The Business Year

Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misned

QATAR - Health & Education

Lucky Farm

President, Qatar University (QU)

Bio

A distinguished alumnus of Qatar University (QU), Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad is a champion of education and life-long learning. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1977 followed by a diploma in Education in 1978 at QU. She received her Doctoral degree from Durham University in the UK. Before assuming the presidency of QU in 2003, Al-Misnad occupied numerous positions in teaching, administration, and research, including Vice-President for Research and Community Development (2000-2003) and Head of the then-Department of Foundations of Education (1992-1995). She also served as a member of the University Council (1986-989; 1998-2004).

Over the past decade, Qatar has made incredible strides in education. How have these reforms collectively furnished students with tools to drive Qatar forward? From the outset, Qatar University (QU) […]

Over the past decade, Qatar has made incredible strides in education. How have these reforms collectively furnished students with tools to drive Qatar forward?

From the outset, Qatar University (QU) has embraced the reforms and harnessed the goals outlined in its national vision geared at developing a well-educated population. In our academic research and community service initiatives, we are guiding our students toward acquiring critical knowledge and experience, as well as interpersonal skills and competencies that reflect the needs of the labor market and of society. We spare no effort in this commitment—as the country’s national institution, we are proud of our role as a leading partner in the national education reform strategy, and our growing reputation as an institution of academic quality and excellence is testament to this.

A number of acclaimed foreign universities have settled in Qatar’s Education City. How do you see QU’s role within the diverse educational options in Doha?

We see ourselves as part of a growing network of partners and collaborators that are committed to fulfilling the goals and values expressed in the national vision and development strategies. This includes universities at Education City as well as government, industry, business, civil society, and regional and international academic institutions. The diversity of educational options can only be a good thing in a country that is in itself welcoming to nationalities from all over the world.

QU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shell in June of 2013 that strengthens the partnership the two organizations share through a battery of programs. What plans exist for further affiliations of this kind?

As always, we are pleased to strengthen our partnership with all sectors in Qatar. The MoU with Shell was very much appreciated, as it has been a stalwart supporters of QU for many years. These partnerships are important to us, and we have a number of agreements that have resulted in chair positions in areas such as the environment, ICT, Asian studies, railway education, sustainable development, and supply chain, to name a few.

How do you balance the international need for strong English skills with the desire to maintain an academic tradition in Arabic?

In 2012, we reinforced Arabic as the language of instruction at QU as per SEC decree. QU has always prided itself as the standard-bearer of Islamic values and Arabic culture and traditions. We continue to provide our students with a teaching and learning environment that is very supportive in balancing Arabic and English Language skills so that our students are assured of a quality education that upholds the Arabic academic tradition, while enhancing their literacy in English as they prepare to enter Qatar’s fast-growing, globalized society.

QU has a farm that grows a variety of plants. What is the university’s role in sustainable development as the country moves towards its Vision 2030 goals?

QU Farm houses a host of projects, one of which is date palm research—currently we have 19 varieties of date palm from Qatar and the rest of the Gulf region. It is also the site of the first-ever hedgehog-tracking project in Qatar, which is a student-led initiative that has gained wide international interest. The farm will also be used in the final year of our groundbreaking biofuel project; specially designed research waterbeds will scale up growing the cultures that are being prepared for use in the project. We offer courses such as environmental science and engineering, marine conservation as conducted by our state-of-the art research vessel Janan, chair positions in sustainable development and polymers, and green activities that are undertaken in constructing our new buildings, to name a few.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

You may also be interested in...

View All interviews