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Wednesday, February 08, 2023 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 Joseph Varghese
Joseph Varghese
A journalist with a penchant for reporting events, Joseph Varghese digs deep to unearth facts. With several years of experience, including at Gulf Times, Joseph handles health, science and technology, IT and education in addition to everyday developments.
Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir bin Mohamed receives honorary doctorate from Qatar University president Dr Hassan al-Derham
Qatar
Malaysian Prime Minister awarded with honorary doctorate by QU

Qatar University (QU) honoured Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed, with an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy Friday at a special ceremony at its Ibn Khaldoon hall. This marks the second honorary doctorate awarded by QU. The first was bestowed on the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an in December 2015. The Malaysian Prime Minister's wife Dr Siti Hasmah binti Haji Mohamed Ali, prominent Qatari entrepreneur HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmad al-Kuwari, HE the Minister of Justice and Acting Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Dr Issa bin Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi, and other dignitaries were present. Dr Mohamed was welcomed by QU president Dr Hassan Rashid al-Derham, along with a number of members of the Board of Trustees, vice-presidents, deans of faculties, QU students, faculty members and other members of the general community. "Let me reciprocate the warmness of this welcome by expressing my deepest thanks and appreciation to Qatar University for conferring on me this Honorary Doctorate. I am humbled by the acknowledgements and it is indeed a great privilege, not only for me but for my wife, the Government and the people of Malaysia as well. I feel truly honoured," said, Dr Mohamed in his acceptance speech. “This award that Qatar University has accorded to me will be remembered as a symbol of the strong bonds between our two countries. As the top university in the country, Qatar University has distinguished itself as the nation’s premier university on many fronts including in the fields of Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Education, Engineering, Law, Sharia and Islamic Studies and let me congratulate Qatar University for this achievement,” stated, Dr Mohamed. “Relations between Malaysia and Qatar have remained warm and friendly throughout the years since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1974. Both countries have consistently worked together to broaden and deepen our existing cooperation. I must say that the relation now is at an all-time high,” continued Dr Mohamed. In his welcome remarks, Dr al-Derham, said, “At Qatar University, we have a great relationship with the educational institutions in Malaysia as we have signed MoUs with five Malaysian universities including, the University of Malaya, the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and the International Islamic University Malaysia.” “QU has also been working with more than 36 different institutions in Malaysia since 2014 that resulted in 274 research paper and project in different fields. Furthermore, QU has welcomed Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, deputy prime minister of Malaysia who delivered a keynote address to our community in 2018. We look forward through this visit to open the doors to more educational cooperation with your esteemed universities,” explained Dr al-Derham. Awarding the honorary doctorate, Dr al-Derham said, “We take pride in welcoming a national symbol and a figure of the Islamic World, who have achieved a great deal and was a pioneer in so many fields. As a student, I have followed your work from a rich academic contribution, that included 16 books and research paper to a long and fruitful political career leading the country to prosperity and allowed Malaysia experience a period of rapid modernisation and economic growth." "Today we witness the success of The Way Forward plans that placed Malaysia in a leading position globally. We are honoured to award you the Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy and we are grateful for your acceptance and your visit to Qatar University,” he added.

Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh al-Naimi, honouring some of the winners. PICTURE: Ram Chand
Qatar
Qatari student among gold medal winners at Science Olympiad

Yousef al-Sulaiti, a Qatari national, was among the gold medal winners at the 16th International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) that concluded at Qatar National Convention Centre Wednesday. Hosted by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education under the slogan ‘motivating today's generation for tomorrow's skills,’ the Olympiad had the highest number of student participation in its history from 70 countries. The results of the Olympiad were announced at the concluding ceremony and medals and awards were distributed to the winners. The sponsors, partners and officials of the Olympiad were also honoured at the event. At the closing ceremony, Germany received the Olympic flag as the country that will host the 17th edition of the Olympiad next year. During the event, 32 students won gold medals while 66 students won silver medals and 137 won bronze medals. Qatar team members won one gold medal, five silver medals and 12 bronze medals. Qatari team, comprising of Abdullah al-Janahi, Ahmed al-Badirat and Sarah al-Ali won the prize for best performance in a practical test. Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh al-Naimi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and chairman of the Supreme Organising Committee for the Olympiad, handed over the mementos to the sponsors of the event. Al-Naimi congratulated the students of Qatar who won medals in the Olympiad as well as those who participated in it, praising their efforts and perseverance. He said that they competed well with their peers from other countries and achieved great success. He also emphasised that the performance of the students from Qatar in the Olympiad highlights the advanced scientific learning system in the country. He maintained that their participation in this global scientific event will motivate them to perform well in the upcoming events locally and internationally. IJSO vice president, (Asia), Fatima al-Rashid noted that the Olympiad was a wonderful international celebration. “The Olympiad brought people and nations from all over the world together in Qatar. It has given a wonderful picture of a world dreaming of security, safety and peace under the flag of knowledge and progress for the entire humanity," she explained. IJSO president, Dr Paresh Joshi in his speech highlighted that the academic programme was a great challenge but very enjoyable. He also noted that the Olympiad was very unique with the introduction of digital testing format and it was done exceptionally well.

The officials pose for a picture in front of EcoLab during the opening ceremony. PICTURE: Nasar K Moideen
Qatar
Gord launches Qatar’s energy efficiency testing facility

The Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (Gord) has launched EcoLab, Qatar’s pioneering facility for testing energy efficiency and safety of air conditioners and home appliances. Gulf Times had reported about the facility and it will be operational before the end of this year. The facility is run by Gord with high quality testing equipment and well-trained technical experts. A special ceremony was held yesterday to unveil EcoLab in the presence of representatives from government agencies. Located at Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), Ecolab is the sole provider of novel energy efficiency testing services in Qatar. The testing of all types of window and split air conditioners are done using state-of-the-art environmental chamber that can simulate the region’s tough climate conditions in terms of temperature and humidity. Dr Yousef Alhorr, founding chairman of Gord, said, “Representing the government’s efforts to conserve power, regulations have been passed in favour of energy-efficient air conditioners, which all suppliers in the market must adhere to. Putting this in context, the idea behind EcoLab is to provide testing services necessary to meet the country’s regulatory requirements.” EcoLab, sprawled across 20,000sq ft, will offer a wide range of comprehensive testing facilities. With ISO 17025 certification, EcoLab will operate in accordance with the highest international standards, making the laboratory the first in Qatar to determine the quality of home appliances based on their performance on energy and safety metrics, in addition to indoor air quality testing and portable appliance testing. “We have hired specialists from all over the world who worked tirelessly to build and equip EcoLab in record time. Today, we are proud to present a laboratory that houses latest testing equipment in the region, using advanced control systems that emulate local weather conditions. Going forward, we hope to expand EcoLab’s offerings in areas of product quality testing,” added, Dr Alhorr. With its current capacity, EcoLab can test all types of commercially available home-use air conditioners. Other appliances that can be tested at the facility include exhaust fans, hair dryers, hair straightener and steam iron. The next phase of testing will include refrigerators and freezers, washing machines, water heaters and clothes dryers. Nawaf Ibrahim al-Hamad al-Mana, assistant of the chairman of Qatar General Organisation for Standards and Metrology, said, “We strongly believe that this initiative will boost collaboration between various entities within Qatar, starting from setting standards to conducting necessary tests to verify the compliance of appliances with the specifications required in order to improve the overall quality of products in the local market.” “We are proud to see the launch of EcoLab, which is a first-of-its-kind facility in Qatar. The lab features latest instruments and equipment for measuring energy efficiency of ACs and home appliances. We cannot stress enough the importance of such initiatives that not only benefit multiple sectors but are also in line with the government’s efforts,” Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, executive director, QSTP, noted. Delegates at the ceremony included senior leadership from prominent public organisations such as the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation represented by Tarsheed, Qatar General Organisation for Standards and Metrology, Qatari Diar for Real Estate Company and Qatar Petrochemical Company.

Aster DM Healthcare, Qatar officials at a press conference in Doha yesterday.
Qatar
Aster Medical Centre launches plastic surgery services

Aster DM Healthcare, Qatar, a division of Aster DM Healthcare, has launched a plastic surgery department, providing several latest services in the field. The new outpatient department (OPD) will be at Aster Medical Centre in Hilal with the services of Dr Krishna Kumar K S, a visiting surgeon from India. “Dr Krishna Kumar, an authority in plastic surgery, will visit Qatar once a month. He will conduct the OPD at Aster Hilal and the procedures will be done at Aster Hospital. Any procedures that cannot be done in Doha, will be referred to Aster Hospital in Kerala,” Dr Sameer Moopan, chief executive officer, Aster DM Healthcare, Qatar, said yesterday. Dr Krishna Kumar; Sameer PT, chief operating officer, Aster MIMS, Calicut and  Kapil Chib, chief operating officer, Aster Hospital Qatar, were also present. “There are other doctors at Aster Hospital here to assist him in the process and will be available for the patients to provide consultations in the absence of Dr Kumar. There will also be opportunities to consult with Dr Kumar over Internet and phone when he is not available in Qatar,” added Dr Moopan. “We are discussing how we can offer more advanced treatments to patients. Some other services are feasible here subject to licensing, regulatory approvals and infrastructural upgrades,” he added. Dr Kumar noted that plastic surgery is not just cosmetic surgery. “Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty involving restoration, reconstruction or alteration of human body. It can be divided into two main categories of reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery.” He also gave a presentation about the different types of services and noted that the side effects of the surgery are as normal as any other treatment. He also pointed out that the cost depends mainly on the consumables for the surgery than the procedure. Dr Kumar is a senior consultant and head of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Aster MIMS, Calicut. With about 25 years of experience, he is one of the most reputable plastic surgeons in South India. He has completed MS in General Surgery from Kasturba Medical College and FRCS from Edinburgh, and Glasgow, MCh Plastic Surgery from Government Medical College Trivandrum, FRCS and CCT in Plastic Surgery from British association of Plastic Surgeons and Fellowship in Microsurgery and Hand Surgery from the US. “We are extremely happy to extend the OPD service of Dr Krishna Kumar in Qatar. I expect the new OPD will benefit the residents of Qatar. We can also provide seamless connectivity and transition for patients to Aster MIMS Calicut where all the procedures can be done,” added Sameer P T.

Edward Ndopu narrates his story.
Qatar
‘Enable people with disabilities to play active role in society’

The Doha International Disability and Development Conference (DICDD) was inaugurated by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder of Qatar Foundation for Social Work (QFSW) and a global advocate for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), at the Qatar National Convention Centre yesterday. The two-day conference, being held under the theme of ‘Leaving no one behind’, has been organised by QFSW in collaboration with local and international partners. The opening ceremony was attended by Amina J Mohamed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, Vice-Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, Xavier Torres, adviser of the Presidential Government of Ecuador, ministers, a large number of dignitaries and other VIP guests. More than 1,500 experts, specialists and policy makers from Qatar and around the world are taking part in the conference. “We must collaborate globally to devise mechanisms to stop the waste in resources caused by the lack of investment and empowerment for people with disabilities and enable them to play active roles in the development of society. We can achieve this through meaningful employment of this large number that has been marginalised for the sake of disability, especially those talented among them,” Sheikha Moza said at the opening ceremony. Speaking about the need to empower people with disabilities, Mohamed pointed out that stigma faced by persons with disabilities abounds, compounded by a lack of understanding of their rights, and of the value of their contributions to society. “This situation is untenable. It goes against collective commitment to human dignity, our obligations under international law and the strong business case for disability inclusion. It is up to us – leaders from the government, business, civil society, organisations of persons with disabilities, international organisations and others – to turn this situation around,” she noted. Amal bin Abdullatif al-Mannai, CEO of QFSW, highlighted the role played by Qatar in supporting people with disabilities. “Qatar has long advocated for the rights of people with disabilities around the world. In 2006, for example, Qatar supported the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, before signing it in 2008. Qatar has also invested heavily in the knowledge and resources to monitor and evaluate progress towards the SDGs for persons with disabilities. Working closely with the United Nations, we have also adopted the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to support persons with disabilities in Qatar and globally,” she explained. The first day of the conference saw several sessions discussing inclusive equality, education and employment. DICDD featured several guest speakers from Qatar and abroad on Day 1, who shared their personal stories of living with disabilities. The guest speakers were Kholoud Abu Sharida, Muniba Mezari and Edward Ndopu. Sharida, a Qatari, recounted her success story in education, and how she overcame all obstacles despite losing her vision from birth. She was able to obtain a masters degree and a job and is currently applying for PhD. Ndopo, who was given until the age of five to live, narrated how he defied reality and became one of the most influential young people in the world and one of the United Nations ambassadors for sustainable development goals. Mazari recollected how she overcame from a fatal accident and  now a painter, singer, human rights activist and one of the most inspiring speakers in the world. The Masters of Ceremony, Faisal al-Kohaji and Mohamed al-Faheda, are also persons with disabilities. There is an accompanying exhibition, showcasing local initiatives, projects and assistive-technologies that are empowering people with disabilities.

Amina J Mohamed speaking at the conference. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
Qatar
UN official highlights Qatar’s role in supporting people with disabilities

A top United Nations (UN) official has highlighted the role of Qatar in addressing the challenges faced by people with disabilities. “It is my great pleasure to join this historic international conference on disability and development. Allow me to begin by thanking Qatar for its leadership on this crucial change,” said Amina J Mohamed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. Mohamed was speaking at the opening session of the two-day Doha International Disability and Development Conference taking place at the Qatar National Convention Centre. “I would like to highlight the tireless efforts of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser herself. She is one of the most dedicated advocates we have for improving education around the globe and ensuring that no one is left behind, especially persons with disabilities,” highlighted the UN official. Emphasising the need for empowering people with disabilities, Mohamed highlighted four important measures to be followed. “Firstly, some countries still need to work harder to increase the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data, disaggregated by disability, to inform their approaches to disability inclusion. Secondly, resources are critical. Governments should be making disability inclusion a priority within their national budgets. Thirdly, we must improve accessibility. Accessibility is a precondition for the full inclusion and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in our society. Finally, we need to support persons with disabilities in conflict and humanitarian settings,” she explained. The official noted that in all regions, stigma faced by persons with disabilities abounds, compounded by a lack of understanding of their rights, and of the value of their contributions to society. “This situation is untenable. It goes against collective commitment to human dignity, our obligations under international law and the strong business case for disability inclusion. It is up to us – leaders from the government, business, civil society, organisations of persons with disabilities, international organisations and others – to turn this situation around,” she stressed. The official also suggested to have more people with disabilities at the workplace and in social activities. “One of the single-most effective ways to change mindsets is to have more and more persons with disabilities in our offices and in our midst. We must be the change we want to see. I urge all actors – particularly States Parties to the Convention (on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and their international partners – to be more ambitious in implementing their commitments to disability-inclusive development,” Mohamed added.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder of Qatar Foundation for Social Work, addressing  the Doha International Conference on Disability and Development (DICDD)
Qatar
Sheikha Moza calls for global collaboration to empower people with disabilities

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder of Qatar Foundation for Social Work (QFSW), has called for a global collaboration to empower the people with disabilities as well as to end discrimination against them. “The time has come for everyone to perform their duty. The time has come to put an end to this kind of blind discrimination,” Her Highness Sheikha Moza said at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Doha International Disability and Development Conference at the Qatar National Convention Centre on Saturday. “We must collaborate globally to devise mechanisms to stop the waste in resources caused by the lack of investment and empowerment for people with disabilities and enable them to play active roles in the development of society. We can achieve this through meaningful employment of this large number that has been marginalised for the sake of disability, especially those talented among them,” noted Her Highness Sheikha Moza. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder of Qatar Foundation for Social Work, participated in the opening of the Doha International Conference on Disability and Development (DICDD), where she called to redefine the stereotypical understanding of disability to curb discrimination and misconceptions about people with disabilities. She also stressed the need for greater investments to allow them to play active roles in society development.Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, attended the conference. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser toured the exhibition set up for the Doha International Conference on Disability and Development, which showcases the successes achieved by persons with disabilities Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder of Qatar Foundation for Social Work, with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J Mohamed, on the sidelines of the Doha International Conference on Disability and Development. They discussed the rights of persons with disabilities and their empowerment as a vital part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. PICTURE: AR Al-Baker “There are 1.5bn people with disabilities around the world, and the numbers point to the unacceptable level of negligence that has been shown towards those people. When we look at the developing countries, they contain more than 80% of the total number of people with disabilities in the world. In the Arab world, it is estimated that there are 40mn people with disabilities, more than half of them are children and teenagers, due to the effects of wars and conflicts, as we have seen in Iraq since 1980 and Syria, Libya and Yemen since 2011,” she noted. Raising the questions, "First, allow me to wonder: what is disability? What is the difference between a person who has a disability and one who does not? Who describes and defines this concept?" and quoting recent studies, Her Highness Sheikha Moza highlighted that “every human has some form of disability, albeit of different kinds and at different stages. But there should be no difference between one person and another, based on their level of disability.” “I believe that disability is a stereotype perpetuated by a prevailing mentality and social culture that define persons with disabilities based on misconceptions. There are two perspectives on disability: one comes from a medical standpoint, and one from a social standpoint. The typical treatment of people with disabilities follows the medical approach, which focuses on physical and visible attributes,” she explained. The global advocate for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals maintained that the very concept of disability is limited to traditional disabilities and excludes other disabilities. “If our concept of disability is based on visible disability, and ignores hidden disability, then doesn’t the illiterate suffer from an educational disability? Is ignorance not an intellectual disability? Isn’t there also such a concept as political disability? And isn’t the violation and assault against others a moral disability?” she asked. “I also believe distinguishing people apart based on the definition of disability implicates a form of discrimination. Sometimes, I even feel that the exceptions we make for people with disabilities, with the intention of showing sympathy towards them, do more harm than good,” continued Her Highness Sheikha Moza. She reminded that there is a great deal of work ahead to correct the consequences of the misconceptions and perceptions that followed as a result. “Despite Qatar’s leadership in being one of the most supportive countries for people with disabilities, we are looking to see more support in promoting education and employment opportunities. We are now more optimistic after what we have seen the country’s decision-makers pledge, and, from our side, we share this commitment,” she added.

Dr Paresh Joshi handing over the Olympiad flag to Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh al-Naimi.
Qatar
16th International Junior Science Olympiad gets underway at QNCC

HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi opened the 16th edition of the International Junior Science Olympiad yesterday at Qatar National Convention Centre. Held under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, the Olympiad is held under the theme  “Motivating Today’s Young Generation for the Skills of Tomorrow” and will last until December 12. Prominent Qatari entrepreneur HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, former minister HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, Ministry of Education and Higher Education’s undersecretary Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh al-Naimi, Qatar University president Dr Hassan Rashid al-Derham, Hamad Bin Khalifa University president Dr Ahmad M Hasnah, and several other dignitaries were present at the opening ceremony. “The Olympiad hosts some of the world’s best performing students to compete and exchange expertise with others from around the world. It is a very unique event with the participation of 409 students from 70 countries and the participation is the highest in the history of the Olympiad. Qatar’s hosting of the event reflects the country’s growing stature in the field, as it is the first Arab country to organise the International Junior Science Olympiad,” said, HE Dr al-Hammadi. During the ceremony, the winners of a competition organised by Qatar Environment and Energy Institute, were honoured. Team from Palestine won the first prize, Qatar team came second while Indian team won the third position. “The country’s strategy, laid by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will continue to focus on the development of the educational system to bring up a new generation that has access to the most modern skills and the most modern scientific research capabilities. This will enable them to remain relevant in the light of the scientific and technological developments that are sweeping the world. This in turn, will help meet the aspirations of the society for prosperity,” continued the minister. Speaking at the event, Dr al-Naimi described the Olympiad very unique and a source of pride for all in the country as Qatar is the first country in the Arab world  to host this Olympiad. He also pointed out that Qatar’s participation in the previous editions of the competition was useful in understanding various ways in organising such global events. Spokesperson for the International Junior Science Olympiad 2019, Dr Mohamed Yousuf al-Ali focused on the importance of science in all aspects of life. He reviewed his scientific and study history and the support he received from the country until he joined Nasa and then returned to contribute to Qatar’s development. The president of the International Junior Science Olympiad organisation, Dr Paresh Joshi complemented Qatar for hosting the Olympiad in a highly professional manner as well as introducing digital format for conducting the competitions. He also exhorted the  students to perform well in the competition to gain maximum benefits from the Olympiad in their scientific and professional journey. There were several videos showcasing Qatar’s heritage and advancements in scientific fields as well as a performance highlighting the seafaring heritage of the country.

Indian ambassador P Kumaran.rnrn
Qatar
Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture to conclude this month with major events

The activities of Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture will conclude by the end of December with some major events throughout the month. “The high profile events taking place in various places in the country include the Jaipur Literary Festival Doha, and the great Indian musical, Mughal-e-Azam," Indian ambassador P Kumaran said. The legendary M F Husain’s latest installation, the ‘Seeroo fi al Ardh’, will soon be unveiled in Qatar Foundation’s Education City. A photo exhibition about India by Qatari and Indian photographers is going on at Katara. Kumaran was speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of a tree planting event at Oxygen Park, Education City as part of the Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture on Monday. The Indian envoy pointed out that events highlighting Indian culture could be presented in Qatar in a big way with an array of diverse and distinct programmes throughout Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture. “We could highlight different areas of culture such as art, fashion cinema, music among others. It is truly gratifying and we got great support from the government of Qatar in organising all these events,” explained Kumaran. “The musical, Mughal-e-Azam will be showcased at Al Mayassa Theatre, Qatar National Convention Centre, with three shows from December 19- 21. The Jaipur Literary Festival is from December 12 to 14 at Qatar National Library,” he noted. The ambassador also pointed out that the embassy is organasing many programmes this month to mark the150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. “We are planning to plant 150 tree saplings in Qatar with the participation of students from Indian schools. We will also have a rally with 150 cycles on December 6. We have lined up several activities this month,” he continued. “Of course, we would love to present more especially as India is a big country and every state and region has district cultural back ground. However, we have been able to bring some of the best of the Indian culture during this year,” added the ambassador.

Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh al-Naimi
Qatar
Many Indian varsities ‘likely to open branch campuses in Qatar’

Several Indian universities are likely to open their branch campuses in Qatar in the coming years, a senior official at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, (MoEHE) has told Gulf Times. “Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) is the first Indian University to start operations in Qatar. Recently, we signed an agreement with the university to start a branch campus in Qatar. Meanwhile, several Indian universities have shown interest in opening their branch campuses in Qatar,” disclosed Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh al-Naimi, undersecretary at MoEHE. Dr al-Naimi along with a delegation from Qatar was in New Delhi recently to take part in a summit for higher education where about 150 universities from India had participated and organised an exhibition. “We visited some of the universities there. We also had discussions with some of the officials of these universities. So, there could be more than one Indian university in Qatar in the coming years. However, the discussions are at the very early stages,” explained Dr al-Naimi. “We expect that SPPU is likely to start their operations from next academic year sometime in 2020. Once all the logistics are completed, they will be able to start the campus according to the academic calendar and schedule of the university,” added the official.  He said that delegates from around 60 countries had participated in the summit. It was also attended by a number of deans, researchers and scientists from these universities. According to Dr al-Naimi, the programmes offered by SPPU in Qatar will be decided based on the local needs and the expertise of the university. “We will examine the market needs of the country and the programmes will be designed accordingly. We will also have to see how their programmes do not clash with the courses offered by other universities in the country,” he noted. The official noted that he had a fruitful discussion with the president of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). “ We may not be able to open a branch campus of IIT here but the official has promised to co-operate with us in several areas. We have invited him to Qatar,” added Dr al-Naimi.

A number of dignitaries attended the event.
Qatar
QBG, Indian embassy hold tree-planting event

Highlighting the strong bonds between Qatar and India, a tree-planting  ceremony was held yesterday at the Oxygen Park, Education City, Qatar Foundation, marking the Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture. Hosted by the Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG), the event was part of the QBG’s Ghars tree-planting campaign and aimed to highlight the importance of conservation in Qatar, while encouraging cross-cultural engagement. HE the Minister of State Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, Indian ambassador P Kumaran, QBG manager Fatima Saleh al-Khulaifi, Foundation for Environment Education president Lesley Jones, diplomats from other missions in Qatar, dignitaries and Indian community leaders participated in the event. The formal ceremony started with some colourful dance performances by students of Birla Public School. Dr al-Kuwari, Kumaran and al-Khulaifi jointly planted the trees at Oxygen Park after the formal part of the ceremony. “We have a very strong and long lasting relation with India. The relationship between Qatar and India is deep rooted in history. This long-term relationship is characterised by understanding, cultural exchanges and mutual respect among others. The Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture is an extension of these strong bonds between both the countries,” stated Dr al-Kuwari. The Ghars campaign holds several tree-planting ceremonies each year as part of its overarching goal of cultivating an impressive 2,022 trees by 2022 FIFA World Cup. “It is a pleasure to be part of today’s ceremony. This is a tangible opportunity for our two communities to come together and support important environmental initiatives against the backdrop of the Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture. We look forward to collaborating with QBG on similar initiatives in the future,” ambassador Kumaran noted. “Qatar and India have a long history of collaboration, and the recent ceremony clearly demonstrates that these joint efforts also extend into another critical area – environmental conservation. We see institutional partnerships and collaboration as vital to QBG’s efforts to protect and preserve the environment. I am confident that this initiative will help further strengthen our joint commitment to increasing awareness of the vital importance of green conservation,” highlighted, al-Khulaifi. The ceremony concluded with a tour of the QBG Botanical Museum, which contains photographs, murals, and Islamic inscriptions that aim to immerse visitors in authentic Arab and Islamic heritage and traditions. The museum also displays traditional tools made from plants that are still used in our daily lives. With a commitment to building a sustainable future for Qatar and educating the community about Islamic values, QBG engages the local community in diverse year-round awareness activities that focus on environmental sustainability, the value of planting trees, and the preservation of Qatar’s natural resources.

Officials announcing details of the International Junior Science Olympiad. PICTURE: Ram Chand
Qatar
Qatar to host 16th international junior Olympiad from Tuesday

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education will host the 16th edition of the International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) 2019 from Tuesday until December 12. Qatar is the first Arab country to host this Olympiad to be held under the theme ‘Towards a Generation Enjoying the Skills of Tomorrow’ with the participation of 70 countries from around the world. "The event will be held at Qatar National Convention Centre,” Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh al-Naimi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and chairman of the Olympiad Higher Committee for IJSO 2019, told a press conference on Sunday. Fawzia Abdulaziz al-Khater, assistant undersecretary for Educational Affairs and vice-chairperson of the Olympiad Higher Committee, Dr Khaled al-Ali, acting assistant undersecretary for Higher Education and chairman of the Scientific Committee for the Olympiad, Ali Abdullah al-Buainain, acting assistant undersecretary for Shared Services Affairs and chairman of the Olympiad Organising Committee and Hassan Abdullah al-Mohammadi, director of Public Relations and Communication and chairman of the Olympiad Public Relations Committee were also present. “About 700 participants including officials are expected to take part in IJSO 2019, which is a collaborative effort with various universities. It is also an opportunity for us to compare the scientific performance of our students in the field of science with their peers at the international level,” noted Dr al-Naimi. Al-Khater said that the Olympiad is an opportunity to gain many skills for the students of Qatar. “As the host country Qatar is eligible to have four teams while other countries will have only one team each. Students who are below 15 are eligible to take part in the event. The experience from the event will benefit not only the students but also the educational leaders and teachers and will contribute to the realisation of Qatar's National Vision 2030,” pointed out al-Khater. According to Dr al-Ali, the Scientific Committee has been actively involved in the preparation of the materials for the Olympiad for more than six months. “The Olympiad will be held in four disciplines of biology, physics, chemistry and laboratory. We have made extensive arrangements to conduct the Olympiad in the digital format, a first in the history of the Olympiad. In case of any problems with the digital format, we have made plans for paper based tests too. Our preparation as Scientific Committee took more than six months of continuous work and periodic meetings. The International Inspection team is highly satisfied with the preparations for the event,” described Dr al-Ali. Al-Buainain pointed out that all the logistic part for the event has been taken care of and the Olympiad is expected to be held very smoothly. Thre opening ceremony of the event will be held on December 4 while On December 9 there will be a cultural programme at the Amphitheatre at Katara and the closing ceremony will be held on December 12.

Researchers at TRC-Q
Qatar
Total Research Centre launches projects to develop clean energy

Total Research Centre-Qatar (TRC-Q) has launched new research projects to investigate and develop clean energy solutions for Qatar and beyond. “Total and Qatar University (QU)’s Centre for Sustainable Development have recently initiated two research projects using microalgae from Qatar to produce sustainable biofuels and for carbon capture, utilisation and storage. We have also signed a collaboration agreement with Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute to develop clean energy solutions,” Yousef al-Jaber, director of TRC-Q, said in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times. Yousef al-Jaber TRC-Q, located at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), has been engaged in research in energy-related areas for the last 10 years. Al-Jaber said Qatar as well as QSTP are an ideal position for TRC-Q as the research here is dedicated to Qatar and the Middle East. “I strongly find that the ecosystem created in Qatar unlocks the high potential of companies to conduct world-class R&D projects and supports marketing results through innovation. QSTP is a unique model in the region, providing a great environment for research, development and innovation, and is in close proximity to world-class universities,” the official noted. According to al-Jaber, TRC-Q currently has projects for analytical organic geochemistry and acid stimulation of wells to improve production, as well as flagship projects related to sustainable development, marine biodiversity, biofuels and solar energy. Microalgae is a promising pathway to sustainable biofuels. TRC-Q is currently working with QU and universities and research organisations in the Netherlands, France and China to explore biofuels, an identified option for limiting transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Valvometry is another project about monitoring the health of the marine environment using pearl oysters. By using innovative sensors, micro-electromagnets attached to the clams, it sends a large amount of data to the surface without disturbing the shellfish, and this data is analysed in a laboratory. Tests for this project are currently being done. QataReef project, in collaboration with QU and SeaBoost, is for coral reef restoration. The project aims to see the possibility of transfer of a healthy artificial reef to a different location, which will lead to the enhanced recovery of corals. “Our strategy for TRC-Q has been to develop innovation, and share them with our partner companies to act as a bridge between industry and academia. We develop real expertise that leverages the global research capacity of Total worldwide and directly benefits our partners in Qatar. This is where R&D’s true value lies, as we develop innovations that are not available anywhere else in our industry,” the official said. Al-Jaber maintained that TRC-Q’s partnership with universities is an opportunity to strengthen ties between the education sector and energy industry “We regularly conduct training and workshops for students from our partner universities in Qatar to interact with and inspire them. We just completed a seminar last week, AlReyada, for students interested in the energy industry, to provide guidance on topics relevant to the industry,” he said. “TRC-Q’s presence in Qatar for over 10 years has been marked by the fruitful collaboration and partnerships with our key stakeholders. We have been innovating for over 10 years, and looking for ways to be more sustainable, to develop new technologies and solutions. The research centre is committed to sustainability and innovation with a clear vision of sustainable leadership and ultimate actions,” al-Jaber added.

Max Tegmark giving the talk.
Qatar
Priority sectors need advanced cyber security options: AI expert

Qatar should apply the most advanced cyber security programme in its highest priority sectors, an expert in Artificial intelligence (AI) has suggested. “Cyber security is something that Qatar is prioritising. You should keep doing that and be really ambitious because there could be better modes of cyber security than a lot of experts think,” noted Max Tegmark, co-founder, Future of Life Institute and a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Tegmark , in Doha to attend the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) 2019, was speaking on the topic ‘Intelligible Intelligence’ at Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), part of Hamad Bin Khailfa University. At the talk, jointly organised by WISE and QCRI, Tegmark highlighted AI’s current ‘hype versus hope’ and the possibilities it offers. “At this point of time, AI is really here to stay for sometime. The prime thing about AI is that people are actually making money on it,” he highlighted. “Cyber security is a major aspect that AI is connected with. As for Qatar, there might be people who would be very much interested in hacking various aspects of what is happening in the country. It is expensive to have the best of the cyber security systems and therefore the country should set up the priority areas for the most advanced cyber security,” he advised. “It is not necessary to have the most advanced systems for everything. Many want spying and there could be attacks from every corner. Identify the systems that really don’t want to be hacked. For those, go all out with safe operating systems air gapped from the rest of the world,” he explained. Air gap networks are physically and logically isolated from other networks. “In terms of AI related jobs, Qatar has the real opportunity just like most other countries. AI can make jobs better and cheaper than in the prevailing situations. Since Qatar’s major revenue is from oil and gas, it could be applied in those areas primarily,” noted the AI expert. Tegmark pointed out that data is the most valuable input in modern era as it is the basis on which systems are worked out. However, he maintained that what is given by nature is more energy efficient than AI or technology enabled machines. He compared the example of a remote controlled airplane and a flying bird. “When you consider the energy used by a remote controlled airplane to fly ten kilometres and if you take the case of a bird of the same size, the bird takes only ten times lesser energy than the airplane. At the same time, the bird uses much more complicated and much smarter way of flying. It is the same for intelligence. What nature has done, is far more energy efficient and superior,” he added.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Education Above All with the First Lady of Paraguay Silvana Lopez Moreira and Gambia's First Lady Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow.
Qatar
Sheikha Moza unveils new EAA strategy

*Initiative seeks to ensure 'zero' out-of-school children Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Education Above All (EAA) and Qatar Foundation, has announced a new strategy to ensure that the number of out-of-school children in select countries reaches zero. She was addressing the plenary session of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) 2019 at Qatar National Convention Centre yesterday. “In order to innovate new solutions to the challenges like monitoring, among others, Education Above All is launching a new strategy to be implemented in selected countries, with the aim of ensuring the number of out-of-school children in these countries reaches zero. Through doing this, we can prove that nothing is impossible if we all determine that education truly is above all,” Sheikha Moza explained. “Since WISE was established 10 years ago, we aimed to make it an intellectual platform to effect change and a laboratory of innovation, as well as a global hub for supporting education. In this context, and since its launch at WISE in 2012, the Education Above All Foundation embodied the spirit of innovation in developing and implementing its programmes. Indeed, Education Above All has succeeded in enrolling 10mn children back into school,” explained Sheikha Moza. The EAA chairperson noted that despite these milestones, official reports point out that there are still 59mn out-of-school primary-aged children around the world. “In reality, that number is much larger. The statistics lag behind the actual numbers and many children go unaccounted for due to inadequate monitoring mechanisms. Most of these children are in hard-to-reach areas,” she continued. “Among other innovative solutions, we proposed the concept of portable, multi-functional schools, designed and equipped for refugee children and their families to use for education and community engagement. The prototype was made to be affordable, adaptable to different weather conditions, and easy to compact for transporting from one location to another. “They were designed by the late renowned architect Zaha Hadid, and I remember her excitement when I asked her if it was possible for the field of architecture to provide an alternative solution to the tents or temporary wooden buildings typically used for refugee education. My suggestion resonated with her deep desire to contribute and help marginalised children around the world. She subsequently worked to develop and finalise the design until it became what is on display today at the WISE exhibition. Sadly, Zaha Hadid passed away before she saw this project become reality,” described, Sheikha Moza. According to Qatar News Agency, Sheika Moza officially unveiled the prototype classroom during her tour of the WISE Majlis. EAA and Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy have partnered to fund the construction of these structures which will be used during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and then redistributed to EAA projects in many countries. “We all recognise that the issue of out-of-school children is one that is highly complex in its causes and solutions. And the ideal solution for the challenges facing education, as you are all aware, is peace, or, at the very least, for a culture of coexistence to prevail around the world. How can we even dream of achieving what seems impossible in a world that never ceases to produce wars and conflicts, a world that continues to invent regional and international crises?” she added.

HE Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi
Qatar
WISE drawing global spotlight: minister

The opening ceremony of the 2019 World Education Summit for Education (WISE) was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation yesterday with the participation of 3,000 delegates from 110 countries, the highest number of delegates so far.  The opening plenary of the WISE Summit 2019, held under the theme ‘UnLearn ReLearn: What it means to be Human’ was also attended by Armenian President Armen Sarkissian; HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, Vice-Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation; ministers; first ladies; dignitaries; and global education leaders among others. HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi, noted that WISE is an important international platform where discussions on innovation in education have been taking place over the last 10 years. “WISE is gathering an international spotlight among those who take a keen interest in discussing education in a holistic manner, and who see education as a core for human development and a tool for the upliftment of societies,” said al-Hammadi.   “Human development is the cornerstone of Qatar’s National Vision 2030,” al-Hammadi noted, referencing the national curriculum.  “The values of tolerance, mutual respect, cultural understanding, understanding of the pillars of global citizenship, renunciation of intolerance, violence, terrorism, and commitment to sustainable development have become the foundation of Qatar’s educational curriculum and an integral part of its construction,” he highlighted. “The presence of such a large group of policymakers, thought-leaders, researchers, teachers, and youth sends the message that education is not the responsibility of a particular institution, but a responsibility that we all share, because education has an impact on our world and our future as human beings,” added the Minister. The opening plenary session of WISE 2019 Summit was moderated by Yalda Hakim, presenter-international correspondent, BBC World News. Other speakers at the opening plenary session were Max Tegmark, co-founder, Future of Life Institute; Nicholas A Christakis, professor, Yale University; and Najat Vallaud Belkacem, CEO, Global Affairs, IPSOS; former minister of education, France.  The speakers, education specialists, and thought-leaders are participating in more than 150 plenary sessions and debates over the two-day conference. Among the questions at the heart of the discussions this year are: Should schools teach students how to be happy? Will artificial intelligence make teachers obsolete? Can the latest discoveries in neuroscience make our kids smarter? Do students care about what they are learning? Should schools get rid of grading systems? Should students pledge a percentage of their future salary to fund their higher education?  Established 10 years ago, more than $28mn donations and investments raised by startups have been supported by WISE. During this time, WISE has also served 150 organisations, projects and start-ups, and has represented more than 254mn beneficiaries.

Her Highness Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, awarded the 2019 WISE Prize for Education to Larry Rosenstock, CEO of High Tech High.
Qatar
Sheikha Moza presents WISE Education Prize to Larry Rosenstock

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation on Wednesday presented the 2019 WISE Prize for Education to Larry Rosenstock, CEO and founding principal of High Tech High ( HTH), a network of American public charter schools in San Diego, California. Rosenstock received the accolade in front of an audience of more than 3,000 participants from over 100 countries at the opening session of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). The audience consisted of world leaders in education as well as thought leaders and experts in modern education. On receiving the award, Rosenstock said: “I am tremendously honoured to receive this prize from such a distinguished jury. For me to be in the company of past winners of this prize, who have now made an impact in education around the world, is very moving. “I hope the prize will allow us to share the work of High Tech High students and teachers even more widely. The prize confirms two of my strongest beliefs: that the work of hands and minds can and must be integrated in our schools. And that all young people are capable of doing work that matters, when we give them the opportunity.” Announcing the prize, WISE CEO Stavros N Yiannouka said that the WISE Prize for Education is the first distinction of its kind to acknowledge an individual for an outstanding contribution to education. “The prize aims to raise awareness about the crucial role that education plays in all societies for creating a platform for innovative and practical solutions to alleviate some of the challenges around the world,” he said. “The work of the 2019 laureate encapsulates the essence of the prize. His decades long work on education was a force for positive individual and social transformation manifested through impactful work and tangible achievements as a visionary educator, policymaker, thinker, and social entrepreneur,” noted Yiannouka. Rosenstock is recognised for his lifelong dedication to rethinking K-12 learning and tackling inequality through education. He has pioneered the concept of project-based education – the idea that students can and must learn crucial academic skills through hands-on projects that integrate multiple disciplines, engage their interest, and have an authentic purpose. His model also reimagines the role of teachers as designers who adapt their curricula and blend a variety of subjects based on the specific needs of each student. A commitment to lifting the status of disadvantaged youth has been the driving force of Rosenstock’s professional journey. Early in his career, and despite his training in law, Rosenstock chose to teach carpentry to inner-city high school students in the 1960s in Boston at the height of desegregation. Through this experience, he recognised the inherent value in vocational education and training and the strong abilities of these students, who were not given equal academic opportunities. This led him to pursue a career dedicated to integrating the students who have been historically divided and funneled into two separate tracks, often based on race and class. In starting HTH, he has emerged as an innovator who has created a visible model that shows what is possible in schools. HTH breaks down a number of barriers: the obstacles to accessing quality education, the separation of academic from technical learning, and the isolation of schools from the community and the real world. Tackling inequalities is at the heart of HTH’s mission, with schools that enrol students through a zip-code based lottery. The innovative methods pioneered at HTH have helped prepare thousands of students of all ability levels and socioeconomic backgrounds for higher education, citizenship, and a rewarding life of work. This approach has allowed students to reach their full potential, with 98% of HTH students accepted to university, versus 69% nationwide.

Her Highness Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, with the winners of the 2019 WISE Awards. PICTURE: Aisha al-Musallam
Qatar
WISE drawing global spotlight, says minister

* Sheikha Moza attends WISE summit 2019 The opening ceremony of the 2019 World Education Summit for Education (WISE) was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation on Wednesday with the participation of 3,000 delegates from 110 countries, the highest number of delegates so far. The opening plenary of the WISE Summit 2019, held under the theme ‘UnLearn ReLearn: What it means to be Human’ was also attended by Armenian President Armen Sarkissian; HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, Vice-Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation; ministers; first ladies; dignitaries; and global education leaders among others. HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi, noted that WISE is an important international platform where discussions on innovation in education have been taking place over the last 10 years. Her Highness Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, attended WISE 2019. “WISE is gathering an international spotlight among those who take a keen interest in discussing education in a holistic manner, and who see education as a core for human development and a tool for the upliftment of societies,” said al-Hammadi. “Human development is the cornerstone of Qatar's National Vision 2030,” al-Hammadi noted, referencing the national curriculum. “The values of tolerance, mutual respect, cultural understanding, understanding of the pillars of global citizenship, renunciation of intolerance, violence, terrorism, and commitment to sustainable development have become the foundation of Qatar's educational curriculum and an integral part of its construction,” he highlighted. HE Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education speaks at the event. “The presence of such a large group of policymakers, thought-leaders, researchers, teachers, and youth sends the message that education is not the responsibility of a particular institution, but a responsibility that we all share, because education has an impact on our world and our future as human beings,” added the minister. The opening plenary session of WISE 2019 Summit was moderated by Yalda Hakim, presenter-international correspondent, BBC World News. Other speakers at the opening plenary session were Max Tegmark, co-founder, Future of Life Institute; Nicholas A Christakis, professor, Yale University; and Najat Vallaud Belkacem, CEO, Global Affairs, IPSOS; former minister of education, France. The speakers, education specialists, and thought-leaders are participating in more than 150 plenary sessions and debates over the two-day conference. Max Tegmark speaking at the opening session. PICTURE: Jayan Orma Among the questions at the heart of the discussions this year are: Should schools teach students how to be happy? Will artificial intelligence make teachers obsolete? Can the latest discoveries in neuroscience make our kids smarter? Do students care about what they are learning? Should schools get rid of grading systems? Should students pledge a percentage of their future salary to fund their higher education? Established 10 years ago, more than $28mn donations and investments raised by startups have been supported by WISE. During this time, WISE has also served 150 organisations, projects and start-ups, and has represented more than 254mn beneficiaries.