H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser addressing the audience after receiving the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service from former president George H W Bush and Barbara Bush at a ceremony at the University of New England, Kennebunkport, Maine state, the US. Maher Attar/A R Al Baker
Kennebunkport, Maine: H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), has accepted the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service of the George Bush Library Foundation, in recognition of her “devoted promotion of peace and human development throughout the world”.
During a ceremony at the University of New England, in Kennebunkport, Maine state, last night, former president George H W Bush and Barbara Bush presented the award to Sheikha Moza.
After thanking Bush and Mrs Bush for the award, Sheikha Moza said: “I accept this honour on behalf of the people and nation of Qatar. H H the Father Emir planted the seeds of openness, creativity and freedom of expression in our society. These are the seeds of prosperous minds that will continue to flourish generation after generation.”
Sheikha Moza noted that the investment Qatar is making in human development is reaping rewards, as shown by the country’s recent first place ranking in the Middle East in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.
“Our Muslim, Qatari and Arab traditions demand that we constantly reinvigorate ourselves, and reach out the hand of friendship and support to those who are most in need. To share our blessings with others and with future generations,” Sheikha Moza said.
Referring to the establishment of Education City’s branch campuses, Sheikha Moza thanked the visionaries like former president George H W Bush, who could foresee and recognise the importance of such ventures for the present and future of our nations.
Sheikha Moza made it clear that Qatar Foundation has been since its inception in 1995 a crucial element in the development of talents of our young and building a strong and sustainable economy for future generations. This reflects our determination to use our resources wisely and responsibly.
Allah the Almighty has bestowed our nation and our people in Qatar with a lot of blessings which require us thanksgiving... Our educational system is universally recognised, and free for all our children from pre-school to university, Sheikha Moza said.
Addressing to George H W Bush, Sheikha Moza said: “You devoted your life for public service and social service and sought over the past 13 years to get acquainted with efforts others exert for doing good.
“I’m fully aware of the prestige the University of Texas A & M has in your heart. This university has much contributed to social and economic developments in Qatar through 300 male graduates or 550 current students who are contributing to building our nation’s industry and infrastructure.”
Sheikha Moza praised Texas A&M in Qatar for its contribution to Qatar’s national research capacity and socio-economic development.
Sheikha Moza also mentioned the pledge made by its students and staff during the campus’s 10th anniversary celebrations, to support the Educate A Child programme she launched in November 2012.
“Educate A Child is seeking to help millions of out-of-school children get into quality primary education.
“I am delighted that our students in Qatar Foundation are bringing their fresh perspectives to help us create this new world view,” Sheikha Moza said.
There are 57 million children in the world who are hard to reach, cannot go to school, every one of them deserves the opportunity to conquer poverty, conflict and marginalisation. The objective of the ‘Educate A Child’ programme is to support 10 million of these children to attend school within the next three years.
Sheikha Moza said she examined those children who live in a state of chaos in a refugee camp in Kenya, and those struggling to survive in the floodplains of Bangladesh, and those descended from poor families living in shantytowns in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Sheikha Moza said that two days ago she visited indigenous children of the Indian community in the Amazon rainforest, where those isolated communities are struggling to preserve their identity and culture, and at the same time keen to access the World Wide Web.
During a ceremony attended by dignitaries from the University of New England, Texas A&M University, Qatar Foundation and the George Bush Library Foundation, Texas A&M President Dr R Bowen Loftin spoke of the decade-long relationship between his university and Qatar Foundation.
He thanked H H Sheikha Moza for inviting Texas A&M “to be part of the noble and great initiative called Education City.”
Sheikha Moza is the first Arab woman to receive George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service, which recognises individuals and groups’ dedication to public service at local, state, national and international levels.
It also underscores former president Bush’s lifelong commitment to public service.
Ambassador Ryan C Crocker, Dean of The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, Sheikha Moza to the audience and said: “Creativity and innovation mark everything she does. She is a shining example of service, combining a vision for change and the ability and energy to make it happen.”
Barbara Bush presented the award to Sheikha Moza, noting that her initiatives combine “the best of modernity and tradition.”
“Her belief in the character and potential of her nation’s people is truly an inspiration,” Barbara said.
Past recipients include former US president Ronald Reagan, former secretary of defence Robert M Gates, evangelist William “Billy” F Graham, former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, former US senator Edward M Kennedy, former general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and former chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl.
“The George Bush Foundation is honoured to recognise the vision and strength epitomised by Sheikha Moza,” said Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, President of the Board of Directors for the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.
“By providing access to education and building strong families and communities, Sheikah Moza’s initiatives are laying the foundation for Qatar’s success in a global economy.
“She is an inspiration to her country and to the world,” Scowcroft added.QNA