Her Highness Sheikha Moza holds discussion with NU-Q students

Underscoring her support for media literacy and the journalism and communication professions, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser made a special visit to Northwestern University in Qatar today to meet with students and discuss their experiences studying in the university’s top-ranked programs.

“I am very happy and thrilled to be here with you today. It may be our first contact, our first face-to-face meeting, but I can assure you that you’ve been always in my heart,” said Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar

Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

Her Highness joined students in the NU-Q Forum, where she opened the floor to hear from students about their experiences studying at NU-Q and to engage them in a lively dialogue about the importance of journalism and communication in Qatar and the region.

During the session, Her Highness Sheikha Moza emphasized the importance of the mastering of the Arabic language for communication specialists and journalists, and urged students to prepare themselves for both Arabic and English language media jobs and careers.  NU-Q dean and CEO Everette E. Dennis highlighted the university’s plans to develop initiatives that encourage and promote more Arabic language competency and professional capacity.

Encouraging them to talk freely and speak their minds, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser also listened to student feedback about their education, their hopes for entering the job market upon graduation, and their ideas for future projects and developments at Education City and in the local and regional media industry.  “We need you in the region,” she said, in response to a student question about job opportunities in Qatar.

Her Highness encouraged the students to join their fellow Education City graduates to use what they’ve learned during their university education to help change and shape the community and the region for the better.  “My dream is to see graduates – not just from Northwestern University, but all Education City – reconstruct their societies in the way they’ve been educated.”

“I am really proud of you. Every time I see you I feel proud and when I come out of any meeting like this I feel really energized. I feel that the future is much better than the past. I feel that we are advancing to a good place and the right place,” added Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.

During the session, students were also given the opportunity to present some of their recent class projects and share their experiences studying abroad and interning at top media organizations in Qatar and the US.  Noora Al-Thani, Shahd Dauleh and Zeena Kaanan, all members of the Class of 2013, shared a three-minute presentation and “teaser” video they developed in their “Principles of Public Relations” class for a TV program to engage Arab youth on the issues of the day.

NU-Q journalism seniors Zainab Sultan and Nazneen Zahan spoke about their experience traveling to the United States to follow Qatar’s relief donations to New Orleans, and presented an abridged version of the documentary they developed.

Ibrahim Alhashmi, a freshman in the communication program, thanked Her Highness for the opportunity to study at NU-Q and Education City. “I want to tell you on behalf of every student here at Northwestern that we are really blessed. This is my fourth week at Northwestern, and I’m not the same person that I was four weeks ago.”

“Hearing Sheikha Moza talk was the most exciting moment of my life so far,” said sophomore communication student Rashad Al-Aani. Rashad didn’t get the chance to speak at the meeting, but said if given the chance “I would have thanked her for the home that she’s provided me because I truly consider Northwestern and Qatar to be my homes.”

For Rashad, Her Highness Sheikha Moza stands out among other leaders because of the faith she places in people and in the students of Education City.

“This is a wonderful occasion, where we are bringing together all four of our classes for the first time to welcome Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser to our campus this morning,” said Dennis. “Her Highness is the inspiration for this school and for all of Education City, and we are especially honored to be in her presence today.”

The visit by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser comes as the university embarks on an important year in its short history in Qatar, with its first class set to graduate at the end of the academic year in 2012.

Prior to the Forum session with students, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser met with the NU-Q dean as well as Hamad Bin Khalifa University president His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, NU-Q Joint Advisory Board member Dr. Abdel Rahman Azzam, and a high-level delegation from NU-Q’s home campus in the US led by provost and chief academic officer Dr. Daniel Linzer.

Reflecting on the visit from Her Highness, Dean Dennis said, “This was an inspirational experience for our students, underscoring Qatar Foundation’s commitment to the freedom of expression and the need for professional communicators—and a talent bench for the country and the region.”

“She simply gave our students a rocket boost of energy,” he concluded.