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Qatar Day and Richmond Day Make a Big Impression

November 6, 2017
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There was a large turnout at our home campus in Richmond, Virginia, for the eighth annual Qatar Day at the Monroe Park Campus on November 1 2017, an event that brings VCUarts Qatar to Richmond.

Qatar Day features art and design projects from VCUarts Qatar, as well as traditional aspects of Qatari and Arab culture, such as henna, Arabic calligraphy and traditional Qatari clothing. It also featured a fashion show where designs by 2017 graduate Ghalya Al-Neemah were on display.

The event (and its sister event, Richmond Day) was developed by students to strengthen the relationship between the Richmond and Qatar campuses, and provides Richmond students, faculty and staff with an opportunity to learn more about the VCUarts Qatar campus, and vice versa.

Qatar Day echoes Richmond Day (colloquially known as RVA Day), when students from the home campus travel to Qatar to meet with students from VCUarts Qatar and engage in a range of activities from VCU fan cheers, to giveaways, virtual reality, and a Make It Real wall.

The visits are part of VCU’s Qatar Leadership Exchange Program, and the students tour the host campuses, and meet with various student groups and faculty, while also learning about the surrounding city and culture.

This year a preview event called “Majlis Day” was held on the MCV Campus the day before the Qatar Day celebration. Majlis is an arabic word that means “lounge,” and the event was held to allow students from the medical program at MCV to meet with students from VCUarts Qatar and to find out more about student life in Qatar, including the Qatar Leadership Exchange Program. Students from VCUarts Qatar have worked on a number of exhibitions that featured art and medcine in recent years. 

The annual program is open to undergraduates as well as graduate and professional students, and student ambassadors from each campus host the other’s delegation. It allows them to get to know each other in the process and what it’s like to be a student on the other side of the world.

Seventeen students from our home campus in Richmond visited Qatar for a week in mid-October, and besides making a tremendous impression with their energetic activities on Richmond Day at our Atrium, also had the chance to meet with our students and be given a guided tour of our building, visit Qatar Foundation’s Headquarters, as well as many other parts of Education City such as Qatar Science & Technology Park, Georgetown University in Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, and the Recreation Center. They also went on a trip to the Inland Sea part of the desert, while also managing to visit Souq Waqif, Msheireb Museums, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Fire Station Gallery, go on a Dhow boat trip around the Arabian Gulf, and visit the Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque, the national mosque of Qatar.

In late October and early November, 17 students from VCUarts Qatar travelled to the US and during the trip, besides hosting Qatar Day, visited the African American Museum, were given tours of School of the Arts campus, and of the MCV campus (VCU’s medical campus), the Anderson Gallery, met with Student Government Association members, visited the Da Vinci Center at VCU, had lunch with VCU’s Provost and Associate Provosts.

They also attended the 7th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art, titled Islamic Art: Past, Present and Future?, which took place from November 2-4, 2017 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, where they met with Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, Doha Film Institute and Reach Out to Asia, who gave the opening address at the symposium.

While at the symposium, several of our Art History students had the honor of introducing the symposium speakers, people such as Hassan Hajjaj, Venetia Porter, Shahzia Sikander, Stefano Carboni, and Linda Komaroff.