Qatar Foundation 2023: THE YEAR IN REVIEW


The QF community came together for the people of Gaza and Palestine in their time of need – while Education City was the setting for dialogue on global issues, discovery through art, and the opening of a new chapter in women’s and girls’ sports.

Social Progress

Standing With Palestine

As the people of Gaza suffered devastation and tragedy in the face of Israeli attacks, students from Qatar Foundation’s (QF) schools joined their hands and hearts in solidarity with them.  

A unifying Qunoot prayer organized by students at Minaretein (Education City Mosque), and attended by people from across the QF community, aimed to provide support and empathy with Palestine in their time of hardship and terror.  

Events organized at QF schools included a non-uniform day at Qatar Academy Msheireb where students dressed in traditional Palestinian clothing; while at Qatar Academy Doha, students planted an olive tree as a symbol of the Palestinian cause, using the planting to collect donations for the people of Gaza. And across QF’s schools, prayers and sessions to educate students about the history of Palestine and the current war in Gaza were held. 

“When we pray together, we demonstrate our togetherness,” said Ali Al Thani, a 10-year-old student at QF’s Awsaj Academy. “Even though we are miles away, our hearts are with our Palestinian brothers and sisters, and that is what matters.” 

We are all inspired by how strong and brave the people of Palestine are. I want them to know that we’re here for them, and we’re standing together with love through these hard times.

Maryam Abdullah Al Khalifa
Qatar Academy Msheireb student

Social Progress

Partnership for Opportunity

With their collective goal being to promote and provide sporting opportunities for everyone, QF and Volkswagen Middle East entered a partnership to support capacity-building sports programs – particularly for women and girls.  

Launched during a football clinic organized by QF’s Pre-University Education, the partnership will see Volkswagen Middle East sponsor programs and events such as QF’s Women and Girls Football Initiative, a tournament that supports grassroots and amateur female athletes. The firm will also continue its cooperation with QF’s sport-for-development programs, having previously co-sponsored QF’s Future Leaders in Football Summit together with the German Football Association.  

“Our partnership with QF represents a continuation of our commitment to support women in sports, particularly in football, and to provide them with tangible opportunities,” said Matthias Ziegler, Managing Director of Volkswagen Middle East. 

 “Through this partnership, we are not just sponsoring events – we are nurturing dreams and creating a more inclusive future for the sport of football.” 

Hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was a testament to the value that sport brings, not only to Qatar but to our wider society, and we want to build on that legacy by affording more girls the opportunity to refine their skills and excel.

Machaille Hassan Al-Naimi
Executive Officer of the Vice Chairperson and CEO Office, QF

Social Progress, Artificial Intelligence

A Global Outlook

Focused on addressing the global challenges of governance, advancement, and peace, a new, independent, and multidisciplinary thinktank was inaugurated by QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in October.  

The Global Institute for Strategic Research (GISR) – the inauguration of which was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation – will pursue a greater understanding of the cultural, historic, political, and other drivers of global challenges, and examine issues of global governance, advancement, peace, and security in a holistic way.  

“Within the boundaries of HBKU and the QF ecosystem, we have a unique concentration of scholarship, talent, and innovation that will allow GISR to act as a catalyst to channel ideas and bridge the gap between research and policymaking,” said Dr. Sultan Barakat, Professor in Public Policy at HBKU’s College of Public Policy, and GISR’s Acting Director.  

The institute’s inauguration – which welcomed experts from global thinktanks and research centers – saw the launch of a joint report by GISR, Doha Forum, and the Stimson Center, outlining how carefully designed and responsible cyber-governance initiatives, including Artificial Intelligence regulation, and reinvigorated peacebuilding can benefit people and nations and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

GISR reflects Qatar’s prominent place at a major geopolitical crossroads and its commitment to positively impacting and shaping debates on a multitude of global challenges facing humanity today.

Dr. Ahmad M. Hasnah
President of HBKU

Discussions at the launch of GISR focused on:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Energy transition
  • Sustaining peace in fragile states

Social Progress

Tackling Trends

2024 marks the 30th anniversary of a milestone in placing families at the heart of global society – and a year out from this landmark date, a major international conference – hosted by Qatar and organized by QF’s Doha International Family Institute – was announced to commemorate it.  

The conference – announced at the United Nations (UN) – will see policymakers, NGOs, family experts and practitioners, and academics gather in Doha from 29-31 October 2024 to share their experience of the central role the family holds within nations and communities, three decades after the UN proclaimed 1994 to be the International Year of the family.  

It will address how to tackle four megatrends that are having a significant impact on families; advocate for global support and empowerment of the family system by promoting policies and programs that strengthen families; and showcase best practices and evidence-based research.  

During the briefing at the 78th UN Session on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues was described, Her Excellency Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, described the conference as “a testament to our unwavering dedication to prioritizing family-centric wellbeing and policy development.” 

I am confident that the outcomes of the conference will contribute to advancing the wellbeing of families throughout the world.

Maria-Francesca Spatolisano
Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, UN DESA

The conference will focus on 4 megatrends affecting families:

  • New technologies
  • Climate change
  • Urbanization and international migration
  • Demographic change


Outcomes for a Greener Future

Climate change innovations – including the use of Artificial Intelligence – sustainable economic transition, clean water access and food security, and green transport and finance were on the agenda at a national platform aimed at addressing Qatar’s climate challenges, co-hosted by QF’s Earthna Center for a Sustainable Future.  

The third annual Qatar National Dialogue for Climate Change – organized by Earthna and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change – produced outcomes that will help to shape environmentally-focused policies and practices in Qatar, and that informed the country’s participation in the UN’s COP28 conference in December 2023.  

“At Earthna, we aim to be a convener of climate change thinking and action in Qatar and other hot and arid countries,” said Dr. Gonzalo Castro de la Mata, Executive Director of Earthna. “We do this by building and facilitating collaborative platforms that unite a diverse community of experts.  

“Through thoughtful discussions, collaboration on initiatives, and sharing knowledge, the Qatar National Dialogue on Climate Change aims to inspire positive action and drive tangible outcomes for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Qatar.” 

The international community has a responsibility to work towards mitigating the effects of climate change and adapt to it – Qatar attaches great importance to addressing climate change and desertification.

His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani
Minister of Environment and Climate Change, speaking at the Qatar National Dialogue on Climate Change

Social Progress

Artistic Intersections

Celebrating how art, health, and wellness intersect, QF launched ‘Artful Minds’ – an exhibition allowing people from across Qatar’s community to experience how art acts as a powerful tool for self-expression and healing.  

Held in partnership with International Artists Doha, the exhibition emphasized the importance of mental wellbeing, and encouraged visitors to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues, with artists from diverse backgrounds displaying their work.  

As part of ‘Artful Minds’, two accessible art workshops were held, with one hosting over 20 participants from QF’s Ability Friendly Program, most of them partially verbal, to explore puppet-making. The second workshop, focusing on sculpturing, was attended by members of the Qatar Social and Cultural Center for the Blind, who used clay to make different objects through which they expressed their thoughts.  

“The more we talk about mental health, the more we raise awareness of it,” said Ameera Al-Aji, Community Art Lead, QF. “Art has an exceptional ability to heal and empower us as it provides a unique tool for self-expression. The Artful Minds exhibition embodies this concept.” 

This workshop was testament to the fact that, with a little bit of adaptation and assistance, everything can be made accessible, and, more importantly, how well a community that people don’t think much of when it comes to arts can do if their needs are catered for.

Ikrami Ahmed Fouad
braille instructor, Al Noor Center for the Blind
31 artists participated in the ‘Artful Minds’ exhibition

Social Progress

Education and Celebration

October represented Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and QF marked it with a ladies-only event that brought together contracted workers from across Education City to help them learn how to protect themselves from the disease.  

Supported by local medical providers, the event gave women attending the opportunity to learn both about preventing breast cancer and adopting healthy lifestyles in general, through educational talks, information booths, and medical consultations.  

The month also saw contracted workers who are a vital and valued part of QF’s community and mission being celebrated and honored for their work at a special Appreciation Day, organized by the QF Workers’ Welfare team. The worker welfare standards at QF are regarded as a national model for ensuring the ethical and dignified treatment of expatriate workers in Qatar.  

And with World Mental Health Day also falling in October, QF’s Qatar Nanny Training Academy dedicated a day to integrating mental health education into its academic curriculum, with the aim of supporting the nannies the academy trains to foster children’s development and support good mental health among those they look after. 

Around 100 contracted workers at Education City attended the breast cancer awareness event at QF

I feel this event demonstrates that, when you perform your work with sincerity and dedication, it shows human and social values that have a positive impact on other people.

Mohammed Imthyas
G4S security guard, who has worked at QF for 13 years and was one of the contracted workers recognized at the Appreciation Day

Artificial Intelligence

A Shifting Landscape

The Middle East is becoming a gateway connecting the world as technology’s geographical landscape changes, the founder of one of the world’s largest tech conference told a Qatar audience in October as he became the latest expert to take to the Education City Speaker Series stage.  

Irish entrepreneur Paddy Cosgrave, CEO of Web Summit – which came to Doha in February 2024 – told the talk, co-hosted with the Government Communications Office: “I think the biggest change over the next 10 years is that the shift in the world is clearly underway. That shift is, for the most part, towards China, but it means that many other places in the world – including the Middle East, and including Qatar – are becoming far more important.” 

The milestone 15th season of QF’s innovation TV show Stars of Science came to an end with Saudi Arabian robotics engineer Mohammed Abbas Albumijdad claiming the title of top Arab innovator with his invention of a crawler robot that can inspect vertical surfaces, such as skyscrapers, bridges, and dams, for cracks and faults. 

And fellow QF partner university Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar launched its Generative AI series, exploring aspects of Artificial Intelligence, with its first session looking into how ChatGPT. 

Around 2,500 people attended the 5 Education City Speaker Series events held in 2023

I will continue to combine my passion for robotics and engineering to create a safer and more sustainable future for construction projects across the world.

Mohammed Abbas Albumijdad
Stars of Science Series 15 winner

Progressive Education, Social Progress

Faith in Focus

With its goal being to strengthen and safeguard faith among young Muslims, the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University launched its Al-Imān Amānah initiative in October.  

The platform is designed to protect Muslim children’s faith amid contemporary challenges, such as the ideology of post-truth, and falls under the college’s Maker Majlis – a program that offers young people opportunities to merge innovative projects with Islamic values.  

CIS also hosted the 6th International Conference on Islamic Finance, focusing on how emerging technologies can contribute to more sustainable economies; while HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering joined with the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to co-host the ninth Arab-American Frontiers Symposium, where experts discussed advances and potential US-MENA collaborations in science, engineering, and medicine.  

And Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, which is based at QF’s Education City, unveiled four exhibitions that showcased the extent of contemporary art across the Arab world – from the work of a renowned Iraqi artist to an experimental project blending ancient craftsmanship with modern technology. 

The Al-Imān Amānah initiative is an ideal platform from which CIS can engage with Muslim youth and ensure civilizational sustainability for generations to come.

Dr. Recep Şentürk
Dean, College of Islamic Studies, HBKU


Solutions for the World

Once again, Qatar welcomed the world in October, as the first top-tier international cultural exhibition in Qatar and the region – Expo 2023 Doha – began.  

And reflecting the place that sustainability holds at the core of its mission – from innovation and policy advocacy to raising public awareness and empowering youth to be catalysts for change – QF was present to showcase solutions for a sustainable future, created and driven within its ecosystem.  

Across the exhibition’s six months, QF’s space at the Expo 2023 Doha site in Al Bidda Park, powered by HBKU, has enabled visitors to engage with sustainability under the theme of ‘Local Innovations for Global Resilience’ – including examples of sustainable technology, youth-led projects, and opportunities for visitors to experience sustainable practices for themselves.  

Expo 2023 Doha was also the setting for the launch of the fourth season of QF’s 3D edutainment TV series Siraj, while HBKU’s Qur’anic Botanic Garden has hosted its own pavilion including exhibits of plants mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah and their historical and religious significance, along with displays of its conservation work and its third annual conference.

Expo 2023 Doha is an incredible opportunity for us to forge new partnerships with peers in the field of environmental awareness and sustainability, while introducing ourselves to an international audience.

Fatima Saleh Al-Khulaifi
Manager, Qur’anic Botanic Garden

The QF space powered by HBKU at Expo 2023 Doha hosted:

  • A Horticultural Zone featuring a dynamic greenhouse, Artificial Intelligence technology, and a vertical garden.
  • A Waste to Resources Zone showcasing QF’s work on innovation solutions to waste degradation, and teaching visitors about how climate change affects Qatar’s soil and land.
  • A Theater Zone with interactive talks and workshops by QF experts.
  • A Workshops Zone offering interactive sessions for children on topics including planting, recycling flowers, and water conservation.
  • A Community Farm Zone where visitors discovered the art of gardening in the desert.
  • A Student Exhibition of sustainability-focused projects.