The University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) has organised a number of cultural activities to mark Qatar National Day (QND), highlighting the importance of cultural diversity in strengthening relations between Canada and Qatar.
“Diversity is an important part of solidarity for Qatar’s National Day this year. The University of Calgary recognises both diversity and unity of people who make Qatar their home,” said Abdullah al-Shafi, UCQ’s representative at Qatar’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
He was speaking at the university’s QND and 10th anniversary celebration at its Al Rayyan campus, attended by Canadian ambassador Adrian Norfolk, UCQ dean and CEO Dr Deborah White, alumni, teachers, parents and
UCQ’s National Day celebration included a number of traditional activities, performances and attractions for attendees, including families and children.
Dr White echoed the statement of al-Shafi saying that “the university is about diversity and respecting different cultures.”
“We have like 39 different nationalities of students so we are all about diversity and we learned a lot from being here. The cultural context is absolutely key,” she said, noting that 16% of their students are Qataris.
“As an example, at the University of Calgary in Canada, we have an indigenous strategy so it is all about culture, and this strengthens it (relations) a lot,” Dr White added.
From 58 students 10 years ago, she said UCQ now has nearly 500 and “our biggest achievement is they are making a difference out there.”
According to White, UCQ students have also been involved in many health promotion activities across the country as part of the QND celebration, working with the public and health professionals to help them learn more about health and wellness.
Citing the rapidly growing health care system of Qatar, al-Shafi sees UCQ’s “educational programme (as a renowned nursing institution) as critical in fostering a prosperous and healthy country going forward” and plays a key role in attaining Qatar’s National Vision 2030.
In his speech, Norfolk said: “Canada is very proud to be a partner of Qatar in its march towards 2030, and the World Cup before that. For the last many years of the 139 we’ve been here as well.”
“The 18th of December 1878 was when Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed bin Thani took over, assumed the leadership of Qatar and he being kind of running the show for a while, did a really good job and indeed credited as gaining the independence of Qatar from the Ottoman and British empires,” said the envoy, who was celebrating his third QND at UCQ.

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