Marcel Winatschek's Tokyopunk


30/09/2014

I am very pleased to report a number of achievements and developments during this week that give an indication of a community ready and raring to make this academic year another productive and successful one.

In keeping with our expansion goals and our vision of quality and excellence, two important centers were launched – the Biomedical Research Center (QUBRC), and the ANNS Center, the latter having been converted from a program.

The establishment of QUBRC is in keeping with QU’s efforts towards the expansion of cutting-edge research in various areas of national priority with national, regional and international significance.  This was followed by the appointment of Dr Asmaa Al-Thani as its director.  Her knowledge and experience will be an asset in leading the Center on strategies and initiatives that will serve the needs and expectations of the society and improve the human condition in Qatar and beyond.

In one of its first events, the Center held a joint research symposium with Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) to bring together experts, scientists and researchers to discuss developments in biomedical research in Qatar, and more specifically, for QU and QBRI scientists to meet and strengthen their scientific interaction.

In carrying out its mandate which is aligned with QU’s research priorities, the Center will seek collaboration with a range of national partners and stakeholders including QBRI, Supreme Council of Health (SCH), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q), Sidra Medical and Research Center, Qatar Cardiovascular Research Center (QCRC) and Anti-Doping Lab Qatar (ADL-Q).

Announcing the conversion of the ANNS Program to a Center, College of Arts & Sciences Dean Dr Eiman Mustafawi  called it “a recognition of the language’s historical significance among the other modern languages, the reality of it being one of the most-spoken languages in countries around the world, and its growing popularity globally especially in western societies”.  This is a proud moment for QU’s role as a leading partner in upholding and strengthening Qatari, Arab, and Islamic values and traditions, and sharing it with people from around the world to further a better understanding and build bridges of communication.  The Center will also play a central role — with the lead up to World Cup 2022 — to enhance Qatar’s efforts towards cultural communication and exchanges that will benefit the country, region, and the world.

News coming out of College of Education highlighted the largest batch of incoming students to its M.Ed programs in Educational Leadership and Special Education.  The 40 students from Qatar, Algeria, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Sudan, Nigeria, India, France, Brazil, Canada, and the US are of varying professional backgrounds in education, health and research from QU, independent and private schools, the Supreme Education Council, Al-Shafallah Center, Al Awsaj Institute, the Audio Education Complex, and Rumailah Hospital.

The number of students is an indication of the growing importance of educational leadership and special education in the private and public sectors in Qatar, and the significant role the College plays in meeting the need for skilled specialists and professionals in these fields.

Last week, an agreement signed between QU and Thales established the Thales Professorial Chair in Cyber and Computing Security (CCS) which will be housed in the College of Engineering (CENG) Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department.

The new agreement reinforces the MoU that was signed between the two organizations in November 2013 to provide opportunities for Qatari students’ training on new and emerging technologies in the field of cybersecurity.  Its aim is to establish cooperation between the academic environment and industry on information systems and data security and related associated services.  It is also targeted to contribute to Qatar’s development in the information and communications technologies, and to its ambitions towards a knowledge-based economy.

Students of CENG Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments will benefit from this agreement by which they will gain opportunities for practical experience in research and development at QU and at Thales’ office in Qatar Science Technology Park (QSTP).

ISO 17025 accreditation was recently achieved by our research labs at Environmental Studies Center (ESC), Central Laboratories Center (CLU), Center for Advanced Materials (CAM), and Gas Processing Center (GPC) by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). This followed a series of audits over the past 4 years since the labs’ initial accreditation by A2LA in April 2010. In achieving this important standard for calibration and testing laboratories, our labs are recognized for their adherence to the highest ideals of quality and international best practice in our lab systems, procedures, and research processes. Researchers, industry partners, and stakeholders will enjoy the utmost confidence in the labs’ integrity, and in the results of the wide range of experiments and tests that are conducted on a daily basis.

The Al Bairaq series opened with a set of new and vibrant topics, with nanotechnology added to its offerings to engage young boys and girls in high schools throughout Doha in the culture of science. Al Bairaq has gone from strength to strength since its inception, impacting over 2518 students from 121 schools, and drawing many organizations and industry partners to participate in developing the next generation of Qatar’s leaders.  We look forward to the outcome of this new round and the innovative projects that will emerge from them.

Lastly, we are happy to collaborate with Qatar Museums Authority on the installation of three art pieces on QU campus. The art pieces are part of QMA’s Public Art project and we are lucky to join the many public spaces that have been adorned by similar art masterpieces through this project including Katara, Qatar National Convention Center and Aspire Park.

The first installation which some of you may have noticed in front of the Food Court at the women’s campus is entitled “Searching for the Light IV” by Basque Spanish artist Eduardo Chillida. During the month of October, paintings by Youssef Ahmed will also be installed.  Youssef is one of the leading Qatari artists and we are proud that his paintings will be at Qatar University.  At the end of October, two murals Untitled I & II by Lebanese artist Etel Adnan will be installed in front of the College of Arts and Sciences at the women’s campus. I hope that the presence of these and other works of art on our campus would, as Sheikha Mayassa puts it, “inspire local talent and establish an organic connection between art and the local community”.

In closing, I take this opportunity to congratulate College of Law professor Dr Talal Al-Emadi who was recently elected to the Academic Council of the Institute for Global Law Policy at Harvard University. Your expertise in the legal field is well-recognized.