Your excellences, honoured guests, parents, colleagues, students and friends of the school.

I am delighted to welcome you this morning at such a seminal occasion for our school community. As the Executive Principal I am honoured to have the privilege of leading Oryx International School through its halcyon days towards emulating the 5 star accolades for which Qatar Airways is renowned. I am also delighted to represent Orbital Education in their first Gulf-based school.

We have set our sights high; we aspire to be outstanding. We have an opportunity here to create a truly unique school which will not only provide our students with world class facilities and resources, but also the inspiration and motivation for us all to become the best we can be, in everything we do. We are fortunate to have a school community of almost 90 nationalities.

This in itself is a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other, to develop empathy, respect, tolerance and lifelong friendships. Together we are already creating a school of which we can all be very proud. We are going places together!

The core purpose of any school is to facilitate learning. Immediately we might think of academics, but we have a moral obligation to ensure that our students are successful not only academically but also in becoming righteous adults in order to contribute meaningfully to their future societies. Schools are about people. Not systems. Only through nurturing and maintaining positive relationships and trust between all members of our school community will we be successful in providing a 5-star education worthy of our wonderful new school.

The greatest challenge we face as educators, parents and leaders within our own communities, is to prepare our young people for the future: a future which doesn’t yet exist: a future they will create for themselves but not by themselves. Everyone in this auditorium shares in that responsibility.

So, what is a school? We have a building, curriculum, pedagogy, expectations, systems & procedures, infrastructure, Auditorium, Science labs, Robotics labs, Technology, IT equipment, Smart boards, Music rooms, Art rooms, Sports Hall, 2 swimming pools, outdoor learning zones, lecture theatre, libraries, security, health centre, canteen and abundant resources – we have them all!

These are what a school NEEDS but what a school IS……….is opportunity: The opportunity for our students to feel safe, secure, challenged, inspired, motivated, aspirational, creative, resilient, to become a risk-taker, a dreamer, a leader, an innovator, a success; the opportunity to be yourself and to become the best version of yourself that you can be. A school is opportunity and ours is now here.

To conclude my welcome today, there are many greater minds than I, who have provided inspirational quotes about education. Nelson Mandela proclaimed ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world’. Together, Qatar Airways, Orbital Education and Oryx International School can help to change the world, one step at a time – or one air mile at a time - and this the challenge we embrace today.

Thank you.