The monthly Magazine of qatar foundation Issue 9 september 2009
Forward Thinkers David Kerr and Sidra are changing the perception of cancer
Qatar Foundation Unlocking human potential
WISE summit in Doha International educators gather to tackle the challenges of the 21st century
I always wanted to do science, so I combined medicine with a degree in biochemistry as well. Medicine at that stage was a lot of rote learning, lots of facts. People say that doing medicine is the equivalent of learning a new language: With all the jargon it’s so odd” David Kerr, Chief Research Advisor, Sidra
03 News Sidra signs Meeza for IT setup; CMU-Q student awarded Google scholarship; QNRF opens third funding cycle; Shell signs research agreement with TAMUQ; Qtel signs memorandum with Qatar University Wireless Innovations Centre at QSTP; QatarDebate to host world Debate Academy; controversial scholar takes Oxford and QFIS chair; ROTA and Al Jaidah Group battle illiteracy; Nobel Laureate Professor Theodor Hänsch to grace fifth in Distinguished Lecture Series; VCUQatar hosts exhibition by Qatari artist Ali Hassan
09 2009/2010 calendar 10 A busy Ramadan at Qatar Foundation Qatar Foundation’s Recreation & Community Building was a hive of activity during the holy month
12 A scalar shift
The Foundation reveals that the intake of fresh students at the beginning of the new academic year represents a real shift in the way Qatar Foundation behaves as an entity
16 Changing the view on cancer As part of Qatar Foundation’s THINK campaign, and for the first time in a series of interviews with some of the most progressive thinkers of our time, QFRadio and The Foundation speak to Professor David Kerr, internationally renowned cancer expert and Chief Research Advisor at Sidra Medical and Research Center
29 A Passion for science and Qatar We chart the remarkable rise of the new Qatari Assistant Director of Research Partnerships at Sidra Medical and Research Center, Dr Haitham M Al-Salama
learning to think 20 differently This November, educators from around the world gather at the WISE Summit in Doha to discover new ways of tackling the challenges of the 21st Century
24 Research Renaissance Qatar is recreating the region’s pioneering skills in science and academic advancement at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and its allies around the country
30 Think Campaign
Not just in Doha but around the world, Qatar Foundation’s THINK campaign aims to help unlock human potential.
Switch Media For Qatar foundation: Publisher Brian Scudder Editor Philip Fenton Creative Director Carl Bergman For Qatar Foundation: Public Relations & Marketing Directorate [email protected]
+974 454 0000 ©2008 Switch Media For Qatar Foundation. All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of Qatar foundation and the publishers.
Unlocking inner potential The THINK outreach campaign launched last month within Education City is now expanding across Qatar, the region and the world. It has been designed to raise the profile of Qatar Foundation’s vision, mission and objectives, and to recognise that today, Qatar Foundation offers the highest standards of education, science and community development. We named the campaign ‘THINK’ due to the word’s inspirational meaning which incites creativity and innovation and encourages people to unlock their inner potential. This campaign is closely aligned with the beliefs of Qatar Foundation that each individual possesses inner potential which can be unlocked and nurtured. The THINK campaign aims to raise the profile of Qatar Foundation’s activities and achievements locally, within the GCC countries and around the world. This campaign will also unite the various centers and organizations working under the umbrella of Qatar Foundation into a single voice; a voice that will raise awareness of Qatar Foundation and will encourage thinking and creativity. We hope this campaign will generate positive outcomes that will contribute to the growth and prosperity of the Foundation for the overall benefit of humanity as a whole.
Haya Khalifa Al Nassr Director of Public Relations & Marketing Qatar Foundation
In brief A credit to the nation The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has accredited all four of Texas A&M University at Qatar’s engineering degrees. Accreditation applies to bachelors of science in chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and petroleum engineering awarded after 1 October 2007. ABET is a leading accreditation authority for degree programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology.
Sidra signs Meeza for IT set-up ~ Managed IT provider to build infrastructure New Qatari IT services and solutions provider Meeza has signed a deal with Sidra Medical and Research Center to develop its IT infrastructure. Daniel Bergin, Executive Project Director of Sidra said: “We’re in the process of creating one of the finest, most technologically advanced facilities in the world, which will promote healing, inspire learning and advance scientific discovery. An efficient, reliable and well-maintained IT infrastructure is imperative to the success of such an ambitious project. We’re confident Meeza will fulfill our IT needs and prove to be a key asset in our growth.”
James Fanella, CEO of Meeza said: “Our team of highly-skilled engineers have the experience and expertise to meet the complex IT needs of Sidra and we’re honoured to be actively supporting Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned in bringing a world class health facility and medical research center to Qatar.” Meeza will design and build Sidra’s IT network infrastructure and provide all of the necessary supporting services to help it develop into one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, including network hardware, server infrastructure, software services and data center services.
~ In the news Qatar Foundation stories in the regional and international press Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, Caryle Murphy said that despite worldwide exposure through the BBC, the Doha Debates’ greatest legacy “may be in the Middle East, where authoritarian regimes stifle free speech, newspapers are heavily censored, children are raised to obey without question, and school systems reject critical thinking in favor of rote learning”. She continued: “Amid this smothering environment, the Doha Debates is perhaps the freest public forum for probing tough issues that deeply resonate in the Arab world.” Murphy quoted Mishaal Al-Rasheed, a student from Saudi Arabia who took part in a recent program, as saying it showed that “you don’t need at the end of the debate to agree with me. But at least respect me for my ideas… (Qatar) took the lead in having debates in our Islamic world... In another Arab country, [the debaters] might be in jail right now.”
A study conducted under funding from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) has found that awareness on diabetes is poor in the country. The research into the knowledge, attitude and practise (KAP) of Qatari adults with Type 2 diabetes was conducted by researchers from Qatar University, Sidra Medical and Research Center and Tulane University of the US through QNRF’s UREP Programme. The study found patients need further education on the disease and its management. As many as 17% of adult Qataris have Type 2 diabetes.
Harness the sun Qatar Science & Technology Park’s experimental solar power facility will begin testing photovoltaic and solar-thermal electricity generation techniques from next year, an official has said. Speaking to the Qatar Tribune, QSTP Research Director for Energy, Hamad Mohammed Al-Kuwari, said: “We will be mapping and testing various technologies and identifying the most suitable technology for Qatar...” The project is in partnership with GreenGulf and could eventually produce a power plant for Education City.
An open heart An art sale and exhibition supported by Qatar Foundation was a runaway success last month. The ‘Open Your Heart’ exhibition arranged by Dubai’s Opera Gallery displayed works by Alfred Sisley, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall and Salvador Dalí at the Doha Grand Hyatt Hotel. Part of the proceeds have been donated to the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs to finance their Art Therapy Department.
Finding the female Eight thousand years after its first cultivation, farmers may soon be able to distinguish between male and female date palms thanks to research being conducted at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. Only female trees produce dates. Scientists working at the institute sequenced the date palm genome in April this year and have since been conducting large-scale ‘light’ genetic analysis to find consistent differences between them.
CMU-Q student awarded Google Scholarship Keghani Kristelle Kouzoujian is unusual. Not only has she been awarded a Google Scholarship, in its own right an extraordinary achievement, but she is the only Qatari resident ever to have been so honoured. Kouzoujian is a computer science student at Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar (CMU-Q). She was among just 21 young women chosen for the Google Anita Borg Scholarship, taken from a pool of hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students from 37 universities in 19 countries. The scholarship is named after Dr Anita Borg, a woman who devoted her entire adult life to revolutionizing the way people think about technology. Her aim was to dismantle the barriers that keep women and minorities from entering computing and technology fields. Borg believed that technology affects all aspects of our economic, political, social and personal lives, leading her to found the Institute for Women and Technology (www.anitaborg.org) in 1997. The Google Scholarship encourages women to excel in the fields of computing and technology and to become active role models and leaders in these areas. It gives Kouzoujian $10,000 for the academic year and a chance to visit the Annual Google Scholars’ Retreat in Mountain View, California. Kouzoujian told local media that her motivation to apply for the scholarship came mostly from the encouragement of her professors. “I did not expect to win, I just did what I was supposed to do submitting all the requirements especially my proposal which was about music enhancer,” she said. “I hope to get another scholarship in Pittsburgh for further studies and take up Music as minor,” she added.
QNRF opens third funding cycle ~ New online submissions portal launched Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) has begun accepting submissions from researchers for its National Priorities Research Program (NPRP). Funding is available to Qatari and non-Qatari investigators, provided research is on an issue with specific relevance to Qatar, and 50% is conducted in the country. “What we are looking for in proposals is original thinking and clear benefits for Qatar,” says QNRF Executive Director, Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie. “This can take the form of attempting to answer research questions that are of national interest, for example in the area of water desalination or diabetes research, or it could be that the project will develop human capital for Qatar. Or it may be that the project is of such importance that it would create international recognition. “QNRF is obviously keen to receive proposals from Qatari researchers but any proposal that clearly benefits the country is welcome and
collaboration is particularly well received.” In a bid to enhance the submissions process, QNRF has launched a brand new submissions portal at www.qnrfsubmission.info. Grants will range from $20,000 up to a maximum of $350,000 per proposal, per year, for research projects of one, two or three years. Final proposals are required by 14 January 2010 and the awards are expected to be announced in June 2010. For further information visit www.qnrfsubmission.info and www.qnrf.org
Qtel in wireless research agreement ~ Applied research gets a boost at QSTP hub
Shell’s strategic deal ~ Private sector-university partnerships drive development Oil and gas giant Shell has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding with Texas A&M in Qatar (TAMUQ) to co-operate on technical consultation, research projects, internships and graduate recruitment through its Qatar Shell Research & Technology Centre. Officials said the agreement “deepens the relationship between the two institutions,” and builds upon “the technological knowledge, expertise, and resources of both Shell and TAMUQ.” The signing is another step forward in the ongoing integration of private sector firms with the research specialists of Qatar Foundation’s six US universities. It is a deliberate one. There is a widespread recognition among planners at Qatar Foundation that to compete on the international research development stage, and through that develop the Qatari economy as a whole, the driver must be private sector partnership. As Dr Tidu Maini told The Foundation in an interview earlier this year: “If you look at the big successes in the United States like the Palo Alto Science Park or at
the Cambridge cluster in Britain, they work so well because of the intensity of research in the top universities there. These universities generate a huge amount of good research that can be commercialized by the bright people surrounding them. There is a real motivation to create wealth.” Dr Maini is Executive Chairman of Qatar Science & Technology Park, where the Shell Centre is based. Shell Qatar’s Executive Vice President, Andy Brown, called TAMUQ “Shell’s close and strategic academic partner”, adding that “a growing number of Texas A&M graduates have joined Shell.” Past projects between the two institutions include a test road in Ras Laffan paved with Shell’s sulphur asphalt and a joint-research program on watertreatment solutions using reverse osmosis units. Shell has several major projects in Qatar, including its 100% funding of Pearl GTL at Ras Laffan, the world’s largest gas to liquids plant, and the 30% funded single train Qatargas 4 LNG operation with Qatar Petroleum.
Qatar University Wireless Innovations Center (QUWIC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Qatari telecoms operator, Qtel. Opened earlier this year, the Centre is involved in research into broadband technologies 4G and WiMax. The agreement will see Qtel and QUWIC carry out joint applied research and technology development in the key areas of wireless systems, services and applications. Engineer Khalid Abdulla Al-Mansouri, Executive Director of the Business Solutions Division at Qtel, said: “This agreement will bring some of the strongest resources from Qatar’s commercial and academic sectors together to drive a dedicated research agenda in the field of wireless technology. “New discoveries are helping to change and enhance the way people communicate in the world today, and we firmly believe that Qatar has an international role to play in this area.” Dr Adnan Abu-Dayya, Executive Director of QUWIC, said: “QUWIC is a professional, not-for-profit entity focused on enabling and enhancing wireless and telecoms systems in Qatar and the wider region. “The support of a world-class company like Qtel will make an important contribution to the ongoing development of QUWIC, and enable us to make further strides towards achieving our goal of making Qatar a hub for wireless innovation and to position QUWIC as the leading wireless R&D centre in the region.” For further details on QUWIC, contact Zeina Al-Azmeh at Qatar University on [email protected]
or telephone +974 485 2037
QatarDebate to host world Debate Academy ~ New partnership with World Debate Institute QatarDebate will host the Qatar Debate Academy from 29 October to 6 November, 2009. The program is organized in cooperation with Za in Proti Slovenia and the World Debate Institute of the University of Vermont in the United States. It will focus on the development of debate in countries new to the debating tradition and create “meaningful international exchange and pave the way towards the World Schools Debating Championship in Qatar in February 2010”. The event will play host to a Mini-World
Schools Debating Championship, with teams from all continents. “Southwest Asia is a prime candidate for the expansion of debating,” said Alfred Snider of the World Debate Institute, “and Qatar is the ideal site and host for such an event. “Their determination to promote debating and open civil discourse in this region is impressive and groundbreaking. I am inspired by QatarDebate and [QatarDebate’s Executive Director] Dr Hayat Maarafi's vision of expanded debating in this part of the world.
“I hope that we can really spark some important debate development in these countries as well as expose them to more established debating trainers, nations and teams.” The goals of the Qatar Debate Academy include the preparation of students, teachers and trainers from new debating countries for future participation in the World Schools Debating Championship and in their home countries, as well as the preparation of Qatar students, teachers and schools for involvement in WSDC Qatar 2010 and, more broadly, debating world wide. More than 240 people are expected to attend. The Academy will feature an illustrious faculty of debating specialists, including: Chris Erskine (Australia), Simon Quinn (Oxford University, UK), Alex Campbell (USA), Piyanart Faktangporn (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand), Loke Wing Fatt (SAID, Singapore), Sam Greenland (University of Sydney, Australia), Rhydian Morgan (Stylus Communications, UK), Sam Nelson (Cornell University, USA), Debbie Newman (UK), Erin O’Brien (University of Queensland, Australia), Omar Salahuddin bin Abdullah (MultiMedia University, Malaysia), Bilal Siddiqi (Pakistan), Bojana Skrt (ZIP, Slovenia), Miranda Weigler (St Andrews University, Scotland). For further information, contact Kelley Bieringer on [email protected]
or Alfred Snider at [email protected]
Controversial scholar takes Oxford Chair ~ Tariq Ramadan to teach at Qatar Faculty for Islamic Studies Professor Tariq Ramadan has been appointed the first incumbent of the new ‘His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professorship in Contemporary Islamic Studies’ chair at Oxford University. He took up his post on 1 September. The Chair was created though a Qatar Foundation endowment earlier this year. The Swiss academic is a fascinating choice for the post. He has had a remarkable career, garnering support and opposition to his ideas in equal measure. Professor Ramadan was recently dismissed as a Visiting Professorship on Identity and Citizenship at Erasmus University in the Netherlands. He was removed from the post on the ostensive grounds that he continued to present a television programme called ‘Islam & Life’ on the Iranian Government-backed Press TV satellite channel – despite a
crackdown on reformists during the election of President Ahmadinejad earlier this year. A large number of his colleagues at Erasmus are contesting his dismissal. Time magazine voted Ramadan one of 100 innovators of the 21st century for his work on creating an independent European Islam. He was also a member of a UK government task force which defined policies to root out Islamic extremism there. Ramadan’s experience makes him a perfect choice for a post that will focus on European Islam, say Oxford academics. “The appointment of Tariq Ramadan to the His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professorship in Contemporary Islamic Studies brings a world-famous scholar to Oxford and the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies,” Dr Eugene Rogan, Director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford, told The Foundation.
The chair fills an important gap at Oxford’s Faculty of Oriental Studies by creating its first post in Contemporary Islamic Studies. Its remit is to focus on the importance of Muslims as a distinct faith community in Europe. Professor Ramadan will work at Oxford and be seconded to the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies at Qatar Foundation for the eight weeks of the autumn semester to teach a full module as part of student training there. Professor Ramadan said: “I am very happy and honoured to have been chosen for this position. During the last four years I have been involved in research and teaching at Oxford and this new chair will be a great means to carry on my work and to address the critical and sensitive issues related to contemporary Islamic studies both in the West and in the Muslim majority countries, particularly through the joint program in Qatar.”
The heartbeat of light ~ Experimental laser technology: the topic for sixth lecture in research division series
ROTA and Al Jaidah battle illiteracy ~ Qatar’s low-skilled migrant workers to benefit Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and The Al Jaidah Group have developed a model for teaching basic adult English literacy to low-skilled migrant workers in Qatar. Following a successful pilot program held during the summer, the first full course will begin in October and run to June 2010 with more than 120 people participating. The program has been tailored for Al Jaidah Group’s own low-skilled employees – as well as other groups – as part of the organization’s corporate social responsibility strategy. Al Jaidah Group is the launching partner of ROTA’s Adult English Literacy (RAEL) programme in Qatar and in countries where ROTA implements education projects. An eight-week pilot program that began in July has already benefited 30 employees from Sri Lanka, Egypt and India. “The aim of RAEL is to deliver a literacy skills course in which the
participants develop their ability to identify, understand, interpret, communicate and employ written information in their daily activities in an effort to help them achieve their personal goals and improve life opportunities,” said a ROTA official. “The programme engages volunteers and youth in Qatar by giving them the opportunity to assist in the training process.” “We are very proud to be able to contribute to ROTA’s long-term plans for a better future and education for all across Asia,” said Mohammed Jaidah, Group Marketing and Business Development Director. “This is our way of giving back to both the local community as well as other people in need throughout the region. Our common goal is to fight illiteracy, one of our continent’s biggest curses.” For further information visit www.reachouttoasia.org
On 26 October, 2009, the fifth lecture in the Qatar Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series brings 2005 Nobel Prize winner, Professor Theodor Wolfgang Hänsch, to the podium to discuss the latest advances in experimental laser technology and atomic particle measurement, the ‘Heartbeat of Light’. Hänsch is Professor for Experimental Physics at the Ludwing-MaximiliansUniversity in Munich and Director at Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, both in Germany. The German physicist received the Nobel Prize in Physics for “contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique”, sharing the prize with John L Hall and Roy J Glauber. In 1970, Hänsch invented a new type of laser which generates light pulses with an extremely high spectral resolution (ie all the photons emitted from the laser have nearly the same energy, to a precision of one part in a million). Using this device he succeeded in measuring the transition frequency of the Balmer line of atomic hydrogen with a much higher precision than before. During the late 1990s, he and his co-workers developed a new method to measure the frequency of laser light to an even higher precision, using a device called the ‘optical frequency comb generator’. This invention was then used to measure the Lyman line of atomic hydrogen to an extraordinary precision of one part in a hundred trillion. At such a high precision, it became feasible to search for possible changes in the fundamental physical constants of the universe over time. The event will be held in Lecture Hall 238 of Texas A&M University Qatar and is open to the public. Registration begins at 9.15am-10am with the welcome address at 10am. Professor Hänsch’s lecture will be followed by an open floor for discussion. Qatar Foundation Research Division has also announced the sixth lecture in the Qatar Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series. Set for 20 January, 2010, it features Professor Robert H Grubbs, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (CIT). For further information, visit www.qf-researchdivision.org
25 years in the spotlight ~ Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar is hosting an exhibition showcasing 25 years of Qatari artist Ali Hassan. The fruits of the 25-year career of Qatari artist Ali Hassan are being displayed to the public at The Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. The exhibition is a tribute to the contemporary artist, featuring work from the 1980s to the present. It charts the development of his art as it encompassed both calligraphic and figural forms to arrive at the present rich style. Perhaps the most prominent feature of Ali Hassan’s calligraphic work is his treatment of the letter ‘nun’. Ali Hassan’s general style is particularly characterized by the use of strong colors and a mix of materials and collage.
However, in his most recent work, he has embarked on the sculptural application of calligraphy in both ceramic and installation art.
Trained first as a calligrapher, Ali Hassan studied history at Qatar University. Today he is one of the most renowned and active contemporary artists in Qatar, with a particular focus on art education. As the former chairman of the Youth Creative Art Centre and the Girls’ Creativity Art Centre in Doha, he plays a highly influential role in shaping new generations of students of the visual arts. Ali Hassan’s work has been represented in numerous exhibitions throughout the Arab world, Europe and Asia, and has been acquired internationally by both public and private collections. The exhibition, Qatar Now: Ali Hassan – A Retrospective, is curated by Dr Abdulla Al Thani and Dr Jochen Sokoly in cooperation with Al Markhiya Gallery and the Arab Museum of Modern Art.
Calendar 2009/10 OCTOBER
..................................................... What Education City Roadshow Oman Where Chedi Hotel, Muscat, Oman When 17-20 October This year’s Discover Education roadshow reaches Oman this week with a special focus on Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar). www.myeducationcity.com What Education City Roadshow Al Ain & Abu Dhabi Where Bin Yas Majlis, Intercontinental Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE When 25-27 October The Discover Education roadshow reaches the UAE, targeting the garden city of Al Ain plus the nation’s capital, Abu Dhabi. The focus is on Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ). www.myeducationcity.com What Education City Roadshow Dubai & Sharjah Where Murooj Rotana, Dubai, UAE When 28-29 October Moving north from Abu Dhabi, the Discover Education roadshow reaches Dubai and Sharjah. The focus is on Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q). www.myeducationcity.com What ROTA Gala Dinner Where Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar When 31 October Attended by celebrities, statesmen and VIPs from all over the world, this prestigious event is being held to raise awareness and funds for ROTA’s mission across Asia and the Middle East. Contact Event Coordinator Juma Al Kubaisi at [email protected]
and visit www.reachouttoasia.org
..................................................... What The Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art Where Córdoba, Spain When 2-4 November This leading international symposium on Islamic art and Culture is presented by Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, VCUQatar and Qatar Foundation. Entitled ‘And Diverse Are Their Hues: Color in Islamic Art
and Culture’ the highlight will be the keynote address given by Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom. Contact Marisa Angell Brown at [email protected]
and visit www.islamicartdoha.org What World Science Forum 2009 Where Hungarian Academy of Science, Budapest, Hungary When 5-7 November Each year UNESCO organizes the World Science Forum in Budapest in cooperation with the Hungarian Academy of Science, International Council for Science and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World. The Forum will mark the tenth anniversary of the World Conference on Science for the 21st Century: A new Commitment, on 10 November (World Science Day). Visit www.sciforum.hu What Education City Roadshow Kuwait Where Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Kuwait City, Kuwait When 8-11 November The Discover Education roadshow hits Kuwait. The focus is on Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar). www.myeducationcity.com What Education City Roadshow Jordan Where To be confirmed When 15-18 November For the first time, the Education City roadshow goes to Jordan. The focus is on Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q). Check future editions of The Foundation for details. www.myeducationcity.com What WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education, Forum 2009) Where Sheraton Convention Centre, Doha, Qatar When 16-20 November The Forum will draw leaders and decision-makers from around the globe to discuss the theme ‘Global Education: Working Together for Sustainable Achievements’. The main sub-themes of pluralism, innovation and sustainability will be addressed by internationally acclaimed, keynote speakers and panellists. Contact Ahmed Al-Salahi on +974 454 0404 and visit www.wise-qatar.org
What Education City Roadshow Bahrain Where To Be Confirmed When 22-24 November The Discover Education roadshow arrives in Bahrain. The focus is on Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q). www.myeducationcity.com
..................................................... What World Arabian Horse Championship France Where Parc des Expositions Paris-Nord Villepinte, France When 4-6 December The World Arabian Horse Championship at Paris’ Porte de Versailles forms part of the Salon du Cheval. The event is effectively a fashion show for this elegant breed. Visit www.alshaqab.com and www.salon-cheval.com What Q-MEDEC 2009 Qatar Where Qatar International Exhibition Center, West Bay, Doha, Qatar When 12-16 December The 1st Qatar International Medical Congress & Exhibition 2009 will be the biggest multi-track healthcare meeting ever held in Qatar. The congress covers 11 different fields of medicine alongside an exhibition of the most advanced healthcare products and services. Contact Julia Gibson on +974 439 7396 and [email protected]
or [email protected]
..................................................... What American Association for the Advancement of Science Where San Diego, California When 18-22 February The 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting will present the latest thinking and developments in the areas of science, technology, engineering, education and policy-making. Its theme, ‘Bridging Science and Society’, calls on every scientist and engineer to make their work both beneficial and understandable, and on society to rediscover the excitement and hope that research and its findings offer. Visit www.aaas.org
..................................................... What World Health Day Where Worldwide When 7 April World Health Day 2010 focuses on urbanization and health. With the campaign ‘1,000 cities – 1,000 lives’, events will be organized worldwide calling on cities to open up streets for health activities. Stories of urban health champions will be gathered to illustrate what people are doing to improve health in their cities. The goal is for 1,000 cities to close off portions of their streets to traffic for activities promoting better health and to collect 1,000 stories of urban health champions who have taken action to improve health in their cities. Visit www.who.int/world-health-day
A busy Ramadan at Qatar Foundation ~ Recreation Center a place for giving Qatar Foundation’s Recreation & Community Center was a hive of activity during Ramadan, hosting a three-day Ramadan tent filled with activities including a Cultural Village, Iftar meals, a museum, as well as several high profile events for the disadvantaged. Following the traditional canon shot at sunset – a reminder to the faithful that the time to fast had ended – activities began each evening in late August to celebrate Ramadan. A Cultural Village erected inside the Recreation Center hosted a variety of boutiques selling festive gifts and toys, while next door, the time-honoured pastimes of Henna painting, basket-weaving, mattress-
making, boat-building and cooking were recreated by Qatari families at the Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Museum – alongside wonderful local artifacts from Sheikh Faisal’s private collection. Qatar Foundation Coordinator of Social Services, Hind Al-Taweel, said “The tent was very well attended, especially by families from the different Arab communities who came to get acquainted with the Qatari Ramadan traditions.” Children had fun too. With their faces painted, they rushed around a Kid’s Driving School track in tiny Porsche cars, rode ponies lent to the Center by Al Shaqab Equestrian Center and clambered onto camels.
But the overriding concern was one of care for the disadvantaged. The Salat Al Khair group made the Recreation Center home for the duration of the month, with all kinds of donations gratefully received including clothing collection and distribution for the needy throughout the month. Salat Al Khair was not alone. Reach Out To Asia’s Ramadan campaign focused on volunteer participation and community support, and where better than Qatar Foundation’s Ramadan hub to pick up the baton? An anonymous donor sponsored an Iftar for the children of the Dhreima Qatar Orphan Foundation. ROTA Board Member, Her Excellency Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh Al-Thani; ROTA Director, Omnia Nour; and Mohamed Al Jaidah of the Al Jaidah group were among
officials gracing the event, as volunteers conducted creative workshops with the children after Iftar. Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh Al-Thani said: “At ROTA, we are focusing our efforts on children and youth across Asia, including the Middle East of course. Funds are allocated to educational projects in crisis-affected areas in Asia, but we always have Qatar in our minds and hearts, involving the community and giving back to our society through various local projects.” Omnia Nour added: “Through our volunteers’ commitment and passion we have really made a difference for the kids. It was a memorable experience for them – but also for us. I’d like to thank all our sponsors and donors, as well as the Qatar Foundation Community Support Team for all their help.” l
A scalar shift Education City expands fast as new students join from around the world.
he summer of 2009 will be remembered as a seismic shift in the way Qatar Foundation behaves as an entity. Not because of any major changes in doctrine or operation. But because of its scale. Since its inception in 1995, the organization has ploughed resources into creating an educational infrastructure that is not just the best in the region, but one that can compete with the best in the world. It couldn’t have been any other way. The six American universities that now call Doha’s Education City home simply would not have come without cast-iron guarantees of proper support – and a jealously-guarded academic freedom to boot. But detractors have suggested that the huge machine being created on the edge of Qatar’s capital benefited only a few privileged students. This year, that argument is defunct. This September, Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) took in 120 new students; Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) 100 new students; Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar) 45 new students; Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) 36 new students; Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) 60 new students. This represents a total of 436 students, or
significantly more than a doubling of the number that graduated from the whole of Qatar Foundation earlier this year at the Senior Convocation in May. “Applications for the Class of 2013 were 72% greater than for our inaugural class,” says NUQ’s Dean John Margolis of his journalism and communications programs. “It is clear that we are gaining visibility in the region. It means we were able to increase our selectivity, offering admission to fewer than a third of the applicants.” CMU-Q has had a similar experience. The rate of applications in 2009 for its business administration, computer sciences and information systems majors was up 67% when compared to the applicant pool of 657 prospective students in 2008. That’s 1,095 applications for 100 vacancies, ensuring that while student numbers increase, quality is maintained – vital for the reputation of any serious academic institution. Much of this growth has come from local schools. “We have invested a lot of time developing relationships with secondary schools in Qatar to ensure that the students are accurately informed about our programmes and the applications procedure,” says Bryan Zerbe, CMU-Q’s Director of Admissions. The work has obviously paid off. The largest increase in applications for CMU-Q
This September, Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) took in 120 new students; Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) 100 new students; Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar) 45 new students; Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) 36 new students; Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) 60 new students”
came from within Qatar, representing 74% of applicants. The knock-on effect has been that Qatari nationals are benefiting in greater and greater numbers. They made up 37% of applicants, with 31 joining the university – alongside 61 students from 25 different countries. At Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, (WCMC-Q) Interim Dean, Dr Javaid Sheikh, welcomed 17 Qataris and 56 students from 18 other countries to its Pre-Medical and Foundation Programs. “These are highly intelligent and engaged individuals who, in being accepted to WCMC-Q, have already distinguished themselves as the best of the best,” he says. “The college continues to attract some of the most talented medical and pre-medical students from Qatar and the region.” The big growth in applicants from young women witnessed in the last few years shows no signs of abating too, and now places Qatar Foundation at the vanguard of women’s education in the region. To take just one example, 85% of VCU-Q’s
student intake this year were young women. “There has never been a more interesting – or important – time to study the visual arts,” says Peter Chomowicz, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “Designers of all types are rapidly becoming an indispensable link that unites different disciplines in order to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, and I believe that Qatar is uniquely positioned to give our students and graduates the ability to perform on the world stage.” Perhaps the most important aspect of this year’s student intake is that while student numbers have grown significantly across the board, there has been no dilution in the quality of the education being received. In his keynote address to Georgetown’s new student body, Interim Dean, Mehran Kamrava, offered three pieces of advice. He encouraged the students to work hard and persevere, but also to question everything. “Our job here is to encourage you, and to teach you to question things, not to just accept what we tell you as scientific truths, but to think critically and analytically,” he said. l
~For further information visit: Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ)
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q)
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar) www.qatar.sfs.georgetown.edu Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q)
Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUQatar) Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q)
Forward Thinkers Series
Changing the view on cancer Qatar Foundation’s THINK campaign is all about changing perceptions; changing the way we think about education, research and community development – locally as well as globally – and coming to a better understanding of how we can energize all of these fields with the application of the new knowledge that results. So what better person to open Forward Thinkers, a series of interviews conducted by QFRadio’s John Bullock with some of the most progressive thinkers of our time, than David Kerr, internationally renowned cancer expert and Chief Research Advisor at Sidra. The Foundation When did you first start to take an interest in medicine? David Kerr I was four and my aunt Anne taught me how to read. She came from a very strong Marxist/socialist background and therefore she felt that education was the key to getting on, so she taught me to read. Rather than reading the Bible as a wee boy, which most in Scotland did, it was Marx and Engels. The first book I read was called The Citadel by AJ Cronin… that’s what made me want to become a doctor. It has all life in it, all truth, and that story inspired me, a tiny wee boy from the backstreets of Glasgow, to become a doctor.
The Foundation What did your parents do? David Kerr My father had a variety of jobs, but he spent most of his time as an ambulance man. My mother looked after my brother Callum and I, so initially she was a school dinner lady and then an auxiliary nurse. They worked hard. Nobody in our family had ever gone to university, and again, with my aunt Anne, all the socialism stuff, and education being the key to getting on, I was a puzzle to them because I was odd. I was bookish and a bit withdrawn and a bit strange to them. But they tolerated that and they connected me to the real world and they supported me doing the odd things like playing chess.
The Foundation What was it like in those days? David Kerr This would be the ’60s. It was dark, it was cold, we lived in the tenements which are these high-rise flats. We were sharing toilets with each other and there was a community spirit, but the tenements were crumbling and Glasgow was too. It was post-industrial hinterland: We’d lost the shipyards. It was a dark, mean place at that time. But education was valued, the schools were fantastic, and all over Scotland it was about the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. If you were a wee bit bright they spotted you and transferred you. Both my parents worked, we had a very close family, and both my brothers and I were encourage to be educated.
The Foundation Did you spend time in hospitals? David Kerr When I was a medical student I used to go out on the night shift with my father when he was an ambulance man. What fun! We careered around Glasgow, blue lights flashing, doing good, and I’ve got to say being amused by some of the odd things that you used to see. It was great. It was not quite medicine, but it was in the rough, working on the front line, and we had a great time.
The Foundation Were you active in the community then? David Kerr No. I read a lot and I played chess, and I was just a bit of an oddball to be honest. My father… sort of saved me from myself, because I was definitely disappearing and I was going inwards, inwards, inwards and
becoming very odd, and he argued rationally that if you want to be a doctor the key thing is communication. You’ve got to be smart. You’ve got to have a level of intelligence. But the key is being able to show that you care; to be able to explain to people that you’ll do your best to look after them. He saw me becoming very shy and introverted, and so he made me drop out of the Scottish chess team and join the Boys Brigade, join the local football team and become connected back into life again. The Foundation And then you went to medical college in Glasgow… David Kerr I was going to go to Cambridge but it was too big a step for a tiny, shy, backward Glaswegian. Most of the medical students at Glasgow, 70%, came from a radius of around 15 miles or something. I always wanted to do science, so I combined medicine with a degree in biochemistry as well. Medicine at that stage was a lot of rote learning, lots of facts. People say that doing medicine is the equivalent of learning a new language: With all the jargon it’s so odd. But science – doing the degree in biochemistry – was much more intellectually challenging and much more fun. It allowed me to combine a life-long interest in science and medicine. And science is what makes you think in a much more naturally creative way, whereas medicine then was slightly dull. The Foundation What made you choose biochemistry? David Kerr Biochemistry is the true life of science: There is all of life in there. It’s all about connecting the molecules to how cells behave, and it seemed to me even then that the future of medicine had to be molecular, so we had to go beyond physiology itself and understand what the real drivers of disease were, and, therefore, biochemistry was a fantastic early insight for that. The Foundation What made you want to specialize in cancer? David Kerr I guess when I first started to think of cancer as a career – this will sound
I always wanted to do science, so I combined medicine with a degree in biochemistry as well. Medicine at that stage was a lot of rote learning, lots of facts. People say that doing medicine is the equivalent of learning a new language: With all the jargon it’s so odd”
Forward Thinkers Series
More than 50% of all cancers can be cured with a mixture of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. And we’ve made good progress over the past 20-30 years in some areas: The treatment of leukaemia, the treatment of some rare cancers in childhood. These can be cured completely with chemotherapy and the best treatments that we’ve got available”
intellectually dry but it’s true – it seemed a brilliant way to fuse very interesting care of patients with some clever science. It was a coming together of both my worlds, if you like, and that was an ideal way to do it. With cancer it’s about chipping away at the problem. There will never be a single solution and we are talking about cancer as if it’s a single disease but it’s not: It’s a group of over 100 different diseases which share common features which are clinical and common features which are biological – we can aggregate them and describe them together. There will never be a single treatment for all of cancer, but rather one would feel that we contribute to chipping away at the problem by improving quality of life. So no magic bullet, but I didn’t ever think that. I rather just thought that if we go about trying to understand the disease in a rational, steady way, good would follow from that. The Foundation Cancer is one of those things that sends shivers down the spine. What are your thoughts there? David Kerr Interesting question. I think cancer is often misrepresented and over simplified. It’s interesting that we often used the language of war: war on cancer, battle, fighting, overcoming, magic bullet. A lot of the metaphors that we use are so sort of tied up with that sort of thing. More recently I think with new insights, with understanding more about biology, the molecules, what transforms the normal cells into cancer cells, we are thinking more that cancer is something that one might be able to live with. So rather than thinking ‘wouldn’t a cure be perfect’, if we fall short of that, as we are at the moment, could we change the environment of the cancer cell, to slow it down, to calm it
down, so it’s something we could live with for many years rather than the cancer killing us quickly? So we’re changing our vision of it into something that can be turned into a chronic disease that we can live with more comfortably, rather than cancer killing you in months or a small number of years. The Foundation Why do you think we use that kind of language?
David Kerr Isn’t it interesting that cancer is still a fearful and stigmatizing illness? Cancer is a word not a sentence. People still consider it a death sentence as soon as you say that. More than 50% of all cancers can be cured with a mixture of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. And we’ve made good progress over the past 20-30 years in some areas: The treatment of leukaemia, the treatment of some rare cancers in childhood. These can be
and never pretending or saying that I can deliver something that I cannot, but demystifying the illness. What people need is not for me to be paternalistic or arrogant or to pat them on the shoulder and say it will be fine. They want information sensitively but accurately delivered. They want to know both what we can and what we cannot do: is cure a possibility, what are the likelihoods of a cure. ?f not, if we are talking about buying time, how much time we can buy, what quality and at what cost? So my job is to guide; it’s a journey that one takes with a patient, to be their constant companion and also to be really, really truthful and I think that’s something I realize about different cultures: People have different ways of explaining and sometimes more commonly avoiding the truth and I think that’s wrong: I think you should be open and straight forward.
cured completely with chemotherapy and the best treatments that we’ve got available. Most of the common cancers – lung, breast, bowel – we’ve made significant improvement: Increased cure rate, increased quality of surgery, improved duration and quality of life. And still it’s an individually terrifying illness. The way I deal with patients is just by being completely straight and very honest
The Foundation What was the journey from Glasgow to here? David Kerr I had a fantastic time in Glasgow and became a cancer doctor and eventually a professor. I went to the University of Birmingham to start an institute for cancer studies and I was there nine very happy years. Birmingham’s a really good city; real cultural melting pot and fantastic place to work and I built a new cancer hospital there. Then they asked me to go to the University of Oxford, it’s a special place, but to do the same again: Build a cancer hospital, which we did. It took us five years but we did it. We created some great doctors and scientist and I hope that will allow us to put Oxford on the map in terms of the depth and quality of its cancer research. So, I like building things and when the opportunity presented itself to come to work for Qatar Foundation, to be a part of this vision of Sheikha Mozah, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down, because not only can we build a great hospital with high quality care, we can bring a cultural underpinning of research to make Qatar a regional hub for outstanding science and medicine. And again if you like building things, and clearly I do, what a great opportunity to build something that’s durable and sustainable and that will be more than a footprint in the shifting sands of medicine. The Foundation You built a successful network there. Are you looking to create something similar here? David Kerr I think networks are important. I’m a collaborative, collective team player,
and that stretches back to early days. When I worked in the United Kingdom I built a network of leading cancer centers there. There was a debate about should we build a single national cancer institute and try and get people to move from their current positions to this large new building. And I thought it more rational to build a network that united the existing excellent centers, that allowed them to collaborate more formally, that brought additional money in, and that allowed us some synergy from partnership to punch above our weight. And that was very successful and that model has been followed for networks of excellence in diabetes, for neurosciences, and we’ve had Canadian observers who have taken this concept as well. One of the things I’m most proud of in the past five years is that we’ve built a network establishing cancer centers across India. We’ve trained over 100 young Indian doctors, we brought a new culture of research. We are working with Manmohan Singh, who is of course the Indian Prime Minister, to really bring the standards and quality up. Indian medicine is very strong anyway. I would love to be able to do that using Sidra as a hub to build a network of collaborating centres throughout the Muslim world, across this region of ours, moving into Pakistan, because when you look around there is still much to be done in the poor Muslim countries in terms of global health, and I think it requires the leadership of those wealthy Muslim countries, such as Qatar, my second home. I think that’s a lead which is moral, intellectual, and is built on altruism, reaching out to help and to support the work of others, so a network is great. The Foundation When you leave, what do you want to take away? David Kerr I think of 10-year plans: Five years to build something and five years to deliver it, so I would like to put us on the map in terms of the quality of our science so that scientists and doctors around the world will think ‘that’s a useful piece of information that comes from Qatar’. So, we would like to leave a legacy in terms of the science and medicine that we deliver, and this is me being naive but I’m allowed to be because I’m a newcomer. If we get the network right I’m fascinated to see if we can use health and science, as Barack Obama has recently said, as ‘soft power’ to aid diplomatic missions to bring the West and the Muslim world more closely together at a time when tensions are real l
World Innovation Summit for Education
Learning to think
The WISE summit in Doha in November will be the first time educators from around the world have gathered to discuss new ways to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.
he world has changed dramatically in the last few years. Globalization and the digital revolution mean that the pace of change has accelerated, and shows few signs of slowing down. Yet most classrooms, and the techniques used in them, would be largely recognizable to a visitor from 100 years ago. So far there has been no organized, global event to monitor the challenges the 21st century poses to education. All that will change in November as 1,000 opinion leaders, decisionmakers and academics from more than 120 countries arrive in Doha for WISE, the World Innovation Summit for Education. WISE is an initiative of the Qatar Foundation, and is being held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned. The three-day event, which runs from 16 November, will highlight and expand on innovative approaches to major education challenges, helping delegates to develop strategies to establish new, enduring educational patterns. It is also envisaged that the event will further the ability to anticipate future challenges, ensure a better
match between the demand for, and supply of, jobs and skills, and develop concrete solutions. Those challenges include accessibility, sustainability and equality, as well as international divides in terms of affluence, poverty and conflict resolution. “Education systems have been frustratingly slow to adapt and respond in an integrated and coordinated way, despite extraordinary advancements in how we as individuals interact with each other and the world,” said Dr Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of WISE and Vice President of Education, Qatar Foundation. “WISE first edition will bring together 1,000 world leaders to explore, experiment and establish new ways to anticipate and provide the educational evolutions, competencies and patterns of tomorrow. It is critical that graduates from the next generation are equipped to think beyond their borders, and to meaningfully compete, connect, and cooperate with their peers on a global scale.” This year’s summit will focus on the theme ‘Global Education: Working Together for Sustainable Achievements’, which will be complemented by sub-themes of Pluralism, Sustainability and Innovation.
WISE first edition will bring together 1,000 world leaders to explore, experiment and establish new ways to anticipate and provide the educational evolutions, competencies and patterns of tomorrow. Dr Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of WISE and Vice President of Education, Qatar Foundation
It is critical that graduates from the next generation are equipped to think beyond their borders, and to meaningfully compete, connect, and cooperate with their peers on a global scale”
World Innovation Summit for Education
Pluralism Guided by the principle that the sharing of knowledge, ideas and values is the noblest way to transcend barriers, WISE aims to enhance the role of education in fostering greater mutual respect and understanding. By promoting pluralism and constructing academic bridges across cultural and geographical divides, global education is potentially an immensely powerful tool, helping citizens from all nations to develop dynamic societies, which are open to dialogue and innovative solutions for tomorrow. For global education to accomplish its goals, several major concerns must be addressed including access, inclusiveness, and the internationalisation of content and delivery to prepare students for a global economy and society. Topics will include: n Bridging Global Inequality: Education
from International Perspective n Civil Rights & Minorities in Education n Conflict Resolution n Avoiding Brain Drain from
Developing Countries n Women’s Education in Undeveloped
Countries n No Child Left Behind
Sustainability In the context of education, sustainability encompasses two essential and complementary dimensions. First, the pressing need to guarantee the sustainability of educational systems across the globe. Second, the role of education in formulating a globally sustainable culture. In light of rapidly increasing population numbers and development, a new sustainable and global paradigm must not only be developed but also taught and disseminated around the world. Topics will include: n Education – Contributing to a
Sustainable World n Education – Equity-Integrated Approach n Education and Community Development n Education in the Forefront of
Geographical, Social, Economic, and Cultural Challenges n Education and Governance for Trust and Sustainability n Role of Markets in Education n Sustaining Education in Critical n Circumstances – Conflict Zones, Poor Countries
Innovation The development of the information society and the widespread distribution of IT are generating countless new and exciting opportunities for learning. For example, technology and connectivity enable improved use of scarce resources, such as teachers and buildings, offering new ways of reaching the hard-to-reach through novel programs such as open schools and distance learning. At the same time, the unparalleled pace of change stimulated by the digital revolution calls into question established views and practices regarding how teaching and learning should be organized and implemented. Helping students turn the plethora of available information into knowledge and real understanding is but one of the crucial tasks that lie ahead. Throughout the world, education stakeholders are seeking the best ways to adapt existing educational systems to tomorrow’s world. Innovation in the broadest sense of the word – reaching beyond technology alone – is therefore vital. Facing the sheer diversity and
range of today’s challenges, we must find ways of thinking creatively and acting differently. Topics will include: n Focus on Special Needs n Technology and E-Learning, from
Collaboration to Connectivity n Smart Infrastructures n Future Scenarios n Education and Technology n Early Childhood Education n Technology – Driver for Change and
Increasing Access Speakers at WISE will include Georges Haddad, Director, Division of Higher Education, UNESCO; David Arnold, President, American University in Cairo; and Professor Luc Weber, Rector emeritus, University of Geneva and President of the Glion Colloquium. The biennial event will also feature a series of awards to reward innovation in education (see opposite page). l For more information, visit www.wise-qatar.com
The WISE Awards One of the highlights of the summit will be the inaugural WISE Awards 2009 – Innovative Education Practice Awards. The program will reward six innovative projects from around the world for their measurable impact in the world of education. The deadline for entries has already closed, with an impressive total of 395 projects submitted across the three categories: Pluralism, Sustainability and Innovation. Applications were drawn from all over the world: 110 from Africa, 92 from Asia and Oceania, 80 from Europe, 35 from the Middle East, 56 from North America, and 25 from South and Latin America. A pre-jury of 15 experts has narrowed this down to a shortlist for final voting. Originally it was envisaged that the short list would comprise 45 entries, but the quality was so high that this was extended to 48. That short list has been passed on to a jury of nine experts – three per category – who will announce their decision before the summit. Each recipient will receive a grant of $20,000 and the WISE Award winning projects will be showcased at the November event. Highlighting the importance of the Awards initiative of the WISE summit, Dr Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of WISE and Vice President of Education, Qatar Foundation, explained: “For the first edition, the WISE Awards 2009 will honor innovative, education-related projects and initiatives – tools, practices or processes – that have fostered distinctive cross-educational collaboration. “The WISE Awards are focused on rewarding a total of six concrete achievements from around the world across three categories aligned with the Forum’s main themes of Pluralism, Sustainability and Innovation.” The three categories are: n Pluralism: Educational activities that explicitly generate
greater respect and understanding between communities, enhance diversity, or increase access and equality to education. n Sustainability: Initiatives that offer new approaches to educational sustainability (through appropriate funding mechanisms, good governance, suitable accreditation and quality control structure) thereby contributing to the creation of sustainable global societies. n Innovation: Educational activities that use information and
communication technologies and other innovative means to generate new and exciting opportunities for access and delivery of learning content that better enabled people to face the diversity of today’s challenges. The jury panel comprises the Director of RAND Education, Susan J Bodilly; the Assistant Director General for Education at UNESCO, Nicholas Burnett; the President of Ohio State University, Gordon Gee, the President of Beijing University, Zhou Qifeng; the CEO of the Richard Rose Federation,
Mike Gibbons; the Corporate Vice President of Technology Policy and Strategy at Microsoft Corporation, Dr Anoop Gupta; the President of The University of Pennsylvania, Dr Amy Gutmann; the Founding President of the National Centre for Public Policy and Higher Education, Patrick M Callan, and Dr Christian Bode, Secretary General of the German Academic Exchange Service l For more information on the awards, or to view the shortlist, please visit www.wise-qatar.com
Research Renaissance Little more than a thousand years ago, Arab societies were strongly linked to scientific advancement and innovation. Today, Qatar is tapping into the region’s pioneering roots. Emily Alp reports.
Between the seventh and thirteenth centuries, Arab leaders and scientists forged advances in maths, computation, the empirical scientific method, chemistry and medicine. The first pharmacy and modern hospital in history are said to have existed in what is now Iraq. With the research being undertaken at centers like Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMCQ), the country is recapturing that pioneering spirit. “As we initiate our world-class biomedical research programme, the focus is on developing sustainable, local research capacity, while targeting the disease areas important in the Gulf region,” says WCMC-Q Interim Dean and Vice Dean for Research, Dr Javaid Sheikh. Targeting local health concerns that repeat around the world, WCMC-Q’s program is organized under the broad themes of genetic and molecular medicine, and women’s and children’s health. Researchers at the college aim to translate their work into advances in personalized medicine for diabetes, cardiovascular disease therapy, stem cell research, understanding congenital disorders,
vaccine development and preventing breast and ovarian cancers. “The goal in the next five years is to be performing exceptional biomedical research that’s well funded and that leads to important publications in top tier scientific journals,” says Khaled Machaca, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and Associate Dean for Research at WCMC-Q. “The next step will be the translation of these findings into drugs and other biomedical products to improve health care. And over the long term, research done in Qatari biomedical
Three full labs are up and running, and the university is recruiting researchers to run 18 projects in total within the next five years”
research labs will follow a pipeline to Qatar Science & Technology Park, where findings will be commercialized, creating a whole industry within the country for biomedical research and employing a lot of people locally and generating products.” The research tools in place at WCMC-Q are the most modern available – a genomics core, microscopy core, and a fully-functioning stem cell lab are already in place as well as a proteomics core, bioinformatics core and vivarium, which are in progress. Three full labs are up and running, and the university is recruiting researchers to run 18 projects in total within the next five years. This growth should create a demand large enough for research material suppliers – now exclusively abroad – to set up in Qatar and help the nation shift away from importing. “Long term, the hope is to establish that structure within the country. Where you have companies that will stock locally to support ongoing research. There isn’t the market for that yet, but eventually we’ll get to that point,” Machaca adds. Research at WCMC-Q is now well underway, with teams of investigators working on projects under the guidance of principal investigators either on site or in
New York City – the home of Weill Cornell Medical College in the United States. These local projects exist at the forefront of various branches of study in progress worldwide. Stem cell research, for example, is a highly competitive research field because it has the potential to unlock new doors to treatment for a wide range of diseases. At WCMC-Q, Dr Arash Rafii Tabrizi, Assistant Professor of Genetic Medicine and Head of Stem Cell Research, is working with a team to develop two areas in parallel to better understand the functional role of the microenvironment in stem cell and tumour biology. His team is working to understand how
key signals in the microenvironment maintain a cell’s ability to self-renew, a quality known as pluripotency, and on the other hand how biological signals in microenvironments encourage tumors to spread. They are also working closely with Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar’s national healthcare provider, to compare lab results to the real world. Their work could have significant impacts on the field of cancer research in the future. As scientists around the world scramble to discover the roles of genes, they are paving the way for powerful therapies. The WCMC-Q genomics core lab is now the site of several genetic studies. Working
both with a research team in New York and independently, Joel Malek, Lead Researcher in the WCMC-Q genomics core lab, studies and oversees several ongoing projects. His team is now exploring the genetic differences in smokers versus non-smokers as well as the activity of several genes in local populations to see if they match those that are critical to diabetes in Caucasian populations. Additionally, to test potential applications of the genomics lab technology, they recently produced a rough draft of the entire date palm genome using a relatively new combination of techniques (see The Foundation issue 5, p8).
Dr Arash Rafii Tabrizi, Assistant Professor of Genetic Medicine and Head of Stem Cell Research, is working with a team to develop two areas in parallel to better understand the functional role of the microenvironment in stem cell and tumor biology” “It’s one thing to have all the latest technology, it’s another to use it in a new way,” Malek says. Another research frontier being forged at WCMC-Q involves a gene known to aid the healing of bones. The gene was discovered by Dr Fayez Safadi, Director of the Histology and Microscopy core facility at WCMC-Q.
Dr Safadi is now working with a prestigious National Institute of Health RO1 grant, which supports the study of the gene that he named ‘Osteoactivin’ and patented for its function in the stimulation of bone production. He is now overseeing research at WCMC-Q to discover exactly how Osteoactivin works so as
to possibly include it in FDA approved therapies. The main focus of Dr Safadi’s team is bone generation, treating osteoporosis and injuryinduced bone trauma. Yet he also works with Dr Tabrizi on his stem cell work to explore mechanisms behind cancer metastasis into bones; Willis Eye Hospital in Philadelphia to explore the possible Osteoactivin link between pigmentary glaucoma and osteoporosis; and local media outlets to get the word out about osteoporosis. “The way I look at it, research is complementary. It is a collaborative effort rather than a competitive effort,” says Dr Safadi. The research environment at WCMC-Q is
markedly unique to the region — and in some cases, the world. The local network of support alone sets the programme apart. At the highest state level in Qatar, science and research is seen as the path to a sustainable future and improved livelihoods. In fact, the government has set aside approximately 2.8% of gross domestic product, the equivalent of $1.5 billion a year, for research alone. Add to this WCMC-Q’s partnerships with Qatar Science & Technology Park, and Sidra Medical and Research Center, Hamad Medical Corporation, and others, and the tremendous support system starts to come into view. WCMC-Q researchers apply annually for funding through Qatar National Research Fund’s National Priorities Research Project (NPRP). In the latest NPRP funding cycle, WCMC-Q researchers secured 20 grants totalling over $19 million. Among the 20 projects awarded, WCMC-Q researchers lead on 10 and contribute well over 50% of the work to the remainder. The money will support vital research into stem cells, molecular medicine, genomics, cancer, diabetes and basic health as well as
the government has set aside approximately 2.8% of gross domestic product, the equivalent of $1.5 billion a year, for research alone”
a strong research culture, composed of the next generation of Qatari professionals. Through student research grant programs, hands-on laboratory training and competitions to travel to the US and work in the labs there, young WCMC-Q researchers are exposed to the most modern environments possible and given the chance to choose research as a career path.
other fields relevant to regional and global needs. “We’ve been working in great detail with governmental organizations and with Qatar Foundation. Each organization has been extremely helpful as we embark on our research work,” says Machaca. As a contribution to and study of women’s health, Machaca’s projects focus on calcium signalling and cellular biology to explore the molecular mechanisms behind oocyte maturation in preparation for fertilization. His work could some day contribute to therapies that target infertility. In the end, the vision for local research and development will only be sustained with
Furthermore, it is the students, postdoctoral fellows and research associates at WCMC-Q who will greatly contribute to building a sustainable human infrastructure to expand biomedical research in Qatar. “It is particularly exciting to be part of such a strong commitment to the future of the country as it aspires to become a centre of excellence for research in the region,” Dr Sheikh says. “The greatest discoveries in history emerged from societies that placed an emphasis on knowledge and discovery. Researchers and faculty at WCMC-Q are working to build that emphasis at a grassroots level, creating a pool of talent and a pipeline to that discovery.” l
A Passion for Science and Qatar At the tender age of 19, Haitham M Al-Salama became the youngest Muslim, Arab and Qatari to finish medical school. Eight years later, he is pivotal to the work of Sidra Medical and Research Center. Emily Alp charts his course for The Foundation. “What interested me when I was younger, and still interests me today, is building human resources in the fields of science and health – how to foster science as a culture and a practice in the community,” says Dr Haitham M Al-Salama, the new Assistant Director of Research Partnerships at Sidra Medical and Research Center. His own history is an interesting example of just how that is possible. A brilliant boy, Dr Al-Salama’s first love was theoretical physics, yet his father encouraged him to take up medicine. After attaining his medical degree in Saudi Arabia from King Saud University, he started an internship at Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar’s state health service. After a year of clinical experience, he decided that he was best suited for research – a field that combined his love for science and his growing interest in health care. Two more years later, at HMC’s molecular genetics lab and under the mentorship of Dr Ramin Badii, he went to the United States on a fellowship to conduct research at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. He spent most of his time with Dr Randi Silver, Professor of Physiology, Biophysics and Systems Biology at WCMC-NY, working on a project to pinpoint the behavior of a specific cell type in cases of type 2 diabetes. “The only way I could see myself making an impact on the science culture in Qatar was to go to a well-established research institute and gain first-hand experience in that environment,” Dr Al-Salama says. Through his research experience, Dr Al-Salama learned to focus his love of science toward gaining results in the community – “it’s important not to neglect urgent, chronic illness that causes suffering. I can say that my focus, research-wise, is on diabetes,” he says. Upon returning to Qatar from New York, Dr Al-Salama met Professor David Kerr, a world-renowned cancer researcher who was recruited as Sidra’s Chief Research Advisor by Dr Fathy Saoud, President of Qatar Foundation. The three of them discussed science as well as Dr Al-Salama’s passion for the country and interest in a range of science fields, including science management, human resources development and technical applications.
“I’m learning a lot every day,” Dr Al-Salama said. “What we at Sidra really aim to do is to go beyond the lab space, the technical equipment and the reagents so that we’re also focused on outreach to the community, including the students and the lay public – this is how we’ll actively foster the science culture in Qatar.” Over the next five years, Dr Al-Salama forecasts that Sidra – funded by a $7.9 billion endowment and scheduled to open in 2012 – will develop its state-of-the-art biomedical research programme, in collaboration with research centers such as WCMC-Q and others. “We will be working to convince the community and the world that we really care about science,” he said. “Our main focus is translational research, so it’s research that’s relevant to the chronic diseases in our region and the world—diabetes, cancer research, and the promising field of stem cell biology.” l
We will be working to convince the community and the world that we really care about science”
THINK. Qatar Foundation’s THINK campaign aims to unlock human potential – around Doha and also around the world.
he word ‘think’ has several meanings. It can be a noun, or a verb or even an adjective. But no matter how it is used, it almost always has a powerful connotation – a sense of creating, imagining and understanding. And that is why Qatar Foundation’s Public Relations & Marketing Directorate chose THINK as the name of the new marketing campaign for Qatar Foundation. Like the Foundation’s mission and vision, the scope and scale of the THINK campaign are massive. Part of its goal is to establish a distinct visual identity for the Foundation and to unify all its various branches and entities under a single voice. But more importantly, this campaign seeks to engage, inspire curiosity and raise awareness about Qatar Foundation in Qatar, the GCC and around the world. “THINK is the first formal world-wide campaign launched by Qatar Foundation,” Director of the Public Relations & Marketing Directorate, Haya Khalifa Al-Nassr, told her audience at the glittering 7 September launch event at Qatar Foundation’s Ceremonial Court. “It comes at a pivotal juncture for Qatar Foundation as we are also in preparation for our 15th anniversary celebrations,” she continued. “It is a time to reflect upon Qatar’s divine blessings, express pride in the prosperity Qatar experiences under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and celebrate the many successes Qatar Foundation has achieved due to the continuous support of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation. “Through her vision and guidance over the past 15 years, Sheikha Mozah has been the driving force that has elevated the Foundation to its current levels.” The THINK campaign is built upon simple, yet powerful, words and phrases that represent Qatar Foundation’s unending quest for knowledge and understanding in education, science, research and community development.At the same time, many people will no doubt interpret these words and phrases on a more personal level and find a meaning that is defined by their own individual experiences. The simplicity of this campaign allows it to be interpreted in a variety of ways, all of which are equally valid. To introduce this message to the world, THINK has been conceived as a fully integrated campaign, utilizing a range of media including television, outdoor, print, non-traditional, and online. Maintaining a consistent look, feel and tone throughout every consumer touchpoint will
The THINK campaign is built upon simple, but powerful, words and phrases that represent Qatar Foundation’s unending quest for knowledge and understanding in education, science, research, and community development” help ensure that campaign’s message remains clear and focused regardless of who sees it or where it is seen. THINK was first physically revealed on the Education City campus with an array of executions including sculptures, lamp posts, and light projections among others. The campaign is now spread across downtown Doha in the form of multiple largescale, outdoor building wraps. With these wraps, the entire skyline of Doha has become the medium of message. “That is because the skyline, like Qatar Foundation, embodies a vision of the future. And there is no better way to publicly launch the THINK campaign than to utilize the city which Qatar Foundation calls home,” said AlNassr. From here, the campaign has launched at key locations throughout the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Morocco – with print, digital, outdoor and airport communications. This is being accompanied by a beautifully wrought television advert (see www.qf.org.qa/ think/thinkhome.htm for a glimpse), as well as a digital presence on sites like Al Jazeera, Annahar, Facebook, LinkedIn, the BBC, Google, Twitter and YouTube. In the coming months, THINK will go international, with television, airport, print and digital presences in major cities such as London, Berlin, Paris, New York City and Washington DC. But no matter where it appears, the THINK campaign will be clear and consistent. Its core message is meant to be seen across a variety of geographic regions and demographic categories. It is a message that reflects a universal human need to learn and understand the world around them. Simply put, it is a message that encourages the world to think l For further information, visit www.qf.org.qa/think/thinkhome.htm
Revealing the campaign Luminescent in yellow and green, Qatar Foundation’s Ceremonial Court was a fabulous setting for the launch of the THINK campaign. The Foundation was there. 34 TheFoundation.
ducation City had hummed to the clash of hammers and clang of scaffolding for a week, leading people to wonder exactly what was being built around the campus. As the giant words spread, it became clear that a huge new addition to the Doha skyline was underway. But even then, no one could conceive of the real scope of what was to become the THINK campaign. It was to the guests of the Public Relations & Marketing Directorate’s 7 September THINK campaign launch that everything was finally revealed. Director of the Public Relations & Marketing Directorate, Haya Khalifa AlNassr, embedded the THINK campaign from the outset in the divine exhortation to learn from and understand the world around us. “In the name of Allah the merciful and benevolent,” she said, “‘Say: I exhort you unto one thing only: that ye awake, for Allah’s sake, by twos and singly, and then reflect’. Allah has spoken the truth. “It is a calling from Allah the Almighty to all humans,” she continued. “He asks everyone to ‘reflect’ and has invited people to think about themselves and the creations of the Almighty many times in his Holy Book. “This quote also offers encouragement in an ongoing quest for research, reflection and thinking. It depicts a calling revealed to our Prophet in the verses of the Holy Koran, which we all aim to obey and fulfill during this Holy month, the month of the Holy Koran.” Qatar Foundation President, Dr Mohamad Fathy Saoud, senior officials from across Education City and Qatar’s VIPS and media were then witness to a video presentation on THINK and its global roll out. “Qatar Foundation’s new THINK
Whether on our own or by forming partnerships with elite global institutions, Qatar Foundation is committed to utilizing the world’s greatest resource – its people. Because it is our imaginations, our creativity and our thoughts that will shape the future”
campaign is a wide-ranging initiative comprised of many parts,” Dr Fathy said. “What unifies them is the fact that they each sprang from the same, singular vision – the THINK Manifesto. Written more than a year ago, the THINK Manifesto was the first piece of this campaign to be created and it became the groundwork upon which the rest of the campaign would be built.” The reading of the Manifesto was followed by descriptions of the wide ranging methods by which THINK is being brought to the world, among them the extraordinary television advertisement that will be beamed
into people’s homes in the coming months. “For 15 years, Qatar Foundation has been supporting the development and advancement of human knowledge by investing in innovative education and research,” Dr Fathy said. “Whether on our own or by forming partnerships with elite global institutions, Qatar Foundation is committed to utilizing the world’s greatest resource – its people. Because it is our imaginations, our creativity and our thoughts that will shape the future. The THINK campaign is a way for Qatar Foundation to share our beliefs, values and mission to the world.” l
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