school has given me a world-class education, lifelong friends, and the tools to go on and make a difference.” –
Sara Abdullah Al Saadi, Director of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, DC
Texas A&M in Qatar graduated its 1,000th engineer in a ceremony on May 9th that awarded 95 bachelor’s degrees in chemical, electrical, mechanical, and petroleum engineering, as well as 12 Master of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in chemical engineering. 36 of the 95 bachelor’s degrees were awarded to female graduates, and the majority of the degrees were awarded to non-Qataris.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this honorary degree from Texas A&M University. This is not only a personal accolade for me but also a tribute to the State of Qatar under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar. Since 2003, I have witnessed the evolution, development and growth of Texas A&M at Qatar as a branch campus of Texas A&M University. It is a matter of pride for all of us to have witnessed the successes and accomplishments of this institution over the past 16 years. The work of Texas A&M at Qatar directly contributes to the pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030, and I applaud this prestigious institution for all it does to make a positive impact on Qatar and throughout the region in the noble cause of education.” –
His Excellency Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, the former Minister of Energy and Industry and former Chairman of Qatar Petroleum
Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) also held its graduation ceremony on May 9th, awarding 64 Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degrees. 49 of the degrees were awarded to women. This year marks several milestones for Georgetown, including the 100-year anniversary of the School of Foreign Service‘s founding and the GUQ100 Celebration of Knowledge.
This marks over 100 academic volumes published since GU-Q opened in 2005. GU-Q has now graduated more than 500 students from over 50 countries, offering the same internationally renowned curriculum as Georgetown’s home campus in Washington, DC.
“Today’s GU-Q graduates carry on a legacy of academic excellence, strength through diversity, and an unwavering commitment to work for the common good. Through dedicated scholarship in the field of humanities and social sciences, their academic work has contributed to the development mission of Qatar Foundation, and the ambitions and optimism of tomorrow’s leaders inspire us all to envision a better future.” –
Her Excellency Ambassador Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the United Nations
Qatar Foundation (QF) also held its annual convocation ceremony celebrating all 786 of its graduates across its member universities. QF’s member universities also include Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, HEC Paris, and UCL Qatar. Qatari Amir, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and QF Chairperson, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, both attended the celebration.
“Every member of our Class of 2019 has recognized and maximized the unique educational opportunity that Qatar Foundation provides. Their academic excellence has been matched by their growth as knowledge-seekers, critical thinkers, and active citizens who are determined to be drivers of positive change. As embodiments of QF’s belief in what quality education stands for, and what it makes possible, they will always be part of our story – and we will watch with pride as they write their own.”
– H.E. Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson & CEO of Qatar Foundation
TAMU-Q graduated 95 students with bachelor’s degrees in chemical, electrical, mechanical, or petroleum energy. 36 of those graduates were female. TAMU-Q also graduated 12 students with Master’s of Science and Master’s of Engineering degrees in chemical engineering. This raises the total number of engineers TAMU-Q has graduated to 1,056. More than 50% of those graduates are non-Qatari citizens.
Texas A&M University awarded His Excellency Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada an honorary Doctor of Letters degree during the ceremony, in recognition of his accomplishments and support of the university.
HE Dr. Al Sada is Qatar’s former Minister of Energy and Industry and the former chairman of Qatar Petroleum.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this honorary degree from Texas A&M University. This is not only a personal accolade for me but also a tribute to the State of Qatar under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar. Since 2003, I have witnessed the evolution, development and growth of Texas A&M at Qatar as a branch campus of Texas A&M University. It is a matter of pride for all of us to have witnessed the successes and accomplishments of this institution over the past 16 years. The work of Texas A&M at Qatar directly contributes to the pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030, and I applaud this prestigious institution for all it does to make a positive impact on Qatar and throughout the region in the noble cause of education.” – His Excellency Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada
“Qatar is committed to investing in the young generations and this is reflected in the success stories that Education City is witnessing, among them Texas A&M commencement, which I’m honored to speak at today where I would like to congratulate Class of 2019 graduates.” – His Excellency Hassan Al Thawadi
Coinciding with the milestone for Texas A&M at Qatar, the main Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas is also celebrating half a million degrees awarded since its founding in 1876.
(Image Source: Texas A&M – Qatar)
Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) has published its influential sixth annual Media Use in the Middle East survey in both English and Arabic. The seven-nation survey covers public perceptions and use of media in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Tunisia, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. The survey was conducted via video chat from Qatar, and covers 7,635 respondents across the seven countries.
“NU-Q’s Media Use in the Middle East 2018: A Seven-Nation Survey is a comprehensive resource for scholars, as well as business, government and other thought leaders seeking to better understand and engage with the region… Since 2013, NU-Q has selected six to eight countries to approximate a reasonable representation of public opinion on media use and related topics in a turbulent and complex region. Six years of feedback suggests that our research has generated useful and discerning findings.” -Everette E. Dennis, Dean and CEO of NU-Q
Some of the findings from the survey include:
More Arab nationals consider film and TV content from the U.S. to be good for morality
Majorities of Arab nationals in most countries support online freedom of expression
Facebook and Twitter penetration have fallen among Arab nationals across the seven countries
The numbers of Arab nationals who play video games have remained steady across the region, although the amount of time gamers play per week has increased significantly from 2014 to 2018
Qatar University‘s Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) presented its findings from its second Guests Workers’ Welfare Index (GWWI). The GWWI measures and tracks the welfare of blue-collar guest workers in Qatar. Attendees to the presentation event included Dr. Hassan Al Derham, President of Qatar University, Dr. Hassan Al Sayed, Director of SESRI, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs.
The second wave of the GWWI survey was conducted in April, 2018, assessing working and living conditions including safety and security, human rights, labor rights, finance and remittances, and more. The 2018 survey interviewed 1,028 guest workers with the largest group of respondents coming from India (29%), followed by Nepal (28%), Bangladesh (17%), Pakistan (9%), Egypt (6%), Sri Lanka (4%), Philippines (3%), and other countries (4%).
The results of the survey are measured by responses based on 6 indices (listed below) and are evaluated on a scale from 1 – 100. The results for calendar year 2018 stood at 81 out of 100, an increase from the 2017 rating (score: 75). The overall score is a composite measure of the six different factors or sub-indices that compose the index and which are rated on the same scale from 0 to 100. The greatest sub-index improvements included contracts, working conditions, and satisfaction with living and working conditions. The next Guest Workers’ Welfare Index survey will take place this month, May 2019.
The sub-indices breakdowns were as follows:
Mental Health: 87
Physical Health: 84
Living Conditions: 79
Working Conditions: 85
(Image Source: The Peninsula)
The Qatar Harvey Fund will give $1 million in scholarships to support Texas A&M University System students who were forced to withdraw during Hurricane Harvey. The grant will be provided in coordination with the Rebuild Texas Fund, a collaboration between the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and the One Star Foundation.
The scholarships will be available starting in the fall to any undergraduate or graduate students with qualifying GPAs (2.0 for undergraduates, 3.0 for graduates) who were unable to attend school as a result of Hurricane Harvey. The Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp stated that “The Texas A&M University System is very thankful for this grant. This money will help rebuild the future for hundreds of deserving Texans whose dreams of obtaining a degree were rained on by Harvey.”
The scholarships will cover tuition, fees, books, living, and emergency expenses at five colleges within the system: the College Station flagship, Texas A&M at Galveston, Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and Texas A&M Kingsville. Qatar has also supplied aid to students at Houston Community College, the University of Houston, and Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. The Qatar Harvey Fund is a $30 million fund established in 2017 to support recovery in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Other projects that have been funded by the Qatar Harvey fund include $2.5 million for the City of Houston’s Fund to Reduce Homelessness, $2.5 million for the renovation of the Riverside Hospital Center and $241,000 for the Wesley A.M.E Church. Additionally, the Qatar Harvey Fund has also partnered with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to establish the Qatar Veterans Fund. BWF will establish the Qatar Veterans Fund using a grant from the Qatar Harvey Fund (a $30 million gift from the state intended to help the 41 Texas counties impacted by the storm). The investment in the new veterans fund will be managed by BWF and will support Texas’ large population of former service personnel and military families.
On Tuesday April 16th, the Qatar-America Institute hosted an alumni event with the Cornell Club of Washington to celebrate the work of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar. Guests enjoyed Middle Eastern food, music, and learned about how the world-class medical school Cornell established in Education City, Qatar.
Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar works with the Supreme Committee in charge of organizing the 2022 World Cup to protect construction workers’ health and nutrition. This includes monitoring workers’ health and taking preventive measures, advising caterers and contractors on how to protect workers’ safety and health, and meeting with construction workers to advise them on how to stay healthy. WCM-Q experts are currently using high-tech devices to monitor workers’ health indicators, including heart rate, blood sugar, blood pressure, hydration, and more.
“We are delighted to continue our engagement with the renowned team of experts at WCM-Q. Protecting the health of our workers is of paramount importance to the SC, and this innovative project will further enhance our capacity to do that. This initiative is part of our broader suite of health and safety initiatives and complements the recent decision by the SC to mandate the comprehensive medical screenings for all workers, currently being carried out by the Qatar Red Crescent.” -Mahmoud Qutub, executive director of the Supreme Committee Workers’ Welfare Department.
WCM-Q was founded in 2001 in partnership with the Qatar Foundation. Its world-class campus has facilities in bioinformatics, imaging, clinical research support, and more. Its students represent more than 30 countries around the world, and its freshman medical class this year has a 50/50 gender balance. Currently WCM-Q has enrolled 200 students in its medical curriculum and 97 in its pre-medical curriculum, as well as 23 students in its special Foundation Program, designed to help students from Arabic-instruction high schools adjust to English-language curricula of WCM-Q’s six-year Medical Program. WCM-Q is not just a training center, but a research hub, and has published more than 900 academic papers just since 2010.
WCM-Q’s building was designed by Arata Isozaki and dedicated in October 2003 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser and Jeffrey Lehman, the eleventh president of Cornell University. The building is two 200-meter long halls linked with bridges that hold faculty and student lounges. Its geometric design pays homage to the role of geometry in traditional Islamic and Gulf architecture and art.
Alumna Dr. Aisha Ahmad AA Yousuf is the medical director of reproductive surgery at Sidra Medicine, where she specializes in robotic and minimally invasive gynecology surgery.
Dr. Rana Elmaghraby from the class of 2016 was recently elected as resident-fellow trustee-elect of the American Psychiatric Association – the largest professional psychiatric organization in the world.
Dr. Grigory Ostrovskiy, from the class of 2011, secured a highly competitive place at the emergency medicine residency program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and, after completing it, returned to Doha in 2016 to become the first WCM-Q graduate to return to the university as faculty.
During the reception, attendees had the opportunity to enter a raffle to win a model plane donated by Qatar Airways.
#HappyHourHighLight: At last night’s @Cornell Cornell Alumni happy hour, we raffled a Qatar Airways [model] airplane. We would like to congratulate Cornell alumni, John Henri Richardson, for winning our very first @qatarairways [model] airplane raffle! Congrats John! pic.twitter.com/3U7G7m2qeY
— Qatar-America Institute (@QatarAmerica) April 17, 2019
The reception featured remarks by Terry Horner, President of the Cornell Club of Washington, Joel Malina, Cornell Vice President of University Relations, and Paul Hamill, Executive Director of the Qatar-America Institute.
On April 3, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a watch party for Doha Debates forum on the future of artificial intelligence. Guests enjoyed a thought-provoking discussion with Swedish philosopher and University of Oxford professor Nick Bostrom, Kenyan data scientist Muthoni Wanyoike, British author and Brunswick Group director Dex Torricke-Barton, and Ghanian technologist and Rhodes Scholar Joy Buolamwini.
The panel showcased a wide diversity of views on artificial intelligence, from alarm at its risks to optimism at its opportunities to sharp criticism of algorithms’ negative impacts on people of color. The lively discussion kept the audience engaged, and remote viewers were encouraged to tweet feedback under the hashtag #DearWorld and vote in live online polls on the panelists’ stances.
The second half of the debate featured peace process expert Dr. Govinda Clayton, who worked to find common ground with panelists, moderators, and viewers. Dr. Clayton’s participation helped form a productive dialogue as participants cooperated to balance the opportunities, risks, and harms associated with the rise of artificial intelligence.
Doha Debates is a production of the Qatar Foundation. The next live debate will take place on July 24, 2019.
Georgetown University in Qatar hosted a gala, “GU-Q 100: A Celebration of Knowledge,” commemorating the publication of over one hundred books by faculty and staff of Georgetown University in Qatar since the branch campus opened in 2005.
The gala was attended by Qatar Foundation Chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al Thani, Qatar Foundation CEO Her Excellency Sheikha Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Lolwah Al Khater, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service Dean Joel Hellman, and many other leaders among Georgetown’s faculty in Washington and Qatar.
“Through its wealth of research in the field of humanities and social sciences, Georgetown University in Qatar has made a significant contribution to the international profile of QF and Qatar as a hub of new knowledge, original thought, and intellectual courage in confronting issues which influence what our world is, and what it can be.” – Her Excellency Sheikha Hind
The gala, coincidentally, coincided with the centennial of the founding of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. The School of Foreign Service Dean Joel Hellman took the opportunity to celebrate the prestigious institution’s legacy, shared between the United States and Qatar.
“One hundred years ago, SFS took on the mission to foster peace and stability through education rooted in a global perspective. I’m proud to see the continuation of that Georgetown tradition in today’s celebration of GU-Q’s contributions to multidisciplinary scholarship in Qatar and around the world.” – Dean Joel Hellman
On Thursday, March 28th, 2019 Georgetown University hosted its second annual 2019 Women’s Forum at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The two-day forum convened panels and discussions with experts in law, business, policy, science, technology, government, and the wider public sector.
Dr. Reem Al-Ansari, Director of the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center in Doha, Qatar and a graduate of Georgetown Law, was featured as an expert on the panel “Women in Peace Negotiations.” The panel was moderated by Ambassador Melanne Verveer, and featured fellow panelists Uzra Zeya, Rachel Milner Gillers.
“Women play a key role in advocating for and maintaining peace around the world. The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security says that women are largely excluded from conflict related negotiations, despite evidence that they are critical to achieving sustainable peace. Join us for lunch and a conversation about the role women play in peace negotiations and the importance of their expanded presence in the field.”
Dr. Al-Ansari spoke to the audience on her experience as a female leader in anti-corruption efforts in the Gulf region and the wider Middle East. She reported that in the Gulf region over the past decade, there has been a fundamental paradigm shift in thinking on a woman’s role in society, business, education, civil society, and government. Women have empowered themselves to engage in the most senior levels of these sectors, to the betterment of humanity. For example, in Qatar, woman now compose the majority of higher education students and hold seats in the Shoura Council, cabinet, and head major businesses and civil society groups.
Dr. Reem also mentioned “the #MeToo movement in the West is something that has enlightened women’s empowerment in the Middle East, and we are trying to replicate the lessons of that movement in our own societies. This is essential to advancing women’s roles in power structures, while holding everyone more accountable.”
Dr. Al-Ansari reported that when women are active participants critical dialogues, the outcomes tend to have higher success rates than without their participation. For example, Dr. Al-Ansari was tasked with interviewing high-risk youth involved with extremist organizations in Europe. She found that she was able to gain the trust of the male interviewees, and extract more information, than her male counterparts. As a result, female leadership proved vital to counter-extremism efforts in the region.
Overall however, female inclusion in peacemaking and peace negotiations is very low – less than 10% globally. When women do participate, they tend to build trust more effectively, forge compromises, and are more likely to be viewed as honest brokers than their male negotiator counterparts. The panel noted that when women are implementors of peace processes, evidence indicates that there is less corruption, less frivolous spending, and more durable peace plans.
On Tuesday, March 26th, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a Liqa networking event at the historic Explorers Club in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Over 60 young professionals and students, across several fields, learned about the US-Qatar relationship, as well as the new partnership between QAI and the Explorers Club. The event gathered young professionals and many other Qataris and friends of Qatar from a variety of fields, including architects, diplomats, and business people.
The event featured brief remarks by Milbry Polk on the history and legacy of the Explorers Club. Attendees had an opportunity to tour the historic building and its many unique artifacts, including busts of tribespeople, taxidermied animals captured for study and preservation, and several sleds used to explore the North Pole.