Connecting Past to Present: A Look Into QAIC’s World Cup Fans Reflection by Nada Darwish

With just 100 days to go, the 2022 FIFA World Cup countdown is ticking away until the best soccer players from 32 global teams compete for the glorious golden trophy. This Cup will be a moment to remember in our history books as it will be the second time Asia holds the tournament and the first time Qatar and the Middle East host it. Like clockwork, the World Cup has been ongoing every four years except for one interruption during World War II. In 1930, the first tournament was officially held in Uruguay with only three venues and thirteen teams. Over time, the World Cup has stretched across Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America, the Caribbean, Oceania, and South America, attracting millions of fans to watch their favorite teams play on the pitch. Leading up to the present, millions will not only watch the tournaments during wintertime but will also experience one of the most unique soccer matches in history. With seven state-of-the-art stadiums built from scratch and one refurbished, die-hard soccer fans will enjoy the proximity of each stadium as they are all within a 35-mile radius of Doha. One could even watch all four scheduled games in one day by using the Doha Metro. To many soccer aficionados, the World Cup in Qatar will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience as fans will have a chance to enjoy the arts and culture scene offered during the matches.

Laila Jadallah, QAIC’s Director of Programs, stated, “As someone who grew up watching the beautiful game and World Cup since a young child, it’s exciting to join QAIC during this historic moment in World Cup history and to be able to connect the excitement and cultural activities related to the World Cup in Qatar, here in Washington.”  When Qatar won the bid in 2010, Lyndsey Medlin, QAIC’s Programs Manager, became a fan of watching the World Cup during her time at VCU when the university had the matches playing on screens around campus. Lyndsey was so caught up in the Germany vs. Ghana match that she was almost an hour late to class.

While the world awaits the opening ceremony, QAIC staff are also eager to watch the first USA game against Wales at QAIC’s home on November 21. Andrew Abell, QAIC’s newest Communications Officer, is especially thrilled to watch professional soccer player Weston McKennie on the field. He recalls his first time watching the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, tuning in every day after school.

Fatima Al-Dosari, QAIC’s Executive Director, reminisced her memories when it was announced that Qatar won the bid for the 2022 World Cup. She said, “I still remember that Thursday evening in December 2010, when we went from having a typical family gathering of eating Machboos at Grandma’s to joining everyone on the Corniche to celebrate.” At that time, she was still a student at Qatar University who used her free time and passion for being part of her country’s story through cultural exchange with international students and advocacy for workers’ welfare. She and a group of friends even created a video celebrating International Labor Day. Watch the video below.


Lastly, I will never forget Doha’s spirit that I felt twelve years ago as I was barbecuing where the desert meets the sea, also known as the inland sea. I recall the thrill of that Thursday night in 2010 when the announcement was made on the radio about Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup. Similarly to Fatima, it was a momentous opportunity and great honor as my friends, family, and the Qatari nation celebrated along  Al Corniche. Like many cultural avenues, sports are a universal language and art form where communities can cheer, connect and celebrate the 2022 World Cup. Looking back, I am delighted to connect my childhood in Qatar with my present at QAIC as the world rejoices in anticipation until the matches commence.

Listen and watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 Official soundtrack below: