Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim visits NU-Q

Inaara Gangji, Staff reporter

Sarah Shaath and Dylan Finol, both sophomores at NU-Q, simulated a mock news show with Sheikh Tamim. Photo by Awad Al Radi.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited Northwestern University in Qatar on Sunday, Oct. 1.

The visit marked the Qatari ruler’s first time on campus, where he was interviewed for a segment of the CBS show “60 Minutes” by acclaimed American interviewer and broadcast journalist Charlie Rose. The interview was rolling as the two walked through the building and continued in the newsroom, which opened for use last Tuesday, Sept. 26.

“After his address to the 72nd UN [General Assembly], CBS “60 Minutes” wanted to do an interview with him,” said Ihsan Yahya, manager of broadcast engineering at NU-Q, who showed the brand-new newsroom to Sheikh Tamim. “The emir was very impressed [with the newsroom]…he was excited that the studio we have is better than what the outside world has.”

Tens of students gathered around the building, eagerly awaiting a wave or greeting from the emir, while others got to speak to him and show him around campus.

Charlie Rose interviewed Sheikh Tamim with the NU-Q media wall in the background. Photo by Jueun Choi.

Hemyan Al Hardan, a sophomore, guided the emir through the building and shared with him what student life is like at NU-Q. She volunteered to participate in the event, but did not know she would be speaking to Sheikh Tamim until two hours before his arrival. She said she felt overwhelmed at first, but was able to manage thanks to the help of NU-Q student affairs staff.

Awad Al Radi, a senior, introduced the emir to the interactive aspects of the newsroom.

“He was really sweet,” Al Hardan said. “It was like I was talking to friend, not the emir of Qatar.”

Al Hardan said she took pride in telling the emir about the diversity of the NU-Q community and showing him the university’s media wall.

Hissa Al Mannai, a junior, shook Sheikh Tamim’s hand and greeted him briefly. She uploaded a video of her encounter with him on Twitter; the post has now been retweeted more than 100 times.

“I feel like in this time, as a nation, we’re all proud of him. As media professionals, what he’s done for our country is amazing. It’s something we can look up to,” Al Mannai said. “To make time for us out of his hectic schedule, to come here and take interest in our education, it’s a very special moment for all of us. It was a surreal experience. He was really down-to-earth and he took great interest in engaging with all the students.”

Freshman Fatima J. Al-Khater said she almost fainted after seeing the emir.

“I’ve always dreamed of how I would feel when I see him, and it was exactly as I expected. I was surprised because nobody knew he was coming—I was amazed,” she said. “He is the symbol of never giving up [for the country] and I think he gives us hope.”


Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim greeted some students as he walked out of the NU-Q newsroom. Video by Jueun Choi.



With reporting by Lolwa Al Thani and Jueun Choi.



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