In an effort to promote cultural diplomacy and foster cross-cultural understanding, the Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC) was recently invited to an event at Fairfax Academy in Virginia. The event was designed to familiarize students with the rich and diverse world of Qatari culture and heritage while providing a unique learning experience. QAIC also shared Qatari culture by donating various items, including a Qatari majlis to the Arabic department, puzzles, world cup memorabilia, and Arabic/English books, to enhance the students’ educational journey.
The day began with an exciting Arabic crossword contest, which was met with enthusiasm by the students. The competition was fierce, as students eagerly showcased their linguistic skills and cultural knowledge. The first two winning teams received QAIC hoodies as a token of appreciation for their outstanding performance.
One of the highlights of QAIC’s visit to Fairfax Academy was the generous donation of a Qatari majlis to the Arabic department. The majlis, a traditional seating area in Qatari culture, serves as a space for social gatherings and discussions. By introducing this piece of authentic Qatari culture to the students, QAIC aimed to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for students to engage with Arabic language and culture. This initiative allowed students to immerse themselves in a unique and valuable learning environment.
QAIC’s commitment to fostering cultural understanding extended beyond the majlis. The donation of Arabic/English books enriched the students’ reading materials, promoting their language skills and cultural awareness. The inclusion of world cup memorabilia highlighted the global reach of sports, transcending language and cultural barriers. These diverse resources aimed to inspire students to explore the Arabic language and culture further and gain a broader perspective on the world.
As part of the event, students had the opportunity to take part in an olfactory activity. This activity introduced them to the history of traditional incense, such as “frankincense” and “oud.” Students were able to explore and understand the significance of these aromatic substances in Qatari culture and beyond. Learning about the history, trade routes, and popularity of these fragrances provided students with a valuable glimpse into the world of cultural diplomacy.
The Senior Programs Manager from QAIC took the stage to share insights into the historical significance of these incenses, the routes merchants took to trade them, and how these fragrances have been cherished for centuries in the Arab world. This unique educational experience allowed the students to not only appreciate the cultural depth of the Arabic-speaking world but also inspired them to explore new aspects of it.
QAIC’s visit to Fairfax Academy in Virginiamade significant strides toward fostering cultural diplomacy and deepening cultural understanding. This event exemplified the power of cultural exchange and served as a reminder that by learning about and appreciating other cultures, we can build bridges of understanding and friendship across borders.