On September 19, three Bush School of Government and Public Service students at Texas A&M University – Naaman Akinola, Brandon Pichanick, and Gabriella Medina – attended the ceremony where President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush presented the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service to Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar, known as a global advocate for quality education and social reform. The George Bush Foundation 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.
A driving force behind education and social reforms in Qatar for more than fifteen years, Sheikha Moza is the chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), a private nonprofit organization founded in 1995. 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 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.”
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin, Bush School Dean Ryan Crocker, and Bush Foundation CEO Fred McClure took part in the award ceremony. Medina, chair of the Bush School’s Public Service Organization, said the trip to Maine was a rewarding experience. “Not only did I get to enjoy the beauty of Maine, but it was great to get to know the other Bush School student organization leaders on a more personal level as well as the many leaders from Texas A&M, the Bush School, and the Bush Foundation,” she said. “I had the honor of being in the presence of Her Highness and President Bush, something I never imagined doing in my lifetime,” Medina added. “I’m very grateful to those who made possible this opportunity to meet outstanding leaders in public service.”
Pichanick, chief of the Bush School’s Ambassadors Council, expressed similar sentiments: “The opportunity to accompany Dean Crocker, President Loftin, and Mr. McClure and to represent the Bush School and the greater Texas A&M System was both an honor and a privilege. Few students have the opportunity to shake the hands of influential actors in international affairs and public service, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of this important event.”
Akinola, president of the Bush School’s Student Government Association, echoed their sentiments. “The creed of the Bush School is public service, and it was a true privilege to represent this institution at a ceremony honoring an individual as dedicated to serving others as Sheikha Moza. As the leader of the Bush School student body, I pray that I can someday live up to the example set by both Sheikha Moza and President Bush.”
Sheikha Moza received the award after presenting the 4th George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture at the University of New England (UNE) campus in Biddeford, Maine, which is an annual event honoring the legacy of President and Mrs. Bush as political and community leaders.
All three students are in their second year of study at the Bush School, pursing master’s degrees in public service and administration and in international affairs. As a heartfelt gift to President Bush, they gave him colorful dress socks backstage prior to the event.
To view the awards presentation, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BPO8gGWxRw.