Qatar University Women Launch Essay Anthology and Writing Club
“I am inspired and proud to be in your presence. You have shown personal strength and courage to articulate your thoughts in such a profound way”. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Goli Ameri expressed to students at the launch of their anthology of essays at Qatar University (QU). The launching ceremony included readings of the 10 winning essays that comprise the ‘Qatar Narratives’ anthology. The readings addressed topics such as the conservative modernity of Qatar, social impact of globalization on Qatar, the modern woman, and personal identity.
As part of the writing workshops and competition organized by Qatar University, with support from with the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Local Grants program, 36 female students and community members submitted an essay conveying their thoughts on cultural and societal issues that concern them in Qatar. Participating students were excited to use writing as an outlet to articulate their views and insights. “When I write, I have the courage to speak up and discuss topics that I am timid to speak about”, a QU Engineering student and essay contest winner Abrar Dalgamouni reflected.
Students who participated in the 6-week writing workshop in February have launched a Writing Club – another component of the project - and have already held their first meeting. “Plans are to go full scale in the upcoming fall term after the summer break”, commented Mohana Rajkumar, Qatar University Education Specialist, and one of the essays editors.
The written word created opportunities for young women to express themselves through either an ‘inward glimpse’ of their lives or an ‘outward glance’ of their society. “This anthology is representative of the rich diversity of people in Doha. It carries a range of voices that hint at the complexity and richness of women’s lives in Qatar” concluded Mohana
Authors of the anthology met with Sheikha Mayassa, daughter of the Emir of Qatar, at the grand opening of Qatar Arts Center, where copies of the anthology were displayed. Impressed by the collection of essays, the Center has said it will fund publication of additional copies. Coverage of the anthology launch was reported by local press such as The Peninsula and Gulf Times, and was posted on QU website.