Sheikha Moza visits UNHCR for update on EAC education projects
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser visited the headquarters of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, to discuss progress in the education projects that UNHCR is running with the support of Her Highness’s Educate A Child initiative.
In her first visit to the UNHCR headquarters, Her Highness was welcomed by High Commissioner, Mr. Ant?nio Guterres.
Her Highness discussed with UNHCR representatives some of the positive results of Educate A Child (EAC) support to UNHCR’s education activities in refugee camps.
In November 2012, Her Highness launched Educate A Child to trigger significant progress in helping children in difficult circumstances including poverty and conflict, gain access to education. EAC is working with a number of partners, including UN agencies and local NGOs, and has already supported over half a million children.
The partnership between EAC and UNHCR benefited over 176,000 school children in 2012, in camps across Africa, Asia and the Middle East region.
EAC support has helped with construction of classrooms and teacher accommodation, increased enrolment, teacher training and provision of textbooks and desks.
In addition, EAC support to UNHCR has provided a platform to discuss the situation of refugees in some countries and to advocate for quality education as a necessity along with food, housing, and health care.
Children affected by conflict and crisis are a long-standing priority for Her Highness, who is UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, UN Advocate for the second Millennium Development Goal to achieve universal primary education, and a member of steering committee of Education First, set up by UN Secretary-General in September 2012.
Sheikha Moza addresses World Conference on Oratory, Debate and Dialogue.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser spoke at the opening of the Fourth World Conference on Oratory, Debate and Dialogue at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
Participants at the conference, organised by Qatar Debate, include some 150 academics, educators and keen debaters, presenting 120 research papers over three days.
The conference is being held in an Arab country and features Arabic, along with English, as the language of debate for the first time.
Addressing the audience, Her Highness said that debate and dialogue are methods of expression used by man since ancient times, and are becoming more important than ever before. “After centuries of clashes and resentment, of power struggles and conflicts, we now have unprecedented opportunities for dialogue and mutual understanding."
Her Highness pointed to the "tremendous impact" of technology, which has allowed for "lively and continuous debate between people all across the world."Highlighting the major technological shift, Sheikha Moza said that any attempt to restrain freedom of expression is destined to fail. "In the past, our young people were mere recipients of information and boundaries. Their reality was set for them by traditional institutions. But today their role in society has undergone a major shift."
"Our young people have levels of awareness and education that allow for a structure of awareness to be build from bottom to top, not vice versa," HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser said. Her Highness added that collective and cross-border dialogue through technological tools has enabled young people to enjoy a new and effective role and increased influence.
Sheikha Moza referred to the Arab Spring revolutions to highlight the momentum young people can create when they have access to the right tools. "The people's revolutions in our region showed us that when the Arab youth could no longer accept the despotism that set their reality, they took to the alternative reality of social media to conduct their debates and dialogues. Eventually they succeeded in influencing their conditions and led the processes that changed their realities. Later the dialogue went back into its rightful place: in the capitals of these revolutions and was no longer confined to social media and websites."
Her Highness highlighted the importance of dialectic skills in enabling young people to become the leaders of the future. "While young people are the most important element for driving change in our societies, statistical and objective facts show that society also has a duty to prepare them properly for effective decision-making and leadership.""The ability to dialogue, to debate and to use rhetoric are among the most important conditions in these roles that help develop young people to become representatives of a generation, of an era, of a vision of the future."
Her Highness underscored the importance of education as an essential tool to raise responsible adults and develop leaders, stressing that through education "starts the expression of opinions by using logic and then the critical act grows to become critical thinking innovative and not an idle mind that only copies."
Sheikha Moza emphasised that Qatar's vision for education and development includes "educational curricula and teaching methods based on debate, deepening the culture of dialogue, developing the dialogue capacity of students, stimulating the critical thinking they have and promoting the spirit of innovation in the industry of ideas, in order to prepare them for leadership roles in the present and the future."
Her Highness welcomes new collection of essays on history of women's role in Gulf
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser attended the launch of a pioneering collection of essays entitled 'Gulf Women' at Georgetown School of Foreign Service in Qatar. The book presents for the first time research that provides a deeper understanding of women’s role in the history of the Gulf and the Arab world.
Her Highness initiated the research for the Gulf Women book in 2006 and wrote the foreword to the book, in which she describes her quest for research to help correct misconceptions about women in the region. "The Arabian Gulf has been viewed not only as an emerging economy but also as an emerging society; a motherland that has given birth to a culture frozen in mediaeval times, peopled by men and women alien to modernity."
In the preface she also comments on her own search to find evidence that could counter common misconceptions: "In my search… I was shocked about how little evidence there was regarding the role of our women in history. At times it appeared that women had been erased from the reconstructed history of our region."
Chapters in the book include the exploration of symbolic representations of the Arabian Peninsula through the discussion of Bedouin women’s poetry and the perspective it offers on women from the region and also the interpretation of song and literature from the Hijaz under Ummayad rule, analyzing how it is reflected through class and gender.
At the launch event, the editor of Gulf Women, Dr. Amira El-Azhary Sonbol, thanked Her Highness for the initiative of researching and producing this book, and alluded to Her Highness's desire to build "alternative narratives" for women in the region.
“Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser... was an inspiration for myself and my colleagues who put the book together,” she said.
The event opened with a welcome from Dean Gerd Nonneman of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service in Qatar and from Hanouf Al-Buainain, Director of Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing. Fellow contributors Dr. Moneera al-Ghadeer and Dr. Amira El-Zein presented excerpts from their respective chapters. The readings were followed by a discussion that touched on how the book’s findings counter stereotypes about women in the region.
A sound national strategy for education and world-class academic institutions are needed to equip Qataris with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in a global economy. Since 1995, Sheikha Moza has been leading this effort through the creation of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and the Supreme Education Council.
During her tenure as Vice Chair of the Supreme Education Council, Sheikha Moza was instrumental in overhauling primary and secondary education in Qatar. She has overseen comprehensive reforms that stress high standards and accountability. With a rigorous national curriculum and regular testing to evaluate student performance, Qatari children will remain competitive with their global peers in math, science and other subjects.
Today, after fifteen years, the Education City campus in Doha stands as one of the nation’s most impressive achievements. Leading institutions have established campuses and programmes in Qatar — including Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Georgetown, Northwestern, Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth universities, HEC Paris and the University College London in addition to the Faculty of Islamic Studies. Education City boasts world-renowned degree programmes in arts, business, engineering, medicine, journalism and communication, Islamic studies and foreign affairs.
Sheikha Moza’s success in bringing top universities to Qatar ensures Qatari youth — as well as those of the Arab world —have access to quality education, the best teachers, scholars and research facilities. She envisions a generation of Qataris who will not only flourish in the global economy but who will be leaders and innovators.
Qatar Foundation is striving to make Qatar a leader in scientific and biomedical research. In that direction, its support for research, through Qatar National Research Fund and its funding programs, ensures that Qatar’s brightest minds — and their collaborators around the world — have the resources necessary to pursue world-class research.
A centrepiece of this endeavor is Qatar Science & Technology Park, an incubation centre for technological innovation. This free-trade zone boasts advanced research laboratories and has attracted leading technology-based companies. Equally important are its dozens of research partnerships with the universities in Education City.
These and other projects reflect Sheikha Moza’s commitment to providing Qataris with the very best educational and training opportunities. With knowledge, creativity and a passion for learning, Qataris can make profound and positive difference in their country and around the world.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, wife of His Highness the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, plays a key role in supporting her husband’s far-reaching agenda to transform Qatar into a thriving, knowledge-based society. For more than 15 years, Sheikha Moza has been a driving force behind education and social reforms in her country. These wide-ranging initiatives are aimed at preparing Qataris to compete in the global economy while building strong families and communities at home. Sheikha Moza also is active on the international stage, spearheading projects to promote peace and human development throughout the world.
Domestically, she serves as Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), a private non-profit organisation founded in 1995. Its flagship project is Education City, which covers over 14 million square metres and houses branch campuses of renowned international universities and institutions. QF also is engaged in numerous scientific research and economic and social development projects.
In addition to her work at Qatar Foundation, Sheikha Moza serves as the Vice Chair of the Supreme Council of Health and she also served as the Vice Chair of the Supreme Education Council from March 2006-February 2012. In these roles, she has helped enact major top-down reforms of Qatar’s public schools and healthcare system. Also, more recently, she chairs the Sidra Medical and Research Centre, a new training and research hospital that is envisaged to become a leading institution for women and children’s specialty care.
On a regional and international level, Sheikha Moza has launched multiple projects including the International Fund for Higher Education in Iraq, the Silatech initiative to address the growing challenge of youth employment in the Middle East and North Africa, and Education Above All, a policy research and advocacy organization concerned with a single policy area: protecting the right to education in conflict-affected areas.
Sheikha Moza has been playing an active role with the United Nations (UN) for many years. In 2003, she was appointed as UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education; in 2008 she was appointed by the Secretary General of the UN as Alliance of Civilizations (AOC) Ambassador; and in 2010 she became a member of the UN Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group with a special emphasis on Goal 2 – universal primary education.
Among Sheikha Moza’s many honours is the prestigious Chatham House Award for her contributions to improving international relations. Also, in June 2009, she was inducted into the Academie des Beaux Arts de l'Institut de France (Academy of Fine Arts of the Institute of France), the prestigious French society that generates awareness of the arts through education and helps develop artistic relationships on an international level.
Sheikha Moza graduated from Qatar University with a degree in sociology and has been awarded honorary doctorates from Virginia Commonwealth University, Texas A&M University, Carnegie Mellon University, Imperial College London and Georgetown University.