Qatar Foundation 2023: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Progressive Education

At Qatar Foundation, we’ve continuously challenged the assumptions of classroom education to rethink and refine models of how students learn, while continuing to deliver the highest quality of education available.

Innovative education leads to innovative thinking, and we strongly believe that the time is right to advance an educational approach that has remained largely unchanged for over a century. We want to make education more adaptive to the needs of students, and empower every child’s curiosity, creativity, and individuality—fostering an attitude for learning that will build a more resilient world. This is what we call progressive education, and we are actively pursuing it through our ecosystem of schools, universities, and other scholastic centers.

January

Impact Through Innovation

Qatar Foundation’s (QF) own ecosystem of knowledge is testament to its belief in educational innovation. It aims to reimagine what learning can be, and mean – and support those who want to do the same. 

And as 2023 began, this belief was demonstrated by the winners of Qatar Spotlight – a joint initiative between QF and HundrED, a not-for-profit organization that identifies and shares innovations in K-12 education – being unveiled. 

The ceremony at QF’s Education City saw 10 innovations capable of being scaled up around the world and making an impact on pre-university education receive Qatar Spotlight awards, among them a specially-crafted program that aims to guide and inspire students to be the ethical leaders of tomorrow. 

Through the Ethics Curriculum at Qatar Academy Al Wakra – part of QF’s Pre-University Education – young learners from pre-school to Grade 12 are supported to make informed ethical decisions that help them become drivers of positive change in their societies. 

I feel pride and happiness in the innovation of students and teachers that contribute to making education an enjoyable and attractive experience, and instill the value of research and exploration among our students.

Her Excellency Buthaina bint Al Jabr Al Nuaimi
Minister of Education and Higher Education, speaking at the Qatar Spotlight awards ceremony

The 10 winning Qatar Spotlight projects were:

  • Qatar Science & Technology Secondary School for Boys’ biotechnology and biomedical engineering program
  • Qatar Academy Al Wakra’s Ethics Curriculum
  • Al Faisal Without Borders Foundation’s Farm Your Country program
  • Tariq Bin Ziad School’s Glocalization initiative
  • Sherborne Qatar Preparatory School’s Museum in Residence project
  • Zainab Preparatory School for Girls’ My Friend Robot project
  • Academyati’s Quests initiative
  • Qatar Academy Sidra’s Science and Sustainability Club project
  • Qatar National Library’s Science Book Forum project
  • Juwayriyah bint Al-Harith Primary School for Girls’ Virtual Learning Resources project
January

Art Opens Eyes

Learning experiences with art at their heart were opened up for students across Qatar in 2023 – at a landmark art installation within QF’s Education City. 

Opened in 2019, Seeroo fi al ardh is the final artwork of the late, renowned Indian artist Maqbool Fida Husain, which pays tribute to humanity’s spirit of innovation through an experience that comprises crystal glass horses, the Flying Man sculpture of Abbas ibn Firnas, a bronze replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s Flying Machine, vintage cars, and a vibrant mosaic, on a carousel synchronized to music.  

And with Seeroo fi al ardh now embedded within the educational curriculum in Qatar, visits by school students and teachers allowed them to see how it can act as a learning tool, with its message about humankind being incorporated into lessons and teaching plans. 

Among those visiting was Tracy Worner, Head of GEMS American Academy Qatar’s Drama Department, who said: “Students need to be exposed to as many creative experiences as possible – it inspires them and expands their minds.” 

Arts, and arts education skills, can carry over into all other academic subjects, and into life outside the classroom.

Carolyn Parker
Director of Qatar Academy Sidra
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More than 250 teachers from Qatar toured Seeroo fi al ardh in January to see how it could support their teaching
January

Expertise on Display

New regional ground was broken for spoken language technologies in January, as students from around the world participated in the first hackathon in this field to be staged in the Middle East and North Africa – collaborating to devise ways of using technology to increase language understanding.

It formed part of the 2022 IEEE Spoken Language Technology Workshop, held in the region for the first time with HBKU’s Qatar Computing Research Institute as the host, with global experts discussing advances in areas including automated speech recognition, machine learning for languages, and text-to-speech applications.

Meanwhile, QF-generated expertise in solar energy was showcased by HBKU’s Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute at the 8th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, the world’s biggest platform for photovoltaic research and development.

And Haya Al Ansari, a second-year medical student at QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, presented research into a rare and incurable blood cancer, which she worked on with doctors from New York, at a leading US health conference focused on hematology.

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100 university students split into 19 teams for the spoken language technologies hackathon
January

Advocating for the Arabic Language

Helping learners and teachers to navigate the Arabic language was the purpose of a new book published by a QF professor in January – promoting a concept which he believes can help protect the language for future generations. 

‘Spoken Arabic: The Third Language’, by QF partner university Georgetown University in Qatar assistant professor Dr. Abdul Rahman Chamseddine, advocates for linguistic theories that apply certain colloquial forms of the language to classical Arabic, making it easier to speak; and provides a practical guide to using this “third language” for native and non-native Arabic speakers. 

And QF partner university Northwestern University in Qatar was awarded a $350,000 grant by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to expand its Arab Information and Media Studies field and launch a research initiative focusing on the impact of the emerging world order on the Arab world and Global South.  

“Our project has a triple distinction,” said Northwestern Qatar dean and CEO Marwan M Kraidy. “It is hosted at Northwestern, a global leader in communication, journalism, the social sciences, and the humanities. It is located in the Arab region. And it is explicitly trilingual, reflecting the rich pan-Arab diversity of research languages and tradition.”

We are not using Classical or even Modern Standard Arabic in our daily lives. If we don’t find a better version of spoken Arabic that is closer to fusha, we will lose it completely.

Dr. Abdul Rahman Chamseddine
February

Putting Learning at the Community’s Core

Throughout Doha, February saw education taken beyond the classroom – with children and young people, families, and the whole community invited to explore what learning means by QF’s global education think tank WISE

The three-day Doha Learning Days festival in Msheireb Downtown Doha offered hands-on learning activities in informal settings, centered around the theme of youth empowerment, with workshops and activities ranging from advocacy, arts, and wellbeing to entrepreneurship, technology, and science. 

They included an experiential tech workshop where young learners got to grips with coding and created their own arcade games; an entrepreneurship workshop teaching students how to work together to solve challenges; and a session, My Different Friends, where students aged 8-10 learned about autism, and wrote messages to the community urging them to make the world a better place for people with autism. 

“Differences are everywhere, even in the types of play we prefer and the ways in which we express our feelings,” said Fatima Al Muraikhi, one of three Qatari mothers who established the Autism Parents Platform, the session’s organizers. “Diversity in us, and in all aspects of life, is what makes it more beautiful.”

When children are engaged in a learning activity outside the classroom, it takes them out of their routine and comfort zone – it offers them a challenge that makes them start to ask questions, investigate, and even compete.

Zaid Abusini
Ed-tech Engineer, Studio 5/6, and Doha Learning Days workshop instructor
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More than 50 learning activities took place during Doha Learning Days.
February

Startups and Service

Education through entrepreneurship was also on the agenda at one of QF’s schools in February – with the launch of a competition designed to help students start, run, and market their own business. 

‘Have an Impact’ was created by Tariq Bin Ziad School, part of QF’s Pre-University Education (PUE), in collaboration with Qatar Charity, Qatari Women Association for Economic Awareness & Investment, and delivery platform Snoonu, with the aim of giving young learners a grounding in how to turn their ambitions into reality. The students’ final products went on sale through Snoonu, with proceeds going to Qatar Charity. 

Meanwhile, teachers, educators, and experts from across Qatar shared methods and strategies for teaching the Arabic language at the third edition of the Education Forum on Heritage and Identity, organized by PUE’s Education Development Institute and the Arab Center for Policy and Research Studies – Tarsheed. 

The event included interactive workshops delivered by Arabic teachers on topics ranging from writing Arabic and making Arabic classes accessible to those with learning challenges, to how technology, music, drama, and electronic platforms can support Arabic teaching strategies.

Teaching our younger generations skills of productivity, entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity is crucial to make sure they grow to be positive change agents in our communities, and leaders.

Maha Al-Romaihi
Director, Tariq Bin Ziad School
  • More than 60 teams applied to take part in ‘Have an Impact’, with 24 projects shortlisted.
  • Over 300 teachers from government and private schools in Qatar participated in sessions at the Education Forum on Heritage and Identity.
February

A New Dimension

A world-first approach to 3D printing which can embed self-healing properties into materials – and could help pave the way for a new generation of electronics, sensors, and solar cells – was demonstrated by QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University in February. 

The university has formed a research partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a full-scale system that allows the Self-Assembled Molecular 3D printing approach to be taken into real-world use. 

“Molecular self-assembly in 3D printing is a novel and disruptive approach that could define new frontiers,” said Dr. Rachid Zaffou, Senior Planning and Research Director, HBKU. 

HBKU also sealed its place among the world’s top 200 universities in human biological sciences, in the latest edition of ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, based on the work of its College of Health and Life Sciences (CHLS), Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), and Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) in this field. 

This is a monumental achievement for HBKU that reflects its commitment to developing world-class multidisciplinary academic programs.

Dr. Georges Nemer
Interim Dean and Professor, College of Health and Life Sciences, HBKU
March

Arts, Excellence, and Inquiry

In March, the performing arts talent that exists within QF’s schools was on show – through SHOWTIME! 

The 2023 edition of the musical showcase – created by students, teachers, and staff from schools under QF’s Pre-University Education – featured hits from shows such as Aladdin, Grease, The Sound of Music, and Anastasia, as well as the debut of a new song in Arabic and English by Qatari composer Dana Al Fardan, called ‘Now or Never’. 

Meanwhile, 14 QF students were honored at the 16th edition of Qatar’s Education Excellence Awards, among them Faisal Al Dosari, a grade 6 student at QF’s Qatar Academy Doha, whose message to her fellow students was: “If you have a dream, keep working hard and never give up – you can achieve anything if you believe in yourself and work hard for it.” 

And QF Pre-University Education’s student enrichment program launched an inquiry-based afterschool mathematics program to help high school students think creatively to solve complex programs. Harnessing QF’s integrated ecosystem of knowledge, sessions were led by mathematics professors from three of its international partner universities and from its Hamad Bin Khalifa University. 

Musical theater can help stretch children beyond their abilities, or beyond what they think their limits are. They begin learning so much about themselves, and this increases their confidence and helps them overcome challenges.

Chris Piper
Director of SHOWTIME!
March

Pathways to Knowledge

One of the characteristics of QF’s unique, integrated ecosystem is the opportunity it provides for collaboration – and this was again demonstrated in March as scholars from four Education City universities at Education City pooled their expertise in the name of knowledge.  

Funded by a QF grant, professors from Georgetown University in Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, and Northwestern University in Qatar began developing a curriculum that can be adapted worldwide to teach students about religious diversity, tolerance, and co-existence in the Arab and Islamic world.  

And Qatar Foundation International (QFI) also opened new doors to knowledge, supporting a group of UK students to take an immersive Arabic language and culture trip to Qatar through its Connecting Classrooms program. Designed to promote the Arabic language and connect people from different backgrounds and cultures, it included enabling the students to join classes at QF schools.  

“We are committed to making the Arabic language a viable choice in language classrooms,” said Latrecia Wilson, Executive Director of QFI. “This means providing teachers, researchers, administrators and the whole Arabic language ecosystem with access to the networks and support they need, and helping students access the lifechanging opportunities that learning Arabic affords.” 

The importance of the Arabic language is increasing daily in the world, and it is also an important language for many of our students who will be able, through learning it, to communicate more effectively with the people of Arab countries.

Duncan Jacques
CEO of Exceed Academies Trust, speaking about the UK students’ QFI-supported visit to Qatar
March

Skilled in Science

High school students from Qatar steeled their nerves to showcase their research and presentation skills to a national audience in March, as QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education hosted the Qatar Youth Science Forum 2023.  

Technologies presented by the science-minded students included biodegradable crayons to reduce waste to specialized communication and entertainment systems for quadriplegic patients. Five winning teams were chosen to represent Qatar at the prestigious London International Science Forum.  

Together with Qatar University, HBKU also co-hosted the fourth World Association for Sport Management Conference – the first to be held in the Middle East and North Africa region – as, in the wake of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, it explored the latest trends in the sports industry. 

A Hub of Healthcare

And leading figures in proteomics – which can support disease diagnosis and personalized medicine – gathered at Education City for a conference organized by QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, discussing new developments in this field and reflecting Qatar’s growing status as a precision health hub. 

We hope that our research projects will inspire other young people in Qatar to pursue their passion for science and technology.

Talal Eisa Al Ghanem
Qatar Youth Science Forum 2023 winner
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55 teams from high schools in Qatar participated in the Qatar Youth Science Forum 2023
April

Learning Through Stories

Meanwhile, QF’s edutainment TV series, Siraj, launched a special Ramadan edition for children in Qatar and across the Arab world. 

The episodes, showcasing the stories of the Prophets, invited children to join beloved Siraj characters Rashid and Noura on a journey of education and values such as tolerance, honesty, patience, responsibility, humility, and justice – and enjoy a fun learning experience that reflected the essence of Ramadan.  

“In this digital age, with technology and the internet being a big part of our lives, it is essential to have a program like Siraj for our children,” said Sulaiman Timbo Bah, Community Engagement and Outreach Coordinator at Minaretein (Education City Mosque). “It is a much-needed initiative that provides them with an opportunity to learn moral and ethical values. 

“It is a great way to teach children about the attributes of the Prophets and how to emulate them in their lives. We must take responsibility for telling our own stories in a way that resonates with our children.” 

Ultimately, we hope that this series will contribute to creating a better and more compassionate society.

Sara Al Hajri
Associate Director of Culture. Heritage and Identity, Education Development Institute, QF
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8 special episodes of Siraj were screened during Ramadan
April

The Reward for Excellence

Elsewhere across QF’s ecosystem, students from QF partner university Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar were honored for their creative skills as they received Arab Engineering Bureau Awards for Design Excellence.  

There were also celebrations for final-year students at QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), who secured residencies to continue their training at elite institutions in Qatar and the US; while those who may one day follow in their footsteps were welcomed to WCM-Q, as its week-long Qatar Medical Explorer Program saw 29 high school students experience campus life as a medical student. 

On the Global Stage

Beyond Qatar, QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press showcased a new range of its original and translated titles, and placed its authors and translators on the international stage, by attending the London Book Fair – one of the biggest literary gatherings in Europe – for the fourth time. 

The publishing house’s presence in the British capital was based around the theme of international community-building through literature, by giving a platform to unique Qatari and Arab stories and voices.

I enjoyed the program because it helped me develop my skills and gave me insight into the knowledge and aspects I need to be aware of to hopefully join WCM-Q.

Fahad Faisal Al-Dosari
Qatar Academy Al Wakra student and Qatar Medical Explorer Program participant

WCM-Q students who secured residencies at top medical institutions are specializing in:

  • Neurology
  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • General surgery
  • Pediatrics
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Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press’ catalog includes over 600 titles, with 58 percent of its publications translated from international languages
April

An Educational Ambassador

For Hend Zainal, education is “my work and my passion” – and this passion led to her becoming the first person in Qatar, and only the second in the Gulf region, to be selected for a prestigious international fellowship that she aims to use to support higher education in Qatar. 

The Executive Director of Strategy, Management and Partnerships at QF’s Higher Education division, was accepted into the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Program, a year-long program that develops educators’ skills and equips them for leadership roles in the field. 

Zainal, an alumna of two of QF’s partner universities, was the only member of the program’s 2023-24 cohort from outside the US, and said: “I plan to maximize the opportunities for gathering and exchanging knowledge it will offer so that I can bring these back to Qatar and support the advancement of QF’s higher education strategy, as well as higher education in Qatar as a whole.  

“With Qatar becoming globally regarded as an educational hub, I also hope to use my selection as an ACE Fellow to represent the nation and help to promote its significant investment and efforts in education to my international peers.” 

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36 ACE Fellows were selected for the 2023-24 academic year, which has nurtured more than 2,500 emerging higher education leaders
May

A Step into the Future

They dedicated themselves to learning, discovery, and service throughout their years at Education City – and, in May, it was their time to shine in the QF Convocation spotlight. 

QF’s annual celebration of the graduates of its universities saw its latest batch of future leaders and change-drivers follow in the footsteps of so many before them, as they strode through the Door to the Future – the traditional Convocation moment symbolizing the end of one chapter of their journey, and the opening of the next. 

The ceremony was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, who also honored 16 graduates from across Education City with Al Ihsan awards – recognizing not only their academic achievements, but also their qualities of leadership, innovation, and creativity.  

And each member of QF’s Class of 2023 was presented with a special piece of jewelry – designed in Qatar, and inspired by Education City – as a Convocation gift, and a memento of their time within an education landscape that has no comparison.

For so many of these graduates, the next step on their path will see them make valuable contributions to the development of Qatar, as they bring their talent into our nation’s workforce.

Her Excellency Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi
Minister of Higher Education, speaking at QF’s 2023 Convocation ceremony
  • 874 students graduated from QF universities in the 2022-23 academic year
  • The Class of 2023 represented 77 nationalities – including 313 Qatari graduates
  • Over 8,800 students have now graduated from QF universities
May

Dreams Without Limits

In fields ranging from medicine, engineering, art and design, communication, and international affairs, to Islamic studies, law and public policy, computing, humanities and social sciences, and business, the Class of 2023 gained a world-class education that also provided opportunities for cross-cultural learning, social contribution, and nurturing new interests.  

Among them was Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) graduate Fatima Al-Mannai, who said: “The breadth of opportunities – beyond just academic – that were available to me as a student in QF’s unique ecosystem is undoubtedly what made me into the person graduating today.”  

And Aisha Al-Mohannadi, who graduated from Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), explained: “The biggest lesson I’ve lived and learned during my time as a student at Education City is that there are no limits to our dreams if we are willing to work hard.”  

Alongside Convocation, QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University and its partner universities – VCUarts Qatar, GU-Q, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, HEC Paris in Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar – each celebrated their graduates amid a sense of reflection, pride, and individual and collective achievement. 

QF fueled my passion and motivated me to pursue this dream, which is being realized today with my graduation.

Shaikha Al-Majed
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar Class of 2023 graduate
May

One Community…Reconnected

As QF’s global community of alumni grew with the graduation of the Class of 2023, hundreds of past graduates of its ecosystem of education – which, as well as universities, also includes 13 schools – were brought together at Education City to reconnect, and share their stories and experiences. 

QF’s annual Alumni Forum, held days after Convocation, also allowed its alumni to build their networks and air their views on topics such as career pathways and job opportunities – explaining the challenges they face to key decision-makers, and discussing solutions for addressing them.  

And they received a message from Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, who, speaking at the Forum, said: “Most innovations around the world – especially in the fields of education and health – have stemmed from new ideas that students share.  

“This Forum is intended to enhance the relationships between our alumni, and is an opportunity for you to meet your peers, turn relationships into friendships, and then turn these friendships into partnerships and projects.” 

Our alumni are the greatest embodiment of QF’s investment, and belief, in the power of education to allow everyone to define their path, realize their potential, and benefit Qatar, the region, and the world.

Francisco Marmolejo
President of Higher Education, QF
14,000
Over 14,000 students have graduated from QF’s schools and universities
May

Discovering an Ecosystem

And following Convocation, QF invited the community of Qatar to join in the celebrations of its students and alumni, and discover the landscape of knowledge that sets them on the path to successful careers and lives – at its annual Aljam’a event. 

Across three days, members of the public mingled with alumni of QF’s schools and universities as, together, they participated in a series of educational workshops and showcases, and learned more about the full depth and breadth of the QF ecosystem. 

Professional development, academic, and cultural workshops spanned a range of topics, including elevator pitches, startup guides for entrepreneurs, calligraphy, sadu weaving, and bukhoor mixing; while Aljam’a also featured musical performances, fashion exhibitions, innovation displays, and demonstrations of the research being carried out by QF students within and beyond the classroom. 

And in the event’s Market Zone, QF alumni who have gone on to launch successful businesses showcased their products and services, and told visitors about their own entrepreneurial journey. 

The learning opportunities available to students across QF enable them to connect with each other and use resources in ways that would not normally be possible, and Aljam’a is a celebration of this.

Dr. Mohammad Shaheen Al Kuwari
Director of Student Life, QF
May

Guided by Values

With good moral character and strong values in their minds and hearts, they are role models for others and catalysts for positive change in society – and, in May, they were recognized through QF’s Akhlaquna Award and Akhlaquna Junior Award.  

Launched in 2017, Akhlaquna emphasizes the interconnectivity between knowledge, education, and morality, and promotes ethics as a basis for success in life, with the morals adopted by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at its core. 

And the 2023 winners of the awards were honored by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, at a special Education City ceremony which included two new categories: the Akhlaquna Appreciation Award – won by Sidra Medicine’s Chief of Pediatric Chest Diseases, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Janahi, for his ethical leadership – and the Initiative Award. 

“Through my initiative, I aspire to spread gratitude and embody the virtues of humility and thankfulness,” said Al-Nawar Al-Thani, one of three winners of the Initiative Award, whose project thanks workers by providing them with meals and messages of gratitude. “It is my belief that, by practicing these morals, we can foster a stronger sense of unity, compassion, and appreciation within our society, making it a better place for everyone.” 

Morals play a crucial role in our lives, and it is our duty to embrace them and inspire others to follow suit.

Muhammad Mahmoud Al-Hail
Akhlaquna Junior Award winner

The Akhlaquna Award for 2023 was won by student-led initiative Asehaa, which raises awareness about eating disorders and was developed by:

  • Al Dana Al Sulaiti
  • Amna Al Hammadi
  • Alanoud Al Matwi
  • Shikha Alanood Ahmed AlThani
  • Leen Alabdulrazzak
  • Haya Weal

The Akhlaquna Junior Award was won by 12 students across 3 age categories

May

An Accessible Achievement

Providing equal opportunities for people with diverse abilities to embrace and enjoy sport, all year round, QF’s Ability Friendly Program is an empowering dissolver of barriers – and a symbol of the organization’s belief in inclusivity. 

And in May, its participants and coaches were lauded for their achievements and their dedication at an Ability Friendly Recognition Awards ceremony, where the bonds between the program’s growing community were strengthened further.  

Among those receiving awards was Jassim Al-Ali, whose mother Aisha said: “The program has been a tremendous blessing, offering him opportunities for growth and development.  

“Through his commitment to training, he has not only acquired valuable skills, but also blossomed in his ability to communicate and connect with his fellow colleagues. I am grateful for how this program has positively impacted his life, fostering a sense of belonging and empowering him to reach his full potential.”  

For more information about QF’s Ability Friendly Program, or to participate or volunteer, email abilityfriendly@qf.org.qa  

He no longer sees his disability as a hindrance, but rather as an opportunity for growth and contribution.

Nabila Fadaoui
the mother of Ability Friendly Program participant Yossef Ahmad

QF’s Ability Friendly Program offers:

  • A football program
  • A swimming program
  • A playball program
  • A movement and meditation program
  • Summer and winter camps
May

The Pillars of Learning

The essential role of local teachers in shaping young lives and building a stronger society in Qatar was reinforced in May, as QF brought together teachers from across the nation to share their stories, experiences, and practices – and help build the foundations of lifelong learning. 

The second annual Qatari Educators Gathering, organized by QF Pre-University Education’s (PUE) Education Development Institute, encouraged teachers to invest in their professional development, serve as role models for those they teach and empower, and build networks of communication between each other, with a particular focus on Qatari teachers. 

Abeer Al Khalifa, President of Pre-University Education, QF, told the teachers who attended the gathering: “Teachers are the main pillars in our schools, the driving force behind the success of our students and their progress toward building a better future – as well as a source of pride in their heritage and national identity. 

“Teachers are role models; they instill important values and beliefs in young people.” 

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50 local teachers attended the Qatari Educators Gathering
May

Global Perspectives

International experts in education headed to the Colombian city of Medellin in May for one of Latin America’s biggest educational events – with QF’s global education initiative WISE being instrumental in connecting them to help chart new paths for the future of learning.  

Together with the Global Education Forum (GEF), WISE organized the GEF & WISE@Medellin international summit under the theme “Beyond Education: Involving a Whole New Society in Learning’, with sessions focusing on topics including what future education models could look like, and the evolution of what it takes to be a true educational leader. 

Driving Dialogue

QF’s Doha Debates was also building connections through the podcast route – bringing its signature approach to debate to its new ‘Doha Debates Podcast’, where guests representing different and often opposing viewpoints on key global issues try to find common ground.  

And QF-founded QatarDebate organized the first International Conference on Debate and Dialogue, where over 800 experts and youth from around the world exchanged ideas about debating and learned from debate-focused research and insights.  

This summit is a great example of WISE’s mission as an organization that promotes and supports innovation in education in all its aspects.

Stavros Yiannouka
CEO of WISE
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Over 800 participants – including scholars, educators, and thought leaders – attended the GEF & WISE@Medellin Summit, which featured nearly 100 speakers
May

Arabic Exploration

Key questions and themes that shape the teaching and learning of Arabic in Europe and the UK were placed in the spotlight by Qatar Foundation International (QFI) in April, at a Brussels symposium that enabled educators, policymakers, and academics to share their perspectives.  

QFI has, for 14 years, encouraged the teaching of Arabic as a global language offered in classrooms beyond the Arab world, by supporting the professionalization of Arabic teaching, and research-driven methodologies and practices. In this vein, the symposium explored topics such as changing perceptions about the language and building sustainable Arabic programs for schools.

Reinforcing the Family

And QF’s Doha International Family Institute marked the International Day of Families with an Education City event emphasizing the socio-cultural value of the family in Qatari society.  

The talk also saw Her Excellency Dr. Hind Bint Abdul Rahman Al Muftah, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations Office in Geneva, highlight the impact of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ on the world’s view of Qatari culture, saying: “We have been able to showcase ourselves as a role model for the social and cultural integration of many nationalities from different countries of the world.” 

We need to aim high – Arabic teachers should receive no less support than teachers of any other foreign language.

Paula Rötscher
QFI symposium panelist
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Representatives from 14 countries attended the QFI symposium in Brussels
May

A Message Through Art

Highlighting, in the words of its creator, “the strength of the nation and how it has overcome challenges”, the latest addition to the public art landscape at QF’s Education City was unveiled. 

‘Al Azzm’ comprises three granite sculptures depicting Qatari women wearing abayas and battoulahs – the region’s traditional clothing. Located close to the 2015 building (QF Headquarters), it was designed by His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al Thani, Advisor of Cultural Affairs at QF, with the three women signifying the three pillars of QF: education, science, and community development. 

“The work showcases the women walking into the wind, which is illustrated by the angle of the sculptures as they lean into the wind and the rippling of the abayas,” explains His Excellency Sheikh Hassan, who designed the piece to commemorate QF’s 25th anniversary.  

“This aims to showcase a woman’s strength, confronting challenges faced in life, while the smooth granite was chosen to show the silk cloak, which embodies the strength and solidarity of the women.” 

Art is the jewel in the crown of civilization – it reflects the renaissance of nations and the advancement of societies.

His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al Thani
Advisor of Cultural Affairs at QF
June

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
June

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
June

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
June

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. 

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
13
Nibras extends across QF’s 13 schools, benefiting more than 7,000 students and 1,500 staff members
July

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’
July

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
July

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.