Years of Culture announced its inaugural volunteer mission in collaboration with Qatar Museums (QM)'s Community Service section, as part of the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture.
The group of 23 volunteers and artists from the QM, as well as students from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and volunteers from Qatar Youth Hostels, travelled to the SMKN 1 Rota Bayat School in Indonesia to foster connections, promote cross-cultural understanding, and build on the trust that exists between Qatar and Indonesia at the grassroots level.
"After celebrating our 10-year anniversary last year with the entire MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) region, we took stock of what has made Years of Culture so successful over the years,” a Years of Culture representative said. “The answer was quite clear individual connections and friendships forged during the many exchange programmes facilitated throughout the years.”
“In essence, the volunteers traveling to Yogyakarta are our front-line cultural ambassadors, building trust through shared learning and experiences," the representative added.
The SMKN 1 ROTA Bayat School, a vocational and technical school in the Bayat Klaten region, was originally built with the support of Qatar's Reach Out to Asia initiative in 2009 after the devastating earthquake that hit the region in 2006.
The school graduates promising young talent who specialise in traditional Indonesian arts like batik-making, ceramic-making, gamelan music and dance.
The rich and comprehensive workshop programme from Years of Culture and the QM’s Community Service section, developed in line with Ministry of Education requirements, was designed to enrich the educational experience of students and provide them with practical insights into the dynamic realms of art, culture, and professional development.
Volunteers led a series of workshops designed to empower students with valuable skills across several creative disciplines, from photography to digital marketing, and videography, event management for museums and exhibitions, as well as product development in fashion and design.
Speaking just ahead of the volunteer group's departure for Indonesia, QM Community Services head Hazem Idriss said: "I've been working with the SMKN 1 ROTA Bayat School since it first opened in 2009 and saw many incredible students flourish and become prominent artists, teachers and collaborators.”
“I am thrilled to be able to return once again at the helm of our very first official volunteer trip," he said.
Years of Culture is an initiative that seeks to strengthen cultural ties between nations, promoting mutual understanding and appreciation through interpersonal connections and immersive experiences.
Through a series of cultural exchanges and collaborations, Years of Culture aims to showcase the rich cultural heritage of participating countries and foster lasting connections between diverse communities.