The Chairman of Administrative Control and Transparency Authority H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah giving the keynote speech during the graduation ceremony at Georgetown Qatar University yesterday. RIGHT: The new graduates.
DOHA: A batch of 43 students at Georgetown Qatar University took their final walk to a graduation ceremony where they received their diplomas, signalling an end to the four transformative years of their undergraduate education.
They will join the 125 graduates who have already walked in the commencement ceremonies since the branch campus was established in Education City in 2005.
The Chairman of Administrative Control and Transparency Authority
H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah gave the keynote speech at the ceremomy.
“In the Class of 2013 you will find the stories of so many excellent individuals who embody the foundational values of Georgetown: Academic Excellence, “Women and Men for Others”, and Contemplation in Action, to name just a few of our core values,” said Georgetown’s dean, Dr Gerd Nonneman.
Currently offering a four-year liberal arts curriculum with majors in International Politics, International Economics and Culture and Politics, Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) has seen steady annual increases in the number of students seeking the same competitive degree offered at the internationally recognised university’s Washington DC campus.
Four years of intense and rigorous academic studies was not the hardest part for some students. Malik A Habayeb, graduating with a degree in International Politics and a Certificate in Arab and Regional studies, said: “I faced a lot of challenges when I decided to attend a liberal arts university. My family and my friends were worried about my financial stability after graduation.”
The worry is not a unique challenge for young high school graduates choosing which university to attend while facing the cultural pressures to pursue vocational education. But for Malik, things changed dramatically in his first year of study. “In my Freshman year I travelled to China with the Community Engagement Programme (CEP). I also joined the HELP programme teaching English to Education City service staff as a way of giving back to the wonderful men and women who provide all of us with a clean, safe place to study. Through the programmes and the course materials, my parents quickly began seeing the value of my education decision.”
As a senior, he was awarded the prestigious Lena Landegger Community Service Award, which is given out to only 20 students from both the Washington DC campus and the Doha campus. And his commitment to helping others is also reflected in his participation in the Inspire Dreams NGO, where he worked with other Georgetown students in creating youth leadership workshops in Palestinian refugee camps in Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Nablus. They also conducted English tutoring for adults. “As a Palestinian, this is my dream - to help the Palestinian cause by focusing on the refugee issue, and the socio economic ones as well. I want to be part of the practical policies that will ensure the human rights of millions.”
But for some students, like Haya A Al Thani, the choice of a liberal arts degree was a no-brainer. “I had decided that I wanted to become a lawyer, and I was told that a prerequisite for law school was International Politics, so I chose it as my major at Georgetown.” Four years later, however, Haya has changed course in her plans for the future. “The way the professors taught the courses, the materials they covered-they awakened a real love of politics and policy making in me. Now, I hope to go to graduate school and focus on education policy in Qatar. Georgetown taught me about the world, and now I want to take what I’ve learned, and focus on our local history, and our local culture.”
Her interest in her local community and culture was already manifested in her many extracurricular activities. She is the co-creator and president of the first Qatari Students Society at Georgetown, and the co-creator and co-president of the Middle Eastern Studies Student Association (MESSA), a student group unique to the Qatar campus.