Qatar Foundation 2020: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

July

A New Culture of Ideas – In Arabic

Qatar Foundation stands as a custodian of the Arabic language, heritage, culture, and knowledge – preserving and celebrating the cultural cornerstones of the Arab world, and promoting their enduring relevance to the world as a whole. 

And, in July, its commitment to not only cherishing and respecting the Arabic language, but to cultivating broader understanding of its richness and value, was epitomized as Qatar Foundation (QF) and TED launched TEDinArabic – a two-year initiative providing a platform for thinkers, researchers, artists, and change-makers everywhere to tell the world about their ideas, in the Arabic language. 

TED’s first initiative focused on amplifying ideas in Arabic, it also reflects QF’s dedication to opening up opportunities for people to give a voice to their knowledge, perspectives, and ideas. The partnership was formed through QF and TED’s collective conviction that everyone has the ability to help shape the world through their power their mind holds.  

Partnering with one of the world’s great believers in the power of ideas, QF’s dedication to nurturing and promoting the Arabic language – within the Arab world, and beyond – was illustrated with the launch of a globally groundbreaking initiative.

July

New thinking, shared with the world

“Language is more than just a means of communication,” said Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation. “It influences the way we think and how we frame our perceptions at a subconscious level. 

“With TEDinArabic, I hope we can continue the process of amplifying ideas from our region to a global audience in a language that is synonymous with innovation and new thinking. We are proud to be partnering with TED, with whom we share the belief that everyone’s voice and mind can make a difference, as together we aim to build a new culture of idea generation that stretches across the Arab world and beyond.” 

As TEDinArabic unfolds, the reach and impact of the ideas conceptualized by Arabic speakers throughout the world will be magnified, with the partnership concluding in 2022 at a flagship Doha event that will bring the TED conference experience to the Middle East. But beyond then, the TEDinArabic content library – housing content on topics with the greatest relevance to the Arabic-speaking world – will remain live and accessible. 

Together we aim to build a new culture of idea generation that stretches across the Arab world and beyond

Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al ThaniVice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation

The TEDinArabic website has been visited 19 million times since its launch.

July

Hope through truth

Speaking with passion and purpose on a QF platform in July, best-selling author Layla F. Saad explained the true meaning of white privilege in today’s world as – amid US protests sparked by the death of George Floyd – she tackled the topic of race and identity in the latest online edition of the Education City Speaker Series. 

Saad’s chart-topping book Me And White Supremacy invited people to recognize how they may, even unconsciously, cause harm to Black people and people of color, and urges them to seek to understand their white privilege and commit to fighting racism. And she told the webinar: “What we want to create is a word that has not yet existed, and creating it means telling the truth about the world we have – and the onus is on those who have privilege. 

“If white people want Black people and people of color to have hope, they need to give them reasons to be hopeful. That means looking at how racism presents itself in your family, your school, your workplace, and asking yourself whether you are actively taking action.” 

What we want to create is a word that has not yet existed, and creating it means telling the truth about the world we have

Layla F. SaadAuthor
July

Helping to build a healthier world

Action to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in Qatar and the region was boosted as a research group at QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) was officially designated a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center.  

It paved the way for WCM-Q’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group to support WHO’s work by providing research and advice to help shape health policy decisions in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). 

“Being awarded World Health Organization Collaborating Center status at WCM-Q is a huge achievement, and further strengthens Qatar’s ability to fight infectious diseases that affect communities all over the EMR region and beyond,” said Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health and Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation. 

“This official designation demonstrates the success of Qatar’s investment in the healthcare and research sectors, and reinforces Qatar’s contribution to public health on a global level.” 

This official designation demonstrates the success of Qatar’s investment in the healthcare and research sectors

Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al KuwariMinister of Public Health and Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation
July

Safety, security, and strength

Researchers and lab engineers at QF partner university Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) - having mobilized their resources to develop face shields, valves, and other tools to help fight the virus – converted commercially-available snorkeling masks into ventilators that were delivered to Hamad Medical Corporation, to treat patients with respiratory difficulties in a non-invasive way.  

The university is also leading an academia-industry research collaboration focused on providing Qatar with a safer, more reliable energy supply, and in July it received a $3.2 million grant from QF’s Qatar National Research Fund for a project to strengthen the cybersecurity of the nation’s smart grid and help protect it from cyber attacks, damage, and disruption. Alongside researchers from QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), Qatar University, and the Qatar Electricity & Water Corporation, faculty from Texas A&M’s main campus in the Us, and Kansas State University, are also part of the international collaboration. 

TAMUQ houses 5 research centers, focusing on:

  • Gas and fuels
  • Process safety
  • Sustainable water and energy
  • Smart grids
  • Advanced scientific computing
July

Driving technology forward

As well as supporting such nationally vital research projects, QF also provides a pathway for SMEs and startups to drive forward new tech products and processes that can fill market gaps in Qatar, through Qatar Science & Technology Park’s (QSTP) Product Development Fund.  

Helping to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in Qatar, its three latest beneficiaries were announced this month: a data delivery platform providing high-quality market and financial information; a secure platform giving people access to psychological therapists around the world; and a mobile payment app that eliminates the need for cash and cards. 

“SMEs are critical to economic development,” said Aysha H. Al Hamadi, QSTP’s Director of Product Development and Grants Management Fund. “Besides creating job opportunities and generating revenue, they also stimulate innovation, which is fundamental to national economic growth and sustainability.” 

QSTP has:

  • Helped to commercialize 31 innovative products
  • Made 115 investments in regional companies
  • Incubated 20 tech-focused Qatari startups
  • Become home to over 50 companies – including 20 international companies

QSTP is offering $50m over five years to support startups

Over $1bn has been invested in RDI activities by international companies registered at QSTP.

July

A body of knowledge

In the sphere of academic research, QF partner university Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) celebrated the first 40 books to be published by its Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS).  

“In only 13 years, CIRS has made significant contributions to the global body of knowledge on issues relevant to the Gulf region and beyond,” said outgoing CIRS director Dr. Mehran Kamrava. 

And GU-Q professor of Arabic Dr. Yehia Mohamed, together with University of Oxford senior research fellow Elizabeth Kendall, addressed a knowledge gap in the field of the Arabic language by publishing ‘Diplomacy Arabic: An Essential Vocabulary’ – a guide for successful communication in diplomacy and international affairs, inspired by the students on the GU-Q Arabic Language Program that Dr. Mohamed co-founded. 

CIRS has made significant contributions to the global body of knowledge on issues relevant to the Gulf region and beyond

Dr. Mehran KamravaOutgoing Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies, Georgetown University in Qatar

GU-Q’s CIRS studies regional and international issues through:

  • Dialogue and exchanging ideas
  • Research and scholarship
  • Engaging with scholars, opinion-makers, and activists
July

Learning through the summer

School students were inspired to learn over the holidays as QF’s Pre-University Education ensured that, despite the pandemic, its Mukhayamna Summer Camp continued – in virtual form.  

With partners including the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, HBKU, TAMUQ, the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar Scientific Club, Doha Film Institute, and Qatar National Library, the camp featured an array of courses led by QF teachers, including a special segment for gifted students. 

Throughout July, children and young people aged 5-18 enjoyed activities ranging from language lessons, Model United Nations sessions, and musical theater classes, and the chance to develop their design, creative writing, technology, STEM, sport, and arts skills – showing once again that, at QF, learning never stops. 

QF schools offered more than 150 extracurricular activities in the 2019-20 academic year

Teachers from 7 QF schools delivered virtual classes at the Mukhayamna Summer Camp

July

Planting the seeds of curiosity

QF also believes that learning starts early– a belief reflected in July as its Qatar Reads initiative and Qatar National Library launched the Mommy To Be program, a unique initiative that provides expectant mothers and those with newborns and toddlers with access to educational reading materials, interactive workshops, and opportunities to meet and build new connections. 

Divided into three phases – pregnancy, postnatal, and early years – the workshops equip expectant and new mums with practical skills ranging from prenatal yoga to reading for toddlers. 

“To create a generation of readers and leaders, we need to plant the seeds of learning, curiosity, and creativity from an early age,” said Aljazi T. Al-Henzab, Project Manager of Qatar Reads. “And that is the overarching aim of Mommy to Be.” 

Targeting all age groups and demographics, Qatar Reads – which evolved from QF’s National Reading Campaign – aims to cultivate a nationwide love of reading that empowers people to be seekers of knowledge, and active, socially engaged, globally aware citizens. 

To create a generation of readers and leaders, we need to plant the seeds of learning, curiosity, and creativity from an early age

Aljazi T. Al-HenzabProject Manager of Qatar Reads

Qatar Reads’ Mommy To Be program covers 3 phases:

  • Pregnancy
  • Postnatal
  • Early Years
July

Removing the barriers to potential

For 15 students identified as being future drivers of change in Qatar and on the global stage, a new learning experience is only just beginning – thanks to a new partnership between QF and Education Above All Foundation (EAA) that was announced in July. 

The agreement means a group of young people studying at universities in Education City will be awarded scholarships under the EAA’s Al Fakhoora Dynamic Futures Qatar Program in the current academic year. “Through this partnership, we will ensure that talented young people with so much to give to Qatar and the world, but who may face obstacles to receiving the education they need to make a difference, are supported to be everything they can be,” said Noof Al Derham, Director of QF’s Student Financial Services. 

“Investing in the potential of individuals means investing in the future of our country and our world.” 

Investing in the potential of individuals means investing in the future of our country and our world

Noof Al DerhamDirector of QF’s Student Financial Services

15 students will benefit from scholarships through the QF/EAA partnership