The Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (DI) celebrated the graduation of the second cohort of students on June 3, 2018 in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Saleh bin Mohammad Al Nabit, Minister of Development Planning and Statistics; His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Abdul Wahed Al Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education; His Excellency Dr. Issa bin Saad Al Jafali, Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs; Her Excellency Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, former Minister of Information and Communications Technology; His Excellency Dr. Hassan Al-Derham, President of Qatar University and a large number of leading figures and guests. Also in attendance were the Acting DI Provost, Dr. Yasir Suleiman Malley and Dr. Hend Al Muftah, Vice President of Administration and Finance as well as the respective Deans of the DI Schools and the families of the graduating students.
Held at the Sheraton Hotel, the ceremony witnessed the graduation of 157 students. Proceedings opened with verses from the Holy Quran, followed by the address of Dr. Yasser Malley, Acting Provost of the DI. "Today we celebrate the graduation of the second cohort of students from the DI with joy and a spirit of optimism that this cohort will continue its academic and practical journey, armed with the knowledge and skills it has gained over two years filled with experiences and expertise that will hopefully be a guiding light on the path towards a bright future for all the students of this cohort, their parents and their countries", said Dr. Malley.
He continued: "Our graduating students are Qataris, from the Gulf states, and Arabs in all their cultural variations that aim to bring together and not drive apart. Our graduating students are also Europeans and Africans in all their beautiful and overlapping variety. The Institute fuses them together in its crucible, while they enrich it with the inspiration of their experiences, cohort after cohort. To make both the Institute and them rooted in a land awaiting nurture so that it may continue to give and excel with the confidence of those armed not just with what they know, but also with the recognition that there is so much that they do not know. Indeed, that recognition of the enormity of what we do not know, and its growth, is your and our catalyst to continue the journey of knowledge and learning from the cradle to the grave." He added, "This is a moment of utmost importance for our graduates, not because it is an ending followed by a beginning, but because it is a moment of reflection for our students and for us, the DI community, too."
"We need doctors, engineers, and business administrators," continued Dr Malley, "but we also need the philosopher, historian, linguist, litterateur, sociologist, and others specializing in the social sciences and humanities. We need them to ensure our societies a healthy balance of the ebb and flow of interlocking interests. Therein lies the message of our Institute, which has championed the vulnerable sciences, in its belief that the enlightenment desired by all societies cannot be achieved through industry, technology, mechanization, automation and digitization, as important as they are for the development of society. Enlightenment requires asking the questions that blow our minds and with it open the boundaries of the knowledge accumulated, so that assumptions are undone, stereotypes collapse, and promising horizons open up, without departing from the reality in which we live and which we seek to develop. Reality is the laboratory and touchstone of theory."
The Doha Institute was established from Qatar for Qatar and from Qatar to the Arab lands, Our Nation
Dr Malley concluded by saying: "The Doha Institute for Graduate Studies was established from Qatar for Qatar, and from Qatar to the Arab Lands, our Nation, and to what transcends that geographically and coalesces with it in human terms. This prompts me to thank all those who support this Institute on this good land, in terms of a leadership whose wisdom we know, and a people with whose generous hospitality and moral refinement you and we have been blessed with. This recognition of a debt of gratitude comes on behalf of the whole Institute family: from the Board of Trustees, to the members of the faculty and the administration, the students who stand among you, and have stood and will stand after them on a bounteous and distinguished journey full of graduating cohorts".
Qatar's Educational Renaissance is Not a Matter of Chance, but the Result of Will and Planning
Guest speaker Professor Juan Cole, professor of History at the University of Michigan and a visiting professor at the Center for Gulf Studies at Qatar University, gave a speech where he said: "I am delighted to address you on the occasion of the graduation ceremony of the second cohort of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. I am honored to be the first guest to address a graduating class of the DI, which, as far as I know, is unique in the Gulf region and the other countries of the Arab world."
Juan Cole continued, "The uniqueness of this institute does not only stem from its being the first to specialize in postgraduate studies, but from being the first to specialize in the social sciences and humanities in their broadest sense. These sciences are close to me personally as a historian and scholar in the history of this part of the world. I have spent my life studying and teaching it, and researching various aspects of its issues. By virtue of my position as a professor of Arabic Studies at universities in the United States, I know the magnitude of the pressure on the social and human sciences in my country and in other regions of the world. The establishment of such an institute, if it is indicative of anything, is indicative of Qatar's interest in these sciences, of which we are in the utmost need most in these times. Congratulations to you on this institute."
Cole went on to say, "The educational renaissance in Qatar cannot be the product of chance. It is the result of will and planning." "Your success," concluded Cole, addressing the audience of graduates, "in the academic achievement you were striving for is also a source of soft power. Since you are the product of soft power on this planet based on knowledge, we expect you to be ambassadors for your Institute, its mission and its vision. I assure you from my personal experience that every stage of your academic achievement will remain a sweetness in your soul. You have been at the Institute for two years. You have made friends with each other. Please maintain these friendships which, I have no doubt, enriched your experience at the Institute and gave it a value beyond the knowledge and practical skills you have acquired. Always remember that friendships are connected to a place, and that a place demands fidelity from you, so in that way may you become those who keep their promises."
Students Abderrahman al-Muselmani and Sakina Ajout gave a speech on behalf of the graduates: "Going up to the podium and receiving the degree certificate does not mean that the journey is over, that learning is concluded and knowledge has set, which were the first insights we learned at our Institute. They became part of our intellectual being to continue on the path of research. For two years the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies has brought together young and ambitious Qataris and international students who came from the ocean to the Gulf to enrich it with their different cultures and provide it with a unique Arab and international dimension".
"Creating quality educational institutions," they continued, "based on freedom of research and critical thinking, is the way for us to restore some momentum and brilliance to academic research. Our way has been paved by an idea inspired by those at the mother institution, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, a pioneering institution that has taken on the task of reviving sciences that have suffered marginalization for many years, through the training of researchers capable of carrying the banner of science in the social sciences, humanities and administration, so as to enable practical and not just theoretical benefit on the national, pan-Arab and global levels."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the DI's Acting Provost, Dr. Yasir Suleiman Malley, and Dr. Hend Al Muftah, Vice President for Administrative and Financial Affairs, together with the respective Deans of the Schools presented degree certificates to the 157 graduates divided among 12 academic programs including Political Science and International Relations, Sociology and Anthropology, Media and Cultural Studies, Linguistics and Arabic Lexicography, Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, Public Administration, Development Economics, Public Policy, Executive Master's in Public Administration, and Conflict Management and Humanitarian Action. The ceremony ended with a photo session of all the graduating students.