Qatar Foundation 2023: THE YEAR IN REVIEW


With 2023 drawing to a close, QF students used the power of sports to support the people of Palestine – while, from geopolitics to health and education, QF fostered dialogue, forged partnerships, and furthered knowledge.

Social Progress

A Match With a Message

A year on from being the focus of global attention, the Education City Stadium was the focus of a human cause – as it staged one of its most important and symbolic football matches to date. 

More than 27,000 people attended the ‘Stand With Palestine’ fundraising initiative at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ venue, organized by students of Qatar Academy Doha (QAD) – part of QF’s Pre-University Education – in collaboration with Qatar Charity to give Qatar’s community the opportunity to show their solidarity with the people of Palestine amid the continuing war in Gaza. 

Proceeds from the sales of tickets for the initiative’s flagship football match between teams representing Qatar and Palestine – which saw QAD and Palestinian school students play alongside local and international players, media personalities, and social media influencers – went toward supporting relief efforts for Palestinians. 

Over 100 QAD students volunteered at the event, having been trained to World Cup volunteer standards by the Asian Football Confederation. ‘Stand With Palestine’ also featured a musical act with a Palestinian theme, a display of illuminated drones, and prize draws.

Our presence here today sends a clear message to our people in Palestine – expressing our solidarity with them, and that we will never abandon the Palestinian cause.

Wafa Hosni Jaber
Palestinian resident of Qatar and ‘Stand With Palestine’ audience member

Social Progress

The Impact of Solidarity

Between the start of the attacks in Gaza in October and the end of 2023, QF students raised over QAR20 million for the people of Palestine through their initiatives and events to gather donations and raise awareness of the Palestinian cause. 

Among such events in December was ‘From Awsaj to Al Fakhoora’, hosted by QF school Awsaj Academy, with students selling their handmade artworks and traditional food, performing a play, and giving poetry readings, enabling visitors to experience Palestinian cultural heritage while also enhancing students’ understanding of the situation in Gaza.  

QF also raised funds for Palestine at a special Education City event stemming from its 3D edutainment series Siraj, whose title character and mascots Rashid and Noura interacted with community members. A 2D animated film about Palestine, ‘Yaseen’s Kite’, was premiered at the event, with children coloring Palestine-themed drawings, making paper planes with messages of solidarity for Palestinians, and taking photos with representations of Palestinian monuments.  

“We felt a strong responsibility to educate children about Palestine, and that inspired us to create a special film on the topic,” said Shaikha Al-Zeyara, Project Manager, Strategic Initiatives at QF’s Pre-University Education.  

We deeply empathize with the struggles of children in Palestine, feeling their trials as if they were our own.

Shahad Al-Janahi
Awsaj Academy student

Social Progress

Inclusivity Through Art

The creative efforts of 12 young artists from QF’s Ability Friendly Program – which supports people with disabilities to engage in sporting and developmental activities – was opened up to the community in December.  

Titled ‘Dreams in Color’, their collection of artistic notebooks and tote bags went on sale at QF’s Education City Gift Shop, with each item reflecting the unique perspectives of the child who created them. 

The idea was born from the children participating in an art session which left the volunteers running it, including QF staff and students, so impressed that they decided to create a product line. The artworks, featuring local elements, also went on sale at Expo 2023 Doha and Torba Farmers Market, with all proceeds going to the Ability Friendly Program. The product line was financially supported by the Education City Gift Shop, with the company supplying the products – iPrint – doing so at cost price. 

And a note in each of the products carries a message reminding people to “explore the wonder of differences and the power of art with us. Let these creations remind you that within challenges, there’s beauty waiting to be uncovered.” 

We saw potential and the opportunity to make a difference and play a small role in uplifting and empowering a marginalized section of society – we saw it not as a choice, but as a duty.

Fatima Al-Mannai
alumna of QF partner university Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, and Ability Friendly Program volunteer

Progressive Education

Representing a Region

When a group of students from four QF schools travelled to the South Korea capital, Seoul, to take part in the World Mathematics Team Championship, they returned with medals and awards in their luggage. 

Twelve of the students who participated received bronze medals and seven received merit awards at the 14-country tournament, with Qatar the sole nation representing the Arab world. While there, the students wore Palestinian flags and bands, and took the chance to educate contestants from other countries about Palestine and its cause.  

Meanwhile, the role of QF and its communication partner Memac Ogilvy in shaping Qatar’s World Cup narrative in 2022 was recognized at the 15th Annual Middle East Public Relations Awards, which celebrate exceptional communications campaigns and professionals from across the region.  

Five awards were collected, two of which were due to the reach and impact of QF’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ campaign, with two more reflecting QF’s role in reputational and issue management before, during, and after the tournament. 

This competition serves as a gateway to future leadership opportunities and expands our understanding of the world and its diverse cultures.

Ali Al-Ajji
Qatar Academy Doha student and World Mathematics Team Championship participant
37 students from QF schools Qatar Academy Doha, Qatar Academy Al Wakra, Qatar Leadership Academy, and Qatar Academy for Science and Technology participated in the World Mathematics Team Championship

Social Progress, Artificial Intelligence

The Heart of the Conversation

Leaders in policy from around the world converged on Qatar for the Doha Forum 2023 – and QF was at the heart of the conversation.  

As the forum – held under the theme ‘Building Shared Futures’ – unfolded, QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Global Institute for Strategic Studies, with the Stimson Center, hosted two roundtable sessions focusing on innovative solutions for governing Artificial Intelligence and emerging cybertechnology, and regional solutions for peacebuilding.  

QF partner university Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) convened panels exploring Palestinian political renewal and reimagining financial markets for humanitarian impact, while QF’s World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) held a session where health and government policy chiefs shared lessons on how to strengthen healthcare systems by drawing on lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

And amid the genocide in Gaza, QF’s Doha Debates organized a townhall event examining which nations and actors should take the lead in dealing with the most challenging issues facing the world over the next decade, as new forces emerge and new alliances take shape. 

We want women to be the next leaders. If we have the world’s population on stage, the result is going to be a better one because it’s more inclusive.

Sawsan Chebli
foreign policy expert, speaking at the Doha Debates townhall during the Doha Forum 2023

Precision Health

Research and Resolve

Taking a longstanding relationship to a new level, QF’s global healthcare initiative WISH and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a new strategic partnership focusing on advancing research for a healthier world.  

At the center of the partnership will be three WHO-led collaborative research projects on topics that demand the urgent attention of the global healthcare community: eliminating tuberculosis, palliative care, and the protection of health amid armed conflict. The findings will be discussed at the WISH 2024 Summit, the latest edition of WISH’s biennial gathering of global healthcare expertise.  

“Our expanding collaboration with WISH builds on a track record of impact and will further demonstrate our joint resolve to tackle pressing global health issues,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.  

“We look forward to contributing to the evidence base and are very much committed to the partnership.” 

WISH 2024 will take place at Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha from 13-14 November 2024, and those wishing to register their interest can do so at 

We remain committed to creating a platform where evidence-based research can inform global health practices.

Sultana Afdhal
More than 2,000 health policymakers, innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and practitioners will attend WISH 2024.

Social Progress

Exploration and Innovation

Major challenges facing Muslim families in both Muslim and non-Muslim communities were the focus of a December forum organized by QF’s Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), with HBKU’s College of Islamic Studies. 

Under the theme ‘Family and Values in a Changing World’, it included a special session addressing the family values that result from wars and conflicts, including in Palestine; and explored topics such as preserving values amid globalization and cultural openness; the part that religion, geography, and global citizenship play in Muslim families’ identities; and civil society’s role in strengthening the family unit. 

Meanwhile, HBKU’s Innovation Center celebrated the latest graduates of its Education City Innovative Entrepreneurship Program, who, through workshops organized in partnership with Qatar Development Bank (QDB), strengthened their entrepreneurial skills and competed for a share of the program’s funds, which are allocated to the five most promising business plans. 

And an alumnus of the program, HBKU faculty member Dr. Tanvir Alam, saw his healthcare-focused startup ‘AISHA’ win a QDB pitching competition – and funding and support to enable the company to develop further. 

The necessity of understanding the nature of the era in which we live, and its most important features, is so that we can deal with the values, fixed and variable, within the Arab and Muslim family.

Dr. Ali Al-Sanad
Al Jazeera presenter and Islamic studies professor, speaking at the DIFI/HBKU forum

Sustainability, Progressive Education

Accelerating Entrepreneurship

Staying on the innovation scene, a technology-accelerating program run by QF’s Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) enabled an Education City inventor to drive forward his idea for making life safer for cyclists.  

Mentorship and training from QSTP’s XLR8 program has been crucial to moving RESPO2 – which is worn over cycling helmets and has a visor and air filtration system to protect people from air pollution – closer to the point of commercialization. The innovation is the brainchild of Dr. Geoffrey Hicks, Director of Health, Safety, Security and Environment at HBKU’s Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute.  

Also in December, QF partner university HEC Paris in Qatar unveiled the Emerging Leaders Track of its world-renowned Executive MBA program. Catering to young, high-potential professionals from Qatar and the region, it will welcome its first cohort in the fall of 2024.  

“Embracing inclusive leadership, encompassing age and gender diversity, our program is nurturing a new wave of adaptable leaders and entrepreneurs ready to excel in the dynamic regional and global business landscape,” said Dr. Shaheena Janjuha-Jivraj, Academic Director of the Emerging Leaders Track. 

If you have a tremendous gift to bring to the world, through your innovation, you will already feel rewarded. You have to think of the wider good.

Dr. Geoffrey Hicks

Progressive Education, Precision Health, Sustainability

Legacy, Interconnectivity, Creativity

Elsewhere within QF’s partner universities, Northwestern University in Qatar examined the social, cultural, and economic legacy of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, 12 months after the final whistle blew on the greatest tournament of all time.  

Past and present Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) students also marked a milestone as they faced off in a debate on TikTok and mental health on the 15th anniversary of the university’s Debate Club; while WCM-Q’s Innovations and Technologies for Precision Health student club hosted its inaugural event, welcoming experts to demonstrate how collaboration serves innovation.  

The interconnectivity between energy, culture, and society in the pursuit of sustainability was among the themes at GU-Q’s Global Energy Cultures public forum, held in collaboration with Msheireb Museums, which saw energy experts and scholars swap perspectives with artists and filmmakers. 

And Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar launched its School Visits Program, where creative experts from the university inspired school students to immerse themselves in art and design, as well as opening doors for young people to enter the world of vinyl artistry. 

Nothing could compare to the lessons I learned in my work during the World Cup, that hard work and dedication could take you so far.

Noor Al-Mawlawi
Northwestern University in Qatar student and World Cup volunteer

Progressive Education

Committed to Inspiring

As 2023 drew to a close, Qatar once again illustrated its growing status as a global hub of education – as university presidents and leaders from around the world came to Doha to share experiences and ideas surrounding the challenges and trends shaping learning. 

QF’s Education City co-hosted the third edition of International Association for University Presidents’ (IAUP) seminar for new and emerging leaders of higher education, allowing them to see firsthand what Francisco Marmolejo, QF’s President of Higher Education, described as “the success story of Qatar Foundation”.  

“At Qatar Foundation, we are committed to supporting innovative and visionary approaches to higher education,” he said. “The fact we have partnered with IAUP and other universities in Qatar speaks volumes for our instrumental role in fostering conversations that are needed among leaders who are willing to experiment with new ideas aimed at reshaping higher education across the globe.”  

And his words summed up what QF continues to represent, and what it can inspire - for its nation, for its region, for the world, and for everyone with the determination to unlock their potential.  

“I am sure the story of Qatar Foundation will serve as a tangible reference of what can be achieved when an inspiring vision, committed leadership, and community involvement are in place.”