On 18 July 2018, the Qatar-America Institute hosted Qatar-based author Dr.Mohana Rajakumar for the Institute’s inaugural Expressions Artist Talks Series. This program aims to amplify American voices whose creative works are inspired by their experience with Qatar. Throughout the year, QAI will host American filmmakers, art curators, authors, chefs, singers, painters and many others to discuss the impact Qatar had on their work, while sharing their stories of living and traveling to Qatar.
Dr. Rajakumar, a South-Asian who grew up in America who currently resides in Qatar, is a professor at the VCUarts Qatar campus in Doha and the author of various books in the romance, crime, and academic genre. She claims that Qatar feels like home because, “it is like America, it’s a melting pot because there are people from everywhere.”
The highlights of her presentation included her research on Qatari culture for her books, including the role of the majlis in Qatari society, life in Qatar, the importance of global literature, the effects of the blockade on expats, and the Emir’s role in making expats feel included.
Dr. Rajakumar claims:
“Things have changed a lot in terms of how nationals and expats interact. We have much more of a sense of ‘we are all in this together.’ The Emir has come out very publicly – almost nonstop – throughout the year and said, “we work together, I am proud of my Qataris, but I am also thankful for the expats,” and that’s meant a lot.”
The full video of her presentation and Q&A can be found below:
Expressions Artist Talk: “Pearls of the Past” with Dr. Mohana Rajakumar