The Business Year

Dr. Salem Al-Naemi

QATAR - Health & Education

Dr. Salem Al-Naemi

Acting President, College of the North Atlantic - Qatar (CNA-Q)


Dr. Salem Al-Naemi has more than 25 years of work experience in both the government and private sectors. He is a successful executive with considerable leadership experience in education, government, and business organizations. He holds an MBA and a PhD in computer science. He began his career as an assistant professor at Qatar University. He has worked with a diverse workforce and in many multinational organizations in key positions such as executive vice president of support services, CFO, and CIO. He joined CNA-Q in 2018 as vice president, finance and administration, and was appointed Acting President in 2020.

The first applied university in Qatar, with all of its programs truly hands-on, CNA-Q's programs truly serves the needs of companies and the government.

What were the main highlights for CNA-Q in 2020

CNA-Q is an international college that is transforming into the first applied university in the country. The bylaws have been submitted to the cabinet for approval, and hopefully the transformation will take place very soon. Because CNA-Q is an applied college, our infrastructure was ready before the pandemic hit. We were already offering many courses online, so the transformation from physical to blended learning was easy for us. The pandemic has had a big psychological impact on students and faculties worldwide, and CNA-Q is no exception; however, we have provided a great deal of support and aid to our students and staff, including medical aid as well as advice and counselling. The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but there are also moments worth celebrating in 2020. One of them was the launch of unique applied bachelor programs in Qatar. We initially offered three bachelor’s degree programs in maintenance engineering technology, applied business administration in human resource management, and medical radiography to assess the demand and needs. Engineering and HR programs were oversubscribed by 200%, while demand for medical radiography was almost 400%. CNA-Q will offer a number of new different degrees in fall 2021. The college currently has 3,600 students, and we expect to reach 4,000 in January 2021. The other major milestone for us was waiving tuition fees for Qatari students, and students with Qatari mothers, starting from the next term. Today, our student population is 80% non-Qatari and 20% Qatari; we expect more Qataris to join in the coming term. CNA-Q has also state-of-the-art sports facilities, and we are expanding them as well.

CNA-Q is contributing to the country’s knowledge-based economy and helping turn Vision 2030 a reality. How do these national programs and strategies impact the design of CNA-Q’s new courses and activities offering?

CNA-Q is an industry-driven organization; all our programs involve input and advice from industry experts. We focus heavily on the oil and gas industry and have a close relationship and partnership with Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Gas, Qatar Fertiliser Co (QAFCO), Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO), Shell, and other oil and gas companies. We design our programs to truly serve their needs. In September 2021, we are starting two major programs specifically serving oil and gas companies: a bachelor’s degree program in chemical processing and another one in telecommunication networking. The other field that is really important is business and IT. We are developing a bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity and data analytics, where there is a huge demand. All of CNA-Q’s programs are applied, meaning they are really hands-on, and this saves companies and the government a lot of money in terms of additional workplace training. We are developing another applied program in financial services. CNA-Q is the first institution to apply a qualification like this locally in the market. There is huge demand for programs from our school of health sciences, and we are offering a bachelor’s degree program in paramedicine. We are the only institute offering a paramedicine program in the country, and many of the workers at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), the Ministry of Health, and in the private healthcare sector are our graduates. We currently have a post-graduate diploma, but we are also adding a master’s degree in diabetes to better prepare doctors and healthcare practitioners to deal with patients in this field.

How does CNA-Q stay informed about the various industry and market needs in the various sectors?

We have advisory committees that bring unique knowledge and skills to the college. The committees embody experts that keep us connected with the market needs, and deliver the experience that our students require. Our board of trustees comprises leading members of Qatari industry who provide us with specific market insights, and we tailor our programs accordingly. In addition, we have our in-house market/industry research team that keeps us aligned with the ever-changing market conditions.



You may also be interested in...


QATAR - Finance

Khalifa al Yafei


President, Qatar Finance and Business Academy (QFBA)

QATAR - Health & Education

Forum: Enabling Institutions



View All interviews