Gulf Times’ ‘Friends of Qatar’ initiative comes in for praise
December 10 2019 02:16 AM
Participants of the Gulf Times - NU-Q
Participants of the Gulf Times - NU-Q masterclass after receiving their certificates of completion. PICTURE: Thajudheen

Gulf Times, in partnership with Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), made history by providing an opportunity to develop skills and capabilities in the country in the area of sports journalism and civic engagement, said Dr Jairo Lugo-Ocando, professor in residence and director of Executive and Graduate Education at NU-Q.
“We are very pleased with how the masterclass finished, it is something truly unique and innovative in Qatar and it is going to make a huge difference,” he said. “We look forward to developing this further to strengthen the ‘Friends of Qatar’ community, which will help definitely build the preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
The joint initiative, dubbed as ‘Friends of Qatar’, serves as a platform for people who have a passion for sports reporting to enhance and further develop their skills.
Prof Ocando lauded Gulf Times saying that what the media organisation is doing “is truly extraordinary because it is fitting into the need for creating a large community of civic awareness.”
“One very important thing to note is that in the same way that Qatar has to develop a body of volunteers to work in areas like tourism, guidance, support for visitors, games and logistics, so all that body of volunteers is being built, we also have to build a body of volunteers to support the media,” he said, adding that hundreds of news media outlets and organisations will also come to Qatar in the 2022 FIFA
World Cup.
An awards ceremony for participants who completed the masterclass took place yesterday at the NU-Q campus.
Resource speakers and instructors for the masterclass included Craig LaMay, a professor and a faculty associate at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research, former editorial director of the Freedom Forum Media Studies Centre and editor of Media Studies Journal, and a former newspaper reporter; Dr Eddy Borges-Rey, associate professor-in-residence at NU-Q whose area of academic expertise is digital journalism and emerging media; and Dr Marcela Pizzaro, assistant professor in residence at NU-Q, and an award-winning journalist who worked as a producer and reporter at Al Jazeera English, both on the ground in Latin America, Washington, DC, and Doha.
One of the participants, Wanda Garvey from QBS Radio, described the initiative as “exceptional, with expert guidance from an exceptional team of game-changers assembled to slam dunk Qatar’s sporting action with their peripheral vision, to capture future must-see
“It was four-day encompassing diverse strata of Qatar’s community, including Wakrah, Barwa and The Pearl-Qatar, with various languages spoken including Russian, German, Persian, and Turkish with diverse abilities ranging from archery, food blogging, robotics, pilots, and engineers, as well as a Grade 11 student,” Garvey said. “An excellent proactive initiative by Gulf Times and NU-Q to stay connected in this digital era.”

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