The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser officially inaugurated the new media and communication building of the Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) at the Education City yesterday.
The event was attended by QF vice-chairperson and chief executive HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, Northwestern president Morton Schapiro, HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi, US ambassador Dana Shell Smith, NU-Q dean and chief executive Everette E Dennis, and several other dignitaries.
Schapiro said: “This is everything you can dream about. As president of Northwestern, I can tell you, nothing makes me prouder than to have a campus here in Doha producing graduates who are skilled in journalism, filmmaking, and communication and carry the name of our university far and wide as they use their skills for the betterment of mankind.”
Designed by American architect Antoine Predock, NU-Q’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certified building is designed to embody architectural elements from Qatar’s desert landscape and local culture.
At 515,000sq feet, the NU-Q building is three times the size of its previous home and the largest institution of its kind anywhere in the world.
“Northwestern’s new building offers not just modern media teaching and production facilities unique to the region, but a platform for creativity that our students will use to experiment, create, and dream,” said NU-Q dean Dennis. “Educating our students to harness the power of the digital age will enable them to act as instruments of positive social change and make a significant impact on their societies.”
US envoy Smith praised the efforts of HH Sheikha Moza in promoting world class education in Qatar.
Schapiro and Dennis presented a gift to HH Sheikha Moza in recognition of her leadership in the creation of Education City and the role of Northwestern University within that vision.
The gift, Painting for Doha, was commissioned from Judy Ledgerwood, a professor of art at Northwestern University.
The new building includes an events hall, the largest sound-stage in the region; a projection theatre, which features a 4K cinema and 7.1 Dolby surround sound; three production studios, each fitted out to serve a specific purpose; and a studio that has been designed to allow students to reproduce everyday sound effects that are added to film, video, and other multimedia projects; and a 4K mastering room, equipped to completely edit a digital cinema-quality film.
Outside the building is a large LED media-mesh screen – the Saif Tip.
Saif means sword in Arabic and the location of the screen resembles two swords about to meet.
In addition, inside the building will be a three-storey media wall with multiple screens that will work with the Saif Tip in providing information through videos and images.
Also within the building is a newsroom scheduled to be completed over the summer.
It will feature the most advanced technology in broadcast and production.
Designed by Beirut architect Ali Wazani, the space includes all of the components of major broadcast news studio – a news desk, an area for panel discussions, and a social media screen.
Using a feed from live newswires, students will have access to information to transform them into stories, graphics, and other digital visualisation elements.
It will have its own control room, with the ability to produce live reports across multiple platforms.
Earlier in the day, Northwestern hosted a symposium – “Shaping Our Future” – which featured a series of conversations, discussion panels, and a showcase of student research, short films, and documentaries.
QF chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, with QF vice-chairperson and chief executive HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani and Northwestern president Morton Schapiro at the inaugural ceremony yesterday. PICTURE: Aisha Alsada/HHOPL