The Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) is concluding its new student orientation today after a series of events spread out over five days. Movie screenings, tours throughout Doha and on-campus facilities, community engagement options, and getting to know not only student life but also the Qatari way of life were among the highlights. The newly-appointed vice president for student affairs, Dr Khalid Mohamed Faraj al-Khanji welcomed HBKU’s new students and parents yesterday. In his address, Dr al-Khanji pointed out that Hamad Bin Khalifa University is the realisation of HH the Emir’s vision and the generous initiative of Qatar Foundation chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser to provide world-class higher education. “Therefore, the Hamad Bin Khalifa University seeks its best to provide unique opportunities for its students through collaboration with prestigious university partners, considered the leaders in respective fields to offer world class academic programmes and curriculum based on best international standards and taught by distinguished faculty members. “This step is supported by highly professional staff and state-of-the-art buildings and premises. Let us not forget our outstanding students, who build a student community filled with life and positive energy, of which 40% are Qataris, in addition to extra-curricular activities that complement the academic programmes and focus on developing well-rounded students.” Dr al-Khanji said the new student orientation is one of the two happiest days in the university cycle. “This day brings a new life and a new energy getting ready to access the world of knowledge and workplace. The other day is the one we all eagerly hope for: Graduation Day, which introduces a new phase of life characterised by its growing influence on the community and our nation. “From Orientation Day to Graduation Day is a journey that we, at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, hope to fill with opportunities for students to develop their capabilities, competencies, knowledge and skills and shape their personalities.” Dr al-Khanji also stated that the key to a successful university life is finding a balance between academics and out-of-classroom experiences and personal interests. After the opening address, students attended different breakout sessions. HBKU students had the option to either choose a student employment session where they could learn more about job opportunities for students or a sustainability session which presented students with invaluable insight on sustainable living practices. The new students also enjoyed a resource fair, the opportunity to network and build connections and branch campus orientation. HBKU brings together a unique array of academic and research resources, under a pioneering innovative and collaborative model for 21st century higher education. Working with its university partners’ branch campuses, notably Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, Texas A&M University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, Northwestern University, HEC Paris and the University College of London, HBKU aims to provide cutting-edge opportunities for researchers, faculty and students, in terms of research projects, funding, degree programmes and career prospects. Al-Khanji, after graduating from Qatar University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and Science, did an MA in Counselling and Human Resource Development from the University of Colorado at Denver, a PhD in Counselling Psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia, and MBA from London Business School. Before joining HBKU, he worked as a senior consultant in the Corporate Development Bureau of Aljazeera Network and director of the Student Counselling Centre at Qatar University where he was also a faculty member of the Psychological Sciences Department. In his role as vice president for students’ affairs, Dr al-Khanji will monitor and oversee student administration including recruitment, admissions and registration, as well as certain aspects of student life. This consists of but is not limited to financial aid and scholarships, housing and transportation, the alumni office and the student centre. He will work closely with partner universities and HBKU Deans to create and maintain a student-centred curriculum which is supported by appropriate programmes and services. from gulf times.