Alumnae featured in book celebrating influential women of Qatar

February 05, 2015

Alumnae Sara Al Derham and Dana Al Meslemani are featured in the new book, Qatar Success Stories: Inspiring Women, and praised as “up-and-coming and talented women who innovate and are Qatar’s future.”

The book celebrates the local and international achievements of Qatari women, outlining their critical contribution to Qatar’s development and influence. “Sara and Dana are extraordinary young woman making real strides in the media industry. This is the objective of the book: to pay tribute to successful women and their vision,” says author Caroline Carpentier. “After reading the profiles, I hope readers will have a new perception of the crucial role women play in shaping Qatar’s future.”

“It is our central purpose to provide an academic environment that cultivates and inspires the future leaders of media, particularly in Qatar. All of us at NU-Q are proud to see Sara and Dana recognized for their achievements; they are accomplished young women with a very bright future,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of NU-Q. “Sara and Dana are just two examples of the Qatari talent that is blossoming at NU-Q.”

Al Derham, who graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree, Communication, is recognized for her academic successes, commitment to the local community and excellence as an upcoming filmmaker and director. While at NU-Q, Al Derham played an integral leadership role in both the Student Union and Culture Club, where she served as president. In 2011, she co-founded ‘Ta2heel,’ a not-for-profit summer program to help high school students prepare for university life and find their passions. Sara is now in graduate school studying critical media and cultural studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

At just 22 years, Sara has a considerable talent for storytelling through film. Her documentary Um Rashed traces a day in the life of a Bedouin woman; it is infused with Qatari culture, from how to set the table to subtle regional differences between Emiratis and Qataris. All of Al Derham’s scripts are in Arabic as a way of preserving and honouring the language. In 2012, her short film “Ghazil-The Story of Rashid & Jawaher” was selected to represent Qatar at the prestigious Gulf Film Festival (GFF) in Dubai.

“It was an honour to be profiled alongside such inspiring Qatari women. My time at NU-Q was invaluable for my personal and academic growth, but most importantly in understanding the infinite opportunities ahead of me,” says Al Derham. “We study great Russian, French and German filmmakers in books. Fifty years from now, I would like students to look at a page that says, ‘Sara Al Derham, Qatar.’”

Al Meslemani graduated from Northwestern University in Qatar with a Bachelor of Science degree, Communication. She has held marketing internships at leading international organizations and is a published photographer in local and international magazines and journals. In her time at NU-Q she was a student government class representative and graphic designer, as well as ‘Oh Snap!’ treasurer. With her acceptance into King’s College, London, Dana will be studying for a Master of Arts in cultural and creative industries. Dana is co-owner of Al Thumama Arabian Horse Stud in Qatar.

Al Meslemani says, “I was always so shy, but NU-Q was inspiring. I took part in clubs and met new people, and I come out of my shell. The one thing I’ve learned is whatever passion you have, you can turn it into something bigger.”