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UCL Qatar Welcomes First Student Intake

28 August 2012

UCL Qatar students

UCL Qatar’s first ever Fresher’s Week is now well under way, with 32 students from 13 different countries following a four day induction programme before academic sessions start on Sunday 2 September. The students are enrolled on the three Masters programmes offered by UCL Qatar; MA Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World, MA Museum and Gallery Practice and MSc Conservation Studies.

Students began their Fresher’s Week with a Welcome Lecture, lead by UCL Qatar’s academic staff. Following a morning coffee session in which students from each of the degree programmes had a chance to meet and mingle, students have spent their time completing their enrolments and undertaking Portico, Moodle and Library induction sessions. International students have become acquainted with Doha through a city tour, braving the intense summer heat, and all students have undertaken a tour of the vast Education City campus. The week’s activities will conclude on Thursday 30 August with an evening meal for students and staff.

Set up in partnership with Qatar Foundation and Qatar Museums Authority, the courses on offer at UCL Qatar are the first of their kind in Qatar, as UCL hopes to nurture a new generation of students who are interested in cultural heritage studies, thus serving Qatar’s Vision 2030. The students in this year’s intake come from Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Syria, USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Italy, Serbia, China, Pakistan and Panama. Six members of staff from the Qatar Museums Authority are among those to have gained admission.

Professor Thilo Rehren, Director of UCL Qatar, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to have enrolled our first 32 students. This is well above the target we had set ourselves, and testament to the hard work of our staff and faculty over the last year. Our students, who will be with us for one or two years depending on their programme of study, hail from the Americas, through Europe and Asia, and across the Arab World. We are particularly pleased that the largest group, however, comes from Qatar itself - nearly 30% of all our students are Qatari nationals. This further underlines the thirst of young Qataris to learn and develop the skills they need on the way to a knowledge-based society.

“At the same time, the wide diversity of students ensures that they all receive an international education on a par with what UCL is offering in London. The international students will get to know Qatar and Qatari culture in great detail, and create long-lasting ties and friendships for the future. Qatar’s vision for the country to be a centre of excellence in higher education and in cultural heritage has already inspired a whole generation of young people. UCL Qatar is proud to contribute to the implementation of this vision, and to be helping to shape a new generation of museum professionals, conservators and archaeologists in the Gulf, and beyond.”

Brett Kershaw, UCL Qatar’s Marketing Officer added “This is a wonderful start for us. To be able to welcome such a diverse, fantastic group of students for our first intake is more than we could have hoped for. Not only are we pleased with our remarkably gifted group of Qatari students, but we are fortunate to have students coming to Qatar from far afield, from many different backgrounds. Our students will benefit from outstanding facilities and an exceptional team of academic staff who really are leaders in their fields. We look forward to continuing to attract the strongest and brightest students from Qatar and abroad to our programmes.”

“Our colleagues at UCL Qatar extend our warm thanks to Qatar Foundation, Qatar Museums Authority and our colleagues at UCL in London for unfailing support, encouragement and guidance along the way in order to reach and achieve our shared vision.”

Ghaida Al-Sawalha, a student on the MA Museum and Gallery Practice degree programme who has relocated to Qatar from Jordan for her studies said, “As a museum professional, this course will be perfect preparation for me in terms of further developing all of the skills and attributes required to successfully run a new museum. To be accepted into one of the world’s leading universities is an honour for anyone. To be in a learning environment that acknowledges, challenges and shapes the contemporary cultural heritage issues of the Arab world is a further incentive. “

Erik Demarche, an MSc Conservation Studies student who has relocated to Qatar from Denver, Colorado said “I was drawn to study in Qatar due to its emergence as a cultural heritage centre at the cutting edge of learning and education. UCL Qatar’s MSc Conservation Studies course offers the opportunity to specialize in a range of different materials. I’ll gain practical skills through local and regional work placements, and my studies will have a specific emphasis on this region. I am excited to start.”

The first graduates of UCL Qatar will be those on the one-year MA Museum and Gallery Practice degree. Recruitment for UCL Qatar’s second intake in August 2013 is already underway, with further growth anticipated.