Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) welcomed its Class of 2019 at a  ceremony for students and parents at Qatar Foundation’s HBKU student centre. More than 60 new students were inducted into the university, including the largest number of Qataris to date. This year’s class totals a record 207 undergraduates.
Convocation speaker Jonathan Lyons highlighted the Middle East’s contribution to knowledge and its impact on Europe and the wider world, and challenged NU-Q’s community to read, reflect and appreciate the notable impact of Arab thought and invention on education itself. From the ancients forward, he commented, scientific thought and philosophy has benefited from Islamic contributions.
Lyons, the author of The House of Wisdom (2008) and Islam Through Western Eyes (2012), spent 20 years as foreign correspondent at Reuters, reporting from conflict zones around the world. He empowered students to ensure no barriers hinder successful learning and ended his remarks with “a call to action to free yourself from the prevailing academic and social consensus. To strike out on your own and pursue knowledge wherever it may take you”.
Everette E Dennis, dean and CEO of NU-Q greeted students and began by thanking the national leadership and Qatar Foundation “for their foresight to recognise the importance of communication, media and journalism in Qatar’s national development”, which is NU-Q’s mandate. He argued, “QNV2030 explicitly acknowledges the need for educated citizens and professionals as part of a quest to create a knowledge-based economy for this country and the region”.  
The ceremony signalled the start of the academic year and the conclusion of NU-Q’s Wildcat Welcome Week, an orientation programme for incoming students to learn about academic and community expectations, forge friendships and meet the mentors who will serve as critical resources through the next four years.

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