HBKU’s unique learning environment supports Qatar’s commitment to investing in human capital and economic diversification at home and abroad. In this Q&A, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Alaa E. Elobaid outlines how she plans to use her learning experience to advance the cause of women across the Middle East and North Africa.
Why did you choose Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and this particular degree program?
I firmly believed that the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ (CHSS) Master’s in Women, Society and Development aligned with my personal and professional goals. Throughout my academic and professional journey, I have always been passionate about women's issues and paving the way for other women to fight for their rights in society. I wanted to pursue a degree program that would challenge me to think critically about the world around me and develop a deeper understanding of how societal structures and cultural norms impact women's experiences across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
To this end, HBKU's commitment to interdisciplinary research and focus on empowering women in the region was incredibly appealing. The CHSS’ program allowed me to explore significant topics including the intersectionality of women's identities in the MENA region and how this shapes their experiences in our society.
By studying at HBKU, I hope to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be a voice for marginalized women in Sudan and the wider MENA region. Ultimately, I believe that this degree program will enable me to bring about positive change for women in our society.
How has your time at HBKU influenced your future plans?
My time at HBKU has had a profound impact on my future plans. Through my coursework and interactions with faculty members and fellow students, I was exposed to a range of new perspectives that challenged me to think more critically about the world around us.
I have gained a deeper understanding of the complex ways in which gender intersects with other identities and experiences, as well as the rich history and complex legal systems that shape our experiences as women. Moving forward, I plan to use the knowledge and skills I gained at HBKU to pursue a career that makes a meaningful difference to the lives of women across the region. Whether through advocacy, research, or media work, I am committed to promoting gender equality and social justice, as well as challenging systemic inequalities.
What was the highlight of your time at HBKU?
The highlight of my time at HBKU has been the opportunity to engage with my classmates and be exposed to diverse perspectives. As a student in women's studies, I have had the privilege of sharing classroom experiences with individuals from all walks of life, all of whom bring unique perspectives to discussions on gender and women's lived realities. This opportunity has broadened my horizons, and I have found myself constantly reflecting on my own assumptions and biases as I listen to my classmates' perspectives.