Newly enrolled foundation and pre-medical students were officially welcomed to WCMC-Q on Tuesday, August 28 in a ceremony led by the university’s dean, Dr. Javaid I. Sheikh.
Parents were also in attendance at the Opening Exercises event, where they watched faculty members present 19 foundation and 48 pre-medical students with ceremonial pins in recognition of their new status as members of the WCMC-Q family.
Addressing the assembled guests, Dr. Sheikh spoke of the mission of the university, its achievements to date and its ambitions for the future.
He said: “I extend a very warm welcome to all of you on behalf of our faculty, staff and administration. This really is a very, very special occasion. Our goals here are nothing less than to establish WCMC-Q as the premier medical education institution in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and we are already making good progress. Our vision is that by 2015 we will be a major player in preparing a skilled workforce to improve healthcare for Qatar’s population, not only by producing physicians, but also researchers in our laboratories.”
Dr. Sheikh told the students that research at the university was intended to benefit the local community. “We believe that the research should be targeting those ailments which afflict the population here,” he said.
“Our focus is on translating findings from the laboratory to clinical trials that lead to new treatments for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research must go all the way from the lab bench to the bedside.”
By participating in this mission, Dr. Sheikh explained, students had the opportunity to help WCMC-Q work towards Qatar National Vision 2030, adding: “Through WCMC-Q, you can help to demonstrate that Qatar can become the first county in this region to really transform itself from a carbon-based economy to a knowledge economy.”
Students, their families and faculty members then had the chance to speak with each other at a reception held at the college.
First-year pre-medical student Fahad Al-Marri, a graduate of the WCMC-Q foundation program, explained why he had chosen to study at the university. “First of all, there is a deficit of doctors here in Qatar,” he said.
“But the reason I wanted to study here is that the university doesn’t just aim to fill the gap in the number of doctors, but has the ambition to produce really excellent physicians and researchers who can help to develop and deliver new treatments that ultimately save lives. That is what I want to be a part of.”
Zahra Hejji, also a first-year pre-medical student, said: “I feel really excited and, of course, a little bit afraid because it’s a big transition from high school.”
“But I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge because I would like to work in research, particularly relating to diseases like obesity and diabetes as they affect the people here in my home country, as well as being growing problems around the world.”
The Opening Exercises evening was just one of a series of events organized as part of the foundation and pre-medical orientation program running from August 27-30. Students got to know their new classmates with icebreaker activity sessions on each of the four days of the program, and on Day 1 took part in a cultural night where they wore their national dress.
There were also information sessions on how to get involved in student activities and about the various facilities on offer at WCMC-Q such as the Distributed e-library and the Writing Skills Center, before the program ended on Day 4 with a community service evening in which donated goods were collected to give to Qatar Charity and QF workers were invited to enjoy a buffet meal, served to them by the newly enrolled students, in recognition of their efforts to make orientation week a success.
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