Live virtual event brings together more than 1,600 future change-makers from universities at Education City in a shared celebration

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, has praised more than 1,600 graduates from universities at Education City for their achievements amid the “exceptional circumstances” of the COVID-19 pandemic, at Qatar Foundation’s virtual Convocation ceremony.

The live, interactive event celebrated the graduates of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 from Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and its international partner universities, as – together with members of their families – they gathered online to look back on their years within a unique educational environment, and to look ahead to the next stage of their journeys.

Speaking at virtual Convocation, HH Sheikha Moza told graduates:

It is through you that we can sustain the glories of the present, so that they strengthen our pillars for the future. Each challenge teaches us lessons and inspires new values that enable us, together, to form new perspectives about the reality of the changes the world is facing.

HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser also spoke of her belief that the pandemic will create “a new and significant trend toward young people choosing to work in the health sector”, saying:

The pandemic has shown everyone the importance of the medical profession and the extent of its impact on all aspects of life, stemming from its centrality to everything else around us. We have seen how the world was suddenly paralyzed in the face of the pandemic, due to the inability of health sectors to contain this sudden eventuality. All countries were affected in the face of the pandemic and its repercussions. This led to a new and widespread belief in, and awareness of, the importance of medicine – a belief and awareness that is restoring its status and its vital role in protecting humanity. But we cannot build the world, and our lives, by simply focusing on one area without also focusing on others. We can only build in this way when all your specializations come together.

The virtual Convocation ceremony saw graduates who have excelled in fields ranging from medicine, engineering, computing, art and design, and communications to Islamic studies, international affairs, humanities and social sciences, and business share in a collective celebration of what they have learned and achieved within QF’s ecosystem of education, within which they have been equipped to be leaders, innovators, and change-makers.

They shared their experiences and their goals for the future during the ceremony, with Northwestern University in Qatar graduate Danna Mohamad Takriti, saying, “My ultimate hope, especially as a Palestinian, is to tell human-centered stories on wide-ranging platforms in order to amplify the voices of the oppressed through storytelling.”

Malak Elmoh, a member of Georgetown University in Qatar’s Class of 2021, told the audience, “I hope to make a change by taking what I have learned from my experience at QF and continuing to bridge gaps and challenge boundaries in the global education system, so that we can work toward education that is not only effective, but also inclusive and accessible to everyone.”

Texas A&M University at Qatar Class of 2021 graduate Majed Al Saad told his fellow graduates: “You worked hard, we’ve pushed through, and you’re all my role models”; while new doctor Moza Al Mohannadi, a graduate of Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar (WCM-Q), said: “To the Class of 2020 and 2021, I’m so very proud of you. You graduated to the truest test of all doctors – a global pandemic – and I’m so inspired by your courage.”

The ceremony also saw graduates’ parents share their joy and pride at the achievements of their sons and daughters, including Esmael Ibrahim Shahbik, father of WCM-Q graduate Dana, who said: “Dana graduating as a doctor is honestly a dream come true for me and for her.”

And Abdulwahed Mohammad, whose daughter Ghoroor has graduated from HBKU, told the Classes of 2020 and 2021: “This is the beginning of your pathway, and as your parents, we will continue supporting you along this pathway and hope that you will do your best to overcome the challenges that may arise.

“I hope that we will see you in the highest positions possible, because Qatar always deserves the best.”

During the ceremony, Palestinian graduates of universities at QF spoke of their sorrow at the injustices being inflicted in the occupied territories, while urging people to speak out against the oppression Palestinians continue to face.

And in her keynote speech, writer, author, lecturer and Islamic studies specialist Yasmin Mogahed told the Classes of 2020 and 2021: “What you have accomplished is not a small feat – you have pushed forward as the world locked down.

“There is something to be said for the resilience that can only be had through challenges. As the graduates of 2020 and 2021, you were positioned in a very unique place. And not only have you survived a pandemic, you have completed a degree in the midst of it. You have not only survived inside this global storm; you have thrived in it.

“These storms you have weathered over these last 15 months have not only strengthened you in resilience. They have also prepared you to become the very change we desperately need to see in the world today.”

To watch QF’s Convocation ceremony again, visit www.qf.org.qa/convocation.

Here are some photos from the ceremony:

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