On August 8, 2018, the Qatar-America Institute hosted the Ruwad Finale Social, a traveling art exhibit featuring emerging and established artists from Qatar. The exhibit first premiered in Washington, DC on May 8th, 2018 and culminated in this week’s finale social with over 100 attendees at QAI’s headquarters in Washington, DC. The guests enjoyed a special viewing of diverse artworks from Qatar as well as remarks from a member of QAI’s advisory board and guest of honor, Dr. Mohamed Al-Mulla.
In a similar fashion as the premiere of Ruwad this past May, the finale social showcased the full collection of 26 art pieces ranging from paintings, photographs, and installation pieces. Ruwad, which means “pioneers” in Arabic, is a celebration of both established and emerging Qatar-based artists who are transforming the artistic landscape in the Gulf region. The exhibition presented the leading visionary minds of Qatar, whose creative works continue to inspire and promote the cultural richness of the region.
During the event, Dr. Mohamed Al-Mulla, the first Qatari and GCC national to join the United Nations, spoke to the audience about Qatar’s rich cultural history and its flourishing creative arts scene. Dr. Al-Mulla highlighted the merits of Qatar’s development strategy through its prioritization of education and firm commitment to establishing a legal framework. He stressed that Qatar’s strategic prioritization of the arts, education, and commitment to international institutions and norms was the bedrock of the nation’s success.
Dr. Mohamed Al-Mulla’s Remarks at the Ruwad Finale Social
Dr. Al-Mulla stressed the importance of spreading Qatari culture and thanked QAI for its work for strengthening the U.S.-Qatar relationship. The past several years, Qatar has proven to be a strong example of how a growing nation can strategically and wisely focus its resources and efforts to achieve its goals. To Dr. Al-Mulla, the U.N. would be keen to see Qatar, under the guidance of the Emir, as a prime example of a nation practicing the “art of leadership” in a resourceful manner that other developing nations should emulate.
More information about the Ruwad program, the artists, and their work can be found here.
Guest Speaker Bio:
Dr. Mohamed Al-Mulla holds Ph.D. in International Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of University of London, is the first Qatari and GCC national to join the UN as early as 1985 and to work in the UN for more than 27 years. He worked directly with five Under-Secretary Generals in promoting social development and human security. He managed a UN project that led to the establishment of the Gulf Centre for Criminal Intelligence (GCCI) in Doha, to serve a state-of-the-art international criminal justice network at regional and international levels. He is also a member of Board of Directors of the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI).
Ruwad Finale Social Highlights
On 31 July 2018, Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah welcomed senior American elected officials, civilian and military defense leaders, and defense industry executives to the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C. to discuss the bilateral US-Qatar defense relationship, Qatar’s $1.8 billion upgrade of Al-Udeid Air Base, joint US-Qatar military operations, ongoing crises across the Gulf and Middle East regions, and critical security projects in Qatar overseen by US defense contractors.
His Excellency Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah met with a distinguished group of US defense leaders, including:
- Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood
- Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri
- Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina
- Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey
- Senator Jack Reed from Rhode Island
- Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson
- Deputy Chief of Staff of the US Air Force Stephen Wilson
- Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield
- President and CEO of Raytheon International Thomas Kennedy
- Lockheed Martin executives
Below are pictures from His Excellency’s meeting at the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C:
Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah welcomes the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood to discuss the bilateral relations between the US and Qatar and the ways to strengthen and develop them.
Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah meets with the US Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri. They discussed topics of mutual interest for both Qatar and the US and ways to strengthen and develop them. They also discussed the latest updates in the Gulf crisis.
Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah meets with US Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina. They discussed topics of mutual interest for both Qatar and the US and ways to strengthen and develop them, and the latest updates in the Gulf crisis and the Syria crisis.
Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah meets with US Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey to discussed the US-Qatar relationship, the Gulf crisis and Palestine issue.
Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah meets with US Senator Jack Reed from Rhode Island to discuss topics of mutual interest for both Qatar and the US and ways to strengthen and develop them. They also discussed the latest updates on the Gulf crisis and the Syria crisis.
Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah meets with the Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Deputy Chief of Staff of the US Air Force Stephen Wilson to discuss the US-Qatar defense relationship.
Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah meets with Assistant US Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield to the US-Qatar relationship and the latest updates on the Gulf crisis, the war in Yemen and the Palestine issue.
Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah meets with Lockheed Martin executives to discuss ongoing defense projects in Qatar.
Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah meets with the President and CEO of Raytheon International Thomas Kennedy to discuss ongoing defense projects in Qatar.
In a 31 July 2018 statement, Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) reported that Qatar is attracting and bringing in 69% more international firms from all over the world compared to last year:
The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) announced a 69% increase in new firms registered under the QFC during H1 (1st January to 30th June 2018) compared to H1 in 2017. The total number of firms on the QFC platform was recorded as 532 firms.
As well as Qatari firms, the majority of new firms joining the QFC platform have come from Europe, India and Pakistan. There has also been a number of firms joining from the USA and MENA regions.
The growth of new companies represents a diverse collection of industries:
The newly registered firms come from a wide variety of sectors including information technology, advisory and consulting, advertising and marketing, legal services and investment clubs.
According to QFC’s Chief Executive Officer, QFC is an attractive platform for international firms and provides many opportunities within the Qatari market:
Yousuf Mohammed Al-Jaida said: “With the recent announcement that Qatar’s GDP has grown 1.4% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, and the country’s commitment to open up to foreign investors, Qatar is continuing to prosper and it is no wonder that international businesses are keen to explore the array of opportunities available
QFC’s is committed to promoting Qatar as a lucrative business hub and opening up to foreign investors by providing them with assistance and benefits:
Companies that wish to establish a business in the QFC are guided throughout the process by a dedicated QFC relationship manager.
Firms enjoy competitive benefits, such as operating within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double tax treaty agreement network with 60+ countries.
In June, regional turmoil and IMF-driven austerity measures sparked protests that brought down the Jordanian government. Qatar stepped in and offered a package of $500 million that included the creation of 10,000 jobs. Since this agreement took place, a joint committee between the two countries was formed to secure the jobs.
1,000 jobs were secured, in the past month, that will be provided for Jordanians in the next two months. Jordan’s Minister of Labor, Samir Murad, claims, “the job vacancies will be in various sectors of health, education, construction, agriculture and financial sector.”
The ministerial committee is currently working on the mechanisms for how Jordanians can apply to these jobs.
500 years ago, booza was formed unifying a milk-based frozen treat with sahlab, or ground orchid root, and mastic, or Arabic gum, in the Levant region. This twist to Westernized ice-cream only came in one flavor, qashta, or candied cream. However, 17 new flavors were created when a Qatari, American, Canadian and Australian came together to start the Republic of Booza, an ice-cream shop in New York City.
The four co-owners are Michael Sadler, Tamer Rabbani, Jilbert El-Zmetr and Mohammed Makki.
Sadler describes booza:
a creamy, elastic texture that makes it smoother and denser than more familiar forms of ice cream…Sometimes I say that booza is like gelato on steroids, because you take a spoon through it and you will not see any pockets of air whatsoever, which means it packs more flavor per scoop than any kind of ice cream I’ve ever tried.
This ice-cream treat comes in flavors including red miso, horchata de chufa, mint tahini chip, Sichuan white chocolate, and even cantaloupe-feta sorbet.
Check out how the Republic of Booza makes booza here:
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management group that decodes global talent, ranked Qatar #1 in sustainability across the MENA region. This ranking is based on the Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA) showing each country’s ability to convert economic growth to well-being for their citizens. Well-being is assessed based on 10 factors in the economics, investments, and sustainability categories.
SEDA assessed 152 countries to determine that Qatar has progressed the most in sustainability over the past decade. This ranking works against the pattern that oil-rich countries perform worse than the average.
With infrastructure improvements, developing transnational alliances, the World Cup, and innovate at an all-time high, Qatar is standing out in the international community.
Qatar’s Ambassador to Brunei: “Qatar: one of the world’s greatest success stories still going strong
With the 2020 Summer Olympics approaching, Yashuhara Inoue, CEO of the Yasu Project, brought a Qatari invention to Tokyo in hopes of making it more welcoming to Muslim visitors. The Yasu Project, is a sports and cultural events company, that was alarmed by the limited number of mosques accessible to Muslim tourists.
However, four years ago on his trip to Qatar, Inoue learned about the mobile mosque that Qatar charities utilized to reach people everywhere. He believes that:
As an open and hospitable country, we want to share the idea of ‘omotenashi’ (Japanese hospitality) with Muslim people.
These fully functioning mobile mosques, with a washing area, will travel throughout the Olympic venues to reach as many Muslims as possible.
With an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Muslims living in Japan, Inoue hopes that this mobile mosque will spark educational conversations about the religion:
Going forward, I would be so happy if people from Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa, the Middle East and, for example, refugees who are coming from Syria are able to use the mosque as a tool to promote world peace.
Georgetown and Qatar Leadership Centre Launch Executive Master’s in Leadership, Policy, and Innovation
On 24-26 September 2018 Qatar will launch the inaugural Big 5 Qatar conference and exhibition. The Big 5 international brands will be incorporated as they inspired the event title. This event will showcase Qatar’s business infrastructure and hospitality to allow companies from 20 countries to network, conduct business, find new products and get certified education.
Andy White, Senior Vice-President at dmg events, claims:
Having achieved self-sufficiency, and thanks to its strategic location in the Gulf, Qatar is now ready to begin export of its homegrown construction materials and products. As the country moves forward developing visionary and ambitious projects, The Big 5 Qatar will also bring a wealth of knowledge to the local construction community through 40 CPD (continuing professional development)-certified and free-to-attend workshops.
Qatar Tourism Authority Director Ahmed al-Obaidli is pleased with Qatar’s increase in manufacturing allowing it to enter the export market for construction materials. This event will also be used as an educational space where the world can experience Qatar’s advancements and attend CPD-accredited workshops.
The US and NATO coalition in Afghanistan recently added Qatar into the multi-nation coalition with the first-ever deployment of Qatari ground troops to the South Asian nation. At the start of this year, Qatari aircraft had been supplying crucial air support and cargo handling capacity by flying resupply missions in and out of Afghanistan. Currently, Qatar is committing $1.8 billion in expanding CENTCOM headquarters at Al-Udeid Air Base.
The strength of the Qatari commitment to the US mission in Afghanistan was further displayed by the recent remarks of State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert. Ms. Nauert responding to progress being made in Afghanistan commented that the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Alice Wells, trip to Doha had been a successful one. During the press conference, she stated:
So first thing, I can tell you that our senior bureau official for SCA [South & Central Asia], Alice Wells, is returning today from Doha, Qatar, and that’s where she’s been meeting with the – she met with the deputy prime minister. She also met with other government officials to talk about their contributions to the situation in Afghanistan. Qatar has been an important and valuable partner in that. They have helped with training and equipping, they have helped with supplies, things of that nature that are obviously needed by coalition partners to help facilitate what is going on right there. So Alice is returning. She’s had good meetings. And part of the reason she went there was to commend the government for their ongoing support for peace in Afghanistan.
Prior to joining the coalition by committing ground troops, Qatar played a crucial role in conducting peace negotiations between the US military and the Taliban militancy. At Washington’s request under the Obama administration, Qatar facilitated in opening an unofficial Taliban embassy in Doha so that negotiations could take place between the US, the Afghan government, and the Taliban.
Qatar is executing a major upgrade and expansion of the United States’ largest overseas air base, Al-Udeid Air Base:
Qatar will spend $1.8 billion upgrading the major air base used by the United States for its ongoing military and counterterrorism operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf kingdom said Monday.
According to Defense Minister Khaled Mohammed al-Attiyah, expansion of the base, which houses about 10,000 U.S. military personnel, will include new housing and expanded operational capabilities:
New family housing facilities for more than 200 officers and other infrastructure enlargements, along with “operational” improvements, Defense Minister Khaled Mohammed al-Attiyah said in an interview.
The improvements, to be formally announced at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, were previewed this year in meetings between Attiyah and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
The base is key to U.S. military efforts in the Middle East and has played a central role in the Pentagon’s air campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq:
In addition to the large U.S. troop presence, it is also the headquarters of Air Forces Central Command, headed by a three-star U.S. general, and a combined air operations center from which the Pentagon tracks the maneuvers of aircraft throughout the region.
Qatar’s willingness to let the United States fly bombers from Al Udeid is seen as particularly significant:
Other nations in the region do not allow bombers, but the Pentagon has had a steady rotation of bomber squadrons through the base. A unit of B-1B bombers arrived this spring, replacing B-52s that carried out airstrikes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria over the previous two years.
Qatar and the United States have spent billions of dollars together to improve and expand key U.S. combat capabilities in the region:
The U.S. military has spent about $450 million in construction at Al Udeid since 2003, expanding the facility from an expeditionary airfield in which many U.S. troops lived in tents to the more permanent structures there today. Qatar calculates it has spent $8 billion there to support U.S. operations.
In addition, Qatar is a key purchaser of U.S. defense equipment and aircraft, enabling operational cohesion and mission support between the allied militaries:
Qatar is a major customer for the U.S. defense industry, including last year’s purchase of $12 billion worth of F-15s. “We have bought a lot of military equipment from the U.S. so we can fly hand in hand with our partners,” Attiya said.
According to Qatar, a contract for 36 F-15 fighter jets “supports 50,000 total jobs and more than 550 suppliers in 42 states.” Other recent purchases include $20 million worth of Javelin guided missiles, $700 million in logistics support services and equipment, and an estimated $200 million in weapons systems “which support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States.”