Emir, Moza honour QF leaders
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA THE Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, Founder of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), and Her Highness Sheikha Moza, QF Chairperson, hosted an appreciation gathering in honour of QF’s exceptional present and past leaders on Wednesday, and offered a look ahead to a world transformed for the better by QF.
Organised at QF’s Al Shaqab equestrian facility, senior members of the QF family celebrated the Foundation’s journey and achievements in unlocking human potential.
Sheikha Moza spoke of QF’s modest beginnings, born out of a conversation with HH the Emir almost two decades ago, in which she discussed her wish as a mother to provide the best possible education for her children and, seeing herself as mother of all children of Qatar, to ensure a high standard of education for all. The dream of Qatar Foundation was born in 1995.
It began to take shape when Sheikha Moza brought together a core team of leaders to work on this vision. Seventeen years later, QF’s success has surpassed all expectations.
Sheikha Moza spoke of QF as an important vehicle for change, not only through education but also as a catalyst for community development, and as a means of promoting a culture of excellence in all sectors throughout Qatar.
Sheikha Moza also acknowledged the achievements of QF’s former board members and added that a new generation has now been entrusted with taking QF forward. She went on to encourage the Foundation’s new board members to move forward with the courage and spirit of QF.
QF was established in 1995 as part of His Highness’s vision to support the country’s transformation to a knowledge-based economy. Since then, the organisation has blossomed and is now home to numerous worldclass academic institutions, top science and research organisations, and over 4,000 students and researchers from the region and around the world. A global intellectual hub, QF remains at the heart of social and community development in Qatar.
QF’s first Chairperson, HE Abdulla bin Khalifa al Attiyah, personally witnessed this transformation, due in large part to the commitment of Qatar’s leadership to building a nation that offers a world-class education.
“The passion and drive of HH the Emir was not limited to just the establishment of an educational institution like that of Qatar Foundation. It was part of his ambition to continually improve education nationwide,” he said.
And today, QF has become a hub for academics, researchers and scientists from all over the world.
Reflecting on QF’s unique upbringing, the institution’s growth is also attributable to Qatar’s rich culture. To bolster the nation’s deep cultural heritage, the Foundation features the Sidra tree as its logo, which, like QF, is native to Qatar.
“Qatar Foundation believes in the strength of tradition and culture, and instills these values in the country’s young generations through its education and outreach programs, with the aim to achieve a culture of excellence,” said former QF Vice Chairperson Dr Saif Ali Al Hajari. “The Sidra tree embodies all that QF teaches, a symbol that is now recognized around the world.” Since QF’s birth, proof of the nation’s advancement under HH the Emir’s ambitious educational agenda has become increasingly tangible, having successfully attracted global attention. Commenting on the journey, QF President Dr Mohammad Fathy Saoud said, “When I started with the small academic team at QF, our dream was more modest than what has been realized on the ground today. We have been honoured to participate in the development of the unique project ‘Education City’.
Since 1995 the project has been challenging and exciting but it was built on the basic pillars of success: vision, commitment and sustainable resources; more importantly, the visionary leadership of HH the Emir and HH the Chairperson.” Dr Saoud continued, “There is great pride to all of us for what has been achieved today but much more needs to be done.
Our ambitious dream continues to grow with a hopeful outlook for the future when the new generation of Education City alumni shoulder the responsibility of the future of QF and Qatar at large. Our very best wishes for the new board members who shall continue to be pioneers.” The pioneering spirit was established with the founding of QF, its first leaders setting out to turn the vision of HH the Emir and HH Sheikha Moza into reality by undertaking a worldwide survey of elite educational institutions, with the goal of establishing branch campuses here in Qatar. “QF began with the task of finding centers of excellence, both for the region and the Arab world, particularly in education, scientific research, healthcare and community service,” said Member of the QF Board of Directors and President of Qatar University, HE Dr Sheikha Abdulla Al Misnad.
This task was accomplished beyond anyone’s initial expectations, and today QF is home to eight worldclass universities, as well as its own Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies offering masters degree programs. QF Board of Trustees member and VP of Capital Projects and Facilities Management, Engineer Saad Ibrahim Al Muhannadi stated, “In just 17 years, QF has positioned itself as one of the most visible brands in the world.
Being a part of QF’s journey to achieving this involved a series of beautiful challenges that I enjoyed every minute of. It is very true that when you are enjoying doing something, you will excel. And that is our success story.” Every step of the way, this success has been underpinned by a determination to learn, and to utilize the latest advancements in educational innovation for the greater good. QF’s VP for Admin Rashid Al Naimi said, “I am proud to have been able to see the vision of QF implemented as a reality. The more time I have spent at QF, the more I have soaked up the vision of Her Highness.
Joining the QF family has helped me to contribute to the development of the people and future generations, which is an asset for this nation.” HE Dr Abdulla Al Thani, President of Hamad Bin Khalifa University and QF’s VP of Education said, “The thirst for knowledge and progress is part of our nation’s history, and it is at the heart of everything we do at QF. We will continue to encourage our students, faculty, staff to be innovative and creative because this is vital for the future of Qatar.” At Wednesday’s event, each of QF’s previous board members, from 1996, 1999 and 2003, was presented with a commemorative medal by HH the Emir.
The former leaders were united in their praise for both HH the Emir and Her Highness, who has done so much as QF Chairperson to deliver on the organization’s original aims. Dr Vartan Gregorian, a former member of QF’s Board of Directors, reflecting on his experience at QF, stating, “Many people have money, but no vision. Many people have vision but no leadership. Her Highness has provided both the vision and leadership as well. The ideology of Her Highness and QF has always been, whatever you do, to do it well and wherever the best is, bring the best to Qatar.” However, with QF’s master plan still only 60 per cent complete, many challenges lie ahead.
The Foundation’s new leaders expressed excitement at the prospect of continuing the great work of their predecessors. HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al Thani, QF Vice Chairperson, said, “QF has inspired a new generation of leaders. We have seen our graduates taking senior positions in various ministries and corporations in Qatar, starting up their own ventures, and undertaking scientific research. This is the beginning. I am proud to be a part of the next phase of QF’s plans to develop a new generation of leaders.” Faisal Al Suwaidi, newly appointed QF President of R&D said, “QF is doing remarkable work in the areas of education, research and community development.
I look forward to working with the people of QF to build on the good results that have already been achieved, and to help QF meet its vision in the fields of R&D.” Overall, the occasion served as a metaphor for QF’s formidable energy, drive and professionalism, having been entirely organized by QF staff. The QF Communication Directorate was responsible for the overall management of the event, and Qatar MICE Development Institute (QMDI) oversaw logistics and planning. Meanwhile, a superb banquet was expertly arranged by QNCC. A film produced by Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, was shown in advance of Her Highness’s speech. The evening included performances from the QPO, as well as a stunning display of equestrianism featuring some of Al Shaqab’s Arabian horses. QF Radio broadcast the entire event live on air.
Haya bint Khalifa Al Nassr, QF Communication Director and Acting Executive GM at Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, said, “This event truly shows how far QF has come since the early days of QA.” “Since that time, over 900 students have graduated and eight world-class branch universities have been established. The results of this investment in human capital are tangible, with QF having patents pending for over 40 new innovations.” May Al Jaber, now Marketing Unit Head at QF, was part of QA’s first graduating class. She said, “Having been part of QF from the beginning, I felt compelled to contribute and maybe in my own small way pave the way for future generations.” Members of the first group of graduates from QF schools attended the event.
Al-Rabab Bu-Helaiqa, a Texas A&M University at Qatar alumnus from the class of 2009, spoke of the pride instilled by studying at Qatar Foundation. She stated, “I now serve my country as a proud female petroleum engineer at RasGas. My experience in Qatar Foundation is far more than just academic. Apart from offering worldclass education in my home country, Qatar Foundation also empowered us as the youth to pursue our ambitions, speak up and help shape the future.”
At the end of the evening, gratitude was expressed to all who attended, including Minister of Energy and Industry and QF Board Member HE Dr Mohammed Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Education and Higher Education and Secretary General of the Supreme Education Council HE Saad bin Ibrahim Al Mahmoud and Minister of Public Health HE Abdulla bin Khalid Al Qahtani.