Oscar Nominee Jehane Noujaim Announced as NU-Q’s Graduation Speaker

Photo retrieved from kennethbgoldberg.blogspot.com

Photo retrieved from kennethbgoldberg.blogspot.com

By Malak Monir

Photo retrieved from kennethbgoldberg.blogspot.com

Photo retrieved from kennethbgoldberg.blogspot.com


Jehane Noujaim, a journalist and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, will speak at Northwestern University in Qatar’s third graduation ceremony on May 4, according to the University’s Dean and CEO, Everette Dennis.

Noujaim is an American-Egyptian director and film producer—and the youngest woman to receive the TED prize, which “is awarded to an extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change” for directing the 2004 film Control Room, which examined media coverage of the U.S. war with Iraq, particularly Al Jazeera’s.

Her most recent film, The Square, which documents the uprisings in Egypt’s Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2014, and has won the Audience Award at both the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013.

Members of the graduating class of 2014, several of whom had never heard of Noujaim before, had differing opinions on this choice of speaker for their graduation.

“I hadn’t actually known her prior to this announcement but I’ve seen her film Control Room before and thought it was absolutely fabulous,” said Zena Al Tahhan, journalism senior at NU-Q.

“I think it’s great that they’re bringing her to our graduation; her work is highly relevant to what we study at NU-Q… I’m very excited to hear her talk – I’m hoping though that she’s a good speaker because not every accomplished filmmaker is,” Al Tahhan added.

However, a few students disagreed with this.

“I don’t agree with the choice of graduation speaker that the university made,” said Saif Alnuweiri, a journalism senior. “I think there are far more seasoned journalists covering the Middle East that the university should have contemplated having as our graduation speaker.”

“I am looking forward to hearing her speak. I love that she’s a female from the region who’s done something extraordinary. She’s someone I can relate to and definitely look up to,” said Rashad Al-Aani, a NU-Q communications senior.

Mae Saleh, another communications senior said she is happy with the choice but worried about the speaker’s on-stage presence. “I am happy with their decision to a certain extent,” she said. “I’m concerned that her portfolio may be more impressive than her speech giving skills. What’s her resume really worth if she doesn’t deliver on the day? After watching (Sophia) Al-Maria’s speech last at year’s graduation, I’m hoping Jehane has more practice at public speaking than her.”


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