Sixty-four seniors graduated from the School of Foreign Service in Qatar in front of family, friends, faculty, Qatari officials and international diplomats in the campus’s 11th commencement ceremony May 9.
GU-Q held the ceremony at its campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar, where graduates received a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, the same degree given to School of Foreign Service graduates on the university’s main campus. This year, the graduating class was made up of 49 women and 15 men. Including the class of 2019, 566 students have now graduated from the campus since it opened nine years ago.
Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, Her Excellency Ambassador Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani delivered the commencement speech for graduates and attendees.
Al-Thani commended the university for its scholastic achievements and praised the school’s work with the Qatar Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to developing educational opportunities in Qatar, in her address.
“Today’s GU-Q graduates carry on a legacy of academic excellence, strength through diversity and an unwavering commitment to work for the common good,” Al-Thani said. “Through dedicated scholarship in the field of humanities and social sciences, their academic work has contributed to the development mission of Qatar Foundation, and the ambitions and optimism of tomorrow’s leaders inspire us all to envision a better future.”
The Qatar Foundation supports GU-Q in partnership with the main university to offer specialized international affairs courses in Education City, where Georgetown and eight other schools have campuses. Georgetown is one of four U.S. universities in the area just outside of Doha, Qatar’s capital, in addition to campuses from Northwestern University, Cornell University and Texas A&M University.
Visiting from Georgetown’s campus in Washington, Provost Robert Groves and SFS Dean Joel Hellman presented the graduates with their degrees. University President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95) also gave closing remarks in person at the event.
When it was first founded in 2005, GU-Q contained only 25 students in its student body, but has since expanded to graduate more than 500 alumni total. The campus graduated two more students in this year’s ceremonies than it did last year.
In celebration of the research and academic publications of its community this year, the campus also held “GU-Q 100: A Celebration of Knowledge,” an event celebrating over 100 published volumes by the school’s faculty and staff. The school held a celebratory gala on campus in the spring.
GU-Q also gained attention this year when it ranked poorly among other U.S. colleges in terms of free speech. FIRE, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the civil rights of university students and faculty, gave GU-Q the ranking as one of 10 U.S. colleges with the most restrictive censorship practices in the nation.
The ranking came after the school canceled an event in October organized by a GU-Q Debating Union called “Pardon the Interruption.” The issue the group planned to debate was whether or not major religions should portray God as a woman.
GU-Q Dean Ahmad Dallal introduced Al-Thani and also gave the opening speech. GU-Q graduates have hopeful futures because of the opportunities afforded to them through the university, according to Dallal.
“With the guidance and support of our dedicated academic community, they have acquired the critical skills required by our ever changing world, and their stories and diligence will continue to inspire the next generation of students following in their footsteps,” Dallal said.