Category: Human Rights & Civil Society

Qatar’s NHRC- Mental Health Remains an Important Strategic Pillar

On October 10th, 2019, the Secretary General (SG) of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Maryam bint Abdullah Al Attiyah, reiterated that mental health remains one of the central strategic pillars of the Committee. The SG’s pronouncement was made on the occasion of the UN’s World Mental Health Day, demonstrating Qatar’s solidarity and commitment in raising mental health awareness on a national and international scale.

Most notably, health, including mental health, is one the main human development pillars contained in Qatar’s National Vision 2030 (QNV2030). The following passage illustrates the significant role of health in QNV2030, “Improving the health of Qatar’s population, through an integrated healthcare system, managed according to world-class standards. Designed to meet the needs of existing and future generations…”

So far, as the SG commented, the National Committee has been proactive in urging the development of a comprehensive mental health legislation that services all residents in the State of Qatar. In fact, the SG noted that the Committee has regularly visited and engaged with domestic mental health institutions and experts for qualitative input in order to actualize improvements, address problems, and find patient-centered solutions.

                                                                                                                             A Medical Panel at a 2015 Mental Health Conference

In addition, the SG stated that the NHRC welcomed the country’s positive progress in psychological care and/or services. Such progress can be seen with the greater resources being allocated in hospitals and health centers and with increased accessibility and availability to specialized mental/psychological care as well. These measures underscore Qatar’s dedication in ensuring that all of its citizens are given the adequate support they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

In order to understand Qatar’s vigorous efforts in tackling mental health, consider the nature and role of the country’s National Health Strategy (NHS), which incorporated a National Mental Health Strategy (NMHS) as well.

The NHS 2011-2016 laid the solid foundations and framework for future projects and policies for each of the identified objectives. One of the objectives was the first National Mental Health Strategy, which was drafted and launched by the Mental Health Implementation Committee in 2013. Both the NHS and the NMHS have been subsequently revised and updated as the goals were being reached and new ones were being identified.

Currently, Qatar has modified its course of action by implementing two strategic national policies: the National Development Strategy 2018-2022 and NHS 2018-2022. In tandem, Qatar has also adopted Triple Aim, and selected 7 priority/targeted populations. Individuals diagnosed with mental health (or related conditions), are one of the seven targeted populations.

The NHS 2018-2022 seeks to improve access and availability to mental health services and increase mental health awareness. This rigorous approach was justified by a study of 1,660 people between the ages of 18-65 that was conducted and that found that nearly 25% of adults who attended a public health consultation had at least one type of mental disorder.

 

 

 

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World Teacher’s Day

Since its inception in 1994 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), October 5th of every year marks World Teacher Day. This year’s theme was ‘Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession.’ The day provides the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession worldwide, to take stock of achievements, and to address some of the issues central for attracting and keeping the brightest minds and young talents in the profession.

Qatar celebrated with the participation of a number of UNESCO-affiliated schools in a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

Education plays a vital role in the Human Development Pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030). The Human Development Pillar looks to enable the Qatari people sustain and grow the country’s progression in all areas. Education is the foundation of the Human Development Pillar. Qatar is actively focusing on education from primary school all the way to higher education levels, in an effort to have one of the top education systems in the world.

 

 

Education City is a major part of Qatar’s education initiative. There are various programs ranging from IB-accredited school systems to specialized schools for K-12. For higher education, there are offerings that include a range of degrees from undergraduate to postdoctoral degrees. In total, there are 20 schools located in Education City; 11 are K-12 schools and 9 of them are universities. Of the universities, six of them are American universities: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar School of the Arts, Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar, and Northwestern University in Qatar.

“Education is one of the basic pillars of social progress. The state shall ensure, foster and endeavor to spread it.”

– Permanent Constitution of Qatar

The State of Qatar has been a member of UNESCO since 1972, and currently holds a seat on the Executive Board. Qatar has 82 UNESCO associated schools (6 pre-schools, 39 primary, 9 primary and secondary, and 28 secondary schools). Qatar also hosts a UNESCO office in Doha, which was established in 1976 and serves as a cluster office for Qatar and other countries in the Gulf region.

 

 

 

 

(Image Source: Qatar Foundation International)

 

 

 

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HH Sheikha Moza Speaks at Georgetown University Panel on Education

On September 18, Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser spoke at Georgetown University in a seminar titled “The Right to Education for All.” The Thought Leadership Seminar was co-hosted by the Education Above All foundation and Georgetown University.

During the panel discussion,  she stressed the need for education to continue during and after times of crisis so that upcoming generations gain the capacity of creating and sustaining more stable futures.

 

She also urged universities and educational organization to take the lead in using innovative technology’s and techniques to find solutions that can accelerate progress for protection of education.

 

 

The event also featured Dr. Alaa Murabit, who currently serves as the United Nations High-Level Commissioner on Health, Employment & Economic Growth and Ambassador Melanne Verveer, the executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. The panel discussion was moderated by Georgetown University President John J. Degioia.

 

 

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QAI hosts Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington – Women’s Leadership Luncheon

On Tuesday, September 10th, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a special luncheon for the Women’s Leadership Group, a member of the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Washington. The luncheon aimed to welcome new members to WLG, highlight past accomplishments, and discuss upcoming events, such as: WLG’s anniversary celebration on December 3rd, 2019 and WLG’s Holiday Swing concert at the Kennedy Center on December 28, 2019.

Among the attendees was WLG’s Founder & Chairman, Patty Perkins Andringa who thanked QAI for its continuous generous support to the BGCGW and and other youth and education initiatives in the DC area.

The WLG was established in 1999, and is entering its 20th year. So far, WLG has been able to raise $6 million in support of its programs, enhancing educational initiatives, scholarship opportunities and cultural arts exposure.

 

Images of Women’s Leadership Luncheon 

 

 

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QAI Supports Silatech on the Occasion of the World Youth Skills Day

July 15 marks World Skills Day for Youth. 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15 and 24 make up 16% of the world’s population. The UN’s sustainable development goals require citizen participation from all age groups. Young people, as the decision-makers of the future, play an enormous role in this citizen participation. Young people are the key to building sustainable, just, inclusive and stable societies in order to avoid or address the threats of tomorrow. These include climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender equality, global conflicts, and exponential migration.

However, young people between 15 and 24 years of age are three times more likely to be exposed to unemployment than adults. In addition, they are continually exposed to lower quality jobs, greater labor market inequalities and longer and less secure school-to-work transitions.

Going further, women between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely to be underemployed and underpaid and to work part-time or on temporary contracts.

 

Silatech, a non-profit company in Qatar, has a mission to include and connect young people around the world, especially in the workplace. Silatech provides innovative solutions in the field of youth employment. The company works with national, regional and international partners to provide financial, technical and operational contributions to young people who wish to develop their skills and employment opportunities.

In an interview between Forbes and Ms. Sabah Al-Haidoos – CEO of Silatech, on 29 January 2019, Ms. Al-Haidoos elaborated on the scope of Silatech’s work, the importance of the role of young people in the world and their values: “Without economic and social empowerment of young people after graduating high school, education won’t be as useful. Investing in innovative educational solutions and tools at the grassroots level is a worthwhile venture because it is the conduit to economic opportunities when all enabling factors align. (…) We also work with partner organizations that believe in our mission to empower and inspire youth to transform their lives for the better and lead the change in their communities. ”

The current challenge regarding youth employment is the central point of the organization’s values. Silatech believes that it is necessary to educate society on this global problem, to achieve the development of a political strategy for governments. In addition, Silatech proposes to launch media campaigns to encourage and support innovative and innovative employment methods for young people, but also for companies.

 

 

 

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3,000 Qatari Patients Benefit From the Hamad Medical Corporation’s Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinic

Since the Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinic (SSPC) opening at Hamad General Hospital (HGH) in April 2018, 3,000 visits have been made. The purpose of the clinic is to offer services in prevention and education to reduce the risk of recurrence in patients who have recently had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

”The patients that we see in this clinic have a high risk of suffering a stroke or TIA, often for the second or even third time,” stated Dr. Naveed Akhtar, Head of Stroke Services at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

The clinic offers a wide range of services, such education, prevention, and monitoring. Preventives services can include diagnostic results, education of healthy lifestyle habits and explanation of main risk factors for stroke. These services are delivered by specially-trained stroke consultants, clinical nurse specialists, educators, and pharmacists. Moreover, the SSPC focuses on health promotion and education in order to keep the Qatari population as healthy as possible.

 

Stroke is one of the leading causes of mortality on the world. The incidence of stroke is very high among Qataris, particularly amongst those under the age of 60.

 

“Studies show that the risk of recurrent stroke is between 5-10% within the first 30 days and rises to up to 40% within five years of the initial stroke. For this reason, it is essential that we provide suitable education and support for stroke patients to try to prevent any further incidents,” says Dr. Akhtar

 

 

With the opening of the SSPC, more than 3,000 patients are benefiting of the stroke team’s expertise, and more will be taken in in the near future.

 

 

 

 

(Image Source: Hamad Medical Corporation)

 

 

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Qatar Announces Final $13.7 Million Donations of its Harvey Fund

The State of Qatar announced that the final $13.7 million of the $30 million Qatar Harvey Fund will be directed towards a variety of Houston area community development projects. $3.3 million will be donated to build eight soccer fields that will also serve as flood mitigation basins. In addition, $1.72 million will aid Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA), a cultural and community center in Houston.

 

The remainder of the fund will aid charitable organizations, including the Greater Houston Community Foundation and the Blue Triangle Community Center.

“Helping to provide continued access to educational resources and opportunities in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is a primary goal of the Qatar Harvey Fund,” stated His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S. and Chair of the Qatar Harvey Fund.

 

The Qatar Harvey Fund was established in 2017 by the State of Qatar to support recovery in Southeast Texas after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. The $30 million fund provided aid to veterans impacted by the hurricane, created scholarships to support students to continue their education, helped rebuild homes, and assisted in the reopening of a hospital.

 

Qatar is known for its generous foreign humanitarian support. The $100 million Qatar Katrina Fund provided relief after Hurricane Katrina and funded projects in housing, education and healthcare.

Qatar has also given aid to Haiti and Japan after devastating earthquakes, and has funded development projects in Mali and Tunisia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Image Source: Twitter – @Amb_AlThani)

 

 

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The Most Accessible World Cup in History: The Sensory Rooms

To offer the most accessible World Cup in 2022 in the tournament’s history, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) of Qatar has developed an innovative and unique approach to make sure every supporter will be able to support their favorites teams.

On May 16th, for the 2019 Amir Cup Final, 22 children from the Qatar Foundation Disability Football Programme and the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute – joined by their parents – watched the game from the comfort of the new sensory room at Al Janoub Stadium. The room provides a safe place to people with autism and other neurobehavioral conditions. The new sensory room is equipped with bubble tubes, beanbags, a ball pen, and also includes relaxing wall and ceiling projections.

“We are committed to promoting accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities in all aspects of life in Qatar, including working together to reach the vision of a fully accessible World Cup. The QRI has provided a range of specialist sensory equipment for the sensory room which is now available in the stadium for children and adults who have conditions such as attention deficits, autism and head injuries. The room enables users to watch the matches under the supervision of an expert occupational therapist in a nurturing, client-centered sensory supportive environment.” – Sultan Al Abdulla, QRI’s Chief of Occupational Therapy.

Al Janoub Stadium and the Khalifa International Stadium are both offering these sensory rooms. Both of them will offer this amazing experience to supporters during the 2022 World Cup.

 

 

(Image Source: The Peninsula)

 

 

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QAI Conducts Outreach in Chicago

JUNE 17-18, 2019 — CHICAGO, IL: The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) completed a two-day outreach trip to the city of Chicago with His Excellency Nasser Allenqawi, Consul General of the State of Qatar from New York. The visit included a series of high-level engagements in the city focused on education and culture. The visit is part of a series of outreach visits focused on enhancing the US-Qatar bilateral relationship.

 

Philip Jodidio [left], Richard Roth [right]

As part of the Qatar America Institute’s Expressions Series on those that have been inspired by Qatari art and culture, noted author and architectural critic Philip Jodidio and former Senior Associate Dean of Northwestern University in Qatar, Richard J. Roth, kicked off the Chicago-based events with a dialogue on contemporary architecture and urban development in Doha, Qatar.

The event gathered Chicago area architects, engineers, business leaders and students for an overview by Mr. Jodidio that included discussion of Qatar’s state-of-the-art museums and internationally acclaimed original architecture including the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art; the Qatar National Library; Msheireb Downtown Doha with major design and sustainability innovations by Chicago-based architects and engineers; the Sidra Medical and Research Center, and a host of Pritzker-laureate architecture that forms the campus of the Qatar Foundation and six top U.S. universities in Doha; and the newly-opened National Museum of Qatar—Jean Nouvel’s second iconic work to be built in Doha.

 

Mr. Jodidio and Mr. Roth expanded the discussion with audience members to focus on ways the special relationship between the U.S. and Qatar has led to an increasingly progressive and open country, radical innovations in sustainable public transit for Doha, and the highest concentration of original architecture by Pritzker Prize in the world.

 

“There is a desire for openness, there is a desire for lasting quality, there is desire for modernity,” said Mr. Jodidio. “Some of this must seem strange for people who listen to the news and sometimes hear negative things about the region, but after 18 visits and extensive time working in Qatar, I can tell you this is a truly inspiring place that is open, forward-thinking, and preparing its own people for a future which might just be one without carbon-based fuels, gas, and oil.”

 

Attendees at Qatar-America Liqa Reception

QAI also hosted the U.S. representative from the Qatar World Cup organizing entity, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), in a briefing session with Chicago-area executives and leaders from across the sports sector.

 

The SC shared currents and updates, and address questions about the mega-event expected to attract 1.5 million fans to Qatar in November 2022. During the briefing, the SC’s representative emphasized Qatar’s commitment to deliver a “not only national, but also tournament showcasing all countries and cultures of the region.”

 

 

Another commitment that was highlighted was the SC’s pledge to allocate between $40-50 million to pay off construction migrant workers debts at their home-countries. The representative stressed the existing U.S.-Qatar economic ties in relation to the Qatar World Cup which will reach $10 billion invested in American services and expertise for the upcoming tournament in 2022.

 

During the briefing, the SC’s representative noted Qatar’s recently implemented reforms for workers’ rights, which reflect their commitment to respect the standards of hosting the tournament and to improve the welfare of the country’s expatriate labor force. This was witnessed with the following policy decisions: Qatar’s unilateral decision to sign a three-year technical cooperation agreement with the United Nations’ International Labour Organization to promote labor laws in the country and build government officials’ capacity to implement them and ensure that recruitment practices are in line with best international practices.

 

Jesse Clark White, Secretary of State [Illinois]

The two-day run of events concluded with a packed reception that gathered more than 100 local business and community leaders to celebrate the impacts, cultural and education links, business opportunities and jobs created by the long-standing partnership between Qatar and the U.S. Consul General Allenqawi and Illinois Secretary of State the Honorable Jesse Clark White addressed the guests and underscored the commitment to continued collaboration between Qatar and Chicagoland businesses and cultural institutions.

 

In his concluding remarks, Consul General Allenqawi thanked QAI and Chicago’s local business and cultural communities for a successful series of meetings and events. “I sincerely hope this was energizing and inspiring for you all, as it was for me, and that we can build and inspire on the ideas exchanged to further the relations between our two nations.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Qatar Donates $300,000 to Lone Star College to Assist Students Impacted by Hurricane Harvey
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Qatar Donates $300,000 to Lone Star College to Assist Students Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Lone Star College, Texas, just received a donation of $300,000 from the Qatar Harvey Fund (QHF). The purpose of this donation was to provide financial aid through scholarships to students impacted by the Hurricane Harvey.

 

“The goal became to create scholarship funds that would allow students to continue their education or give them an opportunity to enroll at a university,” said Stephen Head, Chancellor of Lone Star College.

 

The category 4 hurricane interrupted many students’ studies and impacted their finances. 300 students will be able to return to school thanks to scholarships from the Qatar Harvey Fund. Scholarships will be available to students in the fall and winter of 2020. In addition, students will receive financial support for mental and emotional health services, tuition and other education-related costs.

 

“We have heard so much about the negative ripple effect of Hurricane Harvey on the communities of southeast Texas. The damage goes far beyond physical damage and people are still recovering from the enormous financial burden that caused so many to stop or delay their education in order to meet urgent needs,” said His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S.

 

QHF has donated $3,25 million Texas’ colleges in 2019 alone to assist students impacted by the Hurricane. Qatar pledges to give $30 million to help the people of Texas to recover from Hurricane Harvey.

 

 

 

 

(Image Source: Community Impact )

 

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