Students from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCU-Q) won the top three prizes in the Qur’anic Botanic Garden’s (QBG) Ghars Photography Competition, held as part of the annual ‘Ghars’ tree planting campaign.

The competition, open to all university students in Qatar, was designed to showcase Qatar’s photography talent and support botanical conservation efforts in the country. The initiative was developed by QBG in conjunction with Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), VCU-Q, and the Youth Hobbies Centre of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The QBG event aims to create an opportunity for students to appreciate and interact with Qatar’s natural landscape, and increase local knowledge about Qatar’s flora through photography. Fatima Saleh al-Khulaifi, QBG Project Manager said they were delighted to see such ‘enthusiastic’ participation from students across Qatar. She said that as future leaders, the students play an integral role in shaping a sustainable future for Qatar and its environment.

In the run up to the competition, QBG provided students with a technical workshop at HBKU’s Student Centre. The workshop was conducted by VCU-Q Professor George Awde. QBG also held a presentation on the wide range of plants and trees in Qatar to assist and inspire participants to the competition.

The awarding ceremony was held at the HBKU Student Centre. First prize was awarded to Maryam Khalil who received QR5,000. Second place was awarded to Nimrah Kabiruddin, who received QR4,000; and third place to Amira Khalil who received QR3,000. All three winners are students of VCU-Q.

On the sidelines of the awards, QBG launched a photo exhibition of the students’ work at the HBKU Student Centre where 50 photographs were put on display, expressing different scenes of plant life and nature in Qatar.

Dean of VCU-Q Dr Akel Kahera,  said he was very pleased to learn that their students won all three prizes in the Ghars Photography Contest.  This win, according to him, is emblematic of the emphasis they put on encouraging students to creatively explore their world through their own lens, and to find their voice and harness it to contribute to making a difference.

I applaud our student winners and all of the participants who took time to reflect on the world around them. Through their focus and hard work, we can all see ourselves and our place on this earth a little more clearly.’

QBG, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), aims to encourage social engagement and strengthen cultural and conservation awareness in Qatar, supporting QF’s commitment to promoting environmental sustainability within the wider community.

For more information about the competition and about QBG; please visit