Welcoming Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q)’s 15th incoming class at its annual convocation, dean Marwan M Kraidy encouraged the Class of 2026 to use their years at Northwestern to set their imagination free and strive to make a meaningful impact.
More than 120 students join the NU-Q this fall, with the incoming class one of the most diverse, competitive, and dynamic in the school’s history: students hail from Qatar, the US, Albania, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Rwanda, South Korea, Sudan, Taiwan, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe.
“Remember that a university education is not simply a blueprint to make a living, but a roadmap to make a life,” said Kraidy. “As you grapple with that, seek mentors and experiences that set your imagination on fire.”
He also highlighted the distinctions of the incoming class, saying: “You were selected from an impressive pool of applicants – the largest in the school’s history, and also the most selective.”
“You represent more than 25 nationalities and include a founder of Incubate Qatar, a delegate at the European Youth Parliament, anchor of a Ministry of Sports and Youth news show in Qatar, an assistant director of the first Pakistani film to win in Cannes, writers, content creators, you will all enliven and enrich Northwestern Qatar,” Kraidy added.
The convocation speaker was Caroline Faraj, vice-president and editor-in-chief of CNN Arabic Services, who stressed the importance of university education in unlocking possibilities beyond the walls of the campus.
“I would like to encourage you to remember that today is a foundation for lifelong learning,” she said. “Use your time here to make friendships that last, train to master effective listening and focus on facts, respect the value of time, appreciate diversity and accept others as they are and learn to give back and serve in the line you enjoy.”
Answering one student’s question on how to navigate being a journalist in the region, she stressed the importance of telling the truth despite the challenges they may face as they report on stories.
“There is always a way to tell the truth,” Faraj said. “I encourage you to always understand the society you are dealing with, the message you have written, and the receivers who are going to receive your message.”
NU-Q Student Government president Khadija Ahmad also spoke at the ceremony.
“I want you to know that you can make the best of your experiences here through community,” she said. “The university can become a site of radical possibility. You will find freedom and opportunity in the margins of the university; amongst the people and the spaces they’ve created.”
The NU-Q convocation is held at the beginning of each academic year following a week-long orientation for the incoming class, which includes the annual Northwestern “March Through the Arch” to welcome new class and kick off the new academic year.