21 January 2019

VCUarts Qatar Publishes Book to Celebrate 20 Years of Achievement

The book, titled Cultivating the Arts, details the growth of the University from its early days in 1998 to its many achievements in art and design across two decades

VCUarts Qatar recently issued Cultivating the Arts, a book commemorating its 20th year in Qatar. A large number of students and faculty gathered for the book launch at the University’s Library on Thursday, January 17, 2019. The book is dedicated to the university’s 642 alumni and to the faculty, staff and administrators who contributed to their education.

The book details the growth of the University from its early days in 1998 when it was originally called Shaqab College of Design Arts, to 2001 when it became VCU Qatar College of Design Arts, and then in 2002, when it became a branch campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, with the first degrees awarded in 2002, and on to its notable successes across two decades.

Cultivating the Arts includes messages from Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the Co-founder and Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, and Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in her message notes that, “The tradition of innovation that led Qatar Foundation to partner with VCUarts two decades ago is as vibrant as ever.”

In her message, Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani highlights that VCUarts Qatar’s alumni “have assumed leadership positions in every sector of Qatar society, from government to retail, infrastructure, entertainment, sport, and media, contributing significantly to the nation’s social, cultural and economic progress.”

Cultivating the Arts includes many highlights from VCUarts Qatar’s 20 years of ground-breaking achievements by its students, alumni, faculty and staff, such as its annual fashion show, landmark exhibitions and lectures, innovative designs and visits by famous artists and designers.

The book shows the University’s many and varied roles in innovation and in cultivating the arts, its ability to ignite the imagination of its students, and takes a look at alumni who are shaping the future and who have expanded on their education and created new opportunities for the country. The book closes with 20 Years of Excellence, a summary of the success of VCUarts Qatar as it closes its second decade.

Dr. Donald Baker, Executive Dean of VCUarts Qatar noted: “VCUarts Qatar has been a steady source of innovation and alternative ways of looking at the world and at ourselves. As it ends its 20th year, the University is proud to showcase the achievements of its faculty, staff, students and alumni. As it looks ahead, the University envisages greater integration into the rapidly developing digital world through enhanced and virtual reality and artificial intelligence, incorporating them into existing programs and inspiring new programs. The University is constantly updating its curriculum to reflect the evolution of the disciplines it offers and provide contextually relevant knowledge and skills, real-life experiences, and integration of the latest technology.”

Dean Baker, who signed the first copy of Cultivating the Arts, explained how the book covers the field trips, the exhibitions, the fashion shows, and the graduations, as well as the many social events, such as Karak Hour and all the festivities that were held to celebrate the university’s 20th anniversary. He also signed copies of the book for the faculty, students and staff of the university who were there to collect their copies of the book.

The book was designed and produced by Akkadia Press, and the editors were Priya D’Souza and Nadia Y. Abudayeh.

"We have been working on this for months. It was hard work, with many challenges, but definitely a great experience. Our faculty, staff, students and alumni are a source of pride and your stories, achievements, exhibitions, books and articles were all important for the creation of this book," Abudayeh said to the assembled group of faculty, students and staff at the book launch.

Beginning in 1998 as a women-only university with 35 students to its 20th anniversary intake of 340 male and female students, VCUarts Qatar has grown to become the leading institution for art and design education in Qatar. Its nearly 650 alumni have played an important part in the art and design scene throughout Qatar and in many countries around the world, whether in museums and galleries, or with prestigious companies and organizations.

Copies of the book may be obtained by contacting Rasha Alkasab at VCUarts Qatar’s Department of Communications at ralkasab@vcu.edu

Dean Baker signing the first copy of the book

Cultivating the Arts was designed and produced by Akkadia Press, and the editors were Priya D’Souza and Nadia Y. Abudayeh.

Students checking out the 20th anniversary book

Faculty and staff at the launch on January 17, 2019 at the Library

From left: Editor Nadia Y. Abudayeh and Dean Baker at the launch of Cultivating the Arts

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