Qatar Foundation 2023: THE YEAR IN REVIEW


Empowering people through stories, art, sports, and discovery, and opportunities for learning, QF’s ecosystem was alive with activity throughout the summer.

Progressive Education, Social Progress

Reading’s Young Leaders

When a group of young socially conscious storytellers from QF schools met His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, at Doha International Book Fair, their conversation with the nation’s leader turned them into social media stars.  

The students from Tariq Bin Ziad School and Qatar Academy Al Khor were filmed telling His Highness the Amir about how they use their own passion for books to inspire others, which captured the attention of an audience in Qatar. 

Among them was eight-year-old Maryam Hamad Al-Qahtani, whose ‘Donate and Read’ initiative creates opportunities for book exchanges that she hopes can enrich people’s lives. “I want to share information and books with other people, and help children in particular to have a love of reading,” she said.  

“I want reading to be fun and to help the planet too. I think everyone in the community should read and exchange books that they have read and no longer need.” 

It’s amazing to think His Highness the Amir liked what I wrote, and now I am inspired to continue writing and sharing stories with others.

Hamad Al-Muraikhi
student at Tariq Bin Ziad School, who has written his first book, ‘Equestrian Race’

Social Progress

Inspiring Through Art

The transformative power of art on people’s lives was demonstrated at Education City over the summer as graduates of one of QF’s partner universities held workshops that encouraged people with disabilities to express themselves freely.  

The alumni of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar held the sessions with participants of QF’s Ability Friendly Program, which provides inclusive sporting opportunities, and inspired them to inlock their creativity through drawing. 

 “Volunteering to support children with disabilities has been a truly inspiring and fulfilling experience,” said Fatima Al-Mannai, one of the graduates who led the workshops. “It’s essential to encourage people to express their passion through various artistic mediums, such as art.  

“The impact of this volunteering experience on the lives of children is evident in various ways. One of the significant outcomes was that we can break down barriers and dispel misconceptions. This has led to helping these children feel included and valued in society.” 

The benefits of engaging children with disabilities in art are undeniable. It allows them to express their emotions more effectively and share their unique stories.

Shaikha Darwish
Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar graduate, and workshop leader

Social Progress

Sporting Connections

The court skills that students developed in QF’s community basketball programs were put to the test on the international stage during the summer – as they headed to Abu Dhabi to compete in the first Jr. NBA Europe & Middle East finals.  

Two groups of children from Qatar – 12 boys and 12 girls – faced Under-15 rivals from England, Lebanon, Spain, Germany, and the UAE in the four-day round-robin tournament. And not only did it give them a chance to put on display what they have learned through QF’s programs, it also honed their communication, teamwork, and leadership skills and allowed them to connect with children from other countries.  

“The tournament was a great experience – I was playing with teams in Europe and the Middle East who had something in common with me,” said QF program member Damilola Mihle Eweje from South Africa, voted one of the tournament’s top five female players. “And what I enjoyed the most was making friends from different countries.  

“In preparation for this tournament, we worked hard as a team, and the training helped us become closer teammates. We are family.” 

We made friends from across the teams, with people from different countries and cultures – it was really nice to see that sports can bring opposing teams together.

Salsabeel Amir Abdelmonen Ahmed Hassan Elrefaei
QF basketball program member

Progressive Education

The Peak of Learning

And the summer also saw students from four QF schools hit the heights of discovery on a mountaineering trip to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – a journey where they developed life skills that will help shape their futures. 

Led by Abdirahman Handule, Lead Teacher and Head of Student Affairs at Qatar Academy Al Wakra, the ‘Kili Challenge’ expedition was preceded with a four-month training program to equip the students to climb Kilimanjaro. One of the member of the trip, 14-year-old Yousef Al Kuwari, is now the youngest Qatari to scale Africa’s highest peak.  

“The experience of my Kilimanjaro expedition has stirred an interest in me to explore the world some more,” said Qatar Academy Sidra student Shahad Al-Fadala. “It taught me to appreciate other cultures, and widen my perspectives and intellectual growth.  

“We all emerged as entirely different individuals, enriched by the experience and embracing life with understanding its depth and meaning.” 

I learned that, with proper training and support, I could achieve something as daunting as climbing a mountain, and this has inspired me to tackle more challenging feats.

Mishari Saleh Al-Ghamdi
Qatar Academy Al Wakra student and ‘Kili Challenge’ trip member


Green for Go

Just as QF connects people of all ages with opportunities, and with each other, its Education City Tram is connecting campuses – in a sustainable way.  

The eco-friendly transport system’s new Green Line was launched in July, linking Education City’s south campus, home to QF’s universities and many of its schools, public open spaces, and community facilities, with its north campus on the opposite side of Khalifa Avenue – where Sidra Medicine, Qatar Science & Technology Park, and Qatar National Convention Centre are based. It means easier and greener connectivity for students, researchers, members of the QF community, and visitors to Education City.  

The arrival of the Green Line came soon after a milestone for the Education City Tram, which, in 2023, carried its millionth passenger. It played a key role during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in ferrying an average of 9,000 fans to each match at the Education City Stadium.  

The state-of-the-art Avenio trams’ onboard energy-storing system removes the need for overhead power cables and allows them to travel between stops without charging, making them a sustainable way of traveling around QF and helping to reduce Education City’s carbon footprint. 

The addition of the new line sees knowledge, innovation, and creativity intertwine, supports ideas to flourish and collaborations to thrive, and is a further stride toward a sustainable transportation ecosystem.

Hamad Al-Kuwari
Executive Director of City Operations, QF

The Education City Tram network has:

  • 3 lines
  • 24 stops
  • 19 trams

Progressive Education

A World of Discovery

The first major Qatar-based exhibition exploring the concept of the metaverse – virtual spaces where users interact in the form of avatars – opened at Education City in August, with QF partner university Northwestern University in Qatar’s Media Majlis staging ‘Metawhat?’  

Exploring the metaverse from a Global South perspective, it included one of British installation artist Luke Jerram’s most famous touring artworks, ‘Gaia’, a revolving inflatable replica of Earth.  

And a faculty member from QF partner university Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), Jorg Matthias Determann, was part of a global team that looked beyond Earth to send a simulated extraterrestrial message – a project to which he contributed findings from his research on Islamic theology and extraterrestrial life.  

Meanwhile, ethnographic research by students at QF partner university Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) provided the first insights into the impact of Hamad International Airport on Qatar’s cultural, social, economic, and urban development; while Qatar National Library, based at QF’s Education City, was named the region’s first office for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. 

No one truly understands what the metaverse is or its potential, but everyone is fascinated by this new technology and what it might mean for our future.

Jack Thomas Taylor
interim director of Northwestern University in Qatar’s Media Majlis

Precision Health

Insights for Wellbeing

Fresh insights into the role of cholesterol in treating neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders were provided in July with the publication of research from QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI).  

And researchers from HBKU’s College of Health and Life Sciences, QF’s Sidra Medicine, and Germany’s Brandenburg Medical School collaborated on a study – supported by QF’s Qatar Biobank – that analyzed genomic data from people in Qatar, to identify gene variations affecting the production of antibodies that cause allergic reactions to seemingly harmless substances. 

Progressive Education

Advancing Ambitions

The summer also saw current and former QF students collecting awards and accolades, with Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) students collecting a top prize in a Qatar Development Bank competition with their idea for 3D-printed vegetables; and GU-Q student Elene Chkhiadze being awarded a Pulitzer Center Fellowship to train as a religious journalist.  

VCUarts Qatar alumna Moza Al-Suwaidi won a gold award at the University & College Designers Association Design Awards for her work on an exhibition showcasing graduating students’ work; while two Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) alumni now working at elite US medical institutions were honored for their work in research and mentorship.

Genomic data and serum samples from 800 people in Qatar were used for the Qatar Biobank-supported gene study

We could potentially print food in bulk, greatly reducing the time and money it takes to grow fruit and vegetables – it’s limitless what we could do.

Lujain Al Mansoori
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar student who co-created the idea for 3D-printed vegetables

Progressive Education

A Summer of Knowledge

Across the summer months, learning never stopped at QF – including at HBKU’s Qatar Computing Research Institute’s Creative Space summer camp for primary and middle school students, and QBRI’s Summer Research Program for aspiring scientific leaders.  

GU-Q equipped high school students in Qatar with the skills for success at university, while CMU-Q launched summer camps in computer science for middle and high school students, and QF-founded Qatar Debate’s Summer Debate Camp nurtured critical thinking skills among students aged from 10-13.  

QF partner universities WCM-Q and Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) teamed up for the Physics for Future Doctors Summer Program, providing high school students with an opportunity to hone their physics problem-solving skills, using medical examples.  

TAMUQ also introduced Grade 6-12 students in Qatar to engineering concepts through its STEM summer programs, and welcomed engineering students from Texas to Doha for an experiential education experience; while WCM-Q offered students from local and overseas high schools the chance to explore what a career in medicine means and sample life as a medical student and doctor. 

We encouraged fearless experimentation, free exploration, and collaboration, making learning the ultimate reward.

Dr. Mohammed Yousef
Professor of Physics, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, who co-created the Physics for Future Doctors Summer Program
  • 19 students from 15 schools participated in the Physics for Future Doctors Summer Program
  • More than 100 students joined TAMUQ’s STEM summer programs
  • 89 students from 45 local and overseas schools participated in WCM-Q’s Qatar Medical Explorer Program and Pre-College Enrichment Program
  • 34 students participated in GU-Q’s Pre-College Summer Program
  • 15 undergraduate students successfully completed QBRI’s Summer Research Program

Progressive Education

Welcome to QF

And these summer learning pathways led up to the start of a new academic year at QF – with new and returning students embarking on the next stage of their unique educational experience within an ecosystem of knowledge that is like no other. 

Through Marhaba – a gateway event organized by QF’s Student Life team - the eyes of Education City’s newest students were opened to the opportunities that await them, as they also learned about what it means to be a QF student, and part of the QF community. 

Marhaba saw current QF students and QF alumni share their own experiences at Education City – including cross-registering for courses at different universities – while offering advice to their newest peers, with sessions seeing students share their opinions and ideas on issues such as climate change, lifelong learning, health and wellbeing, and sustainable development and equality.  

“Students admitted to one of the universities at Education City are part of the larger Education City community of diverse opportunities,” Michael Trick, Dean of CMU-Q, told the Marhaba audience. “Being part of this environment allows students to take classes at other institutions, engage in sports, join clubs that span multiple programs, and much more.” 

It allows you to see things in different ways, to take different approaches, and to feel a real spirit of collaboration – it’s wonderful to experience the diversity of the way we all see things.

Sarah Al-Mototeh
Georgetown University in Qatar alumna, speaking about QF’s cross-registration opportunities at Marhaba
700 new QF students learned about what Education City has to offer at Marhaba

Progressive Education

Taking the First Step

Across Education City, ceremonies and activities gave new QF students the warmest of welcomes to HBKU and QF’s partner universities. 

115 first-year CMU-Q students were ushered into the university’s community at its Convocation ceremony, with GU-Q’s first-ever Hoya Welcome Week being followed by its New Student Convocation for its 123 incoming students. 

The 116 members of Northwestern University in Qatar’s Class of 2027 marched through the Weber Arch, a tradition marking the start of their journey at the university; while Aggie Life 101, a three-day orientation program, taught TAMUQ students about how the traditions of Texas A&M University are embedded in its Doha campus. 

At VCUarts Qatar, 101 new students from 19 countries enjoyed orientation activities, and the 44 new trainee physicians at WCM-Q – half of whom are Qataris - donned the white coats of their future profession for the first time.  

And HBKU’s orientation activities welcomed new students such as Sadia Shameem, who outlined her goals for studying at its College of Islamic Studies: “I’m hopeful that my education at HBKU will expose me to an intellectually stimulating culture so I may continue my higher education as a Muslim researcher, which is the need of the hour across the Muslim world.” 

Seize every opportunity you get. Don’t be afraid of failure or rejection. And if you don’t find the opportunity you want, create one.

Arham Khalid
president of Northwestern University in Qatar’s Student Government, to incoming students
  • CMU-Q’s 2023-24 student body reached a record 472 students of 61 nationalities – with 40% being Qatari
  • 1,300 students applied to be part of Northwestern Qatar’s Class of 2027 – a campus record
  • TAMUQ’s 162 new students – including 86 Qataris – took its student enrolment to 844, the highest in its history