HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation (QF), and the Chairperson of HBKU Board of Trustees, witnessed Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) commemorate the Class of 2024 at a graduation ceremony yesterday that reinforced education as an essential instrument at the root of a culture of peace and the protection of humanity.

HE the Speaker of the Shura Council, Hassan bin Abdulla al-Ghanim, esteemed government officials, HBKU’s senior leadership and deans of its six colleges, members of the university's staff and faculty, and the families and friends of the graduates also attended the graduation ceremony, held at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

HBKU awarded degrees to 247 students including 142 female and 105 male graduates - 61 of which were Qatari citizens. Their chosen multidisciplinary programmes were designed to imbue participants with the knowledge and skills they need to embark on careers and introduce initiatives that help improve the livelihood of vulnerable communities.

Dr Ahmad M Hasnah, HBKU president, said: “The challenges ahead of you are great, yet the hope we have in you matches these challenges. Set ambitious goals and let your aspirations transcend personal achievements, for history only remembers those with altruistic hands and those whose influence goes beyond individual pursuits”.

Keynote speaker, Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, rector of the University of Glasgow, said: “What we have learned from the war in Gaza is that in order to erase people, you must first start with their universities. And to erase a nation, you must end the education process.”

Student speaker, Abdulrahman al-Shafi, a graduate from the Master of Public Policy programme, said: “We stand ready to embark on our new journey with determination and ambition while striving to realise our aspirations and uplift our societies. With the theme of our graduation ceremony being 'Education for Peace, Education for Humanity' we move forward today with the firm belief that education is the most potent catalyst for the change we seek in our world.”

The graduates completed programmes from the university’s six colleges: the College of Islamic Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, College of Law, College of Health and Life Sciences, and the College of Public Policy.

“HBKU’s multidisciplinary programmes are designed to prepare future leaders in these fields to shape novel solutions that bring a positive impact to the world. The national university’s unique learning environment naturally reinforces the country’s strategy to invest in human capital and economic diversification and sustain this development by providing students with the knowledge and skills to solve critical challenges at home and beyond,” said Ahmed K Elmagarmid, acting vice president of research, HBKU.

This year’s graduation ceremony also featured the HBKU Excellence Awards, acknowledging remarkable achievements by HBKU faculty. Sheikha Hind presented the awards onstage in three categories: the Research Excellence Award, which recognises outstanding research that has received recognition from the wider academic community; the Teaching Excellence Award, which honours exceptional pedagogy; and the Service Excellence Award, which celebrates exceptional service to the university and its community.

Dr Amine Bermak, professor and associate dean, College of Science and Engineering and Dr Ahmet Aysan, professor, College of Islamic Studies, were both named recipients of the Research Excellence Award. Dr Georgios Dimitropoulos, associate professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs, College of Law, was honoured with the Teaching Excellence Award, and Dr Evren Tok, associate dean of Community Engagement and associate professor, CPP, was presented with the Service Excellence Award.

Dr Michael Benedik, provost, HBKU, said: “Our award recipients embody the commitment all of our faculty have towards academic excellence in their scholarly work, dedication to our students and their intellectual development, and the significant impact our faculty have in enhancing the university, our local community and their academic disciplines. "