WASHINGTON, DC — On Monday, September 14th, 2020, as part of the annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, representatives from the two nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) marking 2021 as the “U.S.-Qatar Year of Culture” between the United States and Qatar. The Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC) is thrilled for this partnership, which will further the cultural connections, collaborations, and exchanges between the US and Qatar.
The “Year of Culture” is a year-long agreement between Qatar and other countries. This is a Qatar Museums initiative in which a selected country is chosen to engage in a variety of cultural exchange programs in both countries. The program aims to convey Qatar to an international audience and bring the diverse cultures of the world to Qatar. The “Year of Culture” is executed through various exhibitions, festivals, competitions, and events that increase mutual understanding and appreciation between the respective nations – inviting people to explore their cultural similarities and differences.
The “U.S.-Qatar Year of Culture” agreement was signed as a part of the US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, a yearly strategic planning and capacity building discussion between high-level officials from the US and Qatar. The event included dignitaries from both countries such as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, as well as their counterparts Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and Qatar’s Ambassador to the US Sheikh Meshal Hamad Al-Thani.
In his speech at the opening session, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said, “We, in this third session of the strategic dialogue, are not only strengthening the existing economic, military and security cooperation between us, but also expanding it to include other equally important areas such as education, culture, and development.” On the other hand, US Secretary of State Pompeo commented that “I’m happy, too, today that we’re going to sign an MOU designating 2021 as the year of Qatar-US Year of Culture, and to discuss opportunities for cultural exchange. The MOU emphasizes our partnership has grown beyond just defense and economics into one of true friendship and community between our people and our two countries.”
From her end, H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa, the Chairperson of Qatar Museums, stated that “culture goes beyond the arts, it’s a measure of lifestyle that extends to all areas of life. We celebrate culture, sports, business, education, music, and much more. I look forward to working on building on the existing strong relationship between our nations and exploring new opportunities together.” She added, “We [Qatar] inaugurated the Year of Culture program in celebrating Qatar’s successful bid to host the World Cup in 2022. We celebrated cities hosting the World Cup, with Brazil in 2014 and Russia in 2018. Today, it brings me great pleasure to announce that 2021 will be the Year of Culture between Qatar [and the] USA. Qatar will host the next World Cup in 2022 and the USA will bring the next version to its grounds in 2026.”
As a key partner of the “U.S.-Qatar Year of Culture,“ QAIC is honored to take a central role in facilitating and complementing the various programs scheduled to take place in 2021. Whether through the Arab Film House and its partnership with the Doha Film Institute, FOCI photography program jointly with Qatar Museums, Fellowships and Creatives Residencies, various Expressions Art & Culture Talks, or its Cultural Enrichment events focused on Visual and Culinary Arts, QAIC’s programming will inject further substance into the shared cultural foundations between the United States and Qatar.