Northwestern Qatar Experience

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Small Communities, Big Impact

Club leaders Arham Khalid and Fai Al Naimi on diversity, bonding, and becoming better people

You are the cofounders of two important clubs here at Northwestern Qatar. Why did you choose to create your club?

Arham Khalid: “I cofounded the Law, Politics & Human Rights Association to help students develop their diplomatic skills and raise awareness about contemporary human rights issues. It has always been important to me to do whatever I can for the community and work on becoming a better person.”

Fai Al Naimi: “We have more than 80 members in the Qatar Culture Club. We’ve organized many successful events—Qatar National Day celebrations, Ramadan Iftar celebrations, Wildcat market—that bring people together, enabling international students to experience our culture and learn more about Qatari society and history.”

How does Northwestern Qatar support your club?

Arham: “The Student Affairs office provides constant guidance, financial support, and marketing. They’re always open to helping us plan special events, such as Northwestern Qatar’s first-ever Model United Nations conference and a TEDx event called Humanity in Adversity.”

Fai: “Not only does the university assist with the everyday elements of running the club—budgets, permits, setting up for events—but the diverse Northwestern community has made it easy to work collaboratively. This is why I co-created the Qatar Culture Club—to nurture bonds between students that help build an overall environment that is warm, welcoming, and inclusive.”



including a student-run newspaper and a student-run filmmaking studio.



Not Your Daily Stories.



participated in the last Model United Nations conference.


Real Growth

In a transformative service trip, two students plant trees, talk to local farmers, and go rock climbing

“I remember slathering on so much insect repellant that first day,” says student Sarah Shamim.

“And the high-speed drive in the open-top Jeep!” says classmate Sudesh Baniya.

Spending spring break in Malaysia for Northwestern Qatar’s service-learning experiential program, Sarah and Sudesh got their hands dirty studying agroforestry, social enterprise, and global citizenship. As they worked with a nursery in Merapoh transplanting trees to help habitat loss, the two students found that they were learning more than they expected.

“In Kuala Lampur, I learned to challenge myself,” says Sudesh. “I did things that I was afraid of, asked questions that I was always afraid to ask, talked to strangers on the road, and attempted to climb a rock. Although I couldn’t reach the top, I found the courage to try, and that resilience is something I will take with me for the rest of my life.”

“It was hard at first,” says Sarah. “But by the end, even the insects and the heat had stopped bothering us. All that mattered was that we were having important conversations about the threat that palm oil poses towards biodiversity, and we were doing what we could to help. This trip really helped me step outside my comfort zone and learn unexpected things about myself.”

“When I got selected for the trip, I had a gut feeling that it could be life-changing,” says Sudesh. “And I was right.”

Previous Locations
  • Cambodia
  • Kenya
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Morocco
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
  • Za mbia


From the Heart

With the help of Studio 20Q, young filmmakers see their ideas hit the big screen

As president of Studio 20Q, Northwestern Qatar’s student-run film studio, Zeest Marrium is proud to say that she has helped dozens of student filmmakers produce short films that have made an impact. “Studio 20Q provides a platform for students to tell the stories they want to tell,” she says. “What happens when students have financial freedom and backing is that you get stories that come from the heart.”

Since 2012, Studio 20Q has awarded yearly grants—up to 25,000 QAR—to students of varying experience. All are welcome to apply, and the Studio 20Q Board enlists an outside jury in the selection process to ensure that every idea gets a fair chance. “Our aim is not only to find great stories but to also voice diverse stories,” Zeest says. “The jury chooses the grantees with a great deal of care, making sure to choose films with distinct narratives and styles.”

And the help isn’t just financial. “After the grantees are chosen, Studio 20Q takes every new filmmaker by the hand,” says Zeest. “We assist with pre-production, production, and post-production. We help refine the script, we help with the shoots, we help edit, and of course, we distribute the film.”

During a five-night premiere at the M7 Sky Theatre in downtown Doha, the student films hit a big screen for the first time. “The premiere is really fun,” Zeest says. “So many departments at the university help out, and I’m always so grateful for the support we receive. The university does a great job collaborating with us to make it a success.”



to 10 filmmakers in 2021.



to a single production.