Posted on May 06, 2014

In a concerted effort to establish a world-class educational system and expand its scope for higher education, the State of Qatar has succeeded at opening new avenues for students to enrich their academic and professional experience.
This approach has resulted in the launch of a wide range of postgraduate programmes that serve as a platform for the advancement of a knowledge-based economy and the training of highly-skilled graduates. It has also presented Qatari nationals, like Fatema Al-Hadad, 24, with a valuable opportunity to pursue her graduate education close to home. In 2012, Fatema received a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Northwestern University in Qatar. Having developed an interest in translation studies, the bright student was pleased to come across a newly-established postgraduate programme. She is now among the first batch of proud students who have earned a Master of Arts in Translation Studies from Hamad bin Khalifa University’s Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII).
“I’ve been given the opportunity to get a high-quality education at home. I honestly believe that if I had travelled abroad, I would not have the same support and resources that we have here,” says Fatema. “This was a competitive and strong programme that has added considerably to my knowledge and expertise.” Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, founded the translation institute in 2012 with a mission to build the translation capacity of Qatar and the wider region. It designed a two-year curriculum to train highly-skilled translators in key areas, such as business and commerce, science and technology, as well as the translation of media text.
Fatema says Qatari Graduates celebrating Convocation 2014[].jpgshe is now standing on solid ground and has a clear outlook on the future. Moreover, she is applying her unique combination of skills in media and translation to her current position in marketing and public relations at the Translation and Interpreting Institute. “It has opened up new doors. At this stage, I know what I’m doing and where I’m going. There were students with various areas of expertise in the program and each of us has been able to apply our knowledge in useful ways,” she explains.
Similarly, after building a successful career, Noof Al-Derham was eager to embark upon a management programme that could enhance her executive skills. In her role as the Financial Services Manager at HBKU, Noof was accustomed to working in a professional environment but was keen to find a challenging course that matched her interests.
When she heard about the prestigious executive education programs at HEC Paris in Qatar, she knew that their courses would be the perfect choice for her. Having earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Qatar University in 2000, and a Higher Diploma in Human Resources from The American University in Cairo in 2009, Noof was ready to tackle the next stage in her professional development.
“I think most of the modules I attended have helped enhance my outlook and allowed me to think outside the box,” she says. “I am really happy where I am now and I believe Education City is waiting for me to achieve even more, and I’ve promised to do what I can to give back. I’ve been working at HBKU since its conception and I really believe in its strategy. I’m living in an environment that is built on education and I want to contribute to this achievement.”
This year, HEC Paris in Qatar will award postgraduate degrees to 81 students, and among them are 53 nationals. Noof now holds a Specialized Master degree in Strategic Business Unit Management from HEC Paris in Qatar, and she plans to put it to good use by playing a constructive role in her country’s development. “We have to be ready for Qatar National Vision 2030 by working hard and advancing our education. Our leadership in Qatar is offering us the best educational opportunities and the support we need, so we really have to push ourselves to build our country and make the most of the programmes on offer at Education City,” she adds.
Another exceptional graduate with a passion for lifelong learning is Nahil Salah Al Askari. The 42-year-old Qatari earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Qatar University, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Qatar University, before deciding to embark upon a completely new career path. Nahil recounts: “I’ve loved museums since I was a child, but when I started my career, the field of Museum Studies was not available here. I would travel with my family to Europe and my father would always take us to visit museums, so I developed an early interest and love for the subject.”
When UCL Qatar launched the MA in Museum and Gallery Practice degree in 2012, Nahil believed it would be an opportune time to pursue this interest. Moreover, she had taken up a position at Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) and received the support of the director, who encouraged her to continue her studies. Today, Nahil is able to apply the knowledge she has gained to her daily work at QMA. She hopes the nation’s investment in museums will increase the community’s appreciation for art and nurture the informal education that is vital for the development of children and youth.
“When a person is committed to education, it spurs him to learn and to grow. This is what matters to me more than the degree itself, because the most important thing is to attain deep knowledge,” she says. “I would like to thank Qatar for bringing the best universities here. I’m grateful for the knowledge and education that it has provided to all men and women.”

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