BIDDEFORD – Former President George H.W. Bush will present Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar with the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service during a ceremony Thursday at the University of New England.

Sheikha Moza, chairperson of the nonprofit Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, has been a driving force behind education and social reforms in Qatar for more than 15 years. She also actively spearheads projects promoting peace and human development internationally.

Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush will present the award during the fourth annual George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Harold Alfond Forum at the university’s Biddeford campus.

“The George Bush Foundation is honored to recognize the vision and strength epitomized by Sheikha Moza,” Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, president of the board of directors for the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, said in a prepared statement. “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.” 

In addition to her work with the Qatar Foundation, Sheikha Moza served as vice chairman of the Supreme Council of Health and vice-chairman of the Supreme Council of Education from 2006 to 2012. During that time, she helped enact major reforms to the country’s education and health care systems.

Past recipients of the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service include former President Ronald Reagan, evangelist Billy Graham, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mikhail Gorbachev, former general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.