The Cultural Village Foundation – Katara organised Tuesday a seminar titled “Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development” in celebration of the World Day for Cultural Diversity, observed annually on May 21.

The seminar featured contributions from writer and media personality Taysir Abdullah, novelist and critic Dr Ahmed al-Haj, and critic Ahmed Mousa Jalajel. The session was moderated by Mohamed al-Shahwani, head of cultural literature at the cultural affairs and events department at Katara.

The seminar explored the profound meaning of cultural diversity, a principle actively implemented in Qatar through the establishment of institutions dedicated to this cause, such as Katara and the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue, among others.

Dr Ahmed al-Haj discussed the significant role of novels in human life and their impact worldwide, emphasising how they can foster understanding and dialogue between civilizations based on mutual respect.

He highlighted that while novels can promote cultural diversity, they can also have negative effects if used to undermine or ridicule other cultures and beliefs.

Taysir Abdullah spoke on the role of culture and the arts in creating a shared space for coexistence among people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs.

He focused particularly on music, theatre, show dancing, and cinema as universal languages that facilitate communication and contribute to dialogue and sustainable development.

He also addressed the concept of culture as an aspect of soft power, noting Qatar’s strategic use of global events it has hosted to showcase authentic Arab culture to the world while also providing a platform for other cultures, in a manner that respects the values and ethics of Qatar’s conservative Muslim society.

Ahmed Jalajel touched on the role of social media in cultural and mental rapprochement between peoples, with their great flexibility in communicating ideas and deepening dialogue to understand others. He pointed out the need to be aware of the loss of identity if Arab societies are unable to present their culture well.
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