On Wednesday, 25th of May 2022, Geneva Graduate Institute held a graduation ceremony with support from Qatar Fund for Development to honor the significant accomplishments of the graduating 2022 cohort of the Executive Programmes on Development Policies and Practices (DPP).
Gathered with pride and joy, the commencement celebrated 80 graduates representing 39 nations, while also welcoming them as they join the vibrant community of 900+ alumni. In addition, the graduating class included 14 recipients of Qatar Scholarships Program from 9 developing countries. The strategic partnership between Qatar Scholarships program, Geneva Graduate Institute and Hamad bin Khalifa University comes to contribute to the program’s commitment in increasing access to quality tertiary education by offering scholarships to the DPP-MENA executive programme. The DPP-MENA aims to prepare individuals to address challenges of social development in developing regional contexts and seeks to develop competencies, knowledge and leadership skills to the participants.
The ceremony united the presence and participation of Philippe Puyo Program Manager for the Mekong Region, Ali Abdulla Al-Dabbagh Deputy Director General for Planning of Qatar Fund for Development, Maria Jesus Alonso Lormand Director of the Service for International Solidarity of Presidential Department, Republic and State of Geneva, Jowhara Abdulazziz Al-Suwaidi Acting Chargée d'affaires of Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar in Geneva, Eliane Ballouhey Executive Director of Geneva Graduate Institute, Alexandre Dormeier Freire, Programme Director and alongside the respected deans, faculty, families and guests.
Mr. Ali Al Dabbagh, Deputy Director for Planning of QFFD expressed how education is a powerful force in the development of societies and how QFFD, on behalf of the State of Qatar is committed to improve access to quality education and gender inequality simultaneously. He voiced “QFFD is proud to have established the Qatar Scholarships program to minimize the gap and tackle the growing barriers that prevent access to tertiary education. We hence aim to increase the right to access quality education by offering scholarships to the most impressive emerging leaders from Least Developed Counties (LDCs).”
Mr. Al-Dabbagh continued to pass his heartfelt congratulations to the cohort and encouraged Qatar Scholarships graduates to utilize the skills, knowledge, and relationships that they gained to emerge as active global leaders. He stated "Today is not the end of your journey but in fact the beginning. As Qatar Scholarships graduates, you now hold a great responsibility to the world. You now are ready to venture in a life-long mission to create a peaceful, just, and sustainable world for yourselves, your families, and your communities, and your respective nations.”
For Mr. Philippe Puyo, Program Manager at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the DPP program is about building capacities of both institutions and people so they can provide solutions to local and global crisis. The program is also about building bridges, learning together and from each other at a time when strong forces are pushing one against each other, nations against nations, systems against systems. He hopes that DPP students will return home with hope, optimism and pragmatism. SDC is also pleased to support this program with the Qatar Fund for Development and with the Republic and State of Geneva.
On the occasion, Mrs. Jowhara Al-Suwaidi, Charge d’Affaire of the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar in Geneva expressed in her speech Qatar's prominent role and contribution toward sustainable development in the developing countries. She highlights “Qatar's role has not been limited to providing humanitarian and development assistance, it also plays an outstanding role in mediation for conflict resolution and crisis management through means of peaceful settlement, which contribute to strengthening regional and international security and stability and constitute a preventive way to avoid many humanitarian crises and mitigate their tragic effects.” On this basis, she also voiced the State of Qatar's keenness to host the second part of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in March 2023, which seeks to advance solutions to achieve sustainable development goals in the developing countries.
Ms. Maria Jesus Alonso Lormand, Director of the Service for International Solidarity (Republic and State of Geneva) added that, in this world of numerous crisis, new communication and information tools allow us today to stay connected. DPP students have received during the program course tools, information, working methods and above all a great network of professionals with whom they can continue to work. Whether they are in NGOs, academia, public or private institutions, it is the collaboration and effort of all of us that will help us move forward to make a fairer world.
DPP director, Mr. Alexandre Dormeier Freire, emphasized the strong ties that unite donors to the program, and the shared vision of a world based on the values of social justice, peace and diversity. DPP graduates are proponents of these values, and thanks to the skills, knowledge and networks they have acquired during the program, they are now better equipped to implement social change in their respective communities.
Finally, DPP MENA Region, Doha Hub representative at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Dr. Evren Tok highlighted that DPP program and HBKU illustrate a best practice in hybrid education which helps participants balance theory and practice in diverse ways. The collaboration is an excellent representation of how interdisciplinary, analytical and critical thinking could be taught, learned and practice in today’s world.