Qatar Foundation 2022: THE YEAR IN REVIEW


A United Goal

As 2022 began and the swirl of anticipation ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ intensified, Qatar Foundation’s (QF) contribution to Qatar’s National Sport Day celebrations reinforced how, in sports and beyond sports, this was to be a unique year for the nation – and one its community could, should, and would be part of.

An array of community-focused activities and events at Education City – from fitness classes and sporting competitions to exercise challenges – encouraged the people of Qatar to embrace healthy, active lifestyles and develop a love of sport, which QF supports year-round through its programs and facilities.

The day also saw David Beckham join the launch of the Women and Girls Football Initiative – established by QF, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s (SC) Generation Amazing program, and Adidas – which is designed to help develop women’s football in Qatar, promote sporting inclusivity, and contribute to the social legacy of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The initiative kicked off with a tournament in the Education City Stadium.

QF brought the community together for a nationwide celebration of sports, as its Education City home received an accolade that reflected its role as a hub for healthy, active living.

We have experienced a new sporting opportunity at QF.

Kholoud Al-Jassim
Women and Girls Football Initiative participant

A Commitment to Health

QF’s dedication to promoting health and wellbeing, and to empowering people to realize their full potential, was recognized in February by the designation of its Education City home as ‘Healthy Education City’ by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The award is part of the Health Promoting Universities program and the WHO’s Healthy City program, which aims to improve the health of populations. It was presented to QF at a ceremony which also saw Doha and Al Rayyan municipalities named as ‘Healthy Cities’.

“Improving people’s health and wellbeing within our cities and communities requires shared commitment from many stakeholders, including Qatar Foundation,” said Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation.

“Collaborative work of this kind has been instrumental in the World Health Organization granting two municipalities in Qatar the status of a ‘Healthy City’, and we look forward to contributing to further efforts to make our cities healthier places in which to work, learn, and live.”

Receiving the WHO Healthy City accreditation for Doha and Al Rayyan municipalities, as well as the recognition of Education City as ‘Healthy Education City’, is a reflection of efforts across government and key stakeholders toward prioritizing the health and wellbeing of the population of Qatar.

Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al-Kuwari
Minister of Public Health

Green Vision

In a month where the importance of sustainability and caring for the world around us was emphasized by Qatar Environment Day, QF member Qur’anic Botanic Garden spotlighted its model for vertical farming – the practice of growing crops in stacked layers.

The concept, developed with the University of Arizona, is specific to Qatar and aims to utilize old shipping containers to grow crops.

Meanwhile, three graduates of QF partner university Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar created a new app that makes choosing, buying, and growing plants easier for Qatar’s gardeners; a composting pilot project launched by QF helped students at Education City learn about recycling food waste; and Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute saw “promising results” from a research project with Qatar’s Public Works Authority, Ashghal, which uses advanced oxidation technologies to remove pollutants from wastewater and allow it to be reused.

And QF students showcased how they are becoming green ambassadors by creating the Qatar Academy Doha Green Lab, a converted school courtyard that is now a space for growing vegetables and learning about biodiversity.

Composting is an important tool to help grow plants and to reduce our carbon footprint, which can help the environment.

Amna Adnan
Qatar Academy Doha student

Precision Progress

A breakthrough by QF researchers, revealed in February, has the potential to pave the way for precision programs that can help to prevent cancer.

The first-ever landscape of cancer germline variation – known as inherited cancer – in the Middle East was reported by researchers from the Qatar Genome Research Consortium, QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, and QF member Sidra Medicine proving in-depth screening of both common and rare genetic markers for cancer among Qataris.

The QF-funded study helps enhance understanding of the development or progression of cancer amid the ancestrally diverse Arab populations, and is intended to support national programs targeting the precision prevention of cancer.

“The incorporation of precision medicine technology, including cancer screening and genome sequencing, into the primary care system in Qatar has significant potential,” said Dr. Lotfi Chouhane, the study’s Lead Principal Investigator and professor of genetic medicine, microbiology and immunology at WCM-Q.

This is the starting point to providing personalized screening for health and disease in Qatar and the region.

Dr. Said Ismail
Director of QF’s Qatar Genome Programme

The genomes of 6,142 Qataris were analyzed for the cancer study


Changing Lives

QF’s Sidra Medicine saved the lives of two young brothers who were found to have a new form of gastroenterological disease – with the way it was discovered, and the precision health treatment developed by the hospital to prevent it reoccurring, now set to change the way this condition is diagnosed and treated around the world.

The siblings were admitted to Sidra with symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and when they were genetically tested and their genomes sequenced, Sidra teams discovered they had a version of the condition that had never been found in humans before – but the genetic analysis also identified which medicines would prevent the disease taking hold again.

“In the case of these two brothers, what was discovered is truly groundbreaking and will change the lives of future patients diagnosed with the same disease,” said Dr. Mamoun Elawad, Sidra’s Division Chief of Gastroenterology.

Sidra’s utilization of precision health also saw the hospital develop a genetic diagnosis program for children with epilepsy, allowing the causes of their condition to be identified early and reducing the risk of them suffering seizures or becoming resistant to treatments.

Sidra Medicine: Provides tertiary healthcare services for women and children Conducts clinical and translational research Offers medical education programs


The Voice of Youth

Bringing an end to global poverty was the focus of an international gathering of young change-makers at QF in February.

The 11th edition of the THIMUN Qatar conference – organized by the THIMUN Qatar Regional Office, which comes under QF’s Pre-University Education, and the THIMUN (The Hague Model United Nations) Foundation – brought together hundreds of young delegates from around the world to discuss, explore, and propose solutions for eradicating poverty.

Over four days, they held simulations of United Nations (UN) forums to discuss how the aims of UN Sustainable Development Goal 1 – which calls for extreme poverty to end by 2030 – can be met, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And they had words of encouragement from Her Excellency Marjan Kamstra, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Qatar, who, speaking at the opening ceremony, told delegates: “The world can use your fresh ideas for the future that really is yours – it is the world you will be living in and also leaving for future generations.”

By gaining skills, knowledge, and understanding at THIMUN Qatar, we build the tools we need to sit at decision-making tables.

Giulia Pinna
Secretary General, THIMUN Qatar 2022

Around 400 young people of 55 nationalities participated in THIMUN Qatar 2022


New Home, New Hope

On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which fell in February, members of Afghanistan’s only all-girls robotics team spoke of how they had found a new home at QF since being forced to leave their homeland – and why, for them, “science is hope”.

Having been formed in 2017, the team were flown out of Kabul to Doha in August 2021 due to the situation in Afghanistan. Once arriving in Qatar, they were enrolled into QF’s Academic Bridge Program to prepare them for applying for university – while working on projects ranging from crop-harvesting and landmine-detecting robots to a wheelchair controlled by eye movement.

The group ultimately hope to open a STEM school in Afghanistan and, as their captain Somaya Faruqi explains, women must have an equal part to play in science: “Women make up approximately 50 percent of the global population, and the statistic is similar for Afghanistan.

“If 50 percent of a country’s population is not able to contribute, what a wasted opportunity and what a massive loss – not just for the country, but the world too.”

Being in Qatar and at QF has allowed us to push our limits, to dream bigger and strive to be the change we wish to see.

Elham Mansouri
Afghanistan girls robotics team member

Integrating for Inclusivity

The socially conscious efforts of a group of QF medical students saw a selection of poetry and book readings being recorded to help ensure people with visual impairments have the opportunity to enjoy literature.

With works recorded in Arabic, English, French, Romanian, and Urdu , the project was the brainchild of students at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar – with the studios of fellow QF partner university Northwestern University in Qatar, and the technical expertise of staff at Education City-based Qatar National Library, helping bring it to life and demonstrating how QF’s integrated ecosystem enables impactful ideas to come to fruition.

Elsewhere within QF’s partner universities, HEC Paris in Qatar published the results of Qatar’s first report in the Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students’ survey – an international project that highlights gaps in identifying potential entrepreneurs. The Qatar report was specifically targeted at heightening understanding of the entrepreneurial intentions of QF students.

And Georgetown University in Qatar took international affairs education into the metaverse – using Virtual Reality headsets to allow Doha-based students to explore an initiative at the university’s US campus that focuses on slavery and social justice.

Literature is a gateway to creativity, learning, and self-growth, and should therefore be readily available to everyone.

Maryam Arabi
Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar student

The Power of Reading

New and expectant mothers were given an opportunity to discover how a QF initiative that nurtures a love of reading across the nation can help both them and their child in February.

The Mommy to Be Festival, hosted by QF’s Qatar Reads, offered mothers the chance to talk with professionals in a range of fields – from gynecology and mental health to nutrition and reading – and find products that can help them on their journey through motherhood.

The free festival at Education City’s Oxygen Park also featured ‘Mommy Talks’ from experts in areas including obstetrics, perinatal health, and baby care, as well as allowing mothers to meet and share experiences – reflecting how QF provides an environment for the community to come together, learn, and interact.

Qatar Reads’ Mommy to Be Program encourages mothers to read to their children before they are born and provides them with educational reading materials and curated reading programs for children, as well as access to health and parenthood workshops and a local support network of mothers.

Qatar Reads’ programs for families and young people include:

  • Mommy to Be
  • Family Reading Program
  • Stories 2 Go
  • Read to Lead

A Sporting Hub

Local and international equine excellence was on show at QF’s Education City in February, as Al Shaqab once again played host to the best riders and horses the equestrian world has to offer.

The center – which also preserves and promotes the proud legacy of the Arabian horse breed - staged the ninth edition of the Commercial Bank CHI AL SHAQAB, which has gained a reputation as one of the top events on the equestrian calendar, with competitors tackling the disciplines of showjumping, dressage, and para dressage.

CHI AL SHAQAB represented part one of a double-header of equestrian showpieces at Al Shaqab, as it was followed just days later by the opening Grand Prix event in the prestigious Longines Global Champions Tour 2022.

As Khalid Al Attiya, Executive Director, Al Shaqab, said: “The successful hosting of events of this caliber bears testament to Qatar’s status as an international sporting hub, and Al Shaqab’s commitment to fulfilling its vision of being a leading global center for equine excellence.”

98 riders from 24 countries, and 146 horses, participated in Commercial Bank CHI AL SHAQAB 2022