Her Royal Highness Princess Sophie, Countess of Wessex has praised the efforts of students and teachers at Doha College taking part in the International Duke of Edinburgh Awards during a visit to the school’s Al Waab campus yesterday.

HRH Countess of Wessex, who is in Doha as part of a four-day trip to the country with blindness prevention charity Orbis UK to mark World Sight Day today 8 October, is the global ambassador for the Duke of Edinburgh International Award.

Doha College Principal Dr Steffen Sommer said the students were thrilled with the visit, the first since her tour in 2001 with His Royal Highness Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex.

Doha College by FotoArabia Studio
HRH Princess Sophie, The Countess of Wessex with Doha College Principal Dr Steffen Sommer

Dr Sommer said:

It was a great privilege to host Her Royal Highness at Doha College and I am confident her visit will be remembered by the students all their lives.’

‘It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the achievements of our enthusiastic students and dedicated staff, all of whom work tirelessly to reach their goals under this worthwhile programme.’

‘Doha College was the first school in Qatar to introduce the Duke of Edinburgh International Award and we have had more than 2500 students complete the programme to date.’

‘We are extremely proud of our students’ achievements and honoured to have Her Royal Highness recognise their efforts.’

Doha College 3  by FotoArabia Studio
HRH Princess Sophie, The Countess of Wessex in front of Doha College students

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award works with over 300,000 young people every year, helping them to develop skills for life and work.

It was introduced by Doha College in Qatar in 1998 and has 189 students participating at a Gold, Silver or Bronze level this year.

HRH The Countess of Wessex spent almost an hour talking to students and staff and viewing display boards and photographs of the student adventures.

HRH The Countess of Wessex was accompanied by Jacqueline Lawson-Smith Deputy British Ambassador to Qatar.

See also: Doha College Art Students Present Work to HE Sheikha Al Mayassa

Lawson-Smith said:

It is a great privilege to have Her Royal Highness here in Qatar as part of her charity work with Orbis UK and I am delighted that the students and staff at Doha College have had the opportunity to meet her.’

‘I know that some of the Doha College students who are participating in the Silver and Gold Levels of the Duke of Edinburgh Award have spent time volunteering to help communities in less fortunate countries around the world.

This is highly commendable and certainly worthy of the recognition by Her Royal Highness, who is committed to promoting a culture of voluntary work among young people around the globe.’

Doha College Year 13 student Erin Quigley, who is working toward her Gold level, said she enjoyed meeting HRH The Countess of Wessex for the first time.

She said:

It was really interesting, she was very nice. She talked to us about our charity, our work in Nepal and how the Awards shape people’s lives.’

Doha College HRH Princess Sophie Countess of Wessex

HRH The Countess of Wessex carries out a full schedule of official and working engagements in the UK and overseas in support of The Queen and The Earl of Wessex. The Earl of Wessex has been committed to the work of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award since he achieved his Gold Award in 1986.

Fast facts about the Duke of Edinburgh International Award:

  • the Award is open to 14-24 year-olds
  • it is run in more than 140 countries
  • more than eight million youth have taken part since its inception
  • more than 300,000 young people participate in the programme at any one time
  • the Award is designed to encourage personal discovery, self-reliance, commitment, responsibility and service to the community
  • to fulfil each Level, a young person must choose an activity within the four sections: Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition. At the Gold Level there is an additional activity – Residential.

For more information about Doha College, visit their website.