DOHA, Qatar, Nov. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) may not be a household name in the United States, just yet, but over the past month it has been very much in the international spotlight.
Last week, Education City, the Foundation's sprawling flagship development based in Qatar's capital Doha, played host to First Lady Michelle Obama who, over two days, gained an insight into the Foundation's state-of-the-art facilities, and delivered a rousing speech about girls' education at QF's annual international education conference.
A week earlier, Ahmed Mohammed, the 14-year-old 'clock-making' boy from Texas, who recently visited the White House and MIT among others, moved to Qatar with his family and began his studies at a high school in Education City. Ahmed was awarded a scholarship under QF's Young Innovators Program, which recognizes bright young Arab minds and talent.
Flying direct from Dallas, near Mohamed's hometown of Irving, Texas, would have taken more than 14 hours to reach his new home of Qatar, the small but wealthy OPEC nation that juts into the Persian Gulf from the east of the Arabian Peninsula. But this distance is nothing next to the distance travelled by Qatar, and by Qatar Foundation, in an incredibly short space of time.
Former US Ambassador to the State of Qatar, Patrick Theros, has witnessed Qatar's transformation, saying: "Qatar's success has been tremendous. I not only served there as Ambassador but have visited frequently over the last decade and more, I have seen the country go from one accomplishment to another. Qatar may be best known for its hydrocarbon resources; however, it is unique in that it recognizes that its people are its most valuable asset, and, over the last few years, has successfully begun to transform itself into a modern, self-sustaining, knowledge-based economy."
A dramatic boom, fueled by Qatar's vast reserves of natural gas, has transformed the country from a sleepy backwater into a thriving metropolis filled with futuristic skyscrapers and a native population that ranks among the richest in the world per capita.
Qatar Foundation has played a major part in this transformation. Created two decades ago, Education City stands like a small city on the western edge of Doha. It houses first-class educational facilities, including six US universities, and a business hub with facilities designed to foster technological innovation and cultural projects such as the national library and the philharmonic orchestra.
A nonprofit organization, Qatar Foundation was established in 1995 by the country's then ruling Amir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and his wife Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who remains as QF's Chairperson, in order to provide Qatari citizens with a greater choice in education, health and social progress than ever before.
A vocal champion for education, Her Highness recognizes the need to provide quality education to Qatar's youth while preserving local culture and traditions. "Qatar Foundation has been a crucial component in developing the talents of our young people, and building a strong and sustainable economy for future generations. It embodies our determination to use our resources wisely and responsibly. Each day our campus welcomes 5000 students of 90 nationalities. Together, they help to design Qatar's future, while building on our rich heritage, in a spirit of openness and curiosity," she says.
Through the successful creation of a variety of education centers, Education City uniquely caters for students from as early as six months all the way up to undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidate level. And by engaging with individuals at every stage of their academic lives, QF is able to promote a culture of research and innovation from a young age.
Currently, there are more than 6,000 students enrolled at the Foundation's academic institutions, in both pre-university schools and in higher education centers. These students will eventually join the wider community, and many will take up leadership roles, ultimately playing a part in the development of their country by passing on their knowledge and skills.
President of Qatar Foundation Engineer Saad Al Muhannadi says the Foundation's success so far is, "In-line with its mission to unlock human potential and help Qatar in its journey to build a knowledge-based economy. Qatar Foundation has succeeded in creating a comprehensive campus at Education City that has enabled thousands of young men and women to actively participate in the successful development of Qatar. Our unique concept ensures QF's graduates will become the nation's next generation of leaders; adept in critical thinking, and with a desire for lifelong learning."
Six American university campuses, which attract both Qataris and foreign students, are clustered in Education City. Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar each teach programs the government considers useful to the country.
Three siblings from one Qatari family typify what Qatar Foundation has set out to achieve. The eldest daughter, Zainab Hejji, graduated from Texas A&M University at Qatar in 2012 and now works for Qatar Petroleum – Offshore. Her brother Hussein attended Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, graduating from its Business Administration program in 2013, and is currently employed as a Financial Analyst at Qatar Shell. Youngest sister Zahra is studying at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and pursuing her dream of becoming a noted Qatari surgeon.
Zainab realizes the important part QF is playing to the development of the country and its future: "I feel it is important to give back to the community. It is essential to apply the knowledge and skills gained at university, to work with passion and objectives in mind, to strengthen the spirit of team work, and to communicate effectively and efficiently, in order to serve our country."
Having recommended Georgetown as a potential university of interest to Qatar Foundation, Ambassador Patrick Theros, pays tribute to what Qatar Foundation has achieved: "Qatar Foundation has to be commended for its proactive approach to its country's future. The country set out a clear path for the transition from a carbon to a knowledge-based economy, and over the last 20 years, Qatar Foundation has been a key engine in transforming the State and assisting in the delivery of its national priorities."
The unique approach taken by Qatar Foundation to education and research is ensuring that it is well on its way to becoming a global player. From energy and environment, to computing, biomedical and cardiovascular research, QF, its students and graduates are reaping the benefits, making exciting breakthroughs in areas that promise to transform not only Qatar, but the Gulf region, and the wider world.
Media Contact: Azza Al Rifai - firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development