Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) honoured its third graduating class at graduation exercises on 4 May 2014  in a ceremony where students heard an address by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jehane Noujaim. 

More than 900 people were in attendance at the Qatar National Conference Centre as Northwestern University president Morton Schapiro extolled the achievement of the graduates of NU-Q, which offers bachelor’s degrees in journalism and communication.

Thirty graduating seniors received their Northwestern University diplomas in the presence of family, friends and leading international figures in the fields of media, filmmaking and journalism. Noujaim—the filmmaker behind the nominated documentary entitled The Square, which follows characters in Cairo through the January 2011 uprising—engaged NU-Q’s graduating class, sharing unique insights from her background and diverse successes in the field of media.

In addition to President Shapiro, Northwestern University’s highest-ranking officials were present at the ceremony, including the Chair of the Board of Trustees, William Osborn, and Provost Dan Linzer. Schapiro called the new graduates ‘engaged global citizens who are prepared to succeed here and anywhere due to their exceptional academic preparation and performance—as well as their professional achievements.’

The Class of 2014 included 14 different nationalities, demonstrating Northwestern University’s historical role in promoting global understanding and developing a multinational alumni network for its graduates.

NU-Q Dean and CEO Everette E. Dennis said:

Nineteen of the 30 graduating seniors have made it on to the Dean’s List at least once in their four years here at NU-Q, while two exceptional graduating students have made the Dean’s List every one of their semesters here at Northwestern. These students exemplify the culture of academic excellence we seek to cultivate here at NU-Q.’

As further testament to the quality of its curriculum, NU-Q saw a number of its graduates this year accepted to esteemed graduate programs, including Northwestern, Cambridge, Harvard and Columbia.

Awards for Exceptional Students

During the President’s awards lunch held earlier in the day, NU-Q recognized graduates for their outstanding academic achievements.

Graduating senior Yara Darwish received the Journalism Award, Leadership Award and the Dean’s Award. Hazar Eskandar, who graduated with a degree in communication, received the Communication Award, and Zena Al Tahhan received the Liberal Arts Award.

Darwish was also chosen, by an NU-Q administration panel and a representative student from the senior committee, to speak at the graduation ceremony on their behalf. In her inspirational speech about the bonds of friendship, diversity and ambition, she encouraged her peers to use their Northwestern University values to “create with passion, inform with confidence and connect with ambition.”