Posted on May 04, 2011

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development has named its new, multidisciplinary University in honour of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

The inaugural President of Hamad bin Khalifa University is His Excellency Sheikh Dr Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, who is also Vice President, Education, Qatar Foundation.

“Given the importance of education and research to our country’s development, it is appropriate that this University should be named after His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani,” said Dr Al-Thani.

“I am deeply honoured to have been entrusted by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, with the leadership of this new institution.

“Qatar Foundation's academic network enables it to offer programs whose quality matches that of its partner institutions. Now we are seeking even greater benefit for Qatar and the region by guiding their convergence into a multi-disciplinary, research-led university,” he said.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser first announced the formation of the new University in May 2010, emphasizing the need “to enhance our networks of specialized centers of learning through complementary activities and collaboration, and to draw the maximum benefit from our combined skills and experience”.

Hamad bin Khalifa University will combine the learning, teaching and research being carried out at the branch campuses of the leading universities and other academic centers at Education City in Doha.

A range of new research and undergraduate programs, and further collaborations among academic, industry and public sector partners are envisaged for the new University.

Dr Al-Thani said: “This will have numerous advantages for all concerned: Students will have access to greater academic opportunities and a richer campus experience.

“Top faculty will be attracted by the exciting inter-disciplinary research conducted at Hamad bin Khalifa University, and by the opportunity to be part of the most pioneering initiative in global education.

“The education and research conducted here will benefit our society, economy and culture in multiple ways, and the international prestige of Qatar will be further enhanced by the presence of a university which will stand among the world’s best,” he said.

A dedicated project management office has been established to guide the development of Hamad bin Khalifa University, based on the programs currently offered by its university partners.

At its 15-square-kilometer Education City campus, Qatar Foundation has built a network of world-class university partners teaching a select range of their most highly regarded degree programs, and conducting related research. Students in Qatar follow similar courses and earn the same degree as their counterparts at the home campuses.

The partners are: Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar; Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar; Texas A&M University at Qatar; Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar; Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar; Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies; Northwestern University in Qatar; HEC Paris in Qatar; and University College London in Qatar.

While the universities operate autonomously as overseas branches, they already collaborate by encouraging students to cross-register on each other’s courses, and by sharing some faculty appointments.

Since 1995, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani has led a process of rapid social, economic and cultural development. He established Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development to support the evolution of a post-carbon, knowledge-based society through investments in high-quality education and research.


The announcement was made at the Fourth Annual Senior Convocation, in which QF Chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser praised the achievements of nearly 250 new graduates whose human potential has been unlocked during their time at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

Her Highness gave the ‘Charge to Class’ address at tonight’s fourth annual Senior Convocation, as the students celebrated their graduation from six QF universities.

“On this day, the day we celebrate your graduation, I can see in your faces the thrill of success mixed with the confidence to take on new challenges.  You strengthen my belief that the advancement of Qatar must remain our ever-expanding goal,” she told the graduating students.

The red carpet ceremony at Ceremonial Court was attended by approximately 3,500 guests, including friends and family of the students, as well as the Presidents of the parent overseas universities who flew in for the occasion.

Guests were entertained by a cadet choir from the Qatar Leadership Academy, who performed the Qatar National Anthem and the Education City Anthem alongside Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.

This year, for the first time, the ceremony was made available on all modern mobile devices without any limitations, including iPhone and iPad, and the stream came equipped with links allowing easy sharing via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace profiles.

A total of 243 students graduated this year – the most in QF’s history – in subjects ranging from computer science to design, Islamic studies, engineering, international relations and medicine.

The number of graduating students per university is as follows:

Virginia Commonwealth University:             49
Weill Cornell Medical College:                          31
Texas A&M University:                                       60
Carnegie Mellon University:                             44
Georgetown University School of Foreign Studies:    45
Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies:                    14

Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) students will graduate in journalism and communications for the first time next year, with students from the latest Qatar Foundation universities to open - HEC Paris and University College London - to follow in due course.

Professor Bernard Ramanantsoa, Dean of HEC Paris, was among the overseas Presidents in attendance at Senior Convocation.

“HEC Paris congratulates Qatar Foundation, our peer institutions within Education City, and the outstanding graduates making the exciting transition from academic distinction to professional excellence,” said Dean Ramanantsoa. “As we look forward to graduating Qatar's first class of EMBA participants next year, it was a delight to be a part of these celebrations. The executive education programs HEC Paris is bringing to Doha will make an additional important contribution to the development of future global leaders.”


For the first time this year, Dr Abdulla Al-Thani, Vice President for Education and President of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, congratulated five winners of the inaugural ‘President’s Award’, introduced at the 2011 Senior Convocation to recognize students who have made outstanding contributions not only academically but also to their communities across the six universities.

The President’s Award recognizes the achievements of students as well as their future promise as scholars and leaders. Seventeen students were nominated by their deans for this award and five were recommended to the President for his consideration as the first ever recipients of the President’s Award.

The winners were:

Mohammed Al-Hijji Doctor of Medicine WCMC-Q
Karl Migally Doctor of Medicine WCMC-Q
Mohammed Al-Sudairi Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service GUSFSQ
Karima Becetti Doctor of Medicine WCMC-Q
Matthias Mueller Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering TAMUQ

The winners were chosen from among seniors who, throughout their Education City experience, have demonstrated academic excellence – all the nominees achieved a 3.6 overall Grade Point Average or higher and pursued an academic course of study reflecting a commitment to academic excellence.

“The winners of the inaugural President’s Award have been outstanding students and have also demonstrated a commitment to changing their society for the better. They have done this through student leadership, community service, the arts, career achievements and research,” said Dr. Abdulla Al Thani. “These future leaders will be named later in the proceedings and I congratulate them warmly.”

Every winner has pursued either a research or a creative project that pushed the boundaries of existing knowledge, while at the same time engaging in extracurricular activities that served both their university and Education City.