Posted on November 16, 2014

Under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Hend Bent Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Vice Chair of the Supreme Education Council board of directors, the University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) graduated 44 new nursing professionals in the university’s fifth convocation. One quarter of these and all UCQ graduates are Qatari nationals.

The celebration was presided over by University of Calgary Chancellor Dr Robert Thirsk. University of Calgary President Dr Elizabeth Cannon and UCQ Dean and CEO Dr Kim Critchley were key speakers, adding their congratulations to the graduating students. Present were dignitaries representing UCQ’s partners in nursing education in Qatar, officials of the University of Calgary in Canada, the College of Nursing Project, the Joint Oversight Board of UCQ, and proud families and friends of graduates of the Class of 2014.

Held at the Qatar National Convention Centre on November 16, the gala honoured the achievements of students who have reached high and earned a Bachelor of Nursing degree that is the gold standard in nursing degrees. Their academic success also shone a spotlight on the partnerships that are vital healthcare in Qatar and to the success of UCQ’s commitment to educating nursing leaders for Qatar’s future. Dr Yousuf Al Maslamani, Medical Director of Hamad General Hospital, Chairman of Qatar Centre for Organ Transplantation, Assistant Professor Clinical Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, and member of the Joint Oversight Board of UCQ, inspired the graduates in a speech that focused on the bright futures of these 44 new nurses and the importance of their chosen profession to the Qatar 2030 Vision. 

“Each of you has embarked on an incredible journey that will not only change you, but change Qatar. Putting into practice the world-class knowledge and skills you have acquired during your studies at UCQ, you will take your position at the frontline of our health service. You will work to promote health, prevent disease and to help patients cope with illness. You will be an advocate for your patients, and for their families. The work you will do will have a direct and real impact on the health of Qatar’s population. Many people dream of making a difference even once in their lives. As nurses, you will make a difference every day.”

Dr Maslamani’s presence brought significant attention to the strength of the partnership between HMC and UCQ, as did the graduates themselves. Of the 44 new UCQ graduates, more than half (28) are sponsored in their studies by HMC.

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Both of the distinguished medal winners – Amina Aden (Gold), and Nabilla Chaabna (silver) – are high-achieving Hamad-Sponsored graduates who maintained perfect marks in their studies while embracing leadership roles in the university and the community. In addition to accepting awards, Hamad-sponsored graduates took key roles in the graduation ceremonies. Nursing leader Sheikha Al-Qahtani, Director of Wound Care at HMC, one of the graduating class of 2014 and now a Master of Nursing student at UCQ, introduced the keynote speaker. Following the conferral of the degrees, Hamad-sponsored UCQ graduate of the Class of 2010, Afrah Ali, inspired the new nurses with her experiences as a Master of Nursing student in Calgary, and led the Graduate’s Pledge.

UCQ proudly partners with leading organizations in Qatar and November 16 was a night to celebrate UCQ graduates and all partners who support Qatar’s future nursing leaders --including Sidra Medical and Research Center, Primary Healthcare and RasGas Company. These agencies also sponsored students graduating with the Class of 2014. A significant milestone was achieved with the graduation of UCQ’s first Sidra-sponsored graduate from the Bachelor of Nursing program, Nouf Al-Kuwari.

Dr Kim Critchley proudly noted, “the Qatar healthcare system is now richer with the addition of this group of nurses who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to deliver world class health care to the people of Qatar. We are grateful to the State for its support of our program. The university’s ability to carry out its vital role with such success would be impossible were it not for the leadership and vision of His Highness The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.”

“Over the past 8 years UCQ has established itself as a leader in healthcare education in Qatar. We have graduated 150 nursing professionals since 2010 currently have almost 500 future nurses studying at UCQ. People pursue nursing as a rewarding career path and recognize the nobility of the profession. My heart-felt best wishes go out to each and every member of the graduating class of 2014.  You are truly nursing leaders of the future,” Critchley added.

“Convocation is a wonderful day,” concluded Naheed Nenshi, Calgary’s Mayor and also a graduate of the University of Calgary. Speaking to UCQ students and their families in a videotaped greeting he said, “This is a day to celebrate, to reflect on where you’ve been, and dream about where you’re going. I want to say on behalf of everyone in Calgary, we are proud to call you fellow university of Calgary alumni. Congratulations to the UCQ Graduating Class of 2014!”