Qatar Foundation 2021: THE YEAR IN REVIEW


Leading Learning – and Nurturing Leaders

Across QF’s diverse portfolio of schools, every year, children and young people are creating, exploring, innovating, questioning, and developing a sense of citizenship and compassion – in a learning environment where the quality education they receive reflects Arabic cultural heritage and the Arabic language.

What they learn and gain during their time in these schools, which come under QF’s Pre-University Education (PUE), equips them to be tomorrow’s leaders, a new generation of change agents. And in summer 2021, the latest batch of graduates from six of these schools were celebrated as they prepared to write new chapters in their story.

Virtual ceremonies hailed the 554 graduates of Qatar Academy Doha, Qatar Academy Al Khor, Qatar Academy Sidra, Qatar Leadership Academy, Awsaj Academy, and QF’s school-to-university foundation program the Academic Bridge Program, with Buthaina Ali Al Nuaimi, President of Pre-University Education QF – who would, later in the year, be appointed as Qatar’s Minister of Education and Higher Education – saying: “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented them with new and unique challenges as they strive to achieve their goals, and the way they have responded to these challenges and excelled is truly inspiring.”

Hundreds of students marked their graduation from QF’s schools and entered the next stage of their journey – with their learning experience at Education City making them ready to innovate, explore, and excel

6,082 students have graduated from QF schools since 2000


Prepared for Life

“Today, we stand at a crossroads,” Maitha Ibrahim R N Al Mohannadi, Qatar Academy Al Khor Student President, told her school’s graduation ceremony. “We will turn the next page of our lives, to open new, bright white pages.

“The pandemic that all of humanity is going through changed the course of education, and brought us – teachers and students – together to continue the journey of knowledge, research, and inquiry as lifelong learners.”

For Reem Abdullah Ahmed Al Manni, part of Qatar Academy Sidra’s (QAS) graduating class, learning within a QF school meant being “pushed towards my best potential”, as she said: “My time at QAS has prepared me for the next stages of my life, and I’m thankful to have been part of its community.”

And Alhanouf Al Dosari, Valedictorian of Awsaj Academy – which supports children and young people who have learning challenges – told her peers and friends from the school: “As the Class of 2021 graduates and moves to conquer a newer challenge in life, always remember to live with the idea of not wanting to regret your past, and don’t let anyone choose your future for you.”

Always remember to live with the idea of not wanting to regret your past, and don’t let anyone choose your future for you

Alhanouf Al Dosari
Awsaj Academy graduate

Activism and Appreciation

A love of learning is matched by a dedication to community action for Qatar Academy Doha (QAD) students, who, under the name Activists in Action, have embarked on a campaign to ban single-use plastic bags in Qatar.

The sustainability-minded students aim to collect 10,000 names on a petition supporting their cause, lead beach clean-ups, and participate in sustainability events around Qatar to send out their message.

And in June, their efforts were recognized in the form of a letter of appreciation from His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, in which he told them that their campaign embodied their love for their country, showed an awareness of the danger of plastic waste to the environment, and instilled confidence in the determination of the country’s youth to help build a sustainable and prosperous Qatar.

It came as Activists in Action, with other QAD students and staff and the Doha Environmental Actions Project, collected up to 12 kilos of trash from different beaches in Qatar, with student Hamad Al Thani saying: “Our efforts will have a long-term impact, and will make Qatar cleaner and more beautiful.”

Our efforts will have a long-term impact, and will make Qatar cleaner and more beautiful

Hamad Al Thani
Qatar Academy Doha student

Equipping Educators to Excel

Marking 25 years of leading learning, and reflecting its commitment to elevating the skills of those who educate, in 2020 QF launched a special scholarship program to help teachers and school leaders in Qatar develop themselves – and, by extension, their students.

The 25 Professional Learning Scholarship Opportunities initiative – established by PUE’s Education Development Institute – enabled 25 non-QF educators to benefit from innovative, data-driven training and coaching through the institute’s PETAL and PALME programs, which support effective teaching and learning and nurture aspiring education leaders.

Reflecting on the scholarship experience in June, recipient Dr. Niall Johnson, of Qatar Science and Technology Secondary School for Boys, said: “The wonderful ideas that my peers shared really gave me great ideas for ways to modify my own use of data in the service of better teaching.”

And Younes Salem Orabi, an Arabic language teacher at Ibn Al Haytham Elementary School for Boys, said: “What I learned from the program was the importance of data, its analysis, and how it supports appropriate and sound decision-making, as well as the importance of reflection and deep thinking in our work.”

QF’s Education Development Institute:

  • Leads professional learning and development
  • Supports curriculum improvement
  • Builds leadership capacity

Striking a Balance

Failing to reshape “the framework of work” so that it recognizes the needs, roles, and lives of women risks harming societies – that was the message Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, took to the global stage in June.

Speaking in a panel discussion with Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th US Secretary of State, during the Qatar Economic Forum – powered by Bloomberg – Her Excellency Sheikha Hind called for change in a system that she said “is not working for women” in balancing their careers and families.

“Why do women have to divide their work from their family life?” she asked. “That’s not how we operate, and, if we think about women through history, it’s not how they operated.

“Putting women on the same line as men is not resolving the issue. We need to have flexibility, and it’s important to understand the impact of women not being involved in their children’s lives, and their own lives, in a way that is productive and meaningful.

“That is going to disrupt our communities into the future, and it’s time to change it.”

Putting women on the same line as men is not resolving the issue

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

Showcased to the World

In June, QF took its mission to one of the world’s leading platforms for tackling economic issues facing global society – and strengthened its array of international partnerships in education, culture, and research, development, and innovation.

Nine QF entities and initiatives showcased their efforts in fields ranging from pre-university and higher learning to science and technology, healthcare, and cultural and community development, at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), at which Qatar was the 2021 guest country.

And QF and its members signed 10 new agreements with Russian organizations, including Hamad Bin Khalifa University collaborations with Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia’s National Research University Higher School of Economics, and the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, Qatar Science & Technology Park will work with Russian scientific and technological center Skolkovo Foundation to help the startups they support enter each other’s markets.

“This key global forum provided an opportunity for us to showcase how QF is contributing to portraying Qatar to the world as a driver of positive change,” said Aysha Al-Mudahka, QF’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnership Development.


An Eye for Discovery

When the family of a 10-month-old Qatari child suffering from an ultra-rare disease that caused the child’s eyes to fill with woody growths contacted QF’s Sidra Medicine – fearing their daughter could lose her eyesight - it set in motion a discovery that was a first for Qatar.

While the growths can be surgically removed, they require special eye drops made from human plasma to stop them returning, and these had never been made in Qatar before. But Sidra’s expertise in precision medicine for pediatric patients changed all this.

Using fresh frozen plasma from screened donors that is usually used for infusion, teams from different departments in Sidra developed the eyedrops the child – the only person in Qatar with the eye disease, plasminogen deficiency – needed, with the child’s mother saying the breakthrough “makes us feel like we can sleep again”.

Dr. Chiara Cugno, Director of Sidra’s Advanced Cell Therapy Core, said: “The fact we were able to produce these eye drops on our own, without relying on centers abroad, is a great example of how Qatar has truly embarked on its journey to delivering personalized medicine and becoming self-sufficient in medicine.”

Plasminogen deficiency affects less than 2 in every million people


A Story of Success

Every year, the US-based National Indie Excellence Awards recognize independent and self-publishers who produce books that tell very different stories, but all have something in common – literary excellence.

And in June 2021, four titles published by QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press – including Arabic titles translated into English - were named as finalists in the latest edition of the awards, in categories including Children’s Fiction, Children’s Inspirational/Motivational Books, and Picture Books.

“Our inaugural participation of the National Indie Excellence Awards resulted in outstanding recognition, and has cemented a new avenue in which to participate in the global literary landscape and in cross-cultural communications,” said Bachar Chebaro, Executive Director of Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press.

Recognition also came the way of QF’s Doha International Family Institute in June, as it was named the Best Organization to Support Family Issues in the Arab Region by the League of Arab States, for its national and regional efforts to strengthen the role of the Arab family and enhance awareness of its role in building cohesive societies.

HBKU Press publishes

  • Fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children
  • Academic and reference materials

Guiding Career Paths

More than 190 students from schools across Qatar were given a helping hand in defining their academic and career paths, thanks to a QF entity that aims to support young people in mapping their future.

Qatar Career Development Center’s (QCDC) free Virtual Career Advising Sessions saw 16 specialized career mentors and mentees host sessions covering topics including job opportunities, university requirements, career and resume guidance, choosing the best major and university, and studying abroad.

“We launched this initiative to address the challenges created by the pandemic, and its repercussions on the education sector locally and globally,” explained Saad Al-Kharji, Head of Programs and Services at QCDC. “In our time of knowledge and technological revolution, personal and career development is any promising youth’s first step towards success, and a continuation of our nation’s course of growth.”

QCDC also launched a new online edition of My Career – My Future, its career and academic guidance program, allowing high school students to learn about different careers directly from professionals – from their own homes.

Personal and career development is any promising youth’s first step towards success

Saad Al-Kharji
Head of Programs and Services, QCDC

More than 190 students from almost 60 schools benefited from QCDC’s Virtual Career Advising Sessions


Chronicling a Life of Art

The legacy of world-renowned artist M.F. Husain lives on at QF’s Education City, where his final work – Seeroo fi al Ardh – stands.

Commissioned by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, the installation, which opened in December 2019, was envisaged by Husain before he passed away in 2011, and uses a multidimensional creative experience to tell the story of how innovation steered the progress of Arab civilization.

And on the 10th anniversary of Husain’s death, QF and SCALE magazine premiered an award-winning documentary, developed by Qatar production company The Film House, on his life and work – and what makes Husain and Seeroo fi al Ardh remarkable.

“Husain did everything – painting, film, furniture, cinema billboards, as well as being a writer – and, with Seeroo fi al Ardh, he joined all those elements together in one single artwork,” said Layla Ibrahim Bacha, Senior Art Specialist, QF, and Seeroo fi al Ardh project supervisor. “He was completing his art journey.

“It is a very complex work, but we are very happy that QF was able to complete Seeroo fi al Ardh as he would have expected.”