Meet the GU-Q Class of 2019: Creating change through leadership, service, and research

May 5, 2019

As temperatures rise in Doha, signalling the onset of the summer months, Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) students are preparing to don the traditional black robe and cap of graduating seniors. The university attracts some of the top students in Qatar, the Middle East, and beyond, and they work hard to earn the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) degree that GU-Q offers in four majors. With the support of GU-Q's holistic learning environment, these students have taken on the challenges of a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, earning recognition for their dedication and making a lasting mark on their communities in the process.

When International Politics major Haya Alwaleed Al-Thani was searching for a thesis topic for her Certificate of Arab and Regional Studies, an optional interdisciplinary program GU-Q offers in three fields, she looked in her own backyard, conducting an ethnographic study of the spatial distribution of Qatari tribes in Doha. She also minored in Arabic. Haya’s deep commitment to her country led to her role as Vice President of the Al Liwan Qatari student club in the same year the blockade on Qatar was launched. Working with her co-leader, Haya organized a series of public forums at GU-Q featuring high ranking government and business leaders in Qatar giving their perspectives on issues affecting the nation in a time of crisis. Her advice to students following in her footsteps? “Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do. And even when you believe you're up against the wall, break the wall.”

Although he was accepted into a university in the United Kingdom, International Politics major Abdulrahman Al Mugaisib decided to stay in Qatar to attend one of the top schools Education City had to offer. “I chose to study at GU-Q because of the university’s academic reputation.” Abdulrahman made his choice count. He played football for the GU-Q Hoyas, served as the president of the Al Liwan club, worked as the Faculty Outreach subcommittee chair during the Fall 2018 semester, and was a member of the Honor Council for two years. In recognition of his stellar academic record, he was inducted into the prestigious Omicron Delta Epsilon economics honor society. “Today, I am equipped with the education and the experience to better serve my country and contribute to its success.”

As with universities throughout the world, Georgetown places a Latin phrase as a high honor on the diplomas of students who have earned high grades throughout their undergraduate career. One of this year’s top ranked Latin honors went to International Economics major Obadah Diab, who earned magna cum laude. He’s also a member of top honor societies Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Sigma, and Omicron Delta Epsilon, and was a recipient of both the GU-Q Scholar Athlete Award, and a Georgetown Merit Scholarship.

A passion for service that began as a young teen drew Obadah to GU-Q, and that same passion defined his academic path at the university. His senior thesis earned him the distinction of Honors in the Major, research that was included as a case study in a United Nations report on education in emergencies with a focus on his homeland of Syria. In a life that has been dedicated to serving others, Obadah gives credit to others for his many successes. “The GU-Q community is really a family. The small campus, the Economics faculty - I found total support from the minute I began here. And when I wanted to quit, I was pushed to keep going. That had a tremendous impact on me.”

The name Asma AlJehani invariably comes up when discussion of humanitarian work at GU-Q is mentioned. She was the first Qatari student and one of only two non-practicing journalists to be awarded the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism.  At the 2017 Summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations, Asma was also awarded a fellowship by the Resolution Project, a non-profit initiative that supports young leaders dedicated to social responsibility.

That led to her role in founding The Future is Female, a student-run program at GU-Q that aims to increase female presence in the public sphere. Her dedication to others didn’t slow down her academic work, and Asma will be graduating with the Latin honor of cum laude. “The most pivotal thing for me at school was having amazing professors who were so invested in my education and growth.”

Mohammed Al-Jaberi left Yemen to study Chemical Engineering in France for a full two years before deciding to change course, enrolling in an accelerated program at GU-Q that combines an International Politics undergraduate degree with a Master’s in Arab Studies. It was while he was in France that he took part in a WISE conference, subsequently learning about Georgetown’s Doha campus. “I was fascinated by what Qatar Foundation and Education City stood for. As an Arab, we are usually at the receiving end of the knowledge that is created elsewhere in the Western world. Here was a chance to create our own knowledge, and I thought, this is the place for me.”

Now Mohammed is graduating with an academic record that won him membership in all three honor societies—political science, history, and economics—making this former chemistry major a model student of international affairs.

Georgetown University in Qatar’s student body has been represented by over 50 nationalities, and this year’s 64 graduates will be part of a community of over 500 alumni who have gone on to work in a broad and diverse range of industries, including government, business, tech, law, and more. What unites them all is the BSFS degree and the commitment to making the world a better place.

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