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Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar receives George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service

Bushes and Her Highness
President George H.W. Bush, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar, and Barbara Bush
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Maine Governor Paul LePage, Anouar Majid, UNE vice president for Global Affairs and UNE President Danielle Ripich.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and UNE President Danielle Ripich.

, Maine — On September 19, 2013, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar was presented the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation. 

The award was presented at the 4th George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture at the University of New England (UNE). 

George Bush, 41st President of the United States, and Barbara Bush presented the award to Sheikha Moza at the event, which was held at the Harold Alfond Forum on UNE's Biddeford Campus. The lecture was streamed live to audiences around the world.

A driving force behind education and social reforms in Qatar for more than 15 years, Sheikha Moza is the Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), a private nonprofit organization founded in 1995. 

She is a tireless advocate for access to quality education. QF’s flagship project is Education City, a community of international universities and research institutions housed on a 1,000-hectare campus in Doha, Qatar. Sheikha Moza also actively spearheads projects promoting education, peace and human development throughout the world.

In her welcome remarks, UNE President Danielle Ripich said: "Her Highness has invested an enormous amount of her energy in uplifting the fate of her nation and the Arab world. Her influence is strongly felt across a wide variety of fields, including healthcare and education, which are our vocations at the University of New England. Our university could not have a better guest to inspire us as we start a new academic year. Thank you, President and Mrs. Bush, for introducing us to Sheikha Moza."

Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who spoke before the presentation of the award, said: “We must not be complacent ... we must share our blessings with others and for future generations. For me, this is the essence of public service.”

She discussed her Educate a Child initiative, which aims to bring quality primary education to disadvantaged children throughout the world.  “The seeds of prosperous minds begin with education,” she said.  “Educate a Child is working to reach the world’s hardest-to-reach children … to break the vicious cycle of poverty.”   Just two days prior to accepting this award in Maine,  Sheikha Moza bint Nasser was 3,000 miles away, visiting indigenous children of the Amazon.

She added, “Sustainable solutions need to be creative and innovative.  The greatest obstacle to progress would be to do nothing.  Education is the key.”

In presenting the award, Mrs. Bush told the gathering that: "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."

The George Bush Foundation, based in College Station, Texas, presents the George Bush Award in recognition of an individual's dedication to public service. The award underscores President Bush's lifelong commitment to public 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 Foundation is honored to recognize the vision and strength epitomized by Sheikha Moza,” stated Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, President of the Board of Directors for the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation. “By providing access to education and building strong families and communities, Sheikha Moza’s initiatives are laying the foundation for Qatar’s success in a global economy. She is an inspiration to her country and to the world. ”

The George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture Series at UNE is an annual event honoring the legacy of President and Mrs. Bush as political and community leaders. Since its inception in 2010, UNE has hosted Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Jenna Bush Hager at this notable event.

About University of New England

UNE is an innovative health sciences university grounded in the liberal arts, with two distinctive coastal Maine campuses and a campus in Tangier, Morocco, opening in 2014. UNE has internationally recognized scholars in the sciences, health, medicine and humanities; offers more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs; and is home to Maine’s only medical and dental schools. It is one of a handful of private universities with a comprehensive health education mission including medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine, nursing and an array of allied health professions. UNE's interprofessional education initiatives prepare future healthcare professionals to practice comprehensive and collaborative team-based care. Both graduate and undergraduate students engage in research and scholarship alongside dedicated faculty who are committed to their academic and professional success.

About the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation

The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation was established in 1991 as a nonprofit educational foundation to design, build and support the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University.

In addition to sponsoring its own programs and activities, the George Bush Foundation provides logistical and financial support to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, as well as to The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Through its outreach, the George Bush Foundation is helping make the George Bush Presidential Library Center a leading institution in cultural, policy and academic discussions.

Biography of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser plays a key role in supporting Qatar’s National Vision – a far-reaching agenda to transform Qatar into a thriving, knowledge-based society by 2030. For more than 15 years, Sheikha Moza has been a driving force behind education and social reforms in her country. These wide-ranging initiatives are aimed at preparing Qataris to compete in the global economy while building strong families and communities at home. Sheikha Moza also is active on the international stage, spearheading projects to promote peace and human development throughout the world.

Domestically, she serves as Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), a private non-profit organization founded in 1995. Its flagship project is Education City, which covers over 14 million square metres and houses branch campuses of renowned international universities and institutions. QF also is engaged in numerous scientific research and economic and social development projects.

In addition to her work at Qatar Foundation, Sheikha Moza serves as the Vice Chair of the Supreme Council of Health and she also served as the Vice Chair of the Supreme Education Council from March 2006-February 2012. In these roles, she has helped enact major top-down reforms of Qatar’s public schools and healthcare system. Also, more recently, she chairs the Sidra Medical and Research Centre, a new training and research hospital that is envisaged to become a leading institution for women and children’s specialty care.

On a regional and international level, Sheikha Moza has launched multiple projects including the International Fund for Higher Education in Iraq, the Silatech initiative to address the growing challenge of youth employment in the Middle East and North Africa, and Protecting Education in Insecurity and Conflict, a policy research and advocacy organization concerned with protecting the right to education in conflict-affected areas. In November 2012, Sheikha Moza launched the Educate A Child program, which is seeking to support 10 million out of school children across the world gain access to quality education by the end of 2015.

Sheikha Moza has been playing an active role with the United Nations (UN) for many years. In 2003, she was appointed as UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education; in 2008 she was appointed by the Secretary General of the UN as Alliance of Civilizations (AOC) Ambassador; and in 2010 she became a member of the UN Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group with a special emphasis on Goal 2 – universal primary education. In 2012, she was invited to become a Steering Committee Member of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative.

Among Sheikha Moza’s many honors is the prestigious Chatham House Award for her contributions to improving international relations. Also, in June 2009, she was inducted into the Academie des Beaux Arts de l'Institut de France (Academy of Fine Arts of the Institute of France), the prestigious French society that generates awareness of the arts through education and helps develop artistic relationships on an international level.

Sheikha Moza graduated from Qatar University with a degree in sociology and has been awarded honorary doctorates from Virginia Commonwealth University, Texas A&M University, Carnegie Mellon University, Imperial College London and Georgetown University. 

(News release posted September 9, 2013)