NU-Q’s Al Jazeera Speaker Series welcomes an alumnus for the first time

Al Rumaihi (right) in a discussion with Professor Al-Hroub [Photo by Awad Al-Radi]
Al Rumaihi (right) in a discussion with Professor Al-Hroub [Photo by Awad Al-Radi]

For the first time since the beginning of Northwestern University in Qatar’s Al Jazeera Speaker Series, an alumnus of the university was invited as the guest speaker. Al Jazeera Arabic’s Senior Producer and class of 2012 graduate Jassim Al Rumaihi participated in the latest installment of the series on September 26. The Q&A session was moderated by NU-Q professor Khaled Al-Hroub and focused on Al Rumaihi’s time as an NU-Q student and his transition to working at Al Jazeera Arabic.

The community-wide event was attended by approximately 50 people, and is part of the university’s speaker series featuring prominent figures in the regional media.

Al Rumaihi was part of NU-Q’s first graduating class. He is now at AJA and has recently been appointed as the head of the Al Jazeera Qatar Bureau, which will start operating in Doha soon. During his time at Al Jazeera, Al Rumaihi has been dispatched to Tunisia, Nepal and Yemen, where he worked as a war correspondent covering the Yemeni Civil War.

“It’s great to be back in this room where it all started,” he said. He credits his NU-Q education for equipping him with the confidence to pursue his dream of being in Al Jazeera. “I remember our first class [in] freshman year. When I stood in front of people, I was sweating and shaking and I couldn’t speak,” he said. “I hadn’t even dreamed of being able to sit in front of an audience or even be on live TV on Al Jazeera.”

Al Rumaihi urged current students to use these opportunities to help develop their skills and leadership. His biggest regret during his time as a student was not taking full advantage of the opportunities that were offered, he said. “As a student, it’s easy for you to live in a bubble,” he added. “Your career is coming and you have to think of this from the very first day.”

The transition from an educational institution to a work environment introduced Al Rumaihi to the competitive nature of the real world. According to him, encouragement can be easily found in an educational setting. However, in the workplace, the motivation must come from within.

He described working at Al Jazeera as the opportunity of a lifetime. Though Al Jazeera’s importance may not be felt in Doha, in the surrounding region and around the globe it is highly regarded, according to Al Rumaihi.

“This is what we’re trying to do with the Doha Bureau – that’s why I was chosen to head it,” he said. “Hopefully people will be impressed; hopefully the local community will appreciate Al Jazeera more.”

Recalling his first time interviewing for a job at Al Jazeera, Al Rumaihi said jokingly that he aspired to run the media organization in 10 years. As the room erupted in laughter, he clarified his real career aspirations: “I would love to be a person that helps in building the media industry in the region.”

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