The Business Year

Hassan Rashid Al-Derham

President, Qatar University

Ahmad M. Hasnah

President, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)

Higher education institutions in Qatar are focused on supporting the development of the country and actively contributing to achieving the objectives of Vision 2030.
How would you assess the role of the institution in empowering women through education?

HASSAN RASHID AL-DERHAM Since its establishment in 1977, the role of Qatar University has grown from building human capacity in Qatar to become a leading provider for higher education in the country. Today, we have reached a point where we provide about 85 different academic programs, with 45 undergraduate, 27 master’s, and eight PhD programs, four diplomas, and a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), with some programs completely dedicated to women rather than men. Our student population is 70% female now, entering all colleges. They have access to everything that is on offer, and they also gain sponsorship for elite universities abroad in North America and Europe through Qatar University. Many of our Qatari faculty members are women. Almost 50% of our hires are women. We also run programs with prep schools and high schools to encourage female students to join STEM programs so that when they finish high school they can enter programs in science, technology, math, and engineering. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved so far to date.

AHMAD M. HASNAH In recent history, the first female minister in the entire GCC region was in Qatar, and it was Sheikha bint Ahmed Al Mahmoud, the Minister of Education in 2003. Education is where change starts. As a university, we look at empowering women in a multi-dimensional approach. In general, we have more women in our programs than men. We also provide opportunities for women to be active researchers and faculty members, and we encourage them to participate in all spectrums at the university. We have two female deans, and we want to provide opportunities and support for women to grow within the university. We have internal programs to identify policies we need to change and to highlight the challenges women face so we can adapt and provide the required support. Another important dimension is engaging with society. The university is working to be on the frontline of communicating with society and being an active member in relation to policy papers and discussions of topics that are relevant for the development of women in society.

How is international cooperation integrated with your activities?

HRAD As an institution, we have six values. We always work to emphasize the way that we do business here. One is diversification; we are proud to be perhaps the only national university with about 35% of the student body coming from different nationalities. The same goes for our faculty, with over 70% of them non-Qatari. This strategy is extended to our collaborations with international universities, research institutes, and research centers. Qatar University has a center for Gulf studies, which provides a master’s and PhD program. It is a unique program for studying the Gulf region, and we have students from all over the world pursuing those degrees. There are also other initiatives such as teaching Arabic to non-Arabic speakers. It is one of the best centers in the world for training and teaching students in Arabic. For many years, Qatar University was in the top universities for international outlook because of its large network, collaboration, and research output. When our researchers publish in international scientific journals, they do so jointly with colleagues from other universities abroad.

AMH From its inception, one of the founding principles of the university has been to forge partnerships. We live in a global world, and most research challenges require collaboration to achieve the objectives. For example, we work with NASA and Caltech on a multi-year project to screen underground water, its dynamics, as well as the effect of climate change on sea levels and what it means for Qatar and the region. We also build relationships with pharmaceutical companies to allow our students to understand the business aspect of the industry. We also work in research and innovation in different areas such as defense, solar energy, air quality, and many others. We are here to support the development of the country and to actively contribute to achieving the objectives of Vision 2030. The second dimension is helping start-ups, supporting students who are entrepreneurs in order to create jobs, and we encourage our students and faculty to become entrepreneurs. We also work with Qatar Development Bank to complete that cycle from the initial idea to the start-up. ✖



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