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Her Highness Sheikha Moza Visits QFI School

NEW YORK, September 20, 2012: Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development visited elementary school students studying Arabic at a public school in Harlem today. Just two weeks into the new school year, the students of P.S. 368 were able to welcome Her Highness to the classroom in Arabic.

“I enjoyed hearing the children speak in Arabic so enthusiastically” said Sheikha Moza, “and it was lovely to see that most of them are not of Arab origin, which means the language reaches families and communities who have not been exposed to our culture previously. ”

She also joined an interactive cultural program put on by Al Bustan Seeds of Culture, which gave students the opportunity to sing in Arabic while accompanied by a group of professional musicians playing traditional Arabic instruments. Her Highness is in New York in her capacity as a global education advocate and will be attending and launching a number of high level meetings and initiatives respectively during the week of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) sponsors the Arabic Language and Culture program in Harlem, which is managed by the NYC-based educational non-profit Global Language Project (GLP). Harlem’s P.S. 368 is the first public elementary school in New York City to offer Arabic Language classes that reach more than 200 students, in grades K-5. QFI is a U.S.-based member of Qatar Foundation. Founded by Sheikha Moza, QFI’s mission is to promote education as a force that facilitates collaboration across geographic, social, and cultural boundaries. QFI partner, Al Bustan Seeds of Change, is a non-profit based in Philadelphia dedicated to presenting and teaching the Arabic language, arts, and culture. This year, a QFI grant to the “Al Bustan Digital Education” program supports the development of online resources with interactive learning and playing to further elementary and secondary educators’ and students’ understanding and appreciation of the Arabic language, arts, culture, and history.

Muneera Al Badi, a QFI post-graduate fellow from Qatar and VCU Qatar graduate, presented Her Highness with an Arabic language wheel that Al Badi developed to increase interest and facilitate learning of Arabic for new students.

Less than 1% of the 33 million elementary students in the United States study a critical language such as Arabic. All of the children at P.S. 368 qualify for government-provided free or reduced-cost lunch. QFI’s program is providing students with a rare opportunity that they would not have access to if it were not for Sheikha Moza’s support and commitment to ensure that quality Arabic language instruction reaches underserved communities.

“This program will prepare students to be part of the next generation of global leaders by giving them transferable language skills that they can leverage when seeking opportunities in higher education and the work force,” explained Maggie Mitchell Salem, QFI’s Executive Director. She added, “This program can ultimately alter the trajectory of their lives.”

Links: Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser: http://www.mozabintnasser.qa/en/Pages/default.aspx

Qatar Foundation International: http://www.qfi.org/index.php

Global Language Project: http://www.globallanguageproject.org/index.php