NU-Q to graduate first class of journalism and communication students on May 9

Prolific Middle East author and policy analyst Rami Khouri to deliver keynote speech

Doha, QatarApril 25, 2012 – On May 9, Northwestern University in Qatar will graduate its first student class in an inaugural commencement ceremony at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

Thirty-six students will be receiving Bachelor of Science degrees in journalism or communication, awarded by Northwestern’s renowned Medill School of Journalism and School of Communication, respectively.

Commenting on the landmark occasion, H.E. Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al-Thani, director of His Highness the Amir’s Office and a member of NU-Q’s Joint Advisory Board, said: “Northwestern University in Qatar’s first graduation is a milestone event for Qatar. A thriving media industry is crucial to a knowledge-based economy of the future, and this field of graduates is poised to make a powerful mark. I look to these fresh graduates to work diligently to translate their education into meaningful contributions to our nation’s development, driving our media industries to new horizons of progress and freedom.”

The media school has invited internationally renowned Middle East author, columnist and policy analyst Rami Khouri to serve as the graduation speaker.  Khouri is the director of the respected Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University in Beirut, a columnist for the Beirut-based Daily Star, and has been a member of the NU-Q Joint Advisory Board since 2010.

Dr. Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar commented, “Rami Khouri is a great friend to NU-Q; I can think of no one who better embodies the values and sprit of our school. His easy connection between the practical world of media and communications —and his expansive perspective as a scholar is a model for anyone who hopes to promote public understanding in the global community.”

Other notable attendees will include Qatar’s Minister of Education and Higher Education and Secretary General of Supreme Education Council H.E. Saad bin Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, President of Hamad bin Khalifa University H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Al-Thani, and NU-Q Joint Advisory Board members: H.E. Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al-Thani, Director of the Office of H.H. the Amir (co-chair); Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani, Director General of Al Jazeera Network; and Abdul Rahman Azzam, Communication Adviser to HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.

Top figures from Northwestern University in attendance will include President Morton Schapiro, Provost Daniel Linzer, Board of Trustees Chair William Osborn, Dean of the School of Communication Barbara O’Keefe, Dean of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications John Lavine, and Founding Dean of Northwestern University in Qatar John Margolis. Select members of the university’s Board of Trustees will also be present at the ceremony.

The university will be hosting a series of events for students, parents, international guests and visitors from Northwestern’s Evanston campus, and faculty and staff at NU-Q to celebrate the inaugural graduation.  On May 5, NU-Q students will kick off the weeklong celebration with a senior retreat, and a formal dinner on May 6 will give seniors a chance to reflect on their four years at Northwestern University in Qatar.

On May 7, senior students will showcase their best works for international guests and Northwestern Trustees.  Also on that day, they will choose one faculty member from the communication and journalism programs to deliver a last lecture as part of a community day that will also include a senior “Food for Thought” session where each student will impart their “pearls of wisdom” to remaining NU-Q classes.

An Awards Recognition lunch, hosted by Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro, will be held on May 8.  Five student awards –the Journalism Award, Communication Award, Liberal Arts Award, Student Leader Award, and Dean’s Award –will be given out at the lunch, where the President will also recognize NU-Q’s Latin honor students. Benazir Karim, the senior valedictorian, will give a speech.

Also on May 8, NU-Q will join the other Education City universities at the Qatar Foundation-hosted Senior Convocation, before the university’s inaugural commencement ceremony the following day.

In a final celebration of their graduation, the NU-Q seniors will travel to Evanston, Illinois in mid-June to participate in the graduation ceremonies at Northwestern University’s home campus.  There they will receive their official diploma alongside other Northwestern graduates.