Posted on August 28, 2016

In the presence of several honored guests, including Ambassador Dana Shell Smith of the US Embassy in Qatar and Dean Clinton Francis of the Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) College of Law and Public Policy, Squire Patton Boggs hosted a ceremony in its Doha office on Thursday, August 25, to recognize Asma Al Khulaifi’s successful completion of her Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Fellowship.

Ms. Al Khulaifi is one of 18 individuals who were awarded the 2016 Fellowship by the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation in May and the only Fellow from a non-US law school. Ms. Al Khulaifi, who completed her undergraduate studies at Georgetown University in Qatar, has just embarked on her second year as a law student at Hamad Bin Khalifa University and is the Foundation’s third Fellow from Qatar. 

Since its establishment in 2000, the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation has awarded fellowships to more than 190 law students to pursue summer internships with organizations working in the public interest and in public policy. The program has contributed more than US$10 million towards pro-bono legal services in public interest law.  Ms. Al Khulaifi, who has previously been involved in numerous initiatives, including the United Nations Doha Youth Forum on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, completed her Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Fellowship working at Education Above All (EAA). EAA is an initiative founded in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar; the organization’s aim is to build a global movement that contributes to human, social and economic development through education. With a particular focus on those affected by poverty, conflict and disaster, EEA champions the needs of children, youth and women.

After welcoming guests to the event, Charbel Maakaron, Squire Patton Boggs’ managing partner in Doha, praised Ms. Al Khulaifi for her commitment, hard work and professionalism and thanked the HBKU College of Law and Public Policy and EAA for their participation: “Asma has proven herself an outstanding Fellow and a credit to her law school.  I am delighted that we could recognize Asma’s achievement today in the company of esteemed guests and colleagues. Qatar continues to produce a stream of excellent lawyers and at Squire Patton Boggs we are proud to support their development, whether through training programs and internships or with our Fellowships and collaborative ventures. “I would like to thank Dean Clinton Francis of HBKU and Peter Klanduch and Meeran Nagi of EAA for their involvement, and of course Ambassador Dana Shell Smith for her patronage of this occasion.”

Reflecting on the advancement of legal education in Qatar, Dean Clinton Francis commented: “With our Juris Doctor program, we set out to establish a first-of-its-kind graduate law degree for the MENA region.  But alongside the best academic training there is always a need for practical experience and, especially, exposure to the best traditions of public service and the considerations of international policy work. Student lawyers gain considerably by working in that kind of environment. It is great that a new generation of talented Qatari lawyers like Asma can take advantage of the Fellowships that the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation offers.”

Peter Klanduch, Senior Program Manager (Law and Education) at EAA, added: “I want to thank Asma Al Khulaifi for her contribution to the EAA over the summer and the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation for making that possible. Students, young lawyers, and other professionals can make a lot of difference to organizations like ours when they lend their expertise, their insights and their enthusiasm. Asma’s internship was a great opportunity for all of us to learn from each other. I hope that Asma will benefit from her experience at EAA which will encourage her interest in pursuing a professional career in the non-profit sector.”

At the close of the ceremony Ambassador Dana Shell Smith commented on the exceptional efforts being made by numerous organizations in Qatar both to expand and develop international legal education and best practice, and to strengthen the commitment to public service in the country: “I continue to be impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of all involved, in government, and in the private and the voluntary sectors. I would single out in particular those organizations which work tirelessly to empower women, and it is particularly pleasing to note that all three Qataris who have been recipients of the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Fellowship have been gifted women students.”