Sheikha Moza and Other Global Female Leaders Gather to Build Support Behind UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, along with other prominent female leaders rallied behind the most recent United Nation’s global advocacy effort, “Rise for All,” in an effort to support the UN Secretary-General’s call for urgent action to respond to the Coronavirus. The initiative aims to effectively respond in a unified global response to both the negative economic and societal impacts that the Coronavirus has created in nations across the globe.
The initiative’s main priorities are to safeguard lives, ensure continued livelihood in the face of social distancing measures, and to urge the leaders of all nations to adequately respond to the human crises because of the pandemic.
The group of female leaders gathered from across the wide spectrum of industries and sectors was called by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. The group was mobilized to create solid international support and political commitments to “build back better,” taking into account the long-term effects that effective measures enacted now would create. The group called for political and economic support for the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. The fund hopes to support low- and middle-income countries that are ill-equipped to handle the pandemic with cushioning the negative impacts that the pandemic ha caused on their respective populations.
The ‘Feed a Fasting Person’ project aimed at targeting those at-risk outside Qatari borders aims to feed and benefit an estimated 425 Thousand people through the distribution of food baskets and iftar meals.
The project aims to target primarily vulnerable portions of society such as the elderly, orphans, those with special needs, and refugees. The project targets populations worldwide with distribution centers in Turkey, Syria, and Sudan to name a few.
Qatar Charity, in coordination with municipal governments in Turkey that house a large Syrian refugee population, has started delivering ready-to-eat Iftar meals. It is expected that over 100,000 fasting persons will receive meals in Turkey, extending to both Turkish residents and Syrian refugees residing in Turkey.
The ‘Feed a Fasting Person’ project will also include the distribution of food baskets to thousands of beneficiaries inside Syria that have been adversely affected by the decade-long civil war.
In Sudan, the distribution of food items has also begun with over 2000 residents of rural Omdurman city benefiting. Outside of the city, some 24,475 people throughout Sudan are expected to benefit from food baskets.
Lastly, Qatar Charity has taken into consideration public safety and precautionary measures in the implementation of its Ramadan projects to fight the coronavirus, as it prepares and packs meals in the municipal kitchens to ensure that they will remain safe and clean.
(Image Source: The Peninsula)
The state of Qatar continues to extend a helping hand to assist those that have been impacted by the Coronavirus within the United States. On April 24th, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a large donation of five million dollars to assist those in Los Angeles most in need. The donation will assist over 1000 families with daily expenses in this unprecedented economic crisis
As cases of novel coronavirus continued to mount in Los Angeles, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti outlined an expansion of the Angeleno Card program and other efforts underway to soften the blow of the pandemic for Angelenos. Garcetti thanked the government of Qatar for the “truly generous humanitarian gift to Angeleno families.” He said the gift had special meaning, as it coincided with the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. More than 1,100 of the prepaid Angeleno Cards, loaded with up to $1,500 each, have been distributed just over the past two days, Garcetti said.
But while the program initially called for a total of 10,000 cards to be distributed, officials now plan to hand out 15,000 of them, according to the mayor, benefiting an estimated 45,000 people.
On April 16th, the US Secretary of State addressed his counterpart in Qatar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani expressing his gratitude for Qatar’s efforts in assisting stranded American citizens to find a way to return home during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Good to speak with #Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdulrahman al-Thani. I thanked him for Qatar’s support in helping us bring #AmericansHome during #COVID19. We also discussed regional issues, in particular confronting Iran’s destabilizing actions, including in Iraq.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 17, 2020
On April 24th, the US Department of State also addressed a letter to Qatar Airways, which was later tweeted by the Qatar Airways twitter account stating “On behalf of the United States government and the American people, I want to express our appreciation for Qatar Airways’ continued assistance in transporting US citizens home from Qatar and other destinations around the world.
However, Qatar and Qatar Airways’ efforts in reuniting families and loved ones during this unprecedented time is not solely reserved for citizens of the United States. As flight bans have been enacted around the world, Qatar Airways pledged to “clear the backlog” of stranded citizens hoping to find a method to get back home from Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Many thanks to the US Government and to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo for their kind words of appreciation to Qatar and Qatar Airways. We have made it our mission for everyone to ensure we are #TakingYouHome @SecPompeo pic.twitter.com/cYn6rvm3hP
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) April 24, 2020
The chief commercial officer of Qatar Airways told The Independent that the airline is increasing capacity as others close down their operations. He states that “having downsized our operation a little bit about a week ago, we’re now upscaling again: adding additional flights to some destinations, putting on bigger aircraft – for example, our A380s are back in the sky now…We’ve made this our core mission right now, to get people home…More than three-quarters of our bookings at the moment are people who are returning home – either returning home from trips or they’ve been located in another country and they’ve been advised to or just wish to go to their home country.”
The state of Qatar announced that it would provide over $150 million in aid to the Gaza Strip to support many of the United Nations programs and to contain the new coronavirus outbreak before it spreads throughout the densely packed enclave. The announcement was made the Qatari Committee to Rebuild Gaza on Twitter.
HH the Amir directs USD 150 million in support of Gaza Strip, to complement the efforts of Qatar to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, and in support of UN relief and humanitarian programs in Gaza, and to combat the outbreak of the Coronavirus #QNA pic.twitter.com/5GbGLSSDqy
— Qatar News Agency (@QNAEnglish) March 22, 2020
The Qatari aid, disbursed over the coming six months, was announced shortly after the Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the first two cases of COVID-19. Within the surrounding region, an estimated 1270 individuals are being held under quarantine under suspicion of contracting the Coronavirus.
Gaza’s healthcare system, already underfunded and at a disadvantage to address the outbreak, is also being supported by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO has provided several testing kits but more aid is required as the healthcare system is only able to handle 100 cases before it is overwhelmed.
Additional measures have also been undertaken to stem the spread of the disease. The UNRWA for Palestine has begun to distribute food to individual homes rather than having residents come to a distribution center and creating conditions that could further spread the disease.
(Image Source: Twitter – @jadallah6)
March 01, 2020, was the last day of the outgoing Chargé d’affairs William Grant at the US Embassy in Doha, Qatar. Grant oversaw crucial aspects of the US-Qatar relationship over the last year as the level of cooperation between the United States and Qatar reach ever greater heights. Chargé Grant further enhanced business ties between American and Qatari business’, engaged critical players in Qatar’s Defence establishment with their American counterparts, was present as the United States negotiated with the Taliban, and brought the overall US-Qatar relationship closer together.
The new Chargé d’affairs and former Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Qatar will be Mr. Phillip Nelson. Nelson has been a career foreign service officer since 1994.
He has previously served at US missions in Baghdad, Rabat, Kinshasa, Vienna, Chisinau, Libreville, and Montreal, as well as being the Burundi Desk Officer. Mr. Nelson is fluent in French, German, Norwegian, and Romanian, and has a limited fluency in Arabic, Russian, and Danish.
(Image Source: Twitter – @USAmbQatar)
Qatar has played a crucial role in conducting peace negotiations between the US military and the Taliban. In 2013, at Washington’s request under the Obama administration, Qatar facilitated in opening an unofficial Taliban office in Doha so that negotiations could take place between the US, the Afghan government, and the Taliban.
Additionally, Qatar has been intrinsically involved in the United States’ mission to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. On January 16, 2018, Qatar signed a security agreement with NATO within the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.
The agreement allowed for NATO forces and personnel to both enter and transit through Qatar, primarily using the Al-Udeid Air Base. The US and NATO coalition in Afghanistan then added Qatar into the multi-nation coalition with the first-ever deployment of Qatari ground troops to the South Asian nation in July of 2018.
Left #Qatar knowing that the world is a safer place, with solid progress towards a political settlement that will end the war in #Afghanistan. Thank you to Qatar and our allies and partners for their support of peace in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/j6C9B6DxDT
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 1, 2020
Now, seven years after the opening of the office, US officials and Taliban representatives have signed an agreement after several rounds of negotiations in Doha, in expectation of ending the United States’ longest war. The agreement was signed in Doha in the presence of leaders from Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. If the deal is successful, it will pave the way for the US to gradually withdraw its troops.
The deal has four points: a 14-month timeline for the withdrawal of all US and NATO troops from Afghanistan; that Afghan soil will not be used as a launchpad to threaten the security of the US; the start of intra-Afghan negotiations by March 10; and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
(Image Source: Twitter – @SecPompeo)
On Monday, 09 December 2019, QAI hosted its first Doha salon dinner, titled “Qatar- America: Forging New Paths” at Doha’s newly-opened American hotel, Park Hyatt. The intimate dinner aimed to introduce invitees to QAI’s new leadership and highlight past accomplishments, ongoing activities, upcoming projects, and strategic goals. It also introduced new key partners to the organization, such as the programmatic partnership with the Doha Film Institute (DFI) starting October 2019 and the corporate sponsorship from ConocoPhillips starting in 2020.
Twenty American and Qatari guests with backgrounds ranging from the arts, culture, business, education, and diplomacy enjoyed the family-style dinner served by Qatari Chef Shams Al-Qassabi of Doha’s Opus Restaurant.
In addition to the delicious food, guests also enjoyed an exhibition of artwork graciously loaned by the Al-Bahie auction house, which featured works by Arab and Islamic artists, such as a contemporary bronze horse sculpture by the artist Mohammed Hussain Alkhaldi, a vintage Tabriz rug, and a painting by Baya Mahieddine. QAI’s Executive Director Fatima Al-Dosari led the dinner conversations which included remarks by the dinner’s guest of honor Mr. William Grant, who is the Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires of the United States in Qatar and Mr. J. Todd Creeger, President of the Qatar Business Unit for ConocoPhillips.
Through December 14th-15th 2019, the Qatar-America Institute (QAI) was pleased to attend the Doha Forum. Widely regarded as one of the world’s premier international policy conferences, this year’s theme was “Reimagining Governance in a Multipolar World.” The Forum convened heads of state, policymakers, scholars, journalists, business leaders, and other distinguished participants to explore new approaches for a more pragmatic, sustainable, and collaborative governance around the world.
HH the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, opened the Forum with a speech calling for greater international cooperation and emphasizing the vital role that non-governmental and non-profit organizations play in civil society.
In between dozens of official panels and sessions covering every topic from foreign affairs to culture, the Forum also serves as a convening space for stakeholders in the U.S.-Qatar relationship. QAI’s leadership attended the 2019 Doha Forum in order to build relationships, gain valuable insight into the topics our audience cares about, and raise international awareness of QAI’s mission.
Additionally, a broad array of American individuals, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senior Advisor to the U.S. President Ivanka Trump, among others, participated in this forum. Also, entities extended their support to this forum with organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg, the Stimson Center, The McCain Institute for International Leadership, The Wilson Center, The Middle East Institute, The Brookings Institution, Aspen Institute, The U.S. State Department and USIP, as well as academic institutions such as Yale University, Georgia State University, and Cornell University, and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security.
Dr. Khalid Al-Ali, former Executive Director, Advisor, and Scientist at NASA and a member of QAI’s Advisory Council was a speaker on the panel titled “Developing the High-Tech Sector in Russia: Prospects for Venture Investment.” Dr. Al-Ali previously participated in QAI’s Expert Voices program touring Stanford, UCLA, The Rand Corporation, Larta Institute, and The Pacific Council on International Policy.
“Technology is disruptive. It’s going to be interesting to see a multipolar approach to governance to see who owns the technology that comes out of the 4th industrial revolution.” pic.twitter.com/ZlMlmBtlYF
— Doha Forum (@DohaForum) December 15, 2019
(Image Source: Twitter – @arightside)
The City of Houston proclaimed Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 ‘Qatar Day.’ Qatar Day was proclaimed by Houston Mayor Turner in recognition of the State of Qatar’s efforts to support Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
The $30 million gift from Qatar supported recovery projects in the areas of education, housing, and community development. All of the contributions from Qatar, administered by the Qatar Harvey Fund, have been dispersed ahead of the two-year anniversary of the hurricane in August 2019.
The press release on the Qatar Day Proclamation from the City of Houston can be found below:
CITY OF HOUSTON PROCLAIMS “QATAR DAY IN HOUSTON”
State of Qatar is Recognized for $30 Million in Support After Hurricane Harvey
HOUSTON, TX November 19, 2019 – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner declared today “Qatar Day in Houston” to acknowledge the State of Qatar for its generous support of the city’s long-term recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
In a ceremony in City Council chambers at the council’s weekly meeting, Mayor Turner read aloud and presented a proclamation to Qatar’s consul general in Houston, the Honorable Rashid al-Dehaimi. Council Member Jack Christie had requested the proclamation.
In his acceptance remarks, Consul General al-Dehaimi told members of City Council that the $30 million Qatar Harvey Fund was established soon after the hurricane upon the instructions of His Highness the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and that all of the recovery funds were allocated prior to the storm’s two-year anniversary last August.
The Qatar Harvey Fund is chaired by Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, who said after the ceremony: “The State of Qatar has a history of providing humanitarian assistance throughout the world, including after Hurricane Harvey. We wanted to help our friends in Texas, where our relationships in business, education, and medical and cultural exchange go back decades. It is an honor for us that today is “Qatar Day in Houston.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said: “The Qatar Harvey Fund has helped our City immensely, providing the means to enable a more complete recovery from Hurricane Harvey. On behalf of the City of Houston, we sincerely thank the leaders of Qatar and look forward to their continued friendship.”
Jack Christie, the At-Large Position 5 Council Member, said: “We choose to honor Qatar for the exceptional kindness and compassion that Emir Al Thani, his family, and the great people of Qatar exhibited towards the City of Houston. When the city was at its greatest need, with citizens hurting from floods, homelessness, and educational deficits, our Qatari friends answered the call for aid.”
The Qatar Harvey Fund was established by the State of Qatar in 2017 to administer $30 million in long-term recovery assistance to the people of southeast Texas following widespread destruction from Hurricane Harvey in August of that year. The Fund serves as a commitment of solidarity between the people of Qatar and the people of Texas and the U.S. The entire $30 million has been publicly committed to recovery projects in the areas of education, housing and community development. For more information about the Qatar Harvey Fund, please visit www.QatarHarveyFund.com.
Growing Film Education and Culture Together: Doha Film Institute Partners with The Qatar-America Institute
Qatar-America Institute (QAI) and the Doha Film Institute (DFI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize a partnership between the two organizations and to promote the cultural ties between the U.S. and Qatar.
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK– November 17, 2019 : The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) – an independent cultural and educational nonprofit organization with mission to facilitate dialogue, research, and exchange on the strategic relationship between Qatar and the U.S. – is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Doha Film Institute (DFI), a leading film organization from the Middle East and North Africa, effective from October 23rd 2019.
With culture, community, and education at the core of both institutions, QAI and DFI pledged to work together to promote and foster an appreciation and understanding of the cultural and social intersections between Qatar and the US through creative storytelling and community-driven programs and exchanges.
DFI serves as an all-encompassing film hub in Doha and a resource for the Arab region and is dedicated to film appreciation, education, and building a dynamic film industry in Qatar that focuses on nurturing regional storytellers while being entirely global in its scope. DFI also hosts the annual Ajyal Film Festival which takes place from November 18th- 23rd at Katara Cultural Village, Doha. ‘Ajyal’, Arabic for ‘generations’, consists of screening and events that bring people of all ages together, especially youth, to inspire creative interaction and stimulate cinematic dialogue.
The signatories of the MoU were Ms. Fatma Alremaihi, Chief Executive Officer of DFI and QAI’s Executive Director, Fatima Al-Dosari. Among attendees were DFI’s Chief Administrative Officer, Abdulla Jassim Al-Mosallam, and Fatma Al-Ghanim, DFI’s Director of Marketing & Communications.
QAI Executive Director, Fatima Al-Dosari, said “The MOU represents the beginning of a key relationship that will provide new opportunities and platforms for creatives in film and media from both Qatar and the United States. Since 2010, DFI has remarkably organized workshops featuring many renowned international creatives, in addition to hosting and participating in film festivals and premieres. QAI aims to capture the American-Qatari synergy in film culture and increase awareness, forge introductions, and establish important ties and partnerships between the US and Qatar. This partnership with DFI will definitely serve as another cultural bridge towards that goal.”
“The cultural and business connection between Qatar and the United States are historic”, said DFI Chief Executive Officer, Fatma Hassan Alremaihi. “I want to thank Fatima and the team at the Qatar America Institute for this great opportunity to deepen understanding between the two nations through mutual exchanges of arts and culture. We look forward to an exciting program of activities with our partners at QAI, focused on strengthening a single world connected by education, appreciation, and collaboration.”