* QF, QFFD sign agreement with American University of Afghanistan
Qatar's ambassador to the United States Sheikh Meshaal bin Hamad al-Thani has announced the signing of an agreement by Qatar Foundation (QF) and Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) with the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), with the aim of providing education to the university students at the Education City in Doha.
This came during his participation in the 15th annual dinner held in Washington by the Friends of the American University of Afghanistan (FAUAF). The ceremony hosted former US presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a guest of honour, while the dinner was chaired by former US First Lady Laura Bush, Qatar News Agency reported Sunday.
Through the agreement between the AUAF, QF and QFFD, Afghan students can continue their education in Qatar, thus "enabling them to learn without barriers and without fear", Sheikh Meshaal noted. The agreement will not only guarantee the students' right to a quality education, but also provide them with stability alongside their families during their stay in Qatar.
This strategic co-operation, the ambassador said, constituted an immediate and co-ordinated response to the exceptional humanitarian situation that put the future of Afghan students' education and their future in general in doubt, adding that Qatar believes that educating young people and providing them with opportunities are the new line of defence for collective security. There is a shared commitment towards human potential, and the work to create resilient knowledge-based economies with an emphasis on education, openness and opportunity for all, he said.
Sheikh Meshaal said the students will be part of the diverse international educational community and will be welcomed in Qatar, noting that there is an equal number of Qataris and non-Qataris, representing more than 70 countries, graduate annually from six American universities in the Education City. The majority of these graduates are female, and more than two-thirds of them are graduates of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, he added.
This co-operative effort aims to provide a safe and permanent environment for students of the American University of Afghanistan, which reflects the belief of Qatar that every person has the right to a quality education, he said, stressing that there are no obstacles standing in the way of learning and that every young person should have the opportunity to grow, explore, innovate and realise his/her potential.
The agreement between QF, QFFD and the AUAF secures all requirements that guarantee the residence of Afghan students in Doha, and provides opportunities for them to continue their education in Qatar and be able to learn without barriers and fear, especially as Qatar hosts or currently houses some of these students, along with faculty and staff at the American University of Afghanistan on the QF campus at the Education City.
In his speech, Sheikh Meshaal stressed the honour of Qatar to provide assistance to Afghan students at this pivotal moment, stressing the importance of the role of the AUAF as an educational edifice. The number of students registered at the university has reached more than 2,000 full-time and part-time students, nearly 45% of whom are women, he said.
The American University of Afghanistan maintains partnerships with some of the most prestigious universities in the United States, such as Stanford University, the Pearson Institute at the University of Chicago, the University of Maryland, Georgetown University and the University of California Network, he said, noting that as a result of recent events in Afghanistan, this institution faces an uncertain future, which requires preserving the education of its students inside and outside Afghanistan.
The AUAF has not stopped teaching and remains dedicated to creating opportunities for its students and continuing its mission, even with the turbulent nature of the past few months, he added.
The ambassador stressed Qatar's determination to continue as a force for good through its effective role in promoting peace, human rights and a more open, prosperous and equitable world. He underlined that peace is not the absence of conflict, and that a just and sustainable peace must raise the status of the deprived, neglected and oppressed people, give them the ability to manage their lives and livelihoods, and provide real and lasting hope, especially for young people.
Real peace is also represented in establishing strong governmental and non-governmental institutions, such as the American University of Afghanistan, which allow people to have happy, purposeful and productive lives, and contribute to raising children and educating them to live a dignified and secure life, he added.
Through this vital support from Qatar Fund for Development, this strategic co-operation embodies a rapid response from Qatar in dealing with an urgent humanitarian situation, especially in terms of addressing concerns about the educational future of students in Afghanistan.
This co-operation also affirms Qatar Foundation's belief in the right of every individual to a quality education, and emphasised that there are no obstacles to learning and that every young person has the opportunity to grow, explore, innovate and realise potentials.
Further, it affirms QFFD's mission to provide assistance to countries in line with the objectives of Qatar National Vision for International Co-operation, and to address global priority issues, especially in areas that include education.
It also reflects the efforts of Qatar to ensure the safety of the Afghan people and to help secure the safe passage for people and international organisations from Afghanistan, where hundreds of Afghan civilians, including students, were evacuated to Doha.
It also confirms the commitment of the American University of Afghanistan to ensure the continuation of education for students who will reside in Qatar and all its students who have been temporarily transferred and also to work on developing new and innovative curricula to meet the needs of Afghan students and professionals wherever they are.
Students of the AUQF, who are all in the graduating stage, will receive the same care, attention and support during their stay in the Education City, in addition to providing them with Education City facilities and giving them the opportunity to participate in the activities and events enjoyed by the rest of the students in Qatar Foundation's universities.