The Power of Heritage

Year of Culture

Culture has become a common buzzword in Qatar, as part of its drive for international recognition. This has included branding campaigns with international football clubs, expanding Qatar Airways’ flight routes, […]

Culture has become a common buzzword in Qatar, as part of its drive for international recognition. This has included branding campaigns with international football clubs, expanding Qatar Airways’ flight routes, and pursuing a higher degree of international activity through diplomatic channels. With this, one of the key initiatives undertaken by Qatar is partnering with a single country for a one-year period for the purpose of cultural exchange. In 2012, Qatar announced that its first Year of Culture partnership would be with Japan. Designed to take Qatar to the world and bring the world to Qatar, the Year of Culture is a landmark initiative to deepen understanding between nations and their people through mutual exchanges of arts, culture, heritage, and sport. Under the direction of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Qatar Museums spearheads the series of bilateral, cultural exchanges programs through the Office of Strategic Cultural Relations. As such, and due to their already existing close diplomatic and business ties, Qatar has partnered with Turkey for the Year of Culture in 2015.

On January 27th, 2015, Qatar kicked off the 4th Year of Culture with Qatar-Turkey at the Museum of Islamic Art. The event hosted 100 VIPs from both countries with a large selection of business, cultural, and business leaders taking part. At the event Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari said, “We look forward to this Year of Culture based on the success of previous years that will feature cultural events between the Qatari and Turkish people. This platform of communication opens many doors in the cultural, sports, and business arenas, which will in turn open up long-term relationships between institutions and individuals in both countries.“ Thereafter, Qatar put forward a series of 19 events that would bring the two countries closer together.

With deep understanding that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, one of the key events was the Reach out to Asia (ROTA) Empower Conference, which is an annual conference that seeks to promote, motivate, and inspire the spirit of leadership and responsibility in young people in Qatar between 16 and 26 years of age. At this event, five Turkish students will be invited to take part in the Year of Culture. The three-day event includes a combination of panel discussions, key note addresses, seminars, and more aimed at how to empower young people and the importance of realizing your potential and goals in an ever-changing global world. Only a couple months later, under the patronage of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and under the headline of ROTA, Her Excellency organized an event centered around helping women internationally as part of the Qatar Turkey Year of Culture. With this, Her Excellency organized Ramadan Ladies Ghabqat Al Khaier in order to “support the emergency education needs of our brothers and sisters in Yemen.“ The silent auction took place took place in order to donate Ottoman Turkish themed objects and photographs.

The Qatar Turkey Year of Culture was not limited to educational or charitable exchanges, but was also one that highlighted the deep routes of each culture in the arts. Throughout the year Qatar and Turkey hosted a group of art exhibitions, concerts, and food displays including the Qatar International Food Festival featuring the pallet-pleasing Turkish cuisine. Ankara also hosted the Qatari Contemporary Art Exhibition and Qatar hosted “Harem Al Sultan,“ an exhibition focused on the Ottoman Empire and, especially, the Turkish soap opera “Mühteşem Yüzyıl,“ which tells the story of Suleiman the Magnificent and took the Middle East by storm.
All in all, the many displays of culture, whether they be artistic, gastronomical, musical, or educational, all have their impact. The Qatar-Turkey Year of Culture will only reinforce the already close ties between Qatar and Turkey for many years to come.

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