HBKU renovates its leadership programs


Photo by Evan Witt

The HBKU Student Center has revamped its leadership development programs, opening spaces for Qatar University students. In addition to program restructuring, HBKU has also introduced several new initiatives.

“We have expanded the leadership offerings to reach a lot of different people, goals and topics,” said Evan Witt, campus life coordinator at the HBKU Student Center.

A Leadership Council comprised of students has also been created to help organize more leadership-related events around EC.

“In EC, events are often staff driven and students just attend but don’t really have a hand in the planning that often,” said Witt, explaining the reason behind the creation of the newly formed Leadership Council.

In addition two programs, Wijha and We are Leaders @ Kilimanjaro (WALK) have also been introduced. Wijha is a pre-orientation leadership program that will start next summer and cater to incoming students before the start of their respective campus orientations. The WALK program, scheduled to take place in March 2015, will offer a unique opportunity for students to realize their capacities as they climb Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

“A big challenge of leadership is to challenge yourself and overcome adversity,” said Witt. “With these leadership programs, there is a big focus on experiential learning and specifically, outdoor education.”

Starting this year, most of the leadership programs organized in Education City will also target Qatar University students. In the first leadership-training program for the year, the CULTIVATE Institute leadership program hosted a session titled: Are You A Leader?  More than 30 students enrolled, with almost half of them from QU.

“There is no shortage of leadership workshops in QU, but the ones in EC are very different,” said Abdulaziz Allowas, a student from QU who attended CULTIVATE. “Programs in EC depend on discussions, not lectures, and have active conversations.”

Abdulsalam Salameh, another student from QU, said that unlike EC, the environment in QU is very closed and most programs are in Arabic. Salameh said that he is keen on attending as many leadership programs in Education City as he can.

“You come to a new country for education, but also to learn about the country, and Education City is not the whole country. Interacting with Qatar University students is like interacting with the wider society [of Qatar],” said Maryam Jeffries, a freshman at Northwestern University in Qatar who attended CULTIVATE.

Maersk Oil Qatar has provided budgets for all these leadership development programs as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) fund, according to Witt. The programs will be grouped under one name, which will be announced on Sept. 22.


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