In the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), and Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of QF, 111 students from the Class of 2016 become Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU’s) newest graduates at a ceremony held at the HBKU Student Centre on 1 May.
This year’s class has 55% Qataris, an increase from 48% in 2015, and includes representatives from 29 countries. Within HBKU’s graduating class, there are 52 graduates from HBKU’s Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), 43 from the College of Science and Engineering, and 16 from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The graduating students were joined at the ceremony by their families and friends, and faculty and staff of the university. Honoured guests included ministers, ambassadors and deans of HBKU’s partner universities.
Habib Haddad was the guest speaker at the event. Haddad is a tech entrepreneur and most recently founder of Yamli.com and YallaStartup.org. In 2009, the World Economic Forum recognized Habib as a Young Global Leader and the ArabianBusiness named him one of the top 30 influential Arabs under 30.
700 people witnessed the graduation ceremony, including Her Highness Sheikha Moza, who last year was herself one of the graduating class, receiving a Master of Arts in Public Policy in Islam. Her Highness commented: “Hamad Bin Khalifa University was launched to create a dynamic new home for innovative research education in Qatar; a place built to push the boundaries of learning in line with the needs of Qatar and its people. The university continues to grow and thrive, and is graduating exceptional students who will have been greatly enriched by the knowledge, skills and friendships that they’ve developed during their studies.
"I applaud the dedication of Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Class of 2016. As an alumna of the university myself, I understand the effort they have put in to achieve a significant milestone and wish them continued success as they apply what they’ve learned to build bright futures for themselves and their communities.”
Dr Ahmad M. Hasnah, President of HBKU, presented diplomas to each of the graduates at the ceremony. He commented: “We are an emerging research university that embeds innovation, and an ability to perceive, understand, and adapt to the new century’s major needs. These needs are the challenge we take on; at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, we are committed to delivering multidisciplinary research education that is locally relevant and globally recognized.”
This year’s graduates included the inaugural class of the Master of Arts in Audiovisual Translation programme, who began their degrees in August 2014. This new degree trains specialists in translating audiovisual texts, both for foreign-language viewers and sensory impaired audiences, with this year’s graduates focusing much of their research and projects over the past two years on engaging the local community and improving accessibility for the visually impaired in Qatar.
Also graduating was the second batch of students with an Executive Master in Energy and Resources (E&R) and the third cohort of graduates with a Master of Arts in Translation Studies. A significant number of students from QFIS also participated in the ceremony, graduating from a variety of master’s degree programs in the fields of Islamic Studies and Islamic Finance.
A member of HBKU’s graduating class, Sabah Al-Heidous, who graduates this year with a an MA in Public Policy in Islam, was this year’s student speaker and said: “I joined this university without hesitation, not only for its academic offering, but also because of the social, cognitive and skill-based experience it offers. As a result, the workforce benefits from the university, which has a major influence in helping to achieve Qatar’s vision.”
All of HBKU’s Class of 2016 studied at master’s level. At the ceremony, graduates shared their delight at successfully completing one of the advanced degrees offered by the university. Mohamed Shokeir, who graduates this year with an MA in Translation Studies, said: “I started studying at 56 and was told by many people that it won’t be easy. I understood that it wouldn’t be, but now, I have successfully completed all my coursework and the final thesis and am graduating. I can’t believe it. It’s still surreal to me, but in gaining this degree, I believe I have been a good role model to my children and shown them that I am someone who will still go to school and continue to learn even when they near the age of retirement.”
Aljawhara Al Sulaiti, who graduates with an Executive Master in Energy and Resources added: “I’m excited to graduate – I’ve already completed a degree in Education City so this is like coming home. The Executive Master in Energy and Resources program has helped me address challenges in the field I work in and I’m looking forward to implementing the skills I learned from the program as I take on more strategic challenges and increased responsibility.”
More than three hundred students have now graduated from HBKU. Looking to the future, the first batch of students to complete master’s degrees in sustainable energy, sustainable environment, and in biological and biomedical science at HBKU will graduate in 2017. Last year, the university also launched its College of Law and Public Policy with the first Juris Doctor (JD) programme in the MENA region. The inaugural class of JD students will graduate in 2018.
Three new HBKU programmes are accepting students ahead of classes starting in autumn 2016: a Master of Science in Data Science and Engineering, a Master of Science in Cybersecurity, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering.