Several writers and intellectuals have affirmed that Qatar serves as a model for promoting cultural diversity and fostering dialogue and peaceful coexistence among all segments of society.
On the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, which falls on May 21 each year, they emphasized that cultural diversity constitutes a driving force for development, not only at the level of economic growth but also as a means of living a decent life and psychological peace among all components of society in Qatar, including citizens and residents of different nationalities.
In exclusive statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA), they highlighted that Qatar, through its policies, provides opportunities for cultural diversity by promoting multilingualism, education, and cultural exchange among the various nationalities living in the country and supports cultural activities representing different cultures from around the world.
Writer and journalist Dr. Abdullah Faraj Al Marzouqi pointed out that the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development goals include promoting intercultural dialogue, preceded by Islamic teachings of over 1,400 years ago in its call for dialogue, understanding, and coexistence.
He explained that the UN goals for this day are being achieved in Qatar as a model of civilized coexistence and stems from the state's belief in the importance of cultural diversity in fostering a spirit of dialogue. Qatar has become a protective shield ensuring the continuity of this diversity within its borders and globally. This commitment has been demonstrated in numerous major international events hosted by Qatar, notably the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, AFC Asian Cup 2023, and the 33rd Doha International Book Fair (DIBF), under the theme "Knowledge Builds Civilizations," which affirms that cultural diversity in Qatar is not merely a theme but a way of life that values dialogue regardless of differences in religion, language, or ethnicity and distinguishes Qatar as a model of cultural diversity.
Al Marzouqi said that the most important benefits of cultural diversity are the development of the spirit of competition and innovation among the members of one society, promotion of the existence of new ideas for sustainable development in various fields of culture, the enhancement of dialogue between civilizations and cultures, and contribution to achieve economic and social development despite the disparity between peoples and nations.
The more culture there is, as the individual absorbed the cultures of other civilizations, the more confident in the language of dialogue, tolerance, and mutual recognition of the cultures, which makes an individual move away from the spirit of fanaticism, whether religious, sectarian, or ethnic, which is the ultimate goal of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, he said.
For his part, Qatari academic and novelist Dr. Ahmed Abdul Malik echoed to QNA Qatar's efforts, through its legislative system, to protect cultural diversity through the signing of international charters that promote this diversity and cultural events and media initiatives to preserve cultural ethnicities from various nationalities. The state supported the opening of radio stations and newspapers in multiple languages, reflecting its dedication to cultural inclusivity.
He also highlighted Qatar's global support for education and human rights, including the right to life and education, aligning with the United Nations Charter, as a prominent feature of its cultural diversity. Qatar's belief in dialogue to solve international issues showcases its commitment to coexistence despite differences.
He pointed out that developed countries utilize cultural diversity as soft power to enhance diplomatic efforts to strengthen their relations and cooperation with other countries in areas like economy, climate protection, and disaster management, thus supporting development plans.
Dr. Abdul Malik noted the benefits of cultural diversity, such as promoting peace and cooperation among people, enhancing a nation's global political presence, and facilitating the signing of treaties and memorandums. He asserted that embracing cultural diversity places the state in a respectable position and aligns it with the fundamental principles of the United Nations.
Head of the Research and Studies Department at the Ministry of Culture's Wijdan Cultural Center Yasser Al Gharbawi, remarked that Qatar exemplifies cultural diversity by attracting a myriad of Asian, African, Arab, and European nationalities. This was prominently displayed during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which showcased Qatar's cultural richness and warm social environment, resulting from the country's inherent tolerance.
Al Gharbawi observed that Qatar celebrates the national occasions of various communities and supports their cultural and artistic activities, creating a blend of nationalities and languages. The presence of diverse languages alongside Arabic, such as English, Urdu, Persian, and Bengali, and opportunities for learning about different cultures through international schools and community centers, reflect Qatar's commitment to cultural diversity. Cultural centers like the Turkish Yunus Emre Cultural Center further this aim, with state services available in multiple languages.
The Ministry of Culture and cultural institutions in Qatar actively celebrate various cultures and strengthen bonds among different nationalities, highlighting Qatar as a haven of coexistence and cultural diversity. This facilitates the expression of Islamic and Arab culture within a tolerant and open society.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrates the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development annually on May 21 to emphasize the essential role of intercultural dialogue in achieving peace and sustainable development as a reminder of the importance of cultural diversity, inclusion, and combating stereotypes to enhance understanding and coexistence among people from different cultures.
The United Nations General Assembly declared the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development in 2002, following UNESCO's adoption of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001. This declaration recognizes the need to enhance the role of culture in achieving prosperity, sustainable development, and peaceful coexistence globally. With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, the message of the day has become more critical, as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be best achieved by leveraging the creative potential inherent in the world's diverse cultures and engaging in dialogue to ensure that everyone benefits from sustainable development.
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