It was 25 years ago, that a globally unique model of higher education created by Qatar Foundation (QF) began to become reality – and its impact is now being seen throughout Qatar, and beyond, a statement said Wednesday.
By bringing multiple international universities, each specialising in nurturing talent in fields that meet Qatar’s needs, together in one place – Education City, QF has made, and continues to make, vital contributions to Qatar’s workforce while equipping the youth of the nation and the region to be drivers of positive change wherever their lives and careers take them.
The first of QF’s international partner universities, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, (VCUarts Qatar) marked its 25th anniversary on Tuesday. Since its establishment in 1998, it has graduated over 1,100 students in the fields of art and design, many of whom are now central and vibrant figures within Qatar’s arts and creative scene.
VCUarts Qatar is one of seven QF partner universities – standing alongside QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University – that specialise in areas including medicine, engineering, communications, computer science, international affairs, and executive education. They are all part of an integrated ecosystem of education created by QF that opens up unique opportunities for students to explore, discover, and broaden their horizons, including by taking courses at more than one university during their time at Education City.
Francisco Marmolejo, QF’s president of higher education, explained: “It is one thing to create a model for bringing international universities to Qatar as our partners in education – it is another to bring it to actuality, to life, and to make sure these international universities become locally rooted and dedicated to the human and social development of Qatar.
“From its very first day, VCUarts Qatar proved this model would succeed. Every one of our international partner universities has proved the same since their establishment, with each making an indelible and invaluable impact to the nation and the region.”
VCUarts Qatar, according to Marmolejo, was a “pioneer” for QF’s international partner university model, as he said: “It has met – and continues to meet – the need in our society, as with any society, for people who enjoy, engage with, and want to make their careers in the arts and humanities.
“Our unique ecosystem of education at QF blends both of these, and VCUarts Qatar has been, and is, pivotal to opening eyes and minds to the joy, the vibrancy, the possibilities, and the impact of the arts.”
QF’s universities have so far graduated more than 8,000 students. But as Marmolejo emphasises, the impact of QF’s higher education model, and of the international universities which have been its partners for decades, stretches even beyond the number of students they graduate and the skills they instil in them.
“Our international partner universities are globally engaged, but also locally committed – they are part of the social fabric of Qatar,” he added.
“We see this through their presence in the community, the opportunities for knowledge that they open up to people of all ages, and their impactful collaborations with both the public and private sectors. They are truly part of this nation’s developmental story.”
QF Vice-Chairperson and CEO HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani with VCU president Michael Rao on the sidelines of the 25th anniversary event of VCUarts Qatar on Tuesday.