Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar, a pioneer in advancing education in the Middle East, received the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service presented by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation at a ceremony Thursday at University of New England (UNE).
The award was presented at the 4th Annual George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture at UNE, with George Bush, 41st President of the United States, and Barbara Bush personally presenting.
“Her Highness Sheikha Moza’s belief in the character and potential of her nation’s people is an inspiration to us all, and a true example of service as a point of light,” said Mrs. Bush as she presented the award.
A driving force behind education and social reforms in Qatar for more than 15 years, Sheikha Moza is a tireless advocate for access to quality education. As the Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, a private nonprofit organization founded in 1995, she actively spearheads projects promoting education, peace and human development throughout the world.
During her remarks, Sheikha Moza emphasized the importance of providing access to education to all children, especially those who are victims of poverty, conflict or marginalization.
“The greatest obstacle to progress would be to do nothing to help improve the lives of millions of people who suffer disadvantage,” she said. “Education is our key to changing the world.”
In her leadership role at the Qatar Foundation, Sheikha Moza helped establish Education City in Doha, the state-of-the-art complex that houses Texas A&M’s engineering-oriented branch campus, Texas A&M University at Qatar.
Sheikha Moza, who has an honorary doctorate from Texas A&M, recognized the university for being a significant contributor to Qatar’s socioeconomic development, both through the graduates of its Doha campus and through its partnerships with the country’s corporations and research entities.
“It is indeed for our world-class universities that Qatar Foundation is most renowned. And for that we will always be grateful to centers of learning such as Texas A&M, and for believing in our vision and joining us on our journey.”
In his remarks, Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin congratulated Sheikha Moza for her selection for the prestigious award, and praised the establishment of Education City and its mission: to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to be global citizens, and enable them to make the world a better place.
“In Doha we are training young engineers, who will be a force throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world,” Loftin said. “In 20 years they will be ministers of state, CEOs of major corporations and they are also Aggies. And that means a lot.
“We thank you, your Highness, for your extraordinary vision in creating Education City, but also for inviting Texas A&M to be your partner in this great and noble enterprise,” Loftin said.
Also representing Texas A&M at the ceremony was Ambassador Ryan Crocker, dean of The Bush School of Government and Public Service. Crocker remarked on Sheikha Moza’s role as a key architect in creating Qatar’s national vision to transform the country into a thriving, knowledge-based society by 2030. It is that vision, he said, that brought coherence, order, and organization to the activities she has spearheaded.
“Creation and innovation marks everything that Her Highness does,” Crocker said. “In short, she is a shining example of the best we have to offer, in service, in compassion, in vision for change and the ability and energy to make it happen.”
Frederick McClure, chief executive officer of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, ended the program by saying, “The award underscores President Bush’s long service and commitment to public service. In 1997, President Bush confirmed this commitment when he said ‘Public service is a noble calling and we need men and women of character to believe that they can make a difference in their communities, in their states and in their country.’”
The George Bush Foundation, based on the Texas A&M campus, presents the George Bush Award in recognition of an individual’s dedication to public service and underscores President Bush’s lifelong commitment to such service. Past recipients include former President of the United States Ronald Reagan, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, evangelist William “Billy” F. Graham, former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, former United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and former Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl. The George Bush Award has traditionally been presented in ceremonies conducted on the Texas A&M campus, which is also home to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum and The Bush School of Government and Public Service.
Established in 1991, the George Bush Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of George Bush, 41st President of the United States, and supporting the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and the community. Through exhibits, lectures, and special events, the George Bush Foundation fosters a devotion to the noble calling of public service.
Photos and video of the event will be made available at georgebushfoundation.org/bushaward.
Media contact: Kristin King at (979)845-1653