On 01 November 2019, the Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires of the United States in Qatar, William Grant, and other officials from the U.S. Embassy in Qatar visited the Scrap Art Exhibit at Souq Waqif Art Center. Also in attendance at the exhibit was Prime Minister and Interior Minister H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Souq Waqif Art Center exhibited over 250 artworks created by 30 different artists from 15 countries in the west square. This scrap art exhibit is the first of its kind in Qatar.
The artists used modern techniques and tools in the works and designs of scrap art, which varied in size and depicted figurines including human beings, sea life, and wildlife. The exhibition was based on the concept of re-purposing scrap and waste to art pieces that can be displayed at different light. It aims to change the social perspective by opening new artistic horizons in reverence to transforming scrap into art by demonstrating a renewed method of this transformation.
Qatar is implementing these very same views in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2022. Seven of the eight stadiums are removing roughly 20,000 seats each to be used elsewhere.
The eighth Stadium, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, is a 40,000-seat arena built entirely out of shipping containers. This stadium will be completely disassembled and reused at other venues around the world once the 2022 FIFA World Cup has concluded.
(Image Source: Twitter – @USAmbQatar)
KAWS, also known as Brian Donnelly, opened his exhibit in the presence of HE Sheikh Thani bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, brother of the ruling Amir of Qatar.
The museum show is the first in the Middle East dedicated to KAWS and will run through January 25, 2020.”He Eats Alone” is curated by acclaimed art historian Germano Celant.
According to Doha Fire Station:
“This solo survey explores the artist’s career and vast oeuvre, featuring paintings, graphic design, small-scale objects, and large-scale sculptures made over the past twenty years.
KAWS’ imagery has long possessed a sophisticated, dark humour, revealing the interplay between art and consumerism, referencing both art history and pop culture. ”
(Image Source: Twitter – @QatarLiving)
On October 24th, 2019, Qatar became the first Arab country ever to host the annual UN Day celebrations. The Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations partnered with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organizing body for the soccer World Cup in 2022, to host a cultural showcase that brought the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra to the UN General Assembly.
The event’s theme, “Building Prosperity for All through Culture, Education, Gender Equality, Sports and Sustainability,” encapsulated many of the values and tools Qatar has embraced to promote cross-cultural dialogue and promote the unity of diverse nations and people. To mark the 74th anniversary of the UN Charter entering into force, UN Day 2019 featured keynote addresses from Qatari and UN officials, including the following:
-H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy
-Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General & Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
-Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria, President of the UN General Assembly
-António Guterres, Secretary-General of UN
The celebration was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy. In his remarks to the audience at the General Assembly, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy highlighted the powerful synergy of music and sports in tapping into the creative energies of communities worldwide. The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 2007, is made up of artists from East and West who practice together in Qatar and stands as a testament to the power of culture in bringing people together.
Following speeches by officials, the evening’s cultural segment was kicked off by a solo piano score performed by Qatari female pianist, Hala Al-Emadi. The Orchestra then delivered an inspiring performance against the backdrop of a Doha Film Institute production that cinematically portrayed Qatar’s journey from a pearl-diving economy to a leading global energy exporter.
Each musical piece was supported by vignettes produced by Amal Al-Muftah and Amna Al-Baker, students at Northwestern University in Qatar. Trailblazing Qatari composer Dana Al Fardan collaborated with Hala Al-Emadi to compose every piece of music performed in the celebration.
To quote HE Alya Ahmed Saif Al Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations, Qatar can be proud of the young Qatari women artists who have broken the glass ceiling in the arts and film industry in the region and beyond.
(Image Source: Twitter – @antonioguterres)
On Tuesday, 22 October 2019 Qatar-America Institute (QAI) was very proud to be a top-tier sponsor of the Illinois State Society’s marquee event, Taste of Illinois. The Illinois State Society is the oldest state society in Washington, D.C. and proceeds from the event benefited scholarships supporting students interning with the U.S. Congress.
The Taste of Illinois event was held at the historic Eastern Market in Southeast D.C. and featured food, wine, beer, and entertainment form Illinois. Four presidential impersonators were on hand representing the presidents that hail from Illinois: Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, and Obama. Over three-hundred attendees listened to the Radio King Orchestra and heard remarks from Illinois State Society President Congressman Jerry Weller, who recognized the Ambassador of Kosovo to the U.S. Hon. Vlora Çitaku.
QAI was honored to support this important night and the many students who will be able to serve Illinois and the country through their hard work on Capitol Hill.
On October 23rd, 2019, the U.S Embassy in Qatar announced the 2019 Discover America Festival, which will celebrate and promote American-made innovations and American culture. In addition, the festival will feature a myriad of different events that will boast American fashion, food, consumer products, cinema, and business. All events are open to the public, and the Embassy will be hosting events from October 23rd until November 2, 2019.
The announcement of the festival comes at a propitious time for US-Qatar bilateral relations. Economically, the U.S is Qatar’s largest trading partner and the largest source of foreign direct investments. Most notably, bilateral trade has increased by more than 17% in the first eight months of 2019, and more than 100 U.S-based companies have opened offices in Qatar. More than 40,000 Qataris sojourn the United States annually, 15,000 of which are students.
For the festival, Al-Shaya Group is responsible for promoting famous American brands, such as Foot Locker, West Elm, Bath and Body Works, Pottery Barn, Payless, Pinkberry, Shake Shack, and Texas Roadhouse. While, Lulu Hypermarket will exhibit special promotions on various American products, including products that promote healthier lifestyles and environmental sustainability.
The U.S Embassy has also partnered with Doha Film Institute to screen the “Cinema Under the Stars” series, which includes family-friendly movies so that everyone may participate and enjoy the festival. The screenings will occur every evening at 7:00 p.m. from October 23rd until October 26th.
Lastly, the Embassy will have a booth at QITCOM to promote the Select USA Investment program. The program will share valuable information to entrepreneurs about investment opportunities in the United States and will emphasize the existing US-Qatar partnership on smart cities and technology.
(Image Source: US Embassy – Qatar)
On October 21, 2019, Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) celebrated its 10 year anniversary. QSTP, which is a free zone and business park, has three main objectives: to support entrepreneurs via funding, technical expertise, training, and mentorship; to accelerate and facilitate product innovation and/or development by collaborating with the private sector or with the Qatar Foundation; and to foster an environment of cooperation to attract and/or assist the commercialization of promising products or services.
QSTP’s avant-garde work in research, development, and innovation can be seen with the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA). AIA is the largest entrepreneurship program in the Arab region that offers the unparalleled opportunity for entrepreneurs to successfully build and establish their start-ups in only 10 days. Currently, QSTP houses a total of 108 companies from 17 different countries worldwide. Examples of such companies and/or entities include Gulf Organization Research & Development, Meeza, Qatar Mobility Innovation Center, Cisco, Siemens, and ConocoPhillips.
In addition, QSTP’s Incubation Center attests to Qatar’s global leadership in the fields of innovation, research, development, and entrepreneurship.
This can be seen with MENA Dojo, an accelerator program that organizes intensive one-on-one business mentoring sessions over a period of six weeks, or with the center’s technical assistance to Qatar-based start-ups to enable them to develop and finalize their products for commercialization. So far, more than 1,000 entrepreneurs have benefited from such a platform and opportunity.
Yousouf Abdulrahman Saleh, executive director of QSTP, emphasized its important role in Qatar by stating, “research, development, and innovation (RDI) are integral to Qatar’s sustainability and resilience, and it is, for this reason, it is a priority in the country’s agenda. RDI will play a key role in developing and diversifying the economy as well as enhancing the capacity to create solutions to address national challenges and make a global impact. The unique ecosystem we have created here at QSTP encompasses the entire value chain of education, research and development, innovation, and entrepreneurship. QSTP is the place where technology goes to work.”
In essence, QSTP underscores Qatar’s commitment to becoming an international hub for technology and innovation, while augmenting the country’s long-term national development goals delineated in the Qatar National Vision 2030.
(Image Source: Qatar Museums)
On October 10th, 2019, the Secretary General (SG) of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Maryam bint Abdullah Al Attiyah, reiterated that mental health remains one of the central strategic pillars of the Committee. The SG’s pronouncement was made on the occasion of the UN’s World Mental Health Day, demonstrating Qatar’s solidarity and commitment in raising mental health awareness on a national and international scale.
Most notably, health, including mental health, is one the main human development pillars contained in Qatar’s National Vision 2030 (QNV2030). The following passage illustrates the significant role of health in QNV2030, “Improving the health of Qatar’s population, through an integrated healthcare system, managed according to world-class standards. Designed to meet the needs of existing and future generations…”
So far, as the SG commented, the National Committee has been proactive in urging the development of a comprehensive mental health legislation that services all residents in the State of Qatar. In fact, the SG noted that the Committee has regularly visited and engaged with domestic mental health institutions and experts for qualitative input in order to actualize improvements, address problems, and find patient-centered solutions.
In addition, the SG stated that the NHRC welcomed the country’s positive progress in psychological care and/or services. Such progress can be seen with the greater resources being allocated in hospitals and health centers and with increased accessibility and availability to specialized mental/psychological care as well. These measures underscore Qatar’s dedication in ensuring that all of its citizens are given the adequate support they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
In order to understand Qatar’s vigorous efforts in tackling mental health, consider the nature and role of the country’s National Health Strategy (NHS), which incorporated a National Mental Health Strategy (NMHS) as well.
The NHS 2011-2016 laid the solid foundations and framework for future projects and policies for each of the identified objectives. One of the objectives was the first National Mental Health Strategy, which was drafted and launched by the Mental Health Implementation Committee in 2013. Both the NHS and the NMHS have been subsequently revised and updated as the goals were being reached and new ones were being identified.
Currently, Qatar has modified its course of action by implementing two strategic national policies: the National Development Strategy 2018-2022 and NHS 2018-2022. In tandem, Qatar has also adopted Triple Aim, and selected 7 priority/targeted populations. Individuals diagnosed with mental health (or related conditions), are one of the seven targeted populations.
The NHS 2018-2022 seeks to improve access and availability to mental health services and increase mental health awareness. This rigorous approach was justified by a study of 1,660 people between the ages of 18-65 that was conducted and that found that nearly 25% of adults who attended a public health consultation had at least one type of mental disorder.
Since its inception in 1994 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), October 5th of every year marks World Teacher Day. This year’s theme was ‘Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession.’ The day provides the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession worldwide, to take stock of achievements, and to address some of the issues central for attracting and keeping the brightest minds and young talents in the profession.
Qatar celebrated with the participation of a number of UNESCO-affiliated schools in a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
Education plays a vital role in the Human Development Pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030). The Human Development Pillar looks to enable the Qatari people sustain and grow the country’s progression in all areas. Education is the foundation of the Human Development Pillar. Qatar is actively focusing on education from primary school all the way to higher education levels, in an effort to have one of the top education systems in the world.
Education City is a major part of Qatar’s education initiative. There are various programs ranging from IB-accredited school systems to specialized schools for K-12. For higher education, there are offerings that include a range of degrees from undergraduate to postdoctoral degrees. In total, there are 20 schools located in Education City; 11 are K-12 schools and 9 of them are universities. Of the universities, six of them are American universities: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar School of the Arts, Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar, and Northwestern University in Qatar.
“Education is one of the basic pillars of social progress. The state shall ensure, foster and endeavor to spread it.”
– Permanent Constitution of Qatar
The State of Qatar has been a member of UNESCO since 1972, and currently holds a seat on the Executive Board. Qatar has 82 UNESCO associated schools (6 pre-schools, 39 primary, 9 primary and secondary, and 28 secondary schools). Qatar also hosts a UNESCO office in Doha, which was established in 1976 and serves as a cluster office for Qatar and other countries in the Gulf region.
(Image Source: Qatar Foundation International)
The 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships kicked off in Doha, Qatar on September 27th, 2019 and was the 17th edition of the biennial, global athletics competition organized by the International Association of Athletics Federation. The games concluded on September 6th, 2019 with the U.S. and Qatar offering an impressive showing on the world sports stage.
The U.S. took home 29 total medals at the world championships: 14 gold, 11 silver, and 4 bronze while USA’s 200m winner Noah Lyles became the youngest ever world champion in the event.
Host country Qatar took home the gold medal in the high jump event and a bronze medal in the 400 meters hurdles. Congratulations to Qatar and the United States on their well-earned victories!
IAAF President Sebastian Coe has described the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 as the best in history in terms of the quality and depth of performances produced by the athletes of more than 200 nations.
Speaking after the final day of the games, Coe noted that six championship records had been set, 43 countries had won medals, and athletes from 68 different nations had achieved at least one top-eight placing. There have been 21 area records – double the number from 2017 – and 86 national records have been broken, underlining the global reach of the sport.
“For those who follow our sport closely, you will know that we rank our championships on the performances of the athletes,” Coe said. “It is how we, the athletes and the coaches measure our success.”
He then went on to say that “the world’s athletes have put on the best show in the history of the IAAF World Athletics Championships, according to the competition performance rankings which are used as an objective measure of the quality of international competition. Qatar was praised by the IAAF for its excellent hosting efforts and state of the art facilities. President Coe noted that “these performances are incredible but credit must also go to the facilities and conditions provided by the host country. Doha has created conditions on the field of play and in the warm up that are unsurpassed.”
The innovations – including light shows, new camera angles and increased engagement with athletes – have helped the sport reach a younger audience around the world.
(Image Source: IAAF Twitter Account)
On September 28th, 2019, Al Abraj park, a project spearheaded by the Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar, was opened to the public.
The park, which is shaped like a water-droplet, is equipped with a seating area at its center, dotted with vibrant green areas, and has exercising/walking tracks as well. Overall, the park covers 5,800 square meters and hosts 130 different species of trees.
Mohammed Arqoub Al Khalidi, Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar, praised the functionality of the park by stating, “Al Abraj is located in Onaiza area, which includes many administrative and government buildings as well as commercial establishments on Majlis Al Taawon Street. This will provide the area’s visitors, especially employees and business owners a breathing space to take a break in a healthy green area away from the busy daily schedule and closed offices. Specially that the park is easily accessible since it is located among the towers, which will encourage the people working or visiting this area to pass through it during their day, without the need to use the car…”
Ashgal, the Public Works Authority of Qatar, is responsible for executing the first phase of the Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar projects. Such projects include the following: Legtaifiya, Buhaira, Onaiza, and Markhiya streets and parts of Al Waab Street.
An example of a successful project is seen with the road that connects Al Wakra Metro Station and Al Janoub Stadium. Each direction of the 3.5 km road was beautified with the planting of 1,100 trees, and with 23,000 square meters of grass.
The realization of Al Abraj park illustrates Qatar’s commitment to ameliorate many areas to be environmentally friendly, and accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. These completion of these projects reflect the country’s commitment and efforts to attain its long-term national objectives- Qatar Vision 2030. Such effort will create a more vibrant and healthy culture that encourages healthier behavioral habits and lifestyles.
(Image Source: Ashgal – Twitter)