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Qatar comes to Richmond

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A VCU Richmond student holds up a card with her name written in Arabic calligraphy.
Photos by Kevin Morley, University Marketing

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff attended the eighth annual Qatar Day at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park Campus Nov. 1, an event that brings VCUarts Qatar to Richmond.

The annual event strengthens the relationship between the Qatar and Richmond campuses while providing each campus’ students and faculty with an opportunity to learn more about each other.

This year, organizers held a special preview event, Majlis, on the MCV Campus the day before the flagship celebration.

Majlis is an arabic word that means “lounge,” said Sarah Faheem, student activities and engagement officer at VCUarts Qatar.

“This is our way of integrating the Qatar culture into the MCV Campus so that people here know about the sister campus in Qatar,” she said. “We usually have a big Qatar Day at the Student Commons and everyone knows about it, but Majlis is a bit of a smaller event. This is the first time we’re doing it at the MCV Campus in the hopes that our medical students feel a little more included.”

Both days featured authentic Mediterranean food, calligraphy, live music and a pair of falcons, which throughout the Middle East are embedded in the tradition of hunting and hawking and are considered extremely valuable. Additionally, Qatar Day featured an annual fashion show as well as henna tattoos, Arabian perfumes and a photo booth where attendees could have their photos taken in authentic Qatari garb.

A VCUarts Qatar student works on a henna tattoo.
Click to view slideshow. A VCUarts Qatar student works on a henna tattoo.

This was the third Qatar Day for Seth Middlecoop, a senior, who looked forward to interacting with the Qatari students and learning what it’s like to live and study in the Middle East.

“I would very much like to study abroad there especially since it’s right smack dab in the middle of the Middle East, and so it’s really interesting,” he said. “It’s very important to learn culture.”

Fellow senior Nancy Orocco called the event a cool way to get out and try new things.

“I think that it’s nice to be able to experience this, especially since Qatar is a country in the Middle East and a lot of people have these weird ideas, these weird stereotypes, about people in the Middle East,” Orocco said. “But they’re people just like the rest of us. So I think it’s really cool.”

Established in 1998, VCUarts Qatar is a center of excellence for education and research in art and design, offering five undergraduate majors, and one graduate program: bachelor of fine arts degrees in fashion design, graphic design, interior design and painting & printmaking; a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history; and a master of fine arts degree in design. It was the first campus established in Education City in Doha through a partnership with the Qatar Foundation.

Qatar Day is co-sponsored by VCU School of the Arts, the Division of Student Affairs, VCU Student Government Association, University Student Commons & Activities and the Global Education Office.

 

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