Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) celebrated the graduation of its Class of 2020 in a virtual ceremony yesterday that featured remarks from Northwestern University president Morton O Schapiro, NU-Q dean Marwan M Kraidy, Mariam al-Dhubhani as the student speaker, and Dena Takruri, AJ+ senior producer and presenter, as the graduation speaker.
The students’ graduation had been postponed from last year due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Schapiro congratulated them for their perseverance and reminded them that “there’s a world out there that needs you more than ever to fully share your skills, your wisdom, your compassion, and of course your leadership”.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Kraidy said he admires how they completed their undergraduate study during the pandemic in “a world unsettled by rampant hatred, lies, and misinformation”.
He added: “We look to you as emerging leaders, journalists, professors, diplomats, that will tell better stories about our world.”
Takruri told the students that there has never been a more important time for journalists and storytellers to do their job.
“As students of journalism and communication, you too, believe in the power of storytelling – you understand the responsibility of being a dutiful narrator, to reflect, challenge, and shape the times we’re living in, and ultimately strive to make the world a better place,” she said.
A founding member of AJ+ and journalism graduate herself, Takruri said that being patient, working hard, and staying true to one’s principles will pay off in the long run.
“There’s a value in patience, in working diligently and continuing to invest in yourselves,” she said. “Success is a process, and there’s no way in knowing today the types of jobs and opportunities that will be around in the future.
“So be patient and be excited.”
Reflecting on the personal challenges of her undergraduate career and the important lessons she learned about being determined and focused, student speaker al-Dhubahni told her fellow graduates that they should not be afraid of the challenges that life presents and that they should accept “life’s heavy detours”, which may lead to the best decisions of their life.
Speaking of her experience fleeing war-torn Yemen in pursuit of an education, al-Dhubhani said her Northwestern experience provided her the opportunity to pursue what she loves, “to get back to filmmaking – finding peace in chaos and telling stories of humanity and perseverance by sharing visual messages with the world – from my world, from my home, from my life”.
During the ceremony, dean Kraidy congratulated the class award winners who were recognised last year for their outstanding academic and co-curricular accomplishments.
The winners were Sarah Shaath, Dean’s Award; Maha Essid, Communication Award; Malek al-Manaa, Journalism and Strategic Communication Award; Ayza Sheikh, Liberal Arts Award; and Hemyan al-Hardan, Student Leadership Award.