Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation (QF), announced a pledge to make women at least half the panel speakers in all its conferences and events, locally and internationally. This pledge reaffirms the foundation’s commitment to widening the possibilities and perspectives to crucial issues and challenges that Qatar faces.
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind said: “It is my belief, and that of Qatar Foundation, that neither gender nor any other consideration should present a barrier to a person’s development, their pursuit of opportunity, and their voice is heard in global conversations about topics, themes, and challenges that affect all of society.”
This pledge was announced in the wake of International Women’s Day and will take effect in 2020 across all QF events. Participants in discussions related to education, science and research and community development at every debate for every event will always be at least 50 percent female. This move will provide opportunities for women to participate in the advancement of society regardless of gender.
“Now, by committing to having at least 50 percent female representation on all our conference and event panels from 2020 onward, we aim to further emphasize Qatar Foundation’s role as a leader and driver of inclusivity and positive social change, nationally and regionally – and the necessity of both men and women being part of making this change happen.”
Qatar is a leader in the Middle East in women’s rights and empowerment and supports the United Nations’ focus on female empowerment as an aspect of addressing social and economic change. This pledge aims to strengthen the actions and commitments of Qatar Foundations to provide the opportunities needed to become a role model in the Middle East.
“The pledge we announce today is a natural, visible, and powerful extension of this belief. Through our investment in education and our ethos as an organization, Qatar Foundation’s commitment to providing opportunities for everyone to be an active participant in society is personified by the diversity of the achievers and role models we nurture, and the impact they are making in a broad spectrum of fields within Qatar and beyond.
Did you know that Qatar has a uniquely empowering education and business environment for women, and the country has many examples of women in prominent positions of leadership?
Click here for QAI’s” Women’s Rights and Leadership Roles in Qatar” fact sheet.
On March 2, 2019, Over 4,000 people came out to the Audi Field so they could Kick it With Qatar, a soccerfest hosted by the Qatar Embassy, D.C. United, and D.C. Scores! With free admission, great Qatari-inspired food prepared by 16 different vendors, musical performances, art displays, virtual reality experiences, and family friendly activities, how could anyone pass up such a fun-filled day?
Attendees could wear V.R. headsets to see the stadiums. They met soccer superstars from the D.C. United team and watched them perform. Fans of all ages got a chance to experience Qatari culture. Many stopped by QAI’s tables that proudly displayed three art pieces from the Ruwad exhibition.
The upcoming World Cup will be different from any before. Fans came prepared with many questions and concerns about the preparation process, the time of year the tournament would happen, and how the players and fans will beat the heat.
True or False: Qatar will be the first country in the Middle East to host a World Cup?
True: More than 2 billion people living within a four-hour flight of Qatar will make Qatar an easy destination and increase the number of visitors to the region.
True or False: Qatar plans to have eight stadiums by 2020?
True: The stadiums will have innovative designs that will leave the lightest environmental footprint of any modern-day World Cup.
True or False: Qatar will air condition the entire country for the FIFA World Cup?
False. There will be no need as the weather will be naturally cool.
True or False: The 2022 World Cup will take place during the Fall?
True: The tournament will start in November and end in December on Qatar National Day.
Fatima Al Nuaimi, the Communications Director for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, alongside Bethany Henderson, the D.C Scores Executive Director, and Andy Bush, the D.C. United Chief Revenue Officer, participated in a fireside chat. They answered questions from the audience and discussed their plans, considerations, and how they give back to communities across the world.
Although it is about three years away, the excitement for the next FIFA World Cup cannot be extinguished.
Qatar reiterated its commitment to institutionalizing effective labor reform following the latest report released by Amnesty International. The report, titled “Reality Check,” concludes that the 2022 World Cup host needs to do more to combat labor abuse.
The Government Communications Office (GCO) of Qatar responded in a statement saying that:
“From the outset, we have said that we understood labor reform would be a journey and not an end in itself. We have publicly stated, and restate here, our commitment to labor reform so that Qatar would have a suitable labor system that is fair to employers and employees alike…Far from seeing time as running out, the government of the State of Qatar understands further change is needed and we remain committed to developing these changes as quickly as possible, while ensuring they are effective and appropriate for our labor market conditions.”
The GCO stressed that the State of Qatar will continue to engage and work with foreign governments, both international and multilateral organizations, and NGOs, to ensure that its labor code meets international standards.The Qatari government response also mentioned the extent to which labor laws and regulations were being enforced. In just the first half of 2018, there were nearly 12,000 companies that were either penalized or banned from operating in Qatar due to labor law violations.
Qatar has taken considerable measures to improve both labor rights legislation and the implementation of the legislation. Qatar signed an agreement with the United Nations, International Labor Organization (ILO) to mutually cooperate to both enforce and strengthen Qatar’s legal framework to best protect migrant workers. The ILO has now established a field office in Doha, Qatar’s Capital to assist the nation in administering the reforms. Other recent developments consist of the removal of the exit permit requirement, formally establishing a minimum wage for migrant workers, and the implementation of a Wage Protection System (WPS).
Prior to this change in the labor code, workers were required to obtain an exit permit to leave the country. Law No. 13 of 2018, amended provisions of Law No. 21 (2015) and Law No. 1 (2017) that regulated the entry and exit of foreign nationals. Previously, all migrant workers were required to obtain an exit permit from their employer in order to leave Qatar. This move was termed a “huge step” by the International Organization for Labour (ILO). According to the head of the ILO Project Office in Qatar, Houtan Homayounpour, great progress has been made with regards to labour reforms in the country but the work is far from finished.
(Image Source: Argaam)
On Sunday, America’s Islamic Heritage Museum in Washington, DC hosted a brunch for local Muslim leaders. The brunch featured a presentation by museum director Amir Muhammad overviewing the museum’s growth and its future development plans in the context of increasing investment in the Anacostia area.
QAI sponsored the brunch, organizing the catering for the event. In discussing the future of the museum, QAI and other participants considered possibilities for future programming, including cooperation between QAI and the museum.
(Image Source: MuslimsinAmerica)
This week, Qatar Foundation CEO Her Excellency Sheikha Hind Al Thani gave an interview to Annmarie Hordern of Bloomberg and discussed the work of the Qatar Foundation and the empowerment of women in Qatar.
Qatar Foundation has always offered equal opportunities to men and women, according to Sheikha Hind. Citing that half of the student body at Texas A&M University at Qatar and the majority of computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar are female, she says that Qatar has simply had to offer the opportunities for women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the first place, rather than close a gender gap.
“Women are much more active in the workplace today than they were 20 years ago. Once you get the women involved in the conversation, you will see a societal impact and a societal change.” Sheikha Hind Al Thani
Sheikha Hind also discussed the impact that the illegal blockade has had on the students within the Qatar Foundation. While Qatar Foundation itself has not been meaningfully impacted by the blockade, many students had their exams and education disrupted as a result, and were forced to restart their degrees elsewhere or on the U.S. campuses of Education City’s university branches because they were no longer allowed to study in Doha.
On January 13th, 2019 the United States and Qatar held the Second U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue in Doha under the theme “Forward Together.” Chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the dialogue focused on: regional security and defense cooperation, education and culture, law enforcement and counterterrorism partnerships, commercial and energy cooperation, and labor issues.
This year’s Strategic Dialogue builds on the historic achievements of the First U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, in Washington, D.C., in which Qatar and the U.S. agreed to landmark cooperation in several areas.
A Joint Statement produced by the U.S. and Qatar details the outcome of the dialogue, progress made in key policy areas, and the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and Statements of Intent (SOIs) to advance mutual cooperation.
Full Remarks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at a Press Availability (01/13/2019)
Full Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani (01/13/2019)
Below is a summary of key developments from the Joint Statement produced at this year’s U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue:
Officials reaffirmed their commitment to ongoing senior-level engagement:
Qatar and the United States expressed strong support for the expansion of bilateral relations evinced by high-level meetings in 2018 between: U.S. President Donald J. Trump and HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani; U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani; U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah; and an exchange of other minister-level visits to Washington and Doha. These high-level diplomatic engagements highlight the two nations’ shared commitment to advance cooperation and promote global peace and prosperity.
The U.S. recognized Qatar’s role as a leader in global humanitarian assistance and development:
The United States acknowledged Qatar’s generous humanitarian role bilaterally and multilaterally through the work of various UN agencies, in the form of a $500 million multi-year assistance pledge, including $8 million annually between 2019 and 2023 to support forcibly displaced populations, and assist refugees including millions of vulnerable young children and women.
Both countries reiterated the essential role the U.S.-Qatar defense partnership serves in international security:
Qatar and the United States emphasized the vital contribution their defense partnership provides for the security and stability of the region. This strong and lasting partnership is key to successfully combating terrorism, countering violent extremism, and deterring external aggression. U.S. officials lauded Qatar’s contributions in supporting the strategic U.S. military presence in Qatar under the U.S. Central Command.
Three key developments in defense were announced:
- The two governments reaffirmed their commitment to the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation to promote peace and stability and counter the scourge of terrorism.
- The United States welcomed Qatar’s generous offer to expand critical facilities at bases used by U.S. forces in the country and to align operating procedures at these bases with NATO standards, thereby increasing the operational capability of U.S. and coalition forces based in Qatar.
- The U.S. and Qatar signed an MOU enabling deeper coordination on potential expansion at Al Udeid Air Base. Qatar’s offers to fund capital expenditures and sustainment affords the possibility of a more enduring U.S. presence.
The U.S. recognized Qatar’s commitments to defeat radical extremism, prevent terrorism finance, and to support U.S. anti-terrorism efforts:
The United States thanked Qatar for its continued efforts to counter terrorism, counter the financing of terrorism, and prevent violent extremism in all forms. Both sides intend to strengthen their security and counterterrorism (CT) partnership to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism. The United States welcomed Qatar’s commitment to provide $75 million over five years to the work of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, including its efforts to help Member States develop and implement advance passenger information and passenger name record systems in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2396.
The forward progress made on several counterterrorism agreements, including the July 11, 2017 MOU on Counterterrorism, was reviewed:
They reviewed the positive progress made under the terms of the MOU on Counterterrorism signed on July 11, 2017, and the second bilateral CT Dialogue convened in Doha September 5, 2018, including the 2018 Joint Action Plan to implement provisions on border security, information sharing, countering the financing of terrorism, anti-money laundering, aviation security, cybersecurity, and judicial capacity building.
A Memorandum of Understanding in education was signed by Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister bin Abdulrahman Al Thani:
The U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani signed the MOU in the field of education to continue building and sustaining key partnerships in the fields of: primary, secondary, and higher education; English and Arabic language instruction; student advising; promoting academic exchange; and facilitating a wide range of study abroad options that enable students to achieve their personal and professional goals.
Qatar and the United States welcomed the role of U.S. companies in Qatar’s development and of Qatari investment in U.S. firms and jobs:
The Qatari delegation outlined successful implementation of reforms designed to attract foreign investment in Qatar, including free trade zones and expanding business ownership for non-citizens. Both countries also underscored their commitment to boosting trade and investment and noted the growing strength of bilateral trade relations.
Qatar confirmed that the United States is its top import partner, representing 18% of all imports to Qatar in 2018.
The two governments recognized Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) previous commitment to invest $45 billion in American firms, real estate, and jobs. QIA Chief Executive Mr. Mansour al-Mahmoud described plans to increase Qatari investments in American infrastructure.
The United States and Qatar emphasize the importance of their continued partnership which benefits the interests of both countries, as well as the security and prosperity of the Gulf region.
This Strategic Dialogue process underlines the commitment of Qatar and the United States to increase cooperation in fields that provide the greatest mutual and practical benefit. Such cooperation includes the issues discussed today but also incorporates important work in the fields of health, food safety, intellectual property rights, nuclear safeguards and more. Qatar and the United States remain committed to dialogue and long-term cooperation on political issues, consolidating state-of-the-art defense facilities, combating terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms, countering the financing of terrorism, expanding their trade and investment partnerships, and enhancing educational and cultural cooperation.
To expand partnerships and advance mutual policy goals in those areas, the two sides agreed to hold the first working group in April of 2019. Qatar and the United States look forward to reviewing progress in these areas at the next Strategic Dialogue in Washington in 2020.
(Image Source: Middle East Monitor)
The 2018 Doha Forum was held in its namesake city this year from December 15-16, 2018 and brought together key leaders from the international community under the Forum’s theme “Shaping Policy in an Interconnected World.”
The 2018 Doha Forum was launched with an opening address by His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of Qatar. His Highness stressed the need for free speech and dialogue between the Gulf countries.
The Financial Times reported on the mission of this year’s Doha Forum:
“The 2018 Doha Forum brought together political figures, thought leaders, governmental agencies, and civic society organizations with the aim of facilitating dialogue about how conscious policymaking can guide us to our global tomorrow. The forum addressed today’s urgent issues and ways the international community can come together to solve them. The forum also highlighted the modern success models and discusses how we can expand on them and replicate them. Through active and responsible global leadership, our possibilities are limitless.”
Below are some highlights of key 2018 Doha Forum developments, events, speeches, and speakers:
- Qatar Announces USD Half Billion in Aide to UN Agencies
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Qatar Fund for Development today signed agreements with multiple United Nations agencies to support humanitarian, counter-terrorism and relief programs around the world on the sidelines of Doha Forum. The multi-year assistance to ten UN agencies amounts to USD 500 million, including 28 million to the UN Development Program (UNDP), 8 million annually between 2019 and 2023 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 4 million annually to UNICEF and 15 million annually to the Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC).
- Announcement of the Doha Forum Award
The first Doha Forum Award will be given in 2019 to recognize outstanding achievements in diversity, dialogue and diplomacy, and will be worth half a million US Dollars.
Opening address by HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of Qatar:
Keynote address by HE António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
- H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qatar
- H.E. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the United Nations General Assembly
- H.E. Hassan Ali Khaire, Prime Minister, Somalia
- H.E. Teodor-Viorel Meleşcanu,Foreign Minister, Romania
- Wolfgang Ischinger (moderator), Chairman, Munich Security Conference
- Brett McGurk, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS
- Vladamir Voronkov, U.N. Undersecretary General for Counter Terrorism
- Peter Bergen (moderator), Vice President for Global Studies & Fellows, New America Foundation
- H.E. Ali Shareef Al-Emadi, Minister of Finance, Qatar
- H.E. Berat Albayrak, Minister of Treasury and Finance, Turkey
- Christian Sewing, CEO, Deutsche Bank
- Chris Giles (moderator), FT Economics Editor
- Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Minister of State at the Department for International Development
- H.E. Sigmar Gabriel, Member of the Bundestag (Parliament), Former Vice Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs
- H.E Dr. Mutlaq Al-Qahtani, Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution
- Ibrahim Kalin, Special adviser to President Erdogan and the Presidential Spokesperson
- Julien Barnes-Dacey (moderator), Director, Middle East and North Africa Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations
- Michael Rich, President, RAND
- Alain Gresh, Editor, OrientXXI
- Ahmed Elmagarmid, Executive director, QCRI
- Nicholas Enfield, Director, Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Institute, University of Sydney
- Steve Clemons (moderator), Editor-at-Large, The Atlantic
- H.E. Moussa Mara, Former Prime Minister of Mali
- Yéro Boly, Former Defense Minister, Burkina Faso
- Hannah Armstrong, Senior Sahel Consultant, International Crisis Group
- Phillip Carter III, Consultant, The Mead Hill Group, Former US Ambassador to Ivory Coast
- Rinaldo Depagne (moderator), West Africa Project Director, International Crisis Group
Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri is the chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC). The NHRC was established in 2002 and functions as an independent non-governmental organization. In this interview, Dr. Al-Marri discussed the major legislative reforms that have been undertaken by the Qatari government to protect the rights of migrant workers, as well as the human rights violations Qatar has endured due to the political and economic blockade imposed by regional neighbors.
Below are key excerpts from His Excellency’s conversation:
Qatar’s initiatives in building bridges to peace have seen the U.S. as a critical stakeholder:
In 2007, Qatar started interfaith dialogue between Christians, Jews, and Muslims so that co-existence could be a reality. Qatar invited many U.S. universities to join our Education City to give the region access to excellent and unrestricted education. To bring about these reforms, we invited help from experts—financial, environmental, academic, and human rights specialists.
Qatar has been a critical partner of the United States in securing peace in Afghanistan:
AL-THANI: Well, in fact, what we see in Afghanistan now for over the last few years since this office been established for the purpose of the peace talks between Taliban and the Afghan government and the U.S., there were not much progress in it. But in the recent—in the recent months, we have seen a lot of positive things.
Qatar’s Year of Culture program will see the U.S. as its marquee partner in 2021, showcasing the cultural and people-to-people ties that bind the two allied countries together:
We will have the Year of Culture between Qatar and United States in 2021, which is a showcase for this cultural exchange between the countries. We have it every year in a different country and it has been a successful model for promoting the Qatari culture and inviting the other cultures.
Outline of Qatar’s engagement-driven foreign policy that emphasizes dialogue, development, and global partnerships:
Over the past twenty years, Qatar has engaged with the world through foreign diplomacy, forged economic global partnership(s), developed human capital, invested in the region. Two decades ago, my country decided to begin a new chapter of openness. This decision shaped Qatar’s signature foreign policy of engagement, dialogue, and collaboration. This was new for the Middle East and the outreach paid off.
Outside the neighborhood, Qatar found friends, allies around the globe. Within the neighborhood, Qatar became a skilled mediator in the region largely closed off to negotiation. For example, in Lebanon we were able to help calm the sectarian fighting and fill the vacuum of power. In Sudan, we helped stop a genocide and sustain peace in Darfur. Today, we are facilitating talks between U.S., the Afghan government, and parliament.
Qatar’s liquified natural gas strategy has transformed the global energy landscape:
This engagement-driven foreign policy meant that a political partnership ran parallel to economic ones. Reciprocal investments across the globe made in numerous industry sectors meant that Qatar could partner with the global specialists who supply the world with liquefied natural gas. This was no easy task because scientists had not developed an efficient way to liquefy natural gas and to ship it.
So Qatar and experts around the world collaborated and brought the energy industry into a new era of liquefied natural gas. Simultaneously, Qatar was able to diversify its economy to move away from fossil fuel dependency. Today, Qatar supplies almost 30 percent of the world’s natural gas.
Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup will be the most environmentally-friendly rendition of the games in history:
So there is a lot of programs that are taking place within the country in order to transform our country to a more green country, more environmentally friendly, and we are experiencing this especially in the World Cup—in the World Cup Project, which will take place in 2022, and I hope all of you come there and enjoy it in Doha.
The stadiums—the way it’s built—the buildings over there, all of them they are maintaining the maximum standard of environmentally friendly. We have also—we take the same consideration on our industrials because Qatar is an industrial country as well where we have industries which are derivatives from the gas industry or from the oil industry. All of this the environment is taken into consideration.
Full Video – Council on Foreign Relations: A Conversation with Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani, the CEO of the Qatar Foundation, published an editorial in Quartz yesterday on women’s rights and empowerment in Qatar. In it, she addressed the Me Too and Time’s Up movements, and dispelled the misconception that women’s empowerment in the Middle East and Arab World are categorically worse than in the West. She highlighted the high volume of female participation in STEM fields compared to the U.S., as well as the fact that the female labor participation rate in Qatar is above the global average.
“[I]t fills me with pride to walk into boardrooms at the Foundation and know that 40% of the leadership working at the 5,000-strong organization is female.” – Her Excellency Sheikha Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani
Qatar has the highest female labor participation rate in the Arab World, and women comprise a majority of the students in its higher education system. While Sheikha Hind acknowledges that there is still room for further progress in Qatar, gender relations in the country provide a profound example for the world of how societal progress can be achieved without sacrificing cultural traditions.