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Posted On: 30 September 2020 12:00 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:18 am

Dr. Sheikha Abdullah Al-Misnad - Qatar's Champion of Education

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Dr. Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad is one of Qatar's leading educators. She has been a champion of education in Qatar and life-long learning for over four decades, and has played a key role in the reform of primary, secondary, and private education in Qatar. Not only is she part of the Qatar University alumni, she has also held the position of President of Qatar University from 2003 till 2015, and was the first Qatari woman to do so

As President of Qatar University

During her 12-year term as President of Qatar University, Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad transformed the national university of Qatar into one of the region's leading higher education institutions.

Numerous positions held before becoming President of Qatar University

Before she became the President of Qatar University in 2003, Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad held a number of different positions within teaching, administration, and research. These included being Vice-President for Research and Community Development (2000-2003) and Head of the then-Department of Foundations of Education (1992-1995). She also served as a member of the University Council (1986-989; 1998-2004).

As a member of the Board of Directors of Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development

Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad has been on the board since 1999, and has played a fundamental role in the leadership and governance of educational institutions in Education City Qatar, of which The Learning Centre and the Qatar Academy are on top of the list.

As a member of the Board of Directors of the World Justice Project

Dr. Sheikha has been associated with the World Justice Project which "is an independent, multidisciplinary organisation working to advance the rule of law worldwide" since 2012, and is the only member of the Project from the Arab region.

Who's Who in Qatar: Dr. Sheikha Abdullah Al-Misnad
Image credit: The World Folio

As a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad was elected as a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in June 2019 at the 28th Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination at United Nations Headquarters in New York. She was voted in by an overwhelming 132 votes out of 180, and has been part of the Committee since January 2020.

Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad was elected because of the role she has played in the field of education in terms of human rights, the right to education for everyone and equality, all of which she has adhered to herself during her working career as an educator.

As Chairman of the Board of Foresight Communications Consultancy

Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad also plays an active role as Chairman of the Board of Foresight Communications Consultancy.

As a student

After graduating from Qatar University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Education and then with a postgraduate diploma in Education in 1978, Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad, went to the UK where she studied for her doctorate at Durham University. She returned from there with a Doctor of Philosophy in Education title in 1984. She has also been conferred with an Honourary Doctorate in Civil Law from Durham University in recognition of her "Outstanding achievements in the field of education”, and an Honourary Doctor of Laws from Dalhousie University in Canada.

Who's Who in Qatar: Dr. Sheikha Abdullah Al-Misnad
Image credit: Middle East Institute

As an educator

Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad is a leading public figure in Qatar and is well known in the education circle for the initiatives she developed and the reforms she made in the field of education throughout her career. She has also been part of a number of national development strategy initiatives where she has been able to use her leadership qualities and visionary thinking to help Qatar progress further in different fields.

Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad is an active participant in developing a modern education system in Qatar, and is also a member of numerous international bodies and delegations.

Her local and international education have helped Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad achieve all that she has as a public figure in Qatar and have helped her carve a niche for herself and the country. The following is what she told The World Folio about her academic background:

"I think the international experience contributes to professional and personal growth and development well beyond the formal education earned or degree attained. It broadens one’s horizons and enables adaptive analytic skills as well as the ability to move effectively between micro and macro views both of which are important to different situations.

Likewise, a local education cements one’s connection to their culture and identity and helps them understand the predicaments and particularities of their own society. When combined with an international experience, I think a local education enables greater appreciation for both native identity and the international outlook. I strongly encourage every student, especially those interested in academic careers, to avail of opportunities to complete their graduate studies abroad."

As an author

Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad's final thesis on “The Development of Modern Education in the Gulf States with Special Reference to Women's Education” for her doctorate at Durham University was, later on, published by London's Ithaca Press in 1985. Since then, she has written over 50 articles that have been published in a number of specialist journals.

Extracted from World Peace Project, Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, Foresight Communications Consultancy, Amazon