Until now, Qatar’s rapid economic progress has largely been centred around the exploitation of vast amounts of oil and gas reserves that the Arab state boasts. With speedy growth comes the challenge of preserving cultural traditions and this is a problem that confronts many societies in a swiftly globalising and increasingly connected world.
Qatar’s escalation has created strains between the old and the new in almost every aspect of daily life. In the modern, highly-competitive world, the capitalistic approach to business often clashes with traditional relationships and values. Moreover, the greater emancipation and variety that complement economic and social progress can pose challenges to deep-rooted social values cherished by a society.
Qatar is trying to mould modernisation around local culture and prove that modern life and traditional values can indeed be compatible, and it is doing this through the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) programme.
The QNV2030 outlines four guiding principles, on the basis of which the state aims to create a sustainable economy and enhance the standard of living of its people. Therefore up until the year 2030, expansion in both the public and private sectors will be centred on human, social, economic and environmental development.
The main objectives of the QNV2030 are to create a society that is educated, capable of playing a key role in forging global partnerships, and one that maintains a balance between economic and social development.
In addition to this, Qatar’s government feels that community development plays a vital part in obtaining the targets it sets. Any advancement in business or science and technology that fails to engage with and nurture culture and art will not be fully beneficial to the state – a strategy that highlights the importance of culture in Qatar’s present and future.
The Katara Cultural Village will play a significant role in this cultural development. It will exhibit art from Qatar and all around the world, as part of the state’s drive to nurture natural talent by providing Qataris with the opportunity to be inspired by art, both old and contemporary.
In an ever-changing and digitalised global world, Katara is eager to offer a platform where Qataris can keep hold of their roots and heritage, while still embracing diversity and rejoicing in similarities with the cultures of the world.
Recently Katara and Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) announced a partnership to initiate and support cultural activities through the development, production and circulation of cultural publications.
According to Hanouf Al-Buainain, Director of BQFP, Qatar wants to bring culture out to the broader consciousness, and at the same time develop a vibrant literacy publishing scene within the state. He foresees that this joint venture will result in Qatar producing a number of books in English and Arabic in the immediate future. He also thinks that the partnership will initiate a common cultural awareness that will allow Qataris to appreciate cultures from across the world and will ultimately reinforce the development of a creative and innovative Qatar, as well.
A prominent event on the cultural itinerary is the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, the annual cultural showpiece of the Doha Film Institute. Held this year from 17th-24th November, the festival showcased homegrown talent with a selection of 19 films by local filmmakers, including nationals and expatriates based in the country.
This year marked the largest exhibition of Made in Qatar films, underlining the significant strides achieved by Qatar’s emerging film industry, with 15 premieres being shown as part of the overall festival line-up. Another 87 films were screened from across the globe. The films will compete for the Made in Qatar development award of $10,000, awarded by an independent jury.
The Qatari cultural revolution now also has a website to act a reference point. The Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari recently launched the website for the ‘Qatar cultural gate.’ The project forms part of the Ministry’s plan to improve its services to keep pace with the developments in the field of information technology.