Qatar Museums (QM) and the Municipality of Venice on Friday announced that they have signed a Protocol of Cooperation, agreeing to strengthen their existing relationships and enhance collaboration in the cultural and socio-economic fields.

The agreement coincides with the announcement by Qatar Airways that it will resume direct flights between Doha and Venice on June 12, and as the Floating City celebrates the opening of the Art for Tomorrow conference, presented by The Democracy & Culture Foundation alongside Founding Partner Qatar Museums.

In recognition of their shared interests, Qatar Museums and Venice will pursue activities that add value to their cultural heritage, improve the conditions of knowledge, and mutually encourage business investment, particularly in the fields of art, preservation, sport, and entertainment. Examples of possible activities may include the development of exhibitions and seminars exploring the historical links between Italian and Islamic art and architecture; the participation by their artists in international festivals and exhibitions; scholarly collaborations, such as producing art publications and co-organizing research visits by librarians, archivists, and historians; the promotion of connections between sporting organizations; the exhibition of collections and the joint organization of thematic seminars; and mutual cooperation for the protection and regeneration of cultural heritage, including the exchange of information and the implementation of structural interventions aimed at restoring some symbolic parts of the City of Venice.

Chairperson of QM HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, said: "On the occasion of the re-launch of Doha-to-Venice direct flights, we are happy to convene the art world here in Venice. Art for Tomorrow is an on-going partnership between Qatar Museums and The Democracy & Culture Foundation that brings thinkers, artists and creatives together. This year, as we use Venice as a cultural backdrop, we are happy to continue to explore closer relationships between our two cities, and our nations as a whole. We look forward to welcoming Venetians to Qatar, and invite Qataris to visit Venices cultural offerings."

Mayor of the Municipality of Venice Luigi Brugnaro said: "The celebrations for the 700th anniversary of Marco Polo's death are an opportunity for international relations and meetings to relaunch the centrality of Venice, in terms of diplomacy and trade, just as it was in the history of the Serenissima, making it available to the Italian country system. The City of Venice continues to bring vitality and contemporary dynamism to its historic role as a meeting place for the cultures and peoples of the world. We welcome the collaboration with Qatar Museums, one of the main institutions active in the cultural field, precisely on the days in which the direct flight connection from Venice to Doha, the international hub for destinations in Asia, Africa and Oceania, will resume, thus increasing capacities of connection of our territory. This partnership, defined on my trip to Doha last February and perfected today, will keep both Venice and Qatar at the forefront of creative, academic, economic and social exchange around the world, building first and foremost networks and relationships between people, in mutual respect."

HE the Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Italian Republic Khalid bin Youssef Al Sada said: "This accord between Qatar Museums and the Municipality of Venice is a signal of ever-closer relations between Qatar and Italy. Along with direct flights via Qatar Airways between Doha and Venice, this agreement, which was concluded between Qatar Museums and the Municipality of Venice, is another advanced step in the process of excellent bilateral relations linking our two friendly countries. It is another testament to the extended horizons of cooperation in all fields, such as the economy, trade, culture, scientific and artistic exchange, security and military cooperation, environmental security, investments, tourism, and sports. We know, as many people know, that Italy has an influential and important cultural and artistic heritage in human history. The relations between our two countries are relations of friendship, comprehensive cooperation and understanding at all levels, and we will not stop here, but rather strive for more and more."

Venice, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, has played an essential role in world culture for centuries. Since 1895, it has hosted the Venice Biennale, welcoming artists, and nations from around the world to exhibit alongside their peers in what has become the most important event on the art world calendar, bringing to the city significant economic growth through cultural tourism.

The partnership builds upon the strong relationship between Qatar Museums and Venice forged through a series of successful collaborations over the past two years. Qatar Museums is the organiser of the current exhibition Your Ghosts Are Mine, Expanded Cinemas, Amplified Voices, at ACPPalazzo Franchetti, on view throughout the 2024 Art Biennale and the 2024 Venice International Film Festival, and was the sponsor of the Kengo Kuma: Onomatopoeia Architecture exhibition at the ACP-Palazzo Franchetti during the 2023 Architecture Biennale. Artworks on loan from Qatar Museums are currently on view in Foreigners Everywhere, the main exhibition of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale, which includes objects from Mathafs collection of works by major Arab modern artists, and in the Worlds of Marco Polo exhibition at the Doges Palace, which includes objects from the Museums of Islamic Art. In June 2024, the latest edition of the Art for Tomorrow conference on global cultural issues is being held in Venice with the participation of Qatar Museums as founding supporter.

The Protocol of Cooperation will be effective for five years, through the end of 2029, and may be extended beyond that date by mutual agreement. Details of the activities to be undertaken by the two parties will be announced as they become available.
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