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Formal Inauguration of UCL Qatar takes place in Doha

11 September 2013

Inauguration ceremony

Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, UCL Qatar has been formally inaugurated at a ceremony held at the Qatar National Convention Centre, Doha. 

Distinguished guests at the event included HRH the Duke of York, KG, Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority, outgoing UCL Provost and President, Professor Sir Malcolm Grant and His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani Ph.D., President of Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and Vice-President of Education at Qatar Foundation.

The ceremony brought together UCL staff and students with key stakeholders from the community who have played an important role in establishing the UCL Qatar campus. Among the guests were senior representatives from Qatar Foundation, Hamad bin Khalifa University and Qatar Museums Authority. Qatari nationals who have previously graduated from UCL also attended the ceremony, which showcased UCL Qatar’s facilities, students, achievements and objectives. The creation of a Qatar UCL Consultation Committee was also announced at the ceremony.

Created in collaboration with Qatar Foundation and Qatar Museums Authority, UCL Qatar is a leading centre of excellence for the study of cultural heritage at postgraduate level. A partner of Hamad bin Khalifa University, the campus draws upon UCL’s world-renowned academic expertise, with leading academic scholars, teachers and scientists implementing UCL’s unique curriculum and research. 

Having welcomed its first intake of 29 Master’s students in August 2012, UCL Qatar has already seen further growth with the arrival of an additional 39 students in August 2013. In addition, five Ph.D. students from the UCL’s Institute of Archaeology are based at UCL Qatar to conduct high-level research into heritage issues of relevance to the Arab and Islamic world.

The Master’s programmes offered at UCL Qatar in Museum Studies, Archaeology and Conservation have a significant focus on Qatar and the wider region, providing students with the practical skills required to pursue career as leaders in the cultural heritage sector.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority, said: “UCL is a key strategic partner in terms of building capacity for QMA’s museums and for our work in archaeology and cultural heritage, both through their Master’s programmes and through their Short Course programme. We share the same vision of establishing Qatar first of all as a regional and later as a global leader in cultural heritage, and our partnership work towards this end is extremely productive - and also enjoyable.”

His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani Ph.D., President of HBKU and Vice-President of Education at Qatar Foundation, said: “UCL Qatar has shown itself to be an enthusiastic partner of Hamad bin Khalifa University and I look forward to its participation in our new graduate programs. UCL has always been a pioneer in higher education and I believe it has much to contribute to our emerging research university. The globally recognized quality of its scholarship in many areas will enrich our collaborative, interdisciplinary model of teaching and research.”

Professor Michael Worton (UCL Vice-Provost), said: “We are delighted that UCL Qatar has now been formally opened. Later this year our first cohort of Master’s students will complete their studies and by December 2013, we will have delivered more than 50 short courses for professionals working in the local museum and cultural sector.” 

“We are also working closely with a range of sectors within the community, such as schools, explaining the personal and social importance of cultural heritage to everyone. UCL Qatar’s published research is already having significant impact in the region, and we are working in close partnership with Hamad bin Khalifa University to develop new postgraduate programmes, such as a Master’s in Library and Information Studies that fit specific needs of the local population.” Professor Worton added.

“UCL Qatar is young, but we are committed to fulfilling the educational, research, social and ethical visions of both UCL and its key partners Qatar Foundation, Hamad bin Khalifa University and Qatar Museums Authority.”

Professor Thilo Rehren, Director of UCL Qatar, said: “Within the next five years we intend for UCL Qatar to be a global leader in cultural heritage studies, thanks to the outstanding academic calibre and dedication of our staff and students, and the continued support of Qatar Foundation and Qatar Museums Authority. Their backing allows us to develop an exciting programme of research, training, education and public outreach exploring why culture matters, particularly in a region so culturally rich and diverse as the Arab and Islamic World, with Qatar at the very heart of it.”