12 March 2009

VCUQatar announces Design Competition winners for Qatar

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar announced the Qatar based winners of the 2009 Design Competition at a press conference held at VCUQatar.

The winning entries were Leila Ayman Natsheh from the Amna Bint Wahab School who came in first, Hena Najeeb Chirakuzhy (M.E.S. Indian School) in second place, Fareeha Zakri Ahamed (M.E.S. Indian School) in third, Marianne Janeen Bermejo (Al Khor International School) in fourth and Noor Shahda Al Khaloot (Al Iman Independent School) in fifth place.

Charles Bleick, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at VCUQatar, Dr. Saif Al Hajari, Vice-Chairman of Qatar Foundation and Mr. Ehab Selim, representing Regency Group Holding, presented the awards to the students and felicitated the participants and art teachers of the various schools as well. “This year's Design Competition provided young people from throughout the region the opportunity to respond to the type of design problem that designers deal with everyday. We are pleased that so many responded to this challenge. The award winners have demonstrated strong potential to succeed as designers,” said Dr. Bleick in his opening remarks.

Dr. Al Hajari lauded the participants for their efforts elaborating on the importance of design in today’s world and the contribution that future designers would be making. “Design is not just something that makes a product look good,” he said. “If you look around, everything has an element of design. Design is a tool for the future,” he added, applauding VCUQatar for their continuous efforts in looking for the best future designers. He also thanked Regency Group Holding for their support, commending their work in the country be it in realm of real estate, environment or sustainable design.

VCUQatar received 74 entries this year and representatives from the Ministry of Education, Qatar Foundation’s Education Division, the Regency Group Holding and the Arts Faculty of VCUQatar judged the winning entries. Various other VCUQatar officials attended the judging and the reception. ‘Better Living through Better Design’ was the theme of the 2009 Design Competition and students were invited to design a solution or product that would improve everyday living keeping in mind the users’ needs while incorporating environmentally conscious methods. "We are encouraged to see the outstanding ideas created by the students,” said Allyson Vanstone, Dean of VCUQatar.  “Their projects show great potential for our future designers in Qatar and the region,” she added.

The annual Design Competition ran this year in Qatar, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine and is open to students in their senior year of high school. Up to five winners are selected from each country and receive cash prizes of $1,000 for the first place, $800 for the second place, $600 for the third, $400 for the fourth and $200 for the fifth place. The winners are also eligible to compete for the two Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned Scholarships for Creativity to attend VCUQatar.

The 2009 Design Competition is sponsored by Regency Group Holding who are awarding the cash prizes. Regency Group Holding is a group of well-known companies excelling in the fields of real estate development and marketing, facilities management, tourism, travel and hospitality. The Group also boasts high caliber technical and professional experts, implements professional work regulations and aims to provide high quality services. “We are very pleased to be a part of a scholarship program that encourages design which is becoming such an important facet of the business world today,” said a spokesperson for the group.

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