QL Exclusive: An interview with Qatar-based entrepreneur, and educational consultant, Rana Al Khouli
Qatar Living speaks to Qatar-based entrepreneur, research assistant, and educational consultant, Rana Al Khouli, to learn more about her projects.
Rana is a research assistant at Hamad Bin Khalifa University and an educational consultant on social media platforms.
“Beyond a title I am a human driven by curiosity and passion, an adventurer, and a cyclist. Being a hardworking and ambitious person helped me to reach my goal in higher education,” she said.
Rana holds many educational degrees as she had the passion to continue learning.
“It took me 10 years to have my MA instead of 4 years, but I got double degrees, with persistence, patience, and support of my family, in Economics from Damascus University, Broadcast Journalism & English Literature and Linguistics from Qatar University, and finally my MA in Digital Humanities and Societies from Hamad Bin Khalifa University,” she mentioned.
She finalized her first capstone project in broadcast journalism called DoubleD, in 2018, in addition to another project in 2020, called -Yes We Can Qatar- and it was her thesis in digital humanities and societies.
Speaking about DoubleD, Rana explained, “It is a personal and inspiring portrait of my educational journey as I travel between Damascus and Doha in pursuit of my academic dreams. I was due to complete my studies in Syria, my home was tragically destroyed in the conflict, forcing me to emigrate to Doha. I was unable to transfer courses without an official high school transcript, thus I returned to Damascus and through perseverance and determination, I achieved my goal of graduating and enrolling at Qatar University.”
In 2019, DoubleD was accepted in the Made in Qatar-Ajyal Film Festival, she highlighted.
However, her second thesis project called Yes We Can Qatar was in Digital Humanities and Societies titled: A Digital Literacy Public Awareness Campaign of Social Media Impact in 2020.
This project was based on producing a series of four short videos, on YouTube and sharing them on Rana’s social media platforms using the Arabic language with English subtitles.
“The genre of the program is educational and motivational, and it seeks to convey the following message: Working together to achieve a society that promotes education and to strengthen knowledge, while seeking to spread these ideas,” she said.
Her educational journey and the confusing situation that she faced as a high school student was the first step where she had to decide what the future will be like when she studies certain major.
“During the 10 years journey of two degrees, I was exposed to a decent number of subjects and there was one particular quote during the talk given by the President of Hamad Bin Khalifa University on the orientation day that encouraged me: -You are no more a knowledge consumer, but a knowledge producer- This has given me a constant incentive to share what I have learned with people,” she described.
She aims to give back to the society by reflecting some important concepts that she considers critical to highlight in this digital era of social media, fake news, and artificial intelligence, and she believes that the concepts covered in her videos should be spread and acknowledged by youth, especially students of different ages due to a lack of Arabic content that covers similar topics. Some of them might be interested in researching further.
Rana has decided to focus on the effects of social media platforms, specifically the role of technology, in influencing the Internet users’ behavior and viewpoint.
“I chose this topic due to the recent increase of biased behavior and fake news on social media platforms. Creating these short episodes could help spread awareness among people who use social media daily,” she said.
In January 2020, she got the second place at the Arab Innovation Academy, as she was a CMO of the tech start-up called Hamza. This was one of three awards she received last year.
No success comes without challenges especially with the world still facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Rana too faced some in her journey.
“The biggest challenge was to feel again that my graduation is going to be postponed due to the rise of coronavirus. I was concerned that the same scenario might repeat, and if I would be stuck in my MA study,” Rana said.
“Continuing to work during the pandemic, the uncertainty and fear of losing your beloved people and recalling unpleasant memories that I felt before were all part of the challenges,” she added.
“As my project was based on interactivity, it happened at a very critical time with the rise of COVID-19 and when all people were concerned as well,” she mentioned.
However, Rana remains ambitious and optimistic about what she does, and she believes that she learned a lot from the challenges she faced.
“I learned to keep going and believing in myself despite the tough circumstances. Every situation, either negative or positive, is temporary, and we have the power to invest in positive and keep going in the hardest time so we can survive. It might seem new to start something but if you do not try it will never be done,” she described.
Rana concluded with an advice to all of the young people, saying, “A person is a prisoner of his\her thoughts and the most important is to never abandon any goals, but double the effort, and keep trying to achieve his\her dreams.”
“Be confident that you will be proud of the better version of yourself and what you have achieved one day. Trust Allah, keep your faith high that Allah’s plan is the best for you. Invest in what you have and never take anything for granted. Live the minute,” she ended.
To know more about Rana Al Khouli and her project, you can check her page on Instagram: @rana_alkhouli
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