The Emir of Qatar, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was on hand to bestow awards and personally congratulate the winners of the Ninth Annual Education Excellence Day for the 2014–2015 academic year which saw Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) graduate Khawla Al Derbasti take home the Platinum Award, the highest distinction in the university graduates category of the ceremony.

Held at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha, the Education Excellence Day ceremony also recognised the notable achievements of GU-Q alumna Jawahar Almal, who received the Distinguished University Student Award Gold Medal.

Khawla Al Derbasti with the Emir of Qatar
Khawla Al Derbasti with the Emir of Qatar

Khawla, who graduated in the Spring of 2015 with a degree in Culture and Politics, said:

I can’t begin to express what this award means to me, it’s such an honor to be given this award.  I encourage current students to get involved with projects they are passionate about, and if they don’t yet exist then take the chance and create them. There can be no drawbacks from pursuing something you truly believe in.’

She credits her success to her faith and her family, as well as the education she received at Georgetown. She added:

I especially want to thank Dean Nonneman for all of his support with the organisations and clubs I was a part of. His belief in what students could accomplish beyond the classroom was always a great source of motivation.’

The ceremony was attended by a number of high level government officials, members of the diplomatic community, representatives of the education sector, as well as the friends and family of the proud winners honoured at the annual event.

Award winner Jawahar Almal, who also graduated last year with a degree in International Politics, now works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an International Technical Cooperation Researcher.

She said:

I honestly could not have won this award without the help of Georgetown. My education and chosen major helped me better communicate in representing myself, which is a new required criteria in the interview process of the award.’

She thanks the many professors and school staff that influenced her education and supported her award application effort.

I specifically remember sitting in one of the Dean’s List dinners and listening to the dean congratulating us and highlighting how academic excellence is a distinguished privilege. His words that day served as my motivation in the Excellence award application process.’

Jawaher Almal with The Emir of Qatar
Jawaher Almal with The Emir of Qatar

Commenting on Georgetown’s representatives at this year’s ceremony, the dean of GU-Q, Dr. Gerd Nonneman, said:

We measure our success as a university by the success of our students. I know I speak for all of Georgetown when I say how proud I am of these two young leaders’ accomplishments, and I look forward to the many great things they will accomplish for themselves, as well as for their nation.’

The Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Mohammed Abdul Wahed Ali Al Hammadi, congratulated all of the winners. He also thanked the Emir for presiding over the event, which recognises Qatari students who have demonstrated academic excellence as well as a commitment to community development through their engagement in a wide range of activities, including sports, volunteering, leadership, and participation in conferences and other development projects.