Qatar is Booming: Learning Arabic Pays Off — Students Awarded Prize For Language Skills

April 18, 2016, WASHINGTON, D.C. – After more than 90 online video submissions, and more than 55,000 votes, three American students have been named as winners of Qatar Foundation International’s (QFI) I Speak Arabic web contest.

Anderson Wang, a New York University student, won QFI’s grand prize. Wang submitted a video expressing his love for the Arabic language and his excitement to study Arabic at NYU Abu Dhabi. He received a $500 award and QFI “I Speak Arabic” memorabilia. Teacher Georges Chahwan’s Arabic language students at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, received the second place prize, and Sana Rafiq from Watertown, Massachusetts, won third place.

QFI executive director Maggie Mitchell Salem said, “We have been absolutely thrilled with the level of interest and number of submissions that we received since launching the I Speak Arabic web contest in December. We are proud to announce Anderson, Sana, and the group from Choate High School as winners, all of whom are shining examples of what we at QFI constantly strive for: global citizenship and cultural diversity.”

American students across the country uploaded videos of themselves to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, describing how Arabic has affected their lives and future goals. Only non-native Arabic speakers were eligible to enter, and videos were accepted through January of this year. Votes continued to be tallied throughout March, and Anderson Wang, the grand prize winner, received over 20,000 online votes on the platform.