Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), a Qatar Foundation partner, in collaboration with the US embassy in Qatar, celebrated Black History Month with a reading from Martin Luther King Jr.'s autobiography. "The aim was to educate and inspire the attendees to continue King's work and to strive for equality and justice," a statement said.
The public commemorative event was launched with remarks from GU-Q dean, Dr Safwan Masri. "Georgetown University in Qatar is proud to commemorate Black History Month as part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through courses, research initiatives, and public events and discussions throughout the year,” he said. “I’m particularly grateful to our students for working so hard to encourage engagement and education on racial justice in our academic community and beyond.”
US ambassador to Qatar Timmy T Davis gave the reading of Dr King’s autobiography, and a recording of King’s iconic "I Have a Dream” speech was played to highlight its pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. “"The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King changed history. If he had not fought for the civil rights of Black Americans, sacrificing his freedom and eventually his life, I may not have had the chance to serve my country as ambassador. His legacy continues to inspire me, and those around the world who seek justice through his approach of nonviolent protest," he said. The US Embassy staff also performed 'Lift Every Voice and Sing', a song about the hope for freedom, also known as the Black National Anthem.
Co-president of the Black Students' Association and event moderator Michelle Siyabonga Hadebe, a GU-Q junior from South Africa majoring in International Politics and minoring in Africana Studies, stressed the universal message of Black History Month, saying: “It is about so much more than the Civil Rights Movement. It's about the lives, the contributions, and the impact that Black people have had in academia, culture, business, STEM, and other fields. We are not just talking about the past, but contributions that are being made today.”
The event was followed by a Q&A session and discussion of Dr King’s life, legacy, and impact on the civil rights movement. Several other GU-Q activities have been planned for the month to provide educational opportunities that foster a better understanding of black culture and history, which highlights the importance of student clubs like the Black Student Association and African Students Association and the critical need for diversity in higher education, explains Michelle. “We bring with us a myriad of cultures, histories, and perspectives that enriches our campus and uplifts our community.”
The US ambassador to Qatar Timmy T Davis addresses the gathering.