Graduation 2019

One of NU-Q’s first graduates speaks at this year’s graduation

May 08, 2019

A graduate from NU-Q’s inaugural class, Sara Abdullah Al-Saadi, spoke to the school’s latest – and largest – graduates at a ceremony on Northwestern’s campus in Doha. In her remarks to the 68 graduating seniors, Al-Saadi told them that NU-Q had “an incredible impact on the person I am today; this school has given me a world-class education, lifelong friends, and the tools to go on and make a difference.”

In introducing Al-Saadi, Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO, noted that while at NU-Q, Al-Saadi “was one of our most active and accomplished students, so no one is surprised by her considerable achievements since that time.” Al-Saadi is the director of public diplomacy at Qatar’s embassy in Washington D.C. and concurrently a candidate for a J.D. degree at Columbia Law School. As a student at NU-Q, she served as president of the student body and won the Education City President’s Award, the highest honor accorded to a student.

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro, who has attended every NU-Q graduation, told this year’s class that their work on “research projects, publications, films, videos, and documentaries have been recognized across the globe for their excellence. The only word I can think of to capture your achievements is astonishing.”

Also attending the ceremony was Northwestern Provost Jonathan Holloway, along with other members of NU-Q’s Joint Advisory Board including His Excellency Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, state minister with the rank of deputy prime minister; His Excellency Hassan Abdullah Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Supreme Committee on Legacy and Delivery; Samir Mayekar, a member of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees and president of the Northwestern Alumni Association, and Mayan Zebeib, chief communication officer of Qatar Foundation.

The student speaker for the ceremony was Hassan Mohammed Al-Jahni who advised his fellow graduates to accept the challenge and believe in themselves, “I can’t promise that you won’t be underestimated in your life’s journey. However, I do promise you that you can’t underestimate yourselves - knowing what you know, being where you have been, and learning what you have learned. Never stop creating, never underestimate yourselves. Be the source of change that you want to see in this region.”

This year’s 68 graduates, represent 17 countries with nearly half of the group Qatari, making it the largest and most diverse graduating class to date. Together, the students speak a total of 12 different languages with more than 70 percent women. A total of 20 students received degrees in journalism and strategic communication, while 48 students received degrees in communication. Sixteen of the graduates earned minors; seven in Middle East studies, seven in Media and Politics, and two in Gender and Sexuality studies. In addition, 20 students earned certificates in strategic communication and 18 in Middle East studies.

This year’s graduating class joins nearly 300 alumni, in addition to Al-Saadi, who are making a mark with impressive accomplishments and international recognition. These include awards from the Cannes and Ajyal Film Festivals for short films, documentaries, and stories, as well as forging careers in media, government, business, and academia.

Following this year’s graduation ceremony, the dean hosted a suhoor for the NU-Q community – faculty, staff, students, alumni – along with the graduates and their family and friends to celebrate the graduation as well as to commemorate the school’s 10-years in Qatar. “This evening rounds out a year of activities we have held to celebrate Northwestern’s 10 years in Doha. Today’s event – beginning with the dedication of the Media Majlis to our graduation is a fitting conclusion to a remarkable 10 years,” Dennis said.