Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar celebrates its 15th anniversary of innovative undergraduate and graduate programs with the opening of the VCUQatar House on the home campus in Richmond, Virginia.
Guests from VCU, VCUQatar, the Qatar Embassy in Washington D.C. and the Richmond community gathered to celebrate this important milestone at the new VCUQatar House on the corner of West Broad Street and Bowe Street in Richmond, Virginia on 23 October, 2012.
“It seems only fitting to honor our 15th Anniversary year in Qatar with the opening of a full-fledged home here in Richmond,” began VCUQatar Dean Allyson Vanstone in her address.
“Fifteen years ago, VCU made a commitment to Qatar, to take our number one public art and design program from the United States and create a rich culture of innovation and creativity in Qatar and the region. The VCUQatar House on the home campus will play a significant role in supporting this commitment. It will be a meeting point for our students, faculty and staff to create and collaborate as we pursue the exchange of ideas and insights across borders of geography. It will be a space to share our experiences and showcase the wonderful work of the VCUQatar family,” she said.
Dean Vanstone thanked VCU School of the Arts Dean Joe Seipel for his tremendous support and his vision and commitment in facilitating the project. The evening event included a fashion show featuring designs by VCUQatar alumna and recipient of the W Hotel Fashion Award Mona Al-Ansari, and Arabic calligraphy works on paper by alumna Manar Al-Muftah. Guests were treated to traditional Qatari foods that had been creatively reimagined and presented for the event. The VCUQatar House is a multi-purpose building and includes offices for the Richmond-based VCUQatar support staff, a street front gallery space and meeting space for students.
Ten students from VCUQatar were on the Richmond campus during the event as part of an ongoing student leadership exchange program. These students, alongside faculty and staff on both campuses hosted the third annual VCUQatar Day, earlier in the day at the VCU student commons on the Richmond campus. The event was designed to showcase some of the traditional aspects of Qatari culture. Many event attendees took the opportunity to have current VCUQatar students paint traditional henna designs on their arms and have their names written in Arabic calligraphy. Traditional Qatari clothing was available for students to wear for a picture at the photo booth.
This annual event enabled VCUQatar students to interact with event attendees who were eager to learn more about VCUQatar and the Qatari culture. VCUQatar received assistance from the VCU Division of Student Affairs, Activities Programing Board, Student Government Association and School of the Arts in planning and promoting the VCUQatar day.