CNN Arabic VP to Class of 2026: “Today is a foundation for lifelong learning”

August 07, 2022
Welcoming Northwestern Qatar’s 15th incoming class at its annual Convocation ceremony, Dean Marwan M. Kraidy encouraged the Class of 2026 to use their years at Northwestern to set free their imagination and strive to make a meaningful impact. “Remember that a university education is not simply a blueprint to make a living, but a roadmap to make a life. As you grapple with that, seek mentors and experiences that set your imagination on fire,” he said.
 
Kraidy also highlighted the distinctions of the incoming class and told them that in the coming years they will contribute to enriching the school. “You were selected from an impressive pool of applicants – the largest in the school’s history, and also the most selective,” said Kraidy. “You represent more than 25 nationalities and include a founder of Incubate Qatar, a delegate at the European Youth Parliament, anchor of a Ministry of Sports and Youth news show in Qatar, an assistant director of the first Pakistani film to win in Cannes, writers, content creators … you will all enliven and enrich Northwestern Qatar.”
 
Joining Dean Kraidy in welcoming the new class as convocation speaker was Caroline Faraj, vice president and editor-in-chief of CNN Arabic Services, who stressed the importance of university education in unlocking possibilities beyond the walls of the campus.  “I would like to encourage you to remember that today is a foundation for lifelong learning,” said Faraj. “Use your time here to make friendships that last […] train to master effective listening and focus on facts […] respect the value of time […] appreciate diversity and accept others as they are, […] and learn to give back and serve in the line you enjoy.”
 
Drawing from her experience, she encouraged the class to use their skills as storytellers to make a difference. “As storytellers, each one of us has something to say,” said Faraj, who went on to underscore to the students the importance of mastering the art of humanizing the stories as university students and later as journalists reporting on different societies and cultures.
Following her remarks, Faraj stepped out from behind the podium and asked the students if they had any questions. In answering one student’s question on how to navigate being a journalist in the region, she stressed the importance of telling the truth despite the challenges they may face as they report on stories. “There is always a way to tell the truth … I encourage you to always understand the society you are dealing with, the message you have written, and the receivers who are going to receive your message,” she said.
 
A leading Arab media figure, Faraj began her career as a journalist in Jordan, where she covered the 1990 peace talks between Jordan and Israel and hosted the country’s first morning talk show. In the years after, she went on to join Jordan Times as managing editor, became the regional correspondent for US Defense News, and held positions in London for Dubai TV and in Jordan for Bahrain TV before joining CNN and later leading the launching of its Arabic site in 2002 and covering major events in the region.
 
Khadija Ahmad, president of the Northwestern Qatar Student Government, also spoke at the ceremony. In her remarks, she encouraged the class to create new possibilities by working together as a community. “I want you to know that you can make the best of your experiences here through community,” said Ahmad. “The university can become a site of radical possibility. You will find freedom and opportunity in the margins of the university; amongst the people and the spaces they’ve created.”

More than 120 students join Northwestern Qatar this fall as part of the Class of 2026. The incoming class is one of the most diverse, competitive, and dynamic in the school’s history, including students from Qatar, the U.S., Albania, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Rwanda, South Korea, Sudan, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Zimbabwe.
 
Northwestern Qatar’s Convocation is held at the beginning of each academic year following a week-long orientation for the incoming class, which includes the annual Northwestern ‘March Through the Arch,’ which welcomes each new class and kicks off the new academic year.

Click here to watch the full recording.