On March 14, 2020, in the midst of a global health crisis, Her Excellency Sheikha Hind, Vice-Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation (QF), addressed Qatar’s resilience and capacity to persevere in the face of adversity. In these times, the strength and adaptability of a nation can be found at the heart of its civic and institutional engagements. Qatar has indeed raised to the challenge in the past and is set to continue building on innovative responses to such crises.
Solidarity and resilience are core elements of social cohesion – especially in the aftermath of unprecedented precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus. While state institutions must provide adequate support to its population, every sector – public or private – must contribute to the wellbeing of its community. In this instance, Qatar Foundation (QF) took the necessary steps of “closing its public facilities and programs at Education City and canceling forthcoming events, with school and university classes also being suspended across the country.” Further, on March 15, recognizing the financial impact of closing measures, QF announced the waiving of rents for its external SME retail tenants for six months.
In her address, Her Excellency Sheikha Hind provides a positive and realistic outlook on the disruptions of COVID-19. The response to the crisis is one based on readiness and determination to rally a nation towards a common goal and rise above the public health challenge. Most importantly, HE referred to how Qataris from all walks of life are taking part in the nation’s response. In her words, “The stories I’ve been hearing are heartwarming. Teachers thinking of ways to keep our children motivated, our teams at QF are ensuring third-party vendors are not affected, scientists and researchers offering their support to our government agencies”. These stories testify not only to the importance of civic duty but also to the adaptive resilience of Qatari society. The latter can only be propelled by the endurance and courage of individuals and organizations alike.
In addition to the creation of new solidarity networks, other challenges arise along with innovative ways to tackle them. As demonstrated by QF’s measures in its “activation of tried-and-tested remote working processes for many of its staff,” the disruptions of the health crisis can be managed via novel work practices. According to HE, “This is our opportunity to redesign the future workplace […] With the right mindset, we can increase productivity and reinvent the way we work in the long run.”
As mentioned by Her Excellency, preventive measures and social distancing can be inadvertently overwhelming. However, the focus is on alleviating the strain on health providers and services, and on the protection of the most vulnerable. These momentums prevail beyond the uncertainties of the health crisis and can shape long-term outcomes.
(Image Source: QF)