On September 16, The Qatar-America Institute hosted a launch event in New York City for its inaugural FOCI Photography Competition, a three-month long contest, that aims to broaden the cultural relationship between the United States and Qatar through the creative lens of Qataris, Americans, and other that have been to Qatar.
The FOCI Photography contest welcomes photograph submissions that creatively depict and interpret the theme of “The U.S.-Qatar Journey,” which is to say they highlight the intersection of American and Qatari culture through cultural and educational partnerships and joint ventures in the areas of healthcare, environment, and innovation.
Hosted at the historic Explorers Club, an institution with a long history of travel and discovery, the event welcomed guests of various creative and cultural backgrounds, influencers within the social media travel space, as well as tourism media.
While the primary purpose of the event was to bring awareness to the FOCI program, the event also served as an introduction to the cultural heritage of Qatar with the help of a gallery of Qatari cultural landmarks, select Qatari artworks, and a “virtual reality” experience that immersed guests into 3D depictions of the 2022 World Cup stadiums being erected in Doha, Qatar.
Present at the launch was the guest of honor H.E. Nasser Ibrahim Allenqawi, the Counsel General of the State of Qatar to New York, who gave remarks to the crowd about the importance of cultural programs like FOCI which allow people to share in the exchange of creative ideas and narratives that would not be as effective through alternative mediums outside of the realm of the arts.
Mr. Allenqawi went on to quote Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, who said that “in such a place [like Qatar] where many cultures intersect and people cohabit peacefully and in harmony, the value of cultivating an open mind is paramount.”
In addition to the strong cultural ties between the United States and Qatar, Mr. Allenqawi also went on to mention the established educational partnerships between the two nations, one being New York’s own Weill Cornell Medicine whose Qatar branch donated various giveaways to the event.
QAI was also grateful for the participation of Qatar Airways at the event who provided guests with helpful information should they be interested in making Qatar a travel destination in their future. The event concluded with a raffle where several lucky guests won a book on Qatar’s cultural legacy, as well as a Qatar Airways model Boeing aircraft compliments of Qatar Airways.
On Tuesday, September 10th, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a special luncheon for the Women’s Leadership Group, a member of the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Washington. The luncheon aimed to welcome new members to WLG, highlight past accomplishments, and discuss upcoming events, such as: WLG’s anniversary celebration on December 3rd, 2019 and WLG’s Holiday Swing concert at the Kennedy Center on December 28, 2019.
Among the attendees was WLG’s Founder & Chairman, Patty Perkins Andringa who thanked QAI for its continuous generous support to the BGCGW and and other youth and education initiatives in the DC area.
The WLG was established in 1999, and is entering its 20th year. So far, WLG has been able to raise $6 million in support of its programs, enhancing educational initiatives, scholarship opportunities and cultural arts exposure.
Images of Women’s Leadership Luncheon
On September 3rd, 2019, at 20:22, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the official institutional entity tasked with the preparations pertaining to the mega-event, revealed to the world the official logo of the upcoming 2022 Soccer World Cup.
The launch event was coupled by an international digital media campaign: the logo was not only projected in Doha, but in 24 countries worldwide!
In Doha, the emblem was projected on the following attractions/buildings: Doha Tower, Katara Cultural Village Amphitheater, Souq Waqif / Msheireb – National Archive Museum, Al Zubarah Fort and Ministry of Interior Building.
— Road to 2022 (@roadto2022) September 3, 2019
Internationally, the emblem was displayed in the following cities: Milan, Mexico City, Moscow, Johannesburg, Seoul, Madrid, London, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Paris, Berlin, Mumbai and many more.
The design of the emblem was influenced and inspired by the intricately embroidered woolen shawl, which is worn by people from across the region during the winter. The official emblem of the 2022 World Cup acts as a symbol of unity and solidarity regionally and internationally.
Secondly, the emblem also symbolizes the number eight, which is the total number of stadiums that will host the tournament. The upcoming Soccer World Cup will be the most compact in the history of the mega-event.
Most notably, the emblem also represents the infinity sign: it allures the legacy of the 2022 World Cup, which will buttress the country’s development programs domestically, regionally and internationally.
Images of Global Logo Reveal
As a result of investments in tourism by the National Tourism Council, the number of visitors traveling to Qatar has increased. According to the monthly statistics released by the Home Planning and Statistics Authority, 1.05 million people visited Qatar in June 2019. The number of visitors increased by 11% compared to June 2018.
According to the statistics, most of the visitors came from Asia (excluding the Arab countries) and Oceania (39%) and Europe (32%). In addition, the number of arrivals by both air and sea grew. The number of people that arrived at Qatari ports doubled from 53,714 in June 2018 to over 107,000 in June 2019. Arrivals by land were at zero due to the illegal blockade imposed on Qatar.
With the increased number of visitors, hotel room occupancy rates have also gone up. In June 2019, 65% of hotel rooms were occupied compared to 59% in June last year. 3-star hotels performed the best with a 76% occupancy rate, followed by 2- and 1-star hotels at 75%.
Furthermore, hotel apartments also performed well with 73% being occupied. With the higher occupancy rates, hotel revenue has grown, while average hotel room rates have decreased.
The increased number of visitors is a result of the investment made by the National Tourism Council that promote Qatari tourism. For example, the expansion of Doha Port was recently completed, which allows large cruise ships to enter the port.
In addition, the ‘Summer in Qatar‘ program series offer a vide range of indoor and outdoor activities for tourists. Through the program, Qatar Airways has offered discounted tickets, while hotels and resorts have provided discounted rates. Moreover, families, and family members of Qatari citizens have been able to apply for hassle-free visa for a visit to Qatar during ‘Summer in Qatar’.
(Image Source: Unsplash)
Qatar will host the 17th edition of the World Athletics Championships between September 27 and October 6, 2019. The event will be held at the newly renovated Khalifa International Stadium. The World Athletics Championships are one of the biggest sporting events in the world that will be held in the Middle East for the first time. The competition will feature 3,500 athletes from over 200 countries, and thousands of spectators and media personnel, making it the biggest sporting event the Middle East has ever hosted.
It was announced that Qatar Airways will be the national airline partner of the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships. Qatar Airways will play a key role in bringing athletes, coaches, officials, fans, and visitors together for the event. To do that, the airline provides exclusive discounted fairs to visit Qatar during the event.
“Qatar Airways is delighted to be the National Airline Partner of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. It is my pleasure to see us support the region’s biggest ever sporting event, especially as this will be the first time the championships are held in the Middle East. At Qatar Airways we believe in the importance of sport as a means of bringing people together. This partnership will serve to further establish our commitment to sports with other events in our home country such as the 2022 FIFA World CupTM”, said His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive.
Throughout the years, Qatar has hosted several global sporting events for the first time in the Middle East, including world championships in handball (2015) or gymnastics (2018). In addition to the World Championships in Athletics, Qatar will host several major sporting events, including the 2022 FIFA World Cup or the 2023 FINA World Aquatics Championships.
Qatar Airways has been committed to supporting sporting events through sponsorship deals. In addition to being the national airline partner of the IAAF World Championships, Qatar Airways is an official partner and official airline of FIFA. The airline also sponsors local sporting events in Qatar like the Men’s Open and Ladies Open tennis tournaments held annually in Doha.
Mark your calendars for the #IAAFWorlds.
📍Khalifa International Stadium
🗓27 Sep – 6 Oct 2019
— IAAF (@iaaforg) July 14, 2019
(Image Source: Twitter – @IAAF)
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has announced that it has completed 200 million work hours since preparations of the 2022 World Cup projects have begun. The SC was established in 2011 with the purpose of delivering the tournament venues and infrastructural development projects. To celebrate this milestone, the organizing committee held a ceremony to recognize the workers.
“The success we’re celebrating today is a key moment of this journey. Achieving our vision and successfully hosting the Arab world’s first FIFA World Cup tournament is not a standalone effort. We continuously collaborate with the relevant local and international stakeholders to help along the way,” said Eng. Yasir Al-Jamal, Chairman of the Operations Office and Vice Chairman of the Technical Delivery Office.
With this milestone, 75% of the preparations for the games are completed. Finished projects include the renovation of Khalifa International Stadium, the opening of the brand new Al Janoub Stadium and the construction of three training clusters to bring the total number of sites to 40. In addition, the SC has announced that it will be ready to launch two more stadiums, Al Rayyan Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium in the second half of 2019.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will feature eight modern state-of-the-art stadiums, each being built with four priorities in mind: comfort, accessibility, sustainability and legacy. The stadiums will be equipped with advanced cooling technologies.
All venues will be accessible to visitors with disabilities. The stadiums, as well as transportation systems and other amenities will be environment friendly and equipped with renewable and low energy solutions. Qatar places a high emphasis on leaving a legacy. After the World Cup, the capacities of some of most of the stadiums will be reduced, and excess seating and parts of the venues will be donated to football projects in developing nations throughout the world.
(Image Source: Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy)
The United States Women’s National Soccer Team won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, defending their title by beating the Netherlands in the final. The World Cup was held in France, and was contested by 24 women’s national teams.The U.S. advanced through the group stage with a perfect record, then beat Spain, France, and England in the knockout stage to become finalist.
The final was held on 7 July 2019 in Lyon, in which the U.S. beat the Netherlands 2-0. The two American goal scorers in the final were Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle. Rapinoe also received personal awards for best player and top scorer of the tournament.
The United States broke several records during the 2019 World Cup. Its group-stage game against Thailand resulted in a tournament-record 13-0 score. With 26 total goals scored, the U.S. now holds the record for most goals scored in a Women’s World Cup tournament.
With the 2019 title, the United States has now won the World Cup for a record four times, while Coach Jill Ellis became the first coach to win the World Cup two times. The final game was highly anticipated in the United States. According to the official broadcaster FOX Sports, the final delivered over 14 million American viewers, topping the 2018 men’s final by 22 percent.
Qatar was represented at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in several ways. Qatar Airways has been an Official Partner and the Official Airline of FIFA. Through this partnership, Qatar Airways has sponsored many FIFA events, including the 2019 World Cup. The airline will continue to sponsor major upcoming FIFA events, including the 2019 and 2020 Club World Cup, and the 2022 World Cup that will be hosted by Qatar.
Qatar also helped train referees for the World Cup by offering a Women’s Referee Course in Doha. The event hosted by the Qatar Football Association was participated by 75 referees. The course included training for the newly implemented video assistant refereeing system (VAR), as well as simulations, theory lessons and fitness checks.
In addition, the World Cup provided six Qatari students the opportunity to attended one of the semi-finals as flag bearers. Students were chosen from Qatar Foundation programs by one of the official partners of FIFA called Wanda Group. This opportunity provided students a lifetime experience that included standing alongside the players before kick-off, watching the game at Stade de Lyon, and touring the beautiful French city of Lyon.
(Image Source: Axios – Photo: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)
On July 1st, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a group of DC-area professionals to see Hugh Jackman: The Man. The Music. The Show. at the Capital One Arena. The guests were friends and family of a couple that purchased the tickets at auction at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington‘s annual BlueFest fundraiser.
The show featured music from across Jackman’s career in film and theatre, with stunning dancers and elaborate costumes and sets.
Jackman used the platform of the concert to highlight the music of indigenous people of his native Australia and to celebrate the impressive talent of his local Washingtonian dancers.
Guests enjoyed the thrilling show and discussed the multiple facets of the Qatari-American relationship in fashion, defense, and business.
The Qatari government has been investing in tourism through the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC). QNTC has created several programs to promote tourism and increase the number of visitors to Qatar. This summer, a wide variety of programs and promotions are being offered to welcome tourists during the summer season. This summer’s program, called ‘Summer in Qatar’, runs from June 4 to August 16.
“This year’s summer season promises to attract visitors from across the globe showcasing Qatar as a destination for its unparalleled hospitality and authentic experiences”-Akbar Al Baker, Secretary-General of QNTC and GCEO of Qatar Airways.
QNTC has partnered with companies in both the public and private sectors to deliver the program. Partnerships with companies from the travel and hospitality industries provide discounts to tourists. Qatar Airways has been offering 25% discount on flights to Doha from more than 160 destinations worldwide. The promotion lasts until August 16. Furthermore, a wide variety of hotels offer promotions of up to 25% throughout the summer.
‘Summer in Qatar’ offers a large variety of programs, including indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment. Tourists can attend concerts by both international and Arab artists, or watch performances and comedy shows.
Visitors can also tour Doha, or go on adventures in the surrounding area. Indoor and outdoor theme parks also offer fun for the whole family. There are many opportunities for indoor entertainment, including a wide range of museums and exhibitions that promote the art of Qatar and the surrounding region. Shopping malls also provide entertainment, activities and retail discounts.
(Image Source: Flickr)
On Thursday June 27th, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a reception for the Illinois State Society. Guests included Hill staffers, think tank members, and more. Attendees enjoyed catered Middle Eastern food, drinks and mocktails, and a view of the Capitol.
The event featured brief remarks by QAI Executive Director Paul Hamill and Illinois State Society Historian Ryan Gleason on the work of the Qatar-America Institute and of the Illinois State Society.