Marcel Winatschek's Tokyopunk


Collaboration is a key theme in higher education. Collaboration efforts within the institution are needed not only to set the standards that would assure quality across disciplines and functions, but also to share experiences, knowledge and best practices among various units and specializations. While I would say inter-disciplinary integration within QU is still in the maturation phase, sectorial and inter-institutional collaboration has always been a positive element of QU’s development process and there is no denying the considerable benefits the university has garnered from programs and activities with partners in Qatar and beyond.

QU continues to seek ways to build collaboration in areas that positively impact on the society and its aspirations. Last week’s interlibrary conference “Synergy among libraries in Qatar” is one of many examples. Hosted at our library, the event brought together a wide spectrum of organizations such as the Police Training Institute, the ministries of Interior and Culture, Arts and Heritage, Supreme Education Council, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, and Qatar National Library, among others.

Collaboration between the Continuing Education Office and the Ministry of Environment last week also resulted in the graduation of thirty-one (31) employees from the Environmental Compliance Inspection Program. These employees benefitted from a 2-year-long training program designed to prepare them for leadership roles in the environmental inspection profession. It is the second batch of MOE employees in the training program that was launched by the Office in 2011 and one of tens of similar programs offered by the Office of Continuing Education to empower the institutions in their capacity building efforts.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Dr Rajab Al-Esmail on his outstanding efforts toward realizing the vision of the Continuing Education Office as a valuable resource for the Qatari community, providing access to educational and training opportunities that shape individual lives, professions, and the society.
At the regional level, the 5th Linguistics in the Gulf Conference (LGC-5), held last week by CAS Department of English Literature and Linguistics was another successful example of collaboration. Building on the success of the previous conferences in 2007, 2009, 2011, the conference aimed to provide a platform for regional and international academics interested in language in the Gulf region to share their ongoing research and expertise and to engage future research collaboration.

Similarly, the recent Green Roofs event organized by the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning also saw contributions from various institutions including Ashghal, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Gulf Organization for Research and Development and the European Federation of Green Roofs Association. In partnership with Zurich University of Applied Sciences and the Embassy of Switzerland in Qatar, the event also drew sponsorship from two local agricultural and landscape industries, and participation of researchers, innovators and advocates of green building and edible landscapes from around the world. The event program included the inauguration of a permaculture roof garden, an exhibition that featured research projects by the department’s undergraduate and Masters’ students.

In many ways, our students’ outstanding research performance is also a fruit of inter-institutional collaboration. QU undergraduate students are becoming increasingly involved in research activities and being further encouraged on scientific inquiry to develop their curiosity and creativity which in turn will enhance their learning experience as well as their personal development. Their achievements in the recent UREP is testament to the vibrant research culture at QU. I am pleased to report that 112 students across our colleges participated in the UREP 17th cycle in which QU was awarded 26 proposals with a total fund of US$ 1,025,961.
Last week a group of our female students were awarded by H.E. Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chairman of Qatar Museums Authority for winning the 2015 Volunteering and Leadership Award from the Social Development Center.

The students — Eiman Saleg Al Shammari, Reem Mubarak Al Kuwari, Sara Salem Al Marri, and Maha Hamad Al Marri — won second prize under the research category for their project “The obstacles of volunteer work”. Congratulations to them and to our Center of Volunteerism and Community Service on this achievement.

With regard to women’s accomplishments, I also refer to the chemical engineering majlis held last week that drew focus on women in engineering and the importance of their role in the industry. The event drew many of our current students and graduates from the Chemical Engineering Department to interact with women professionals in the industry. We are proud to the leading provider of engineers to the sector and that the College of Engineering programs are attracting more and more students, male and female, every year.

While the preeminence of women in higher education is a wide spread and international phenomenon, QU is quite unique in that it attracts more women than men even in disciplines which are traditionally male dominated including engineering, and recently medicine. This is certainly something we should celebrate and be proud of but it does not change the fact of our need to continue to seek ways in collaboration with the relevant government entities, to increase the enrolment of men in higher education in Qatar; a national challenge that is yet unrealized.
Lastly, I congratulate the newly-elected student representatives and applaud all the students who participated in the voting process. QU’s Student Representative Board (QUSRB) is a young but prospering model of democratic representation and we very much look forward to seeing it in full bloom and taking its rightful role in the governance of our institution. The QUSRB has engendered democratic dialogue and mature exchange of views on a wide range of issues such as unified exams, Saturday exam sittings, grading, and other student concerns.

These topics and more also formed part of the student dialogue last week with VP and Chief Academic Officer Dr Mazen Hasna — an excellent initiative that contributes to the many efforts towards transparent communication and engagement of students into the continuous improvement of our university.

Congratulations also to our scholarship student Dr Reem Al Ansari who successfully completed her Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Georgetown University and will be conferred on May 17. We are excited to welcome her back to her alma mater as a new member of our outstanding national talent pool.

Last but certainly not least, I extend my sincere felicitations to Dr Darwish Al Emadi on his recent selection as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of World Values Survey (WVS), the largest social research survey network in the world. This is in addition to his appointment to serve on the research committee of the European University of Madrid and most recently on the Arab Barometer Project.
In closing I would like to wish everyone a happy spring-break and a reenergised return to campus on the 19th