Qatar-America Institute hosted the Cornell Club of Washington for a delightful evening featuring Qatari food and interesting conversation. The event featured speakers Annalise Schoonmaker (a recent Cornell graduate who attended the Weill-Cornell Campus in Education City, Qatar), Terry Horner (President of the Cornell Club of Washington), and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (of New York’s 12 congressional district).
Terry Horner gave the introductory remarks and was followed by Annalise Schoonmaker who commended the university’s efforts in Doha. She stated,
“As all you Cornell graduates know, Ithica is the coldest place on this planet. So when I decided to go to Qatar, I ended up moving to the hottest place on the planet. Initially, I was only supposed to stay at the campus for one year but ended up falling in love with the people and the overall experience. So, I decided to stay another year and a half making my time in Qatar a full two and a half years.”
Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney commented on the strength of the US-Qatar partnership, discussing the origins of the friendship, Qatar’s commitment to progressive liberal values, and the nations passionate emphasis on the state and quality of education in the country.
Specifically, she stated,
“When you go to Education City, you have all the top American schools. You have Carnegie Mellon on this side and Texas A&M on that side, and you have all these schools and what I really commend Qatar and the Qatar Foundation for is their insistence in having a degree from an Education City campus hold the same weight as the degree from an American campus.”
She went on to say that,
“Qatar was the first country in the Middle East to give both men and women the right to vote in municipal election. This was a really big thing, this was before any of this modernization efforts currently going on.”
In regards to the bilateral relationship between the United States and Qatar, she stated,
“Qatar was already pursuing and establishing a base of values that Americans also hold. Qatar’s Cornell campus opened in 2001, long before the US had a military base in the country. In fact, when we were asked to leave our previous base, Qatar gladly welcomed us and offered to build a base for us. I think the bond between Qatar and the United States is a strong one and I think it will continue to be so.”
Richard Serra, voted the third greatest living artist in a Vanity Fair poll, recently unveiled his newest sculpture in Qatar. Serra’s “East-West/West-East” uses Qatar’s geographical position and topography to create a stunning sculpture that brings to mind the iconic scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s, “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
The mesmerizing sculpture is located in Qatar’s Brouq nature reserve, in Qatar’s west, and spans a distance of one kilometer. The sculpture is comprised of four, 45 feet steel plates, aligned in the desert scene. Richard Serra used topographical techniques to perfectly align the plates to maximize the sculptures visual effect. The four steel plates were constructed in Germany, shipped, and placed by crane within the desert.
Serra believes that sculptures should not be placed in a museum but in public places as the significance of his art fundamentally depends on the viewers interactions with each particular piece. Serra stated that his art is driven by the desire to
“take sculpture off the pedestal and into the street”.
Serra, speaking to New Yorker, praised the opportunity granted to him by Qatar Museums authority, headed by the sister of the Qatari Emir, Sheikha Al-Mayassa bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
The location of the sculpture was specifically suggested by Qatar’s Father Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who remembered the location from his youth. Serra stated that when he visited the Father Emir,
“He was very touched by the fact—I could see it in his eye—he was moved by the fact that I had chosen the place.”
Serra went on to comment on the significance of the piece in relation to its geographical setting. He commented to the English newspaper, The Independent, that it brings the magnitude of the setting into focus. He stated,
“Before, there was no way of discerning where anything was in relation to where you were, because you had no point of reference. What that piece does is give you a point of reference in relationship to a line, and your upstanding relationship to a vertical plane and infinity, and a perspectival relationship to a context – and pulls that context together. It makes it graspable. That’s actually a place out there now, and there certainly wasn’t one before. We did that simply by putting up four plates.”
He went on to state that,
“I think this country [Qatar] is trying to jump centuries, and that’s a hard game. But it’s a phenomenon, there’s nothing quite like it.”
Images of “East-West/West-East”
The Qatar-America Institute joined the Georgetown Pediatrics Gala, a black-tie charity event supporting children’s healthcare. His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, spoke at the event and praised the partnership between Georgetown University and Qatar, embodied in part in Georgetown’s campus in Education City in Doha.
The Ambassador highlighted healthcare and children’s healthcare in particular as a critical humanitarian issue and discussed Qatari initiatives in providing modern healthcare services, including the construction of the SIDRA medical center, the work of Qatar’s Shafallah Center for children with special needs, and Qatar’s support of the Georgetown University Medical Center.
Specifically, Ambassador Al Thani stated:
“It is a personal pleasure for me to host this year’s Gala because of the unique bond shared by Qatar and Georgetown University. Since 2005, Georgetown has established a branch campus in Doha’s Education City, where it embodies Qatar’s open door policy by enrolling students from more than 50 different nationalities and five continents. Besides our shared commitment to educational excellence, Qatar and Georgetown also share our dedication to providing comprehensive, world-class healthcare services and a modern medical infrastructure to members of our respective communities.”
“Healthcare is one of the most critical elements for human development. In order to create stable societies capable of effectively dealing with challenges, we must cater to people’s many needs, most important of which is health. Children’s health is an issue that is near and dear to everyone’s heart–not just because children are most vulnerable, but also because children represent the future, our shared future.”
“In 2017, we completed the construction of SIDRA, an ultramodern, all-digital academic medical center providing unmatched patient care in Qatar, the Gulf region and internationally. In addition, Qatar’s Shafallah Center continues to provide comprehensive educational, medical, rehabilitation and recreational services for individuals with special needs. As with your Pediatrics Department, Qatar cannot understate the importance of supporting medical research to alleviate the suffering of children and ensure a healthy generation empowered to fulfil its role in the future. “
19 April 2018 – West Virginia’s National Guard has been selected to partner with Qatar as part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.
The United States and Qatar enjoy a strategic defense alliance, and Al-Udeid Airbase in Qatar is the largest overseas U.S. military facility in the world, with over 10,000 active service members.
Al-Udeid is the logistics, command, and basing hub for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) FORWARD as well as the home of U.S. Special Operations Command Central Command (SOCCENT) and U.S. Forces Central Command (AFCENT).
The NGB State Partnership Program has been successfully building relationships for over 20 years that includes 73 unique security partnerships involving 79 nations around the globe. SPP links a unique component of the Department of Defense – a state’s National Guard – with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.
The Governor met with HH the Emir to discuss the new partnership:
“Gov. Jim Justice met with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani last week to discuss myriad opportunities between the state, the WVNG, and Qatar for future military, economic development, agricultural, and cultural endeavors, among other things. The Governor and the Emir immediately developed a relationship and recognized the significant opportunity for a partnership together.”
“Gov. Justice looks forward to the West Virginia National Guard taking a lead role in West Virginia developing a long and enduring partnership with Qatar.”
Through the partnership with Qatar, the WVNG will seek to increase military and diplomatic cooperation, develop and expand defense capabilities and mutually beneficial training interactions. In addition, the two entities will work to increase interoperability of forces and deter and disrupt criminal and terrorist activities in the region.
Mike Hall, Governor Justice’s Chief of Staff said of the announcement
“We fully expect the Qatar-West Virginia partnership to play a major role in promoting peace and stability in the region.”
The U.S.-Qatar defense relationship does in fact play a vital role in regional stability and American national security:
American forces wage tens of thousands of aerial sorties against extremist groups from the safety and operational security of the strategically positioned Qatar Peninsula. The short flight time from Al-Udeid Air Base to enemy positions in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan enable American airpower to stage assaults with minimal preparation time.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently praised the strategic alliance’s successful history:
“Qatar and the United States maintain excellent military-to-military relations. We are grateful to Qatar for their longstanding support of America’s present and continuing commitment to regional security, a commitment that includes information sharing and counterterrorism training.”
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia also met with Qatari Minister of Defense, Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah to discuss the partnership:
I had a great dinner last night with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, to discuss ways #WV and Qatar can work together to create jobs in WV. We’ll keep building on the partnership I announced yesterday! pic.twitter.com/sB2IYGGPsY
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) April 19, 2018
The West Virginia National Guard Partnership will be an important part of the strategic defense relationship, increasing the trust, interoperability, and mission success of each country’s fighting forces.
(Cover Image Source: WVNews – Gov. Jim Justice)
Radio host John Fredericks took a weeklong tour of Qatar, discussing the country’s economy, its business relationship with the United States, and the illegal blockade facing the country with senior Qatari leaders.
Fredericks met with Dr. Ali bin Smaikh al Marri, the Chairman of the Qatar National Human Rights Committee, to discuss the human rights implications of the Gulf crisis. In November, 2017 the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights released a report detailing the human rights violations resulting from the ongoing crisis. He met Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, CEO of the Qatar Foundation, to discuss women’s empowerment and education in Qatar. He sat down with Dr. Mostafa Soug, the director of Al Jazeera, applauded the network for its straight news coverage, and held an interview with him on his radio show. He discussed the growth of Qatari trade in the face of the diplomatic siege with Nabil Mohammad al Khadi, the Chief Officer of Ports Management and held an interview with him as well. Finally, he met His Excellency Dr. Muhammad bin Saleh al Sada, the Qatari Minister of Energy, and talked about Qatar’s economic goals in growing production of Qatari liquid natural gas.
“Before the blockade, from a business perspective, we were using some ports – not directly cargos or ships coming to Qatar. After the blockade, we worked with the other ports in China, Thailand, Malaysia, USA, and also Europe. We coordinate with them… this way, we increased our business and also to reduce our shipping costs.” -Nabil Mohammed al Khaldi, Qatari Chief Officer of Ports Management
“Al Jazeera is an independent, a professional, and a free network that works to provide its audience with accurate news, with in-depth analysis, with context to what’s going on that is, at the end, providing knowledge. Knowledge is power. In order to empower regular people, to empower women, to empower laborers, to empower rich or poor, you have to give them knowledge.” -Dr. Mostefa Souag, Director of Al Jazeera
Pictures of John Fredericks Qatar Tour
The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) recently hosted Northwestern University alumni for a Qatar Food Festival event. The event featured speakers Adrienne Lawrence, President of the Northwestern University Club of Washington, DC, and former Congressman Jim Kolbe, a Northwestern alumnus.
Adrienne Lawrence discussed the history and recent progress at the Northwestern University branch in Doha, and Congressman Kolbe shared details of his recent trip to Doha and spoke about the importance of the U.S.-Qatar strategic relationship.
“Qatar is a strategic ally and critical military partner of the U.S. Qatar hosts the Al Udeid Air Base, which houses the forward headquarters of U.S. CENTCOM. Qatar has invested over a billion dollars in the base and will be expanding it further to better support U.S. military personnel and their families.” -Congressman Jim Kolbe
“After six years of construction, in January 2017, NU-Q inaugurated a new 515,000 sq ft headquarters featuring a media wall, events hall, auditorium, projection theater, and museum. The building is dedicated to Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al-Thani, CEO of Qatar Foundation. In line with Qatar’s push for sustainable architecture, the building is gold certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). It includes the largest sound stage in the region, three production studios, and a newsroom just opened in late 2017.” -Adrienne Lawrence
“It’s… fascinating the amount of business that the U.S. does with the government of Qatar, which is not on anybody’s radar screen. It’s like the best kept secret in America.” -John Fredericks
Barakat and Fredericks discussed the scope and details of the U.S.’s economic relationship with Qatar. Barakat discussed the scope of the trade between Qatar and the U.S. and the substantial number of jobs created.
“The total jobs that Qatari investment into the United States has created just recently is about one million jobs… Creating a million jobs is nothing to sneeze at.” -John Fredericks
“The orders between Qatar Airways and American aircraft manufacturing is keeping major, major cities where they have these factories alive and growing… Every $1 billion of exports will actually contribute to 5,744 jobs in the United States.” -Mohammed Barakat
Mohammed Barakat noted that the strength of Qatari internet infrastructure and economic development made Qatar a uniquely desirable site for establishing new business.
“[In] Qatar, almost 98% of the country is covered with fiber optics – you can set up anyplace high speed or ultra-high speed internet in many places. You have free zones… available for you to establish a company or offices, you can hire skilled employees from anyplace in the world.” -Mohammed Barakat
John Fredericks Show with Mohammed Barakat
On April 18th, the Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, met with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis at the Pentagon to discuss US-Qatar military cooperation and ways to enhance and strengthen the bilateral relation. A transcript, recording, and pictures of the meeting are provided below.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JAMES N. MATTIS: Well Minister, Ambassador, members of the delegation, welcome back to Washington. You brought perfect weather. We’ve come to expect this from you, so that I’m sure in the future you’ll bring the same perfect weather like you did last time, as well.
But it’s a pleasure to host you after meeting with the Emir Tammim last week and engaging with you and Minister Al Thani at January’s US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue. We thought that was a very successful discussion that was hosted by the U.S. Department of State.
I’m glad that you could join us after your stop in San Diego to see the first Qatari officer graduate from our Navy BUDS course. It’s a very demanding course, it’s a legend around the U.S. military. So your officer did very well. Also, congratulations are in order for your upcoming induction into our Air University International Honor Roll.
I would just say that both of these events do serve to reinforce our nation’s enduring military relationship and partnership. As I highlighted during our meeting with your Emir last week, the U.S. thanks Qatar for its longstanding support of America’s commitment to regional security.
To include information sharing and counter-terrorism efforts. Your nation’s continued generous hospitality in Al Udeid Air Base helps to maintain this commitment’s credibility by providing a home for U.S. Combined Air Operations Center and headquarters for U.S. Central Command Forward.
Minister, to borrow your word, the base helps to keep our birds flying, providing crucial support for the fight against ISIS and the NATO mission in Afghanistan. And as a fighter pilot once yourself, I know you have a unique appreciation for the opportunity this base provides for enhancing our military to military cooperation.
Today, we reemphasize the U.S. appreciation for Qatar’s significant investment in the Combined Air Operations Center and your offer to expand critical facilities at the base, thank you very much. We must continue to work together to ensure a secure and stable Middle East.
As we confront terrorist threats and counter the spread of Iran’s maligned influence around the region. So today I look forward to reinforcing a lasting U.S. Qatar security relationship, one that will continue to bolster our efforts against our common security threats.
But Minister again, you’re most welcome here. Thank you for making time.
MINISTER OF STATE FOR DEFENSE AFFAIRS DR. KHALID BIN MOHAMMED AL-ATTIYAH: Thank you, sir. Mr. Secretary, dear colleagues, I would like to thank you again for this meeting. This is — I appreciate our relation and I am so proud that during my time, we managed to lift this relations.
As you say, yesterday I witnessed the first BUDS graduate from Qatar and we were very proud, having our young generation going through these type of courses. And again, I am here with my colleagues today to respect and to show the solidarity and to show the — the vision that His Highness the Emir have set for us to strengthen the strategic relation with our colleagues and the strategic ally of the United States.
So thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. It’s good to see you again.
SEC. MATTIS: Absolutely. You and your officers are always welcome here. Now ladies and gentlemen, if the press will excuse us, we’ll get down to work. Thank you very much for coming up.
Q: Mr. Secretary, could you just speak to Mr. Pompeo’s visit to North Korea? What did the U.S. learn from it and what will be — what will happen going forward?
SEC. MATTIS: Yeah, I’d prefer you speak to Mr. Pompeo and the White House about that, since those are the leading people on our negotiations right now.
Q: Can you tell us if you are concerned that after the OPCW’s been blocked from getting into Douma that it is too late to learn precisely what kind of chemical nerve agents the residents of Syria may have been exposed to?
SEC. MATTIS: We’re very much aware of the delay that the regime imposed on that — on that delegation. But we are also very much aware of how they have operated in the past to seal what they have done using chemical weapons.
In other words, using the pause after a strike like that to try to clean up the evidence before the investigating team gets in. So it was unfortunate they were delayed. But thank you very much ladies and gentlemen, good to have you here.
Q: Quickly. Lastly, any comment on the New York Times story today about concerns of notifying Congress beforehand or objections?
SEC. MATTIS: I have no idea where that story came from. I found nothing in it that I could recall from my own last week’s activities.
(Cover Image: Ministry of Defense – Qatar )
The first Qatari to complete the intensive Navy Seal training program, Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, graduated this April 17th, 2018. The Qatari, Khalifa Al-Kuwari, engaged in the 6-month seal training program at the Naval Special Warfare Training Center in Coronado, California. Naval Base Coronado, located several miles west of San Diego, is a consortium of eight navy installations ranging from Naval Islands to a landing field.
Congratulations to Khalifa Al-Kuwari, #Qatar’s 1st graduate of U.S. Navy SEAL training! He graduated Tuesday April 17 @CoronadoNavy. @MOD_Qatar @kbmalattiya was there to celebrate & participated in the graduation exercise. WELL DONE, KHALIFA! @us_navyseals pic.twitter.com/ozqxAJLwZZ
— Chargé Ryan Gliha (@USAmbQatar) April 18, 2018
The BUD/S program consists of 3 intense phases, Physical Conditioning (8 weeks), Diving (8 weeks), and Land Warfare (9 weeks).
Qatar’s Defense Minister, Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, attended the graduation ceremony where the Qatari Armed Forces member received his SEAL trident.
(Cover Image: Navy Times)
Tom Brady recently visited Qatar as a global ambassador for Best Buddies, an advocacy and outreach organization that seeks to incorporate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IID) into larger society. Best Buddies was found by former American President John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Anthony Shriver, who is also a friend of Brady’s. The New England Patriots quarterback has been a Global Ambassador for the organization since 2003, raising over $50 million during that time. The Brady family were met by the sister of the Qatari Emir, HH Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani.
وصول توم برادي إلى الدوحة _ وصل توم برادي وعائلته إلى الدوحة لإطلاق شراكة مبتكرة تحتفي بقيم التنوع والشمولية والمساواة. ُيقام الحفل يوم الأحد المقبل في استاد خليفة الدولي . تهدف هذه الشراكة إلى إشراك ذوي الإعاقات الفكرية والنمائية في استضافة كأس العالم لكرة القدم قطر 2022 وفي تنظيم فعاليات وأنشطة مختلفة في متاحف قطر. _ وخلال زيارته إلى قطر، تستضيف سعادة الشيخة المياسة بنت حمد آل ثاني، رئيس مجلس أمناء متاحف قطر، برادي في جولة حول أبرز المعالم الثقافية والتاريخية في دولة قطر ستشمل متحف الفن الإسلامي، وميدان الشقب للفروسية، واستاد خليفة الدولي، وشاطئ سيلين، وتختتم الجولة بحفل افتتاح مكتبة قطر الوطنية. – تابعوا تفاصيل زيارة "توم برادي" إلى قطر من خلال الوسم التالي #BradyinQatar • Touchdown in Doha! _ @TomBrady has arrived in Doha to officially launch an innovative partnership this coming Sunday between @bestbuddiesqatar, Qatar Museums (QM) and the @roadto2022. This will incorporate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the organisation of the 2022 @fifaworldcup and opportunities at QM. _ During his visit to Qatar, Tom Brady will be hosted by Her Excellency Sheikha @almayassabnthamad to some of the country’s most prestigious national gems and historic landmarks. _ Follow Tom’s visit to Qatar #BradyinQatar ——— @bestbuddies @qatarairways @beinsports @visitqatar
Brady was in Qatar for the official launch of a partnership between Best Buddies Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (2022 World Cup Committee), and Qatar Museums. The Qatari initiative aims to promote the inclusion of those with mental disabilities in the country’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup. The aim of the effort is to incorporate a minimum of 20 individuals into the events preparations. During his trip, Brady attended an event at the recently completed Khalifa International Stadium that will be used during the 2022 World Cup.
شارك السفير الدولي لبرنامج "بست باديز" ونجم كرة القدم الأمريكية توم برايدي و @mutazbarshim و @Ms3don في فعالية نظمها برنامج المسؤولية الاجتماعية في اللجنة العليا، الجيل المبهر، في استاد خليفة الدولي 🏈⚽️ شهدت الفعالية إطلاق شراكة بين اللجنة العليا و"بست باديز" لإشراك 20 شخصاً من ذوي الإعاقة الذهنية في تنظيم بطولة كأس العالم لكرة القدم قطر 2022.
استمتعت بحضور فعالية "بست باديز" قطر التي اقميت اليوم مع سفير بست باديز لاعب الكرة الأمريكي توم برادي، والتي تهدف لرفع الوعي بقدرات الافراد ذوي الأعاقة ودمجهم في المجتمع. سعيدة بإلتزام اللجنة العليا للمشاريع والإرث ومتاحف قطر اتجاه دمج الأشخاص ذوي الإعاقة الذهنية والنمائية في مؤسساتهم. #قطر #رياضة I enjoyed my day at the @bestbuddiesqatar event with @TomBrady the global ambassador of @bestbuddies. Happy to see the commitment by @Roadto2022 & @Qatar_Museums to incorporate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in their organisation. #BradyinQatar #Qatar #Sports #bestbuddies
While there, Brady played soccer and American Football with volunteers and those with disabilities. He also visited the American CENTCOM headquarters, stationed in Qatar, at the Al Udeid Air base with his 8 year old son, Benjamin.
Tom Brady was also joined by his family, wife Gisele Bunchen, and kids Vivian and Benjamin who not only enjoyed their time in Qatar but were able to see and experience all that the country has to offer.
(Cover Image Source: IloveQatar )