Qatar Foundation 2023: THE YEAR IN REVIEW


QF’s education landscape saw celebration and collaboration – while its ecosystem fostered dialogue and development in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

Progressive Education

A Milestone Reached

“Work hard, continue to achieve, and never stop learning.”  

Those were the words of Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, to the latest wave of graduates of Qatar Foundation (QF) schools as, for the first time, they marked the end of one step of their journey and learning and the start of the next on a single stage.  

The first Qatar Foundation Schools Commencement Ceremony celebrated the achievements of the graduates of seven schools under the organization’s Pre-University Education, with Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, attending this landmark moment in the lives of hundreds of young people.  

“This unified ceremony signifies an important milestone in our journey,” said Abeer Al Khalifa, President of Pre-University Education, QF, who told the graduating students: “We are proud that you are part of an ecosystem shaping the bright future of our nation through education – you have the power to make a difference, motivate others, and be catalysts for change.” 

I urge you to face the challenges that await you along your coming journey with determination and resolve, and to remember that failure is not an end point, but rather a starting point on the path to success.

Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani
Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, speaking at the first Qatar Foundation Schools Commencement Ceremony

Progressive Education

Reflections on a Journey

The ceremony was a point of reflection on years of learning, discovery, growth, and friendship – within and beyond the classroom – for graduates like Saoud Al Marafi, who said: “Now, when I wake up in the morning, I feel like there is something missing from my life – despite my joy of graduating from school, I will miss what I had at QAD.”  

And Mayan Al Ibrahim, an Awsaj Academy student who has cerebral palsy, said the school “has had a tremendous impact on me, as my intelligence, skills, and determination have made me a catalyst for change and improvement, and my presence reinforced the belief that people with disabilities have great capabilities, if given the opportunity and support.” 

What made the commencement ceremony extra-special is that – from registration and stage management to guest arrivals and backstage logistics – it was entirely organized by student volunteers from QF schools.  

Among them was Qatar Academy Doha (QAD) student Al Reem Alnaimi, who said: “The majority of this year’s graduates are lifelong friends – some I even consider to be family. It was important to me to contribute to such a momentous event within QF, where I have spent a huge part of my academic life.” 

My experience at Qatar Academy Al Khor has been nothing short of transformative – engaging in extracurricular activities outside the classroom has provided me with a unique and fulfilling experience.

Alanoud Matar Al Meraikhi
Qatar Academy Al Khor graduate
  • 249 graduates from seven schools, representing 18 nationalities – including 202 Qataris – were honored at the Qatar Foundation Schools Commencement Ceremony
  • 6,730 students have now graduated from QF schools

Progressive Education

In Tune for Education

New opportunities for talented young musicians in Qatar will be opened up through a collaboration between QF and one of the best music schools in the world.  

The agreement between QF and the Reina Sofía School of Music in Spain will include masterclasses and student exchanges, with pathways for graduates of Qatar Music Academy (QMA) – part of QF’s Pre-University Education – to join the school’s higher education programs being explored, together with the use of its learning technology in QF schools. 

“Music has the capacity to open windows to the world, and enhance pathways to knowledge – broadening our perspectives, and building bridges between cultures,” said Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation. 

“Spain and the Arab world have a shared history, and this agreement reflects our intertwined past and the ties that endure to this day. Together, we aim to strengthen cross-cultural ties, and enrich lives, through the power of music and partnership.” 

QF will also support the school’s expansion and be granted naming rights for its Madrid building, while, with QMA, a Chair of Arabic and Eastern Music will be established at the school. 

We are truly looking forward to collaborating with Qatar Foundation on academic and artistic projects that will help grow and expand the reach of our school.

Paloma O’Shea
Founding President of the Reina Sofía School of Music in Spain

Progressive Education

Cultivating Citizenship

Demonstrating its dedication to instilling moral principles and nurturing a sense of national identity, cultural heritage, and shared values among its learners, June saw QF launch a partnership to integrate values into school curricula, through citizenship education.  

Nibras is a new initiative by QF’s Education Development Institute and Wijdan Cultural Center that, across three years, aims to cultivate engaged and responsible citizens through a series of knowledge-sharing workshops, seminars, and programs. 

Precision Health

More Than a Game

And QF’s Qatar Genome Programme (QGP) teamed up with students from QF schools to create ‘Genome Heroes’ – a game-playing journey into the world of genomics and DNA. Featuring characters Dana and Khalid, the Arabic and English edutainment app allows young players to learn about genome science in a fun and interactive way.  

“With over 400 million Arabic speakers across the world, and 25 countries where Arabic is the official language, it is a chance for all of them to understand the basics of genomics in their own language,” said QGP’s Genome Education Head, Dima Darwish. 

The launch of the Nibras program in schools serves as a resilient foundation for cultivating a collective social consciousness that will resonate through generations.

Dr. Jassim Al-Sultan
Director of Wijdan Cultural Center
Nibras extends across QF’s 13 schools, benefiting more than 7,000 students and 1,500 staff members

Artificial Intelligence

Insights Into the Future

He’s the man behind one of the world’s biggest advances in Artificial Intelligence – ChatGPT. And, in June, he was at QF’s Education City to share his views on the technology that has the potential to reshape our world with a Qatar audience.  

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, shed light on AI’s role in education, its risks, the inequity of AI technology among developing and developed countries, and what it may mean for the world in the future as the latest guest of QF’s Education City Speaker Series.  

“In the next decade, we are going to live through history in a way that we haven’t done in this world,” he said. “The socio-economic contract is going to change a lot. There is fear, for sure, but it is up to us to figure out how to do good.” 

Altman’s belief is that AI will lead to humans “operating at a higher level and quality”, saying that with previous technological developments such as computers, “people have been able to do more and better – I think that is what will happen with AI.” 

Artificial Intelligence

Technology, Transition, Tradition

Innovations and conversations based on Artificial Intelligence are being advanced at QF’s Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) – including a revolutionary system called EMMA.  

The AI-driven, QSTP-backed technology uses advanced algorithms and real-time data to manage the movement of aircraft, vehicles, and personnel at airports. Having first been deployed without AI at Qatar’s Hamad International Airport, it moved into use at South Charleroi Airport in the Belgian capital Brussels.  

Through its ‘Meet the Expert’ series, in June QSTP also turned the spotlight on the role of AI in propelling the transition toward low-carbon economies, and showcased advanced AI applications for the Arabic language, as well as their benefits to businesses in Qatar.  

The series brings together local and international technology experts, industry leaders, academics, and researchers to discuss technology-based solutions and practices in areas of strategic importance to Qatar, with the aim of boosting innovation and entrepreneurship at a national level.

We must recognize that this technology comes with its own set of risks, and it is important that we manage these risks when adopting AI in industrial projects.

Dr. Ashraf Aboulnaga
Chief Scientist, Qatar Computing Research Institute, speaking at QSTP’s ‘Meet the Expert’ series

Artificial Intelligence

An Introduction to Tomorrow

Also in June, an Artificial Intelligence-focused program run by a QF partner university saw undergraduate students from universities within and beyond Qatar delve into the technology and how it may influence tomorrow. 

The program was part of Texas A&M University at Qatar’s (TAMUQ) Engineering Summer School – which encourages undergraduate students to pursue graduate and advanced degrees – and introduced participants to subjects such as machine learning and information theory, while also allowing them to participate in discussions on AI-related topics. 

Meanwhile, researchers from QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Qatar Computing Research Institute published research into the journey of AI over the past decade, in partnership with the UAE’s Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, the University of Oxford in the UK, and Saarland University in Germany.  

The research marked the 10th anniversary of the pioneering neural network AlexNet, and included an overview of the current status of AI, prevailing trends in the field of AI research, and insights into the socio-technical issues surrounding the technology.

We were able to learn about the applications of AI, and to understand how to effectively use AI.

Stavros Dimou
a student at the University of Thessaly in Greece, and a participant in TAMUQ’s Artificial Intelligence program
27 students from universities in Qatar and internationally participated in TAMUQ’s Artificial Intelligence program

Social Progress

The Heart of Art

With Qatar’s creative landscape flourishing, a QF documentary turned the spotlight on the country’s emerging art scene, its local artistic talents – and the role that QF plays in fostering a love of the arts. 

‘Through the Archways of Art’, produced in collaboration with Al Jazeera Media Network, showcased QF’s public art collection and saw experts from within and beyond the organization speak about art’s role in shaping societies, the relationship between art and culture, the impact of art on personal development, and one of Education City’s most remarkable artworks – Seeroo fi al ardh, the final artwork of famed Indian artist Maqbool Fida Husain.  

“Not only does art encourage creative self-expression, but it helps students analyze and think critically about the world around them,” said Palestinian artist Majdulin Nasrallah, a professor at QF partner university Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, who was among those featured in the documentary.  

“It is especially crucial to students’ individual growth, as it stimulates discussion and deepens their understanding of societal, cultural, and historical topics.” 

Qatar has always been an incubator of creativity and art from all over the world.

Yousef Ahmed
Qatari artist, who featured in the documentary

Precision Health

Awards and Advances

Accolades came the way of two medical researchers from QF in June as they claimed national and international honors.  

Dr. Isra Marei of QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar claimed the prestigious Paul Dudley White International Scholar Award, recognizing her work in cardiovascular and brain health science; while the university’s Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Clinical Investigations, Dr. Rayaz Malik, was ranked as Qatar’s number one researcher in medicine – and among the top 10,000 in the world.  

Elsewhere in the medical field, QF’s Sidra Medicine published the first regional case study on monogenic obesity – a rare and severe form of obesity affecting children – with the aim of identifying the condition’s triggers and way of combating it.  

Meanwhile, QF-founded Qatar Career Development Center concluded the fifth edition of its My Career, My Future program, which gave 90 students from Qatari high schools immersive, hands-on experience of working in 13 organizations to support their future career paths. 

I am honored and humbled to be able to work in such a fascinating field of research that has a beneficial impact on human health.

Dr. Isra Marei
Postdoctoral Associate in Pharmacology, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar

Social Progress

Home to the Community

And in June, the Education City Stadium’s growing role as a focal point for community life expanded further – as it became the summer home of an inclusive QF sports initiative. 

For the first time, QF’s Ladies Nights – which provide women and girls from across Qatar’s community with an opportunity to enjoy sports in a safe, comfortable setting – were staged at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ venue, which is now becoming a hub dedicated to women’s and girls’ sport.  

“As a sports lover, Ladies Night has provided me with an opportunity to break my daily routine and explore new experiences,” said Haya Mansour Al-Naimi, a regular participant in Ladies Night, editions of which were also held during the year at Education City’s Oxygen Park. “This event aligns with Qatar’s emphasis on sports, especially after hosting the World Cup, which has enhanced awareness and changed how individuals think about sports.”  

And following the huge attendance at Education City Stadium when it hosted the Eid al-Fitr prayer in April, the Eid al-Adha prayer was also held at the arena, with thousands of worshippers again attending.

Ladies Night is a powerful platform that influences our attitudes as women and encourages us to go beyond what some may see as traditional roles.

Nour Elhouda Tabet
Ladies Night participant