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VCUarts Qatar Staff Member Elected as SRAI International Section President

August 21, 2022
Image 1. Fikria El Kaouakibi, Assistant Director Of Research At Vcuarts Qatar

Staff member sees this as an opportunity to put Qatar, and VCUarts Qatar, on the global research map

Fikria El Kaouakibi, Assistant Director of Research at VCUarts Qatar has been elected to serve as the International Section President of the Society of Research Administrators International (SRAI) and has been appointed as an Ad Hoc member of the Board of Directors, effective November 2022.

El Kaouakibi was selected by her peers from among a field of candidates who were all evaluated on their career histories, demonstration of exceptional professional growth, and significant contributions made to the advancement of Research Management and Administration.

SRAI is the “premier global research management society providing education, professional development, and the latest comprehensive information about research management to professionals from over 40 countries”. El Kaouakibi will be “an Ad Hoc Board member with significant responsibility for the stewardship of the organization”.

In a press release issued by SRAI, Evan Roberts, Executive Director of SRAI, was quoted as saying “We are excited to welcome Fikria El Kaouakibi to our leadership and are excited to support her vision to enhance training and engagement for research managers and administrators from around the world.

“Fikria’s broad and deep understanding of research administration, regulatory responsibilities, and professional development will be invaluable to SRAI as we continue to grow our profession and pursue our mission to train, develop and connect research administration professionals.”

Dr. Diane Derr, Associate Dean for Research and Development, VCUarts Qatar, said, “Ms. El Kaouakibi is highly dedicated and committed to excellence in research administration. We are thrilled with her recent appointment as President of the International Section of SRAI and are confident in her effectiveness in serving the community at large in this leadership position.”

El Kaouakibi holds a Master of Arts in Research Administration (MRA) from Johns Hopkins University, US. Her work experience in research administration spans over nine years in various roles within Education City.

Since joining VCUarts Qatar in 2015, El Kaouakibi has been instrumental in codifying support for Research across the institution.  Working in partnership with VCU, she ensured VCUarts Qatar remained in compliance with the State of Virginia and the Qatar Foundation, while providing indispensable support for faculty accessing QNRF funding, and streamlining processes for internal funding programs.  Additionally, she established a ‘reliance agreement’ with Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) for an Institutional Review Board for reviewing research that involves human subjects.

Speaking on her selection, El Kaouakibi said, “I have been in research administration for over eight years. In my role at VCUarts Qatar, specifically, I’ve steered numerous research proposals ‘from cradle to grave’, so to speak. Though the process itself has become second nature, each research proposal excites me, and I’m constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have a job that I love and am passionate about. Just as much as my successes, I value the lessons that life has taught me – I firmly believe that we learn by making mistakes. This realization has always been central to my growth, my role at VCUarts Qatar, and now in my new role as the president-elect of SRAI.”

She added, “My aspiration for this appointment is to connect with a broader audience of research administrators and managers, ensure accessibility to the SRAI network, and make resources, such as workshops, equitable and inclusive. I see this latest position as a fantastic opportunity to put Qatar, and VCUarts Qatar, on the global research map, while I help consolidate the community of research administration in the MENA region, and beyond.”