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 Joey Aguilar
Joey Aguilar
Joey Aguilar has been a journalist since 2013 at Gulf Times, reporting on events related to Qatar. He was earlier a journalist for eight years in the Philippines. He became one of the 2015 United Nations Foundation Global Goals Press Fellows. He has also attended a number of journalism seminars in the Philippines.
Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan at the event, held at the Qatar National Library yesterday. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Years of Culture supports Indonesia’s bid for Unesco World Heritage

Qatar Museums’ (QM) Years of Culture (YoC) initiative and Indonesia’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology have partnered to conserve and highlight the historical and cultural significance of the Spice Route.The two institutions are working towards securing Unesco’s recognition of the Spice Route as a World Heritage Site, with plans to compile substantial evidence for submission by the following year.In his address at a panel discussion yesterday (October 17) at the Qatar National Library (QNL), Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan thanked and acknowledged the partnership between Qatar and Indonesia in the framework of the YoC initiative.He highlighted the programme’s unique focus on exploring the historical and cultural connections along the Spice Route, underlining its profound influence on global heritage.“The relationship between the Arab world and Nusantara has a deep historical connection, characterised by centuries of cultural, trade, and diplomatic ties. One of the most significant aspects of their relationship is the ancient Spice Trade route. This maritime network connected the Arab world with Nusantara, facilitating the exchange of valuable spices, such as cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper, as well as other goods.“In fact, the Spice Trade route was not only about the exchange of valuable spices, but also facilitated a significant cultural exchange. Arab traders, who were predominantly Muslims, began to settle in various port cities and trading hubs across the Nusantara region, until Indonesia became the world’s largest Islamic country by population,” the envoy said.The project commenced with the “Appreciation of the Cultural Actors on the Spice Route” residency programme, enabling scholars to traverse countries along this ancient trade route. Their mission is to gather evidence showcasing the cultural impact of the Spice Route through archaeological findings, historical documents, and local intangible heritage.The initial leg of this residency covers three countries, including Qatar. Participants Idris Masudi, Adimas Bayumurti, Fathurrochman Karyadi, supervised by A Ginanjar Sya’ban, are leading this endeavour.“Qatar was chosen as one of the first host countries of the residency programme due to its rich collections of cultural artefacts related to Arab culture and history, and deep insights into the historical trade relations between the ancient Arab world and Nusantara. We hope these studies will enrich historical knowledge, enhance understanding, and strengthen its eventual bid for Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites.“The residency programme marks a crucial step in safeguarding this invaluable heritage for future generations,” Hilmar Farid, Director General of Culture in the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, said in a press statement. Researchers participating in the residency programme shared their significant findings at the panel talk at QNL, with spokespersons including Hassan and researcher/academic Adimas Bayumurti, among others.According to QM, numerous cultural institutions in Qatar are actively involved in the residency, providing researchers access to their collections of manuscripts and artefacts. The National Museum of Qatar, housing a diverse collection from the Cirebon shipwreck in the Java Sea, offers a unique opportunity to explore maritime culture and trade relations. QNL provides access to Arabic sources on Archipelago Spices, particularly pre-16th-century accounts of Arab travellers and traders in the Indian Ocean region.“The Spice Route had a profound impact on the cultural tapestry of the Arab world. This was more than a conduit for precious spices, but was also one of the best examples of cultural exchange and human connection.The ties it forged transcended centuries, enriching our understanding of the past and setting a path for an interconnected future. We are honoured to take part in such a worthy endeavour,” a YoC representative said.

Molteni&C’s Flagship Store in Doha marks a significant milestone for the company and solidifies Qatar's position as a burgeoning design hub in the Middle East.
Molteni&C opens region's first store in Doha

Renowned Italian high-end furniture brand Molteni&C has set its sights on Qatar as the strategic hub for its Middle East operations, inaugurating its first-ever store in the region at Msheireb Downtown Doha.Speaking to Gulf Times on the occasion, Molteni&C CEO Marco Piscitelli highlighted Qatar’s importance in the brand’s expansion strategy, saying: “We found Qatar to be the right place to be our hub in the Middle East region... we want to be close to the market, close to our clients”.He underlined the alignment between Molteni&C’s ethos and the blend of tradition and innovation embodied by Msheireb. The destination, he pointed out, in a sense, mirrors the essence of their brand, as it captures both the historical core and the burgeoning innovative spirit of the city, while also infusing a touch of design into its fabric.Tracing back to the company’s founding in the 1930s, the CEO pointed out that maintaining balance between heritage and the sense of responsibility for their identity is not a simple task.However, he said that their drive lies in perpetual innovation, seeking fresh solutions not solely on a technical level but also in enhancing the aesthetic appeal of their creations.“In the 1930s, the founder of the company decided to go through this longer process of evolution of innovation, which brought us to the design, to the modern furniture, but always keeping in mind from where we started.“It's not easy to keep the balance between the two, these two topics like the heritage and also the responsibility we feel for what we are, what wear, but again the push is to continuously innovate in finding new solution, not only technical solution, it is more related to the beauty of the things we do,” Piscitelli said.He added that collaboration with globally acclaimed architects and designers plays a key role to Molteni&C's creative process, noting they take the inspiration from the designers.“We elaborate the inspiration and we finalise them into a product. This approach culminates in a comprehensive lifestyle concept rather than individual products,” the CEO said. “This collaboration among all of these guys, together with our creative director, generate the final result.”Regarding the company's expansion, Piscitelli stressed the direct involvement in the Qatari market, avoiding the traditional dealer model. He said: “We are here directly not with a dealer... we have chosen Qatar to establish our company here in Doha because we feel it’s the right size to start a company.”According to Piscitelli, Molteni&C has many subsidiaries in the world – from the US to Australia – but decided to come to Qatar due to its huge potential in terms of human resources: the local populace’s inclination towards design.“There is a good ground, the grass is green here, so it's not over busy, it's not crowded and so we have space enough to develop our human resources and then we also think there’s a potential in terms of business: the potential of having a local business is to be found in qualified local human resources through which we deliver our service, mainly hospitality, residences and VIP villas, with quality and expertise.” he said.In addressing the market in Qatar, Piscitelli puts a spotlight on Molteni&C’s consistent style, parallel to renowned fashion brands, saying: “Wherever we go, we bring our style, we think that we are quite good enough in bringing design using the right proportion between the materials, the colours, which is quite crossing all the tastes.“In general, we like to bring our essence, our style, and we like to do it in a coherent way so we don't change them much. We hope we are able to do it even here in Qatar, but I mean, we started here in 2016 so this is an evolution of our presence here but I think we now know enough about Qatar,” he added.With influential designers like Vincent Van Duysen, Jean Nouvel, Foster + Partners, Gio Ponti, Aldo Rossi, Rodolfo Dordoni, Yabu Pushelberg in the collection, he said ensuring a cohesive representation in the flagship store is a delicate task.He credited their art director, Vincent Van Duysen, for bridging these creative forces, noting that Vincent has been instrumental in shaping the image the company projects and a key player in harmonising his unique design perspective at Molteni&C with the diverse contributions from other designers.Lauding Qatar's growing sensitivity towards design, Piscitelli cited their involvement in monumental projects such as the Qatar National Library with Rem Koolhaas, furnished by UniFor, the National Museum of Qatar with renowned architects and designers such as Jean Nouvel, and recent ventures like the Qatar Airways lounge and the Oryx Tower.He stressed that the opening of Molteni&C’s Flagship Store in Doha marks a significant milestone for the company and solidifies Qatar's position as a burgeoning design hub in the Middle East.

Salman Jassem al-Darwish (right) and Ahed Dawood at the launch of the new Cayenne. PICTURE: Thajudheen
New Porsche Cayenne unveiled

Luxury automotive manufacturer, Porsche, has unveiled the new Cayenne in Qatar – the latest addition to its lineup – expanding its already impressive range of luxury SUVs.“The original Cayenne was a breakthrough model for Porsche both globally and here in Qatar," recalled Porsche Centre Doha (Al Boraq Automobiles Co) CEO Salman Jassem al-Darwish in a statement. .text-box { float:right; width:550px; padding:10px; border:1pt solid black; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px; }@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 65%;} } Cayenne: epitome of luxury and performancePorsche has integrated a completely revised display and control concept into the new Cayenne. The new Porsche Driver Experience, first introduced in the Porsche Taycan, focuses on the driver's axis and optimises operation. Functions that the driver uses frequently are located directly on or immediately next to the steering wheel. For the first time, the redesigned cockpit of the Cayenne includes a fully digital 12.6-inch instrument cluster with a so-called curved and free-standing design and variable display options. An optimised head-up display is available as an option. The new Cayenne now has a particularly expressive appearance. A new front end combined with more strongly arched wings, a new bonnet and technically appealing headlights emphasises the vehicle’s width. Three-dimensionally designed tail lights, uncluttered surfaces beneath and a new rear apron with integrated number plate holder characterise the rear end design of the new Cayenne. Porsche now equips the Cayenne at the factory with a steel spring suspension including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). New shock absorbers with two-valve technology and thus separate rebound and compression stages allow optimised performance in all driving situations. In particular, comfort at slow speeds, handling during dynamic cornering, and pitch and roll support have been noticeably improved. "Not only did it revolutionise the SUV market 21 years ago by introducing a performance - luxury option for the first time to European buyers – something which every other manufacturer has since followed – but especially for here in Qatar, and the Middle East in general, it let our Porsche sports car owners explore the vastness of our beautiful dunes and coastline for the first time in a Porsche that could carry the whole family in comfort,” he explained.Porsche has undertaken a substantial overhaul of the third-generation Cayenne, implementing comprehensive changes to the powertrain, chassis, design, and equipment. This has not only enhanced on-road and off-road performance, but also elevated the levels of everyday comfort and luxury.Introducing the Porsche Driver Experience: a novel control concept and a cutting-edge digital cockpit. The exterior design has been imbued with expressiveness, featuring radical changes, such as the innovative HD Matrix LED headlights.The chassis features a new two-valve suspension system. All engine variants now offer increased power, further emphasising the Cayenne's performance capabilities.Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch event, Porsche Centre Doha brand manager Ahed Dawood said the hybrid variant is just one of several models available within the Cayenne lineup. Presently, he pointed out that the Cayenne model range comprises a standard Cayenne with a V6 engine featuring a single turbocharger. Moving up is the Cayenne e-hybrid, equipped with a V6 turbo engine, like the combustion engine, augmented by a battery that grants the vehicle a combined output of 470hp. It offers an electric range of up to 90km, marking a significant advancement in hybrid technology. “Then you move to the Cayenne S, which also changed its V6 bi-turbo engine into a V8 bi-turbo engine producing 474hp now, and then the Cayenne turbo GT, which is on the stage today, with 659hp, and 0 to 100 impressive speed of 3.2 seconds,” Dawood said. Noting that the Cayenne holds a significant share in the brand’s market in Doha, he said Qatar boasts an SUV-dominated market. “That is why the Cayenne consists of around or more than 40% of our sales year over year,” Dawood said, describing the demand for Cayenne models as “astonishing”.

The attractions include a towering yellow teddy bear, a reproduction of the famed Lamp Bear at Hamad International Airport. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Attractions galore at Expo 2023 Doha

The “Qatar Airways Garden” has emerged as one of the most visited areas at the Expo 2023 Doha, captivating visitors with a blend of iconic landmarks across the globe and innovative features.Nestled within Al Bidda Park, this garden has become a must-visit destination, offering a range of activities and immersive experiences.Among the standout features is a towering yellow teddy bear, a reproduction of the famed *Lamp Bear at Hamad International Airport (HIA).The garden also transports visitors to the timeless beauty of the Gardens of Versailles.The QVerse platform at the garden, an augmented reality experience, seamlessly integrates digital innovation into the botanical surroundings.A meticulously crafted orchard reminiscent of the HIA's Al Mourjan Garden and an overhead maze of artistic delight add to the allure.The Leaning Tower of Pisa stands tall as a testament to global landmarks.The picturesque backdrop of the Qatar Airways Garden provides a rich canvas for Expo-goers exploring its diverse sections.Thousands of visitors have been fascinated by its vibrant beauty.The Expo also showcases the Qur’anic Botanic Garden, an educational haven, which puts a spotlight on environmental conservation efforts.Visitors can expect an array of engaging activities and events soon, courtesy of the garden's collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Wildlife.A special focus at the Qur’anic Botanic Garden lies on the rehabilitation of Rawdat Al-Faras, as part of a larger campaign to combat desertification and preserve biodiversity.One of the garden’s key features is the herbarium, where plant samples are preserved, serving as a permanent record of these species.This conservation section underlines the commitment to preserving Qatar's native and wild flora.Expo 2023 Doha also boasts a plethora of other activities, including board games, art workshops, and live performances on stage.The Cultural Arena, Congress Centre, Exhibition Centre, and Picnic Area offer a diverse range of experiences for visitors of all interests.

Gulf Times
Parade of Excellence kicks off at Lusail Boulevard

The “Parade of Excellence” kicked off yesterday at Lusail Boulevard, featuring a convoy of up to 100 unique and exceptional cars, setting the stage for a grand celebration of automotive culture.The event, in collaboration with the Sealine Circuit Sports Club – Mawater, forms part of the inaugural Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) Qatar 2023, which will conclude on October 14.The two-hour parade showcased an eclectic mix of vehicles, ranging from newly revealed cars, supercars, classic automobiles, to museum-worthy pieces.According to the organisers, each selection was meticulously curated to align with the grandeur of the GIMS Qatar, ensuring that attendees were treated to a display of automotive excellence in its various forms.Adding to the experience were roaming acts and performances that enthralled and entertained the crowd.Attendees were treated to a sensory feast, as the sights, sounds, and even the scents of the automotive world enveloped the event venue.The “Urban Playground”, a highlight of the GIMS Qatar, hosts an array of captivating events.This ambitious venture is aimed to transform Qatar into the ultimate automotive festival with unique experiences spread across the country’s prominent tourism destinations.

The Classics Gallery at GIMS Qatar features a remarkable collection of vintage vehicles, each a testament to the artistry and innovation of its era. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Classics Gallery takes centre stage at GIMS Qatar 2023

The Classics Gallery has emerged as one of the main attractions at the ongoing Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) Qatar 2023, leaving car enthusiasts and collectors in sheer admiration.The curated exhibit features a remarkable collection of vintage vehicles at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, each attesting to the artistry and innovation of its era.According to Qatar Tourism, these automotive treasures offer a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of engineering and design, and among the standout attractions are the Best of Show winners from leading concours d’elegance events.The 1920 Ballot 3/8 LC Grand Prix under the Alexander Schaufler collection is an 8-cylinder, 3-litre engine with a 4-speed gearbox, an example of the advanced engineering of its times. With just three cars of this type ever developed for top-level competition, this Ballot is a true rarity, showcasing the pinnacle of its era's automotive technology.The 1925 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP ‘Silver Ghost’ Piccadilly Roadster is under Omar Alfardan collection. With its 6-cylinder, 7.4-litre engine and 3-speed gearbox, this model was the cornerstone of Rolls-Royce's reputation, earning it the title of ‘The Best Car in the World’. The vehicle's original engine and coachwork, coupled with its unique features like Bausch & Lomb drum headlights, make it a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.The 1928 Rolls-Royce Sports Phantom 17EX Experimental by Jarvis Alexander Schaufler collection was built under the direct supervision of Sir Henry Royce. This Experimental Phantom was one of only three produced aimed at breaking the 100 miles-per-hour barrier. Its 6-cylinder, 7.8-litre engine with a 4-speed gearbox, along with its handcrafted body and advanced suspension, make it an engineering marvel.The 1930 Bentley Speed Six Folkestone by William Medcalf Vintage Bentley is a 6-cylinder, 6.5 engine with a 4-speed gearbox, showcasing a close-coupled saloon body and luxurious interior. This particular model, delivered new to Viscount Mandeville, is the lone survivor of only two built in 1930, adding to its allure and historical significance.The 1938 BMW 328 Roadster from Omar Alfardan collection, a compact 2-seater with a 6-cylinder, 2-litre engine and 4-speed gearbox, is an icon in the world of motorsport. Known for its lightweight, aerodynamic design and bonnet-hugging leather straps, this beauty is a proof to BMW's racing and rallying legacy.The 1979 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI 7-passenger enclosed limousine under Yohan Poonawalla collection is a vehicle steeped in majestic history. This 6.75-litre, V8 engine with an automatic gearbox served as the 'showpiece car' of the Demonstration fleet. It had the honour of transporting Queen Elizabeth II and His Majesty King Charles III, adding a royal touch to its already illustrious pedigree.It is learnt that the Classic Gallery is not just a showcase of automobiles but also a journey through time for GIMS Qatar visitors, offering a rare opportunity to witness the evolution of automotive artistry. GIMS Qatar concludes on October 14.

Car enthusiasts enjoying the interactive games and activities at the GIMS Qatar. PICTURES: Joey Aguilar
Immersive, interactive activities at GIMS Qatar

Immersive and engaging activities at the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) Qatar 2023 continue to attract a large number of residents and tourists.From simulation races (sim racing) to virtual reality (VR) games, as well as artistic endeavours, the event provides a unique automotive experience for enthusiasts of different age groups, in addition to showcasing the latest innovations and technology in the industry.The GIMS Qatar 2023, running until October 14 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC), is hosting 31 renowned automotive brands, including Toyota, Lexus, Porsche, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, BMW, KIA, Audi, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Vinfast, and Chery.A live art demonstration allows local talents to showcase their works at an international event.Another attraction at the exhibition – apart from the Classics Gallery and a wide range of race cars – includes two electric Volkswagen ID Buzz cars used for the 34-day Tour d'Excellence expedition, which started in Geneva on August 28 and reached Doha on September 30, covering nearly 8,000km, crossing 12 countries and two seas.A race car prototype displayed in one of the booths serves as a “freedom wall” for visitors, allowing them to sign their names or leave a message about the event.Besides the activities at the 10,000sq m space at the DECC, Qatar Tourism (QT) earlier announced that a special “Parade of Excellence” will take place Thursday at 7pm, featuring up to 100 dream cars and unique models touring along Lusail Boulevard’s 1.3km iconic strip.As part of the inaugural GIMS Qatar, which marks the first time the event is being held outside of Switzerland, an “Urban Playground” will be set in motion at Lusail Boulevard from October 12-14.Between 5pm-10pm each day, an exciting programme of events will unfold, featuring a dynamic lineup of music artists, DJs, and talks at a designated centre stage near the Lusail Plaza Towers.According to the QT, the “Auto-Life Village” will offer visitors an immersive experience complete with culinary delights, retail shops, and enjoyable activities for the entire family this coming weekend.These include a pit crew challenge, a car doodle experience, and a bike circuit game.

Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa
Qatar offers enhanced overall tourism experience

Qatar’s strategy on prioritising visitors in the development of new tourism programmes and initiatives has enhanced the overall tourism experience, a reason for the sector to see unprecedented growth, an industry expert has said.“One of the most noticeable impacts has been the surge in hotel bookings, leading to higher occupancy rates and increased revenue for the hospitality sector,” Outing Qatar founder and managing director Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa told Gulf Times. “Car rentals, yacht charters, and safari experiences have also witnessed a significant rise in demand, further stimulating economic activity.”Events such as Expo 2023 Doha, the Formula One Qatar Grand Prix, the Geneva International Motor Show Qatar, and a series of international concerts have collectively contributed to the flourishing of Qatar's tourism industry, he said.Eleiwa said that these events have attracted a diverse global audience, including motorsport enthusiasts, business professionals, music and art lovers, and international delegates.The monumental FIFA World Cup held in 2022, he pointed out, catalysed substantial investments in infrastructure, including the construction of state-of-the-art stadiums, an extensive transportation network demonstrated by the Doha Metro, as well as modernised airport facilities.According to Eleiwa, these developments have significantly bolstered Qatar's ability to host large-scale international events and provide a more comfortable experience for visitors.He noted that the six-month Expo in Doha has proven to be a vital platform for local businesses to showcase their products and services to a worldwide audience, fostering potential partnerships, investments, and business growth.Eleiwa said Qatar's reputation as a world-class destination has been further solidified with these events receiving extensive media coverage and showcasing the country to a global audience.He also underlined the importance of cultural exchange, which increased continuously through international events, particularly concerts.This, Eleiwa added, brought together diverse audiences and fostered a sense of openness and inclusivity.Looking ahead, the industry expert expressed confidence that the future of Qatar’s tourism sector, with a strategic vision that focuses on sustainability, diversification, regional competitiveness, and the establishment of a year-round calendar to promote tourism.He said the ambitious goal of welcoming up to 6mn tourists annually by 2030 is on track, and Qatar is poised to achieve it.As Qatar eagerly anticipates hosting the AFC Asian Cup 2023, Eleiwa said the country stands as a testament to the transformative power of strategic investments in tourism, solidifying its status as a coveted luxury tourism destination on the global stage.

HE Akbar al-Baker speaking Friday at the GIMS Qatar 2023 Media Day(supplied picture).
Qatar shines as global hub for premier events: Al-Baker

The debut of Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) in Qatar underlines the country’s increasing global prominence as a leading venue for significant, large-scale international events, Qatar Tourism (QT) chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker has said.“At the crossroads of East and West, and as a pioneering state that has welcomed innovation and development across diverse sectors, Qatar is a fitting destination for this prestigious motor show’s first foray outside of its home country of Switzerland,” he said at GIMS Qatar media day Friday, held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).A 10,000sqm space at DECC serves as the stage for 30 leading automotive brands, showcasing their new models and unveiling some of the latest innovations in the industry.HE al-Baker added that the move to make Qatar the permanent host for GIMS every two years highlights the country’s commitment to fostering advancement, pushing boundaries, and nurturing automotive talent for the future.At the GIMS Qatar media day, several automotive brands have unveiled their latest global and regional model launches, including Exceed, Kia, Vinfast, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Mini, Lynk & Co, Chery, Omoda, and Jaecoo, among others.The Classics Gallery, which showcases rare and vintage vehicles that cast a spotlight on automobiles with a distinctive Qatari heritage and lineage, is expected to attract car enthusiasts and collectors.“At Qatar Tourism, we are proud to organise and host successful exhibitions in the areas of business, technology, wellness, finance, healthcare, transport, and many others, all of which signal Qatar’s ability to leverage its innovative infrastructure and create a productive, safe, and exciting environment for all kinds of travellers,” he said.Over the past decade, HE al-Baker noted that Qatar implemented a dynamic and ambitious strategy to boost its tourism sector. This, he added, involved significant investment to develop new tourism assets, fortify the country’s infrastructure, and diversify offerings, consisting of business, sports, cruise, and other vital tourism pillars.With its striking skyline, traditional markets, and pristine beaches, HE al-Baker said Qatar offers a diverse range of experiences, from thrilling desert adventures to immersive art exhibitions and exceptional dining opportunities.In addition to the main exhibition of the event, running until October 14, he pointed out that immersive experiences will unfold at multiple locations. These include the breathtaking Sealine coastal area, the iconic National Museum of Qatar, the recently revamped Lusail International Circuit, and the family-friendly Lusail Boulevard.“We trust that our visitors will experience Qatar’s warm, authentic hospitality and its incredible fusion of history and modernity,” he added.GIMS CEO Sandro Mesquita praised Qatar Tourism's efforts made over two years to host the exhibition. GIMS has a long history since 1905 of unveiling the future of cars, and has offered car companies opportunities for communication and promotion for many years.Mesquita described the event a suitable place for demonstrating excellence, whether it is a brand displaying its latest hyper car, a startup entering the market, or a major manufacturing company unveiling its electric vehicle strategy.GIMS Qatar 2023 will open to the general public from Saturday until Oct 14.

Officials at the inauguration of the ‘Japan Travel House’. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar
‘Japan Travel House’ opens to help promote the Land of the Rising Sun

The Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) and the Japanese embassy in Doha have inaugurated the “Japan Travel House” at The Pearl Island, offering comprehensive information and expert assistance for prospective travellers eager to explore the Land of the Rising Sun.The event, held at Junko Sushi and Japanese Dining, was attended by Japanese ambassador Satoshi Maeda, JNTO Dubai Office executive director Daisuke Kobayashi, Reach Out To Asia brand ambassador and first Qatari to climb Mount Everest Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulla al-Thani, and other dignitaries, among other guests.Described as a “pioneering initiative” that will be in operation until February next year, this unique information hub was launched on the occasion of the opening of Expo 2023 Doha and is expected to strengthen the relations between Qatar and Japan, especially in the area of tourism.Speaking at the event, ambassador Maeda expressed confidence that this latest JNTO initiative will significantly bolster tourism to Japan, potentially propelling the country into the top five destinations on every traveller’s “must-visit” list.“This is an excellent initiative taken by the JNTO to promote outbound tourism from Qatar to Japan, in collaboration with Junko Sushi and Japanese Dining Restaurant on the occasion of the opening of Expo 2023 Doha,” he said.In the context of Qatar-Japan bilateral relations, the envoy noted that tourism emerges as a promising sector for growth.This, he stressed, is underscored by the notable increase in tourists travelling from Qatar to Japan and vice-versa in recent years.“Tourism is also an effective way to foster mutual understanding and friendship as well as to promote economies of the two countries,” Maeda said. “Given this recognition, upon Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida’s visit to Qatar this July, the prime minister and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani stressed the importance of the tourism sector in developing the Japan-Qatar bilateral relations.”“Therefore, I see this event as a driving force to further advance the bilateral relations between the two countries,” he added.He pointed out that visiting Japan has recently become more convenient due to an increase in direct flights between Qatar and Japan; Qatar Airways already operates two daily direct flights between Doha and Tokyo (Narita and Haneda).According to the envoy, the Japanese government implemented a visa waiver measure for Qatari nationals in April, which was followed by online passport registration in August.This measure, he added, has greatly streamlined travel procedures, making it much more accessible for Qatari nationals to visit Japan for tourism.As a destination, he described Japan as a land of rich culture, tradition, cuisine, stunning natural beauty and cutting-edge technology that has plenty of unique experiences to offer to visitors in every season.“Signature touristic attractions include beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring, lively traditional festivals and fireworks in the summer, picturesque coloured leaves in the autumn and beautiful white snow and hot springs in the winter,” Maeda said. “Some of the popular touristic places include Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Osaka, Okinawa and Hokkaido among many others.”JNTO’s Kobayashi echoed Maeda’s view, saying that the number of visitors from Qatar to Japan increased significantly since the relaxation of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic-related border measures at the end of last year in Japan.In 2023, from January to August, he noted that the number of Qataris visiting Qatar has surged by approximately 120% compared to the corresponding period in 2019.This upward trend has persisted since September as well.“According to a survey conducted by the JNTO, more than 90% of GCC citizens answered that they would like to visit Japan, but more than 90% of GCC citizens said they haven’t actually visited Japan yet,” Kobayashi said. “One major factor is the lack of tourist information about Japan available in Qatar and GCC.”“I believe many people are interested in Japan itself, but at the same time, I think there are many people who have a vague anxiety because they do not have a clear image of travelling to an unknown country such as Japan,” he added. “In order to fill this huge gap, the JNTO is setting up the ‘Japan Travel House’ as a base in Qatar for disseminating information about Japan.”

The 34-day journey witnessed two electric Volkswagen ID Buzz cars drive close to 8,000 km from Geneva to Doha (supplied picture)
Tour d’Excellence concludes in Doha, paving the way for GIMS Qatar 2023

After a remarkable 34-day journey covering nearly 8,000km - crossing 12 countries and two seas - the Tour d'Excellence expedition, which began in Geneva on August 28, reached its destination Doha on September 30.The epic journey, undertaken by two electric Volkswagen ID Buzz cars, symbolised the strong connection between the two cities and served as a precursor to the highly anticipated Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS).“A big thank you, the days I don’t need to tell you, were intensive, they were adventurous and I think we will never ever forget them, and that was also our motivation to do this once in a lifetime trip so to speak, a unique and pioneer trip to Doha,” Rinspeed AG CEO Frank M Rinderknecht said at a press conference held at the Bin Jelmood House, Msheireb Museums yesterday.He noted that their average speed was 51.2km per hour with an average consumption of 19.1 kWh per 100km. The coldest temperature they experienced along the journey was 1 degree Celsius in Switzerland, and the hottest was 53 degrees Celsius in Saudi Arabia. The only technical issue was a flat tyre.Rinderknecht and Rainer Zietlow, owner of Challenge 4, who holds six Guinness World Records for long-distance travel, drove these cutting-edge cars during their expedition, demonstrating not only the impressive technological capabilities of electric vehicles but also underscored the pioneering spirit of the upcoming motor show.GIMS Qatar is set to take place from October 5 to 14 at a 10,000sqm space at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, featuring 30 renowned automotive brands, including Toyota, Lexus, Porsche, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, KIA, Audi, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Vinfast, and Chery, among others.It will also showcase the latest innovations from the industry, more than 10 world premieres and over 20 regional premieres.Qatar Tourism COO Berthold Trenkel said the Tour d'Excellence expedition, which successfully concluded in Doha, fittingly lays the foundation for the remarkable spectacle that GIMS Qatar 2023 is poised to offer.“This incredible journey not only underscores the spirit of innovation and collaboration that defines GIMS Qatar, but also mirrors Qatar's own ambitious vision for sustainability and excellence,” he said.Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Trenkel said GIMS Qatar will hopefully attract a lot of visitors predominantly from the region, especially from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman.“We hope to have a lot of people visiting, and interesting piece was by sandwiching it together with Formula 1, you have all these people that come into the Formula (1)... they have a chance to also go to the Geneva (Motor Show),” he added.Trenkel cited the unique nature of GIMS Qatar, saying: “The Geneva motor show in Qatar is different from over a 100 years of history of Geneva, that's why I think people are not realising how unique this is.”GIMS CEO Sandro Mesquita highlighted the event's core values, saying: “Excellence, innovation and pioneering spirit are the key elements of the GIMS DNA. The idea of the Tour d'Excellence was to manifest this spirit, all while highlighting the industry's recent progress in electromobility.”

Snapshots from the Jetski Jumping Competition. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Inaugural Jetski Jumping Competition thrills Doha

The shores of the Old Doha Port witnessed a spectacular display of aerial acrobatics on the water as the first-ever Jetski Jumping Competition in Qatar kicked off Friday.During the first of the two-day exhilarating event, the participants – aged between 18 and 25 – enthralled spectators with their stunning performance in gravity-defying stunts. The competition concludes Saturday. The timing is from 3pm to 6pm.“It is very important for us to boost the water activities and encourage people to engage in these kinds of competitions since we do not have this kind of privilege everywhere," an organiser told Gulf Times.She noted that the event was divided into two categories: RXP and Spark, each featuring 10 expert participants. A pair of specially designed jet boats generate the waves, propelling the jetski daredevils to new heights.She added that the scoring for the competition is based on a number of key elements: style, height of jumps, hand gestures (one or two-handed), mid-air spins (including 360-degree rotations), and precision criteria determined by a panel of expert judges.“This event holds immense significance for Qatar, especially for our thriving tourism sector,” she said. “Doha Port enjoys year-round access to the sea, a precious resource for us. This competition not only amplifies water activities but also indicates more competitions and visitors to our shores.”She said enthusiasm for water sports is gaining traction in Qatar, and the nation is gearing up for the upcoming aquathlon in three weeks, combining swimming and running events at the Old Doha Port.Organisers have ambitious plans to elevate the Jetski Jumping Competition onto the international stage. “This year is a local affair, but if successful, we plan to make it a seasonal fixture. We want to throw open the registration to participants from across the Gulf and beyond, thus drawing in more visitors and propelling Qatar onto the global water sports map,” she said.“We have six, seven months cruise season so it’s a plus also for us because lots of tourists are also coming and they start here at the terminal and then they explore the Mina District before going around Doha,” she said.The competition’s limited capacity, due to the hot weather and time constraints, saw only 20 participants selected for the inaugural event. However, organisers expressed optimism that during the cold season, larger-scale competitions with greater participation can be held, further driving Qatar's prominence in the water sports arena.As the event season kicks into high gear, she said Qatar is poised to welcome crowds to the fully operational venue, offering an array of dining options and water-based activities, complementing the thriving cruise season that covers nearly half the year.The Old Doha Port is poised to become a hub for maritime enthusiasts and tourists, ensuring that Qatar's waterfronts remain vibrant and dynamic, she added.

Qatari street artist Mubarak al-Malik
Qatari street artist Mubarak al-Malik redefines creativity

For renowned Qatari street artist Mubarak al-Malik, art is a dynamic force that knows no bounds and extends beyond the confines of traditional galleries.In the latest video released by Qatar Tourism’s (QT) “Voices of Qatar” initiative, al-Malik sheds light on his creative process, highlighting the importance of breaking free from the ordinary.“Creativity for me is looking forward to something new, something out of the ordinary. Artistic ideas always appear in many places - sometimes on my bike if I’m riding long distances or when at home sitting in my studio,” he said.Al-Malik's artistic journey began at the age of 10 when he enrolled in art classes that introduced him to Arabic calligraphy, painting, and sculpture. His early experiences laid the foundation for his future endeavours, which resulted in a unique blend of both traditional and contemporary art expressions.His artistic vision has transformed public spaces into attractive masterpieces. With a deep understanding of local culture, al-Malik breathes life into the city's thoroughfares, infusing them with energy and vitality.By making art accessible to all, he creates an inclusive cultural experience that resonates with both locals and visitors.“When I had my exhibitions, the situation became boring, I saw the same visitors... the same people. So I said to myself, let me present street art. People pass by in their cars and see the work all year round. They can enjoy it all the time.“The cultural movement in Qatar has changed dramatically. All over the country, whether it is street murals or sculptures, anyone who is going to work, or going for a ride can see the artworks. I think it is excellent,” the street artist said.Central to al-Malik's work is the battoulah, a face cover worn by older Qatari women. Beyond its surface, he said the battoulah serves as a powerful symbol: “The battoulah is a symbol that I use in all my work, in many styles... For me, the battoulah is not just a symbol of Qatari women. It reflects the customs and traditions of the country. It is a symbol with many meanings”.Launched recently by QT, “Voices of Qatar” underlines Qatar’s local talents who are at the forefront of shaping the nation’s cultural landscape. From master chefs to artists, innovators to sports champions, the series offers a behind-the-scenes look at their remarkable journeys.Through interviews and personal narratives, QT noted that viewers gain insight into the challenges faced, triumphs achieved, and transformations started by these cultural change-makers.

Rosanna Orlandi and  Lucio Micheletti at the opening of ICONE: Voices of Italian Design exhibition yesterday.
ICONE: Voices of Italian Design exhibition unveiled at M7

The “ICONE: Voices of Design Made in Italy” exhibition opened at Msheireb’s M7 yesterday, offering an immersive experience into the world of design through the use of cutting-edge technologies.Curated by Rossana Orlandi, a leading figure on the international creative scene, Compasso d’Oro 2022 winner, and ambassador for “good design”; and designed by Lucio Micheletti, the exhibition is a collaborative endeavour promoted by the Embassy of Italy in Doha and hosted by Qatar Museums. It will be on view until December 20.Divided into two distinct parts, the first section animates objects, turning them into narrative actors, while the second section pays homage to the companies behind the iconic Made in Italy designs, weaving their stories into video compilations overseen by Francesca Molteni.In his speech, Italian Ambassador Paolo Toschi underlined the significance of the exhibit, lauding Orlandi as an embodiment of Italian design prowess and her dedication to sustainability, particularly her pioneering work with plastics.“You will have an opportunity to preview something that is truly an experience. Rosanna embodies what design means for Italy. She comes from the industry, in particular, the fabric industry where she spent time developing skills, understanding business, fashion and at some point in her life she had an epiphany and became one of the icons and a key player in the world of Italian design. And you know how much design means to us not just in terms of creativity but as a factor for growth and a factor for opportunity.”The envoy stressed the uniqueness of M7 as a hub of creation, beauty, and dialogue. He credited Qatar Museums chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani for her key role in making the event a reality and commended M7 Director Maha Ghanem al-Sulaiti for her steadfast leadership at M7.In her address, Rosanna Orlandi expressed her admiration for Qatar and her joy at returning to Doha, saying: “I love Qatar... I love Doha, every time I come back, I'm so happy, thanks to Sheikha Mayassa, thanks to the ambassador who invited me to do this presentation, thanks to everybody who helped us”.“What we want to do is really to give emotion around the design, we want to present not only design, as the ambassador said, but the voice of the designer,” she said, noting her personal involvement in reaching out to designers, resulting in a heartwarming collaboration.She also cited the key role of Micheletti – the architect, designer, and artist – who brought to life (what she envisioned) and presented the pieces in a unique way.“I chose the pieces and he realised what was in my mind, how to present in a different way with emotion because I think that emotion in design is very important,” she said.Al-Sulaiti underscored M7’s dedication to supporting local talent while also championing global design excellence. She thanked the ambassador and his wife for their staunch support of M7 and lauded Orlandi for her ongoing commitment to Qatar Museums.She cited the institution’s extensive track record of exhibitions, focusing on Italian design and including numerous ventures in fashion. The spotlight shifts to furniture design at the show, promising a showcase of exceptional creations.Al-Sulaiti expressed optimism for future collaborations with the Italian embassy, noting the shared objectives in promoting cultural exchange.“We share very common goals in supporting cultural exchange and I also want to thank Rosanna Orlandi, this is her second exhibition at M7. She's a great friend of Qatar Museums, and also for her support during the Milan Design Week in supporting Qatari designers,” she said.In his speech, Micheletti stressed the emotional connection forged through the exhibit and expressed hopes that visitors would appreciate this distinctive approach.“This exhibition is very interesting because it is a dialogue directly from the artists themselves” he stressed.Micheletti envisioned darkness as the optimal backdrop for showcasing the furnishings, seamlessly blending a museum ambiance with a theatrical stage to create an ideal focus and ambiance environment.

Charlene Kasdorf at the exhibition, showcasing her unique work. PICTURES: Thajudheen.
Innovative artwork showcased at "The Present: The Future of the Past” exhibition

Charlene Kasdorf, an accomplished illustrator and advocate for visual literacy, has taken a unique approach to her participation in the Fire Station: Artist in Residence (AIR) programme.Her latest artwork, inspired by archival elements and aesthetics from children's books in the region, aims to deconstruct and repurpose them, allowing individuals of all ages to create new and imaginative characters.“I've been an illustrator in Qatar for 11 years, and for so long I was looking for inspiration from children's books and illustrations. Most of the elements are coming from the library at the Liwan Art and Design Labs of Qatar Museums (QM),” Kasdorf said.The Fire Station, where the residency is based, played a crucial role in enabling Kasdorf to bring her vision to life. Her work is on display at the “The Present: The Future of the Past” exhibition, along with 30 other alumni from QM’s AIR programme.Featuring works stemming from artists’ residencies, which cover 2021- 2022 (AIR 6) and 2022-2023 (AIR 7), the exhibition offers visitors a glimpse into the inner workings of artists’ studios and their unique approaches.“I started maybe a year and a bit ago, and it grew. The Fire Station really enabled me to do something unexpected with it. I could make stamps out of it because they have a fabrications lab, and that’s 3D, which is not my area of expertise. But they helped me make stamps and do three-dimensional work, and it was fun,” she explained.The Artist in Residence programme provided Kasdorf with a supportive environment that goes beyond her own abilities.It is learnt that the diverse range of artworks on display at the Fire Station highlight how the AIR programme consistently promotes artists to embrace their uniqueness and explore uncharted territories. This entails thinking beyond conventional boundaries, venturing into unfamiliar mediums, experimenting with novel materials, and engaging with elements they may have never previously encountered.“It enables you to do things past your own ability because you have this support system from the fab lab, the wood shop, which I used both extensively and unexpectedly. It wasn't in my plan; it was unexpected, and they were really nice to work with, generous, and easy,” she said.Originally from Canada, Kasdorf has called Doha her home for 11 years and has lived internationally for 20. Her diverse background in graphic design, illustration, fine art, and international education culminated in a master’s degree with distinction in Museum and Gallery Practice from UCL Qatar in 2020.In her website, Kasdorf said her passion for visual literacy and creativity led her to collaborate with museums, institutions, and publishers in Qatar, focusing on research-driven picture books. Additionally, she has shared her knowledge through classes and workshops.In 2021, she launched a participatory drawing initiative, encouraging spontaneous character sketching through platforms like and @sketchykarakters.

Malaysian ambassador Zamshari Shaharan
Malaysia envoy keen to enhance bilateral ties with Qatar

Malaysian ambassador Zamshari Shaharan expressed optimism about the potential for high-level visits between Qatar and Malaysia soon, aimed at further boosting bilateral ties in various areas of co-operation.Interacting with the media recently, the envoy hoped that exchange of visits will take place with Malaysian ministers visiting Qatar in the near future.“Our goal is to elevate these bilateral relations to a higher level, and we also hope for our prime minister to visit Qatar,” Shaharan said, noting that the two countries continue to enjoy strong and deep-rooted ties.Highlighting a framework of relations established in 2019 through a ‘high-level joint committee meeting (HLJC),' he pointed out that the full potential of this framework is yet to be realised.The envoy noted that the establishment of the committee serves as a platform for regular meetings to discuss various aspects of the two countries’ relations, which include economy, healthcare, and education.About trade and investment, Shaharan underlined Qatar's proposed investment in Malaysia, which has been under discussion for two years. He noted the concerted efforts on the Malaysian side to welcome more investments from Qatar.He also expressed confidence that once this initial stage is complete, further investment opportunities will arise, aligning with Qatar’s goal to diversify its investment portfolio.In a recent visit to Qatar, Malaysia’s Minister of Economy Rafizi Ramli stressed his country's commitment to further deepen collaboration with Qatar across a range of sectors. He underscored the continuous work towards building strong connections, particularly in the areas of energy and food security.Noting the Malaysian government’s initiatives to foster co-operation with Qatar, Ramli said the two countries had signed various agreements focused on economic collaboration. This, he added, aims to enhance integration between the public and private sectors in both countries.Shaharan identified key sectors that Malaysia offers, citing food security as a prominent area of co-operation. He noted that there is a huge potential for co-operation in the hospitality sector, capitalising on the excellent connectivity between Doha and Kuala Lumpur.About flight connections, he said there are currently three daily flights between the two nations, with Qatar Airways operating one flight and Malaysian Airlines offering two. He noted the significance of Malaysian Airlines initiating flights to Doha for the first time, and highlighted positive feedback regarding the route’s popularity.On tourism, Shaharan cited a stable flow of Qatari tourists to Malaysia, and pointed to the influx of visitors from various other nationalities from Qatar. He said he sees a big potential for increased tourism promotion in both Qatar and Malaysia.Regarding visa arrangements, he said Qataris enjoy visa-free entry, while e-visa options are available for other nationalities – applying with ease and making Malaysia more accessible for visitors.

Imad Mansour (2nd left), along with other panellists at the discussion on Friday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Conference explores impact of Iraq invasion on Qatar, Kuwait

A panel discussion on September 15 at the ongoing 'The Invasion of Iraq: Regional Reflections' Hiwaraat conference series shed light on the war’s impact on Qatar and Kuwait, particularly in terms of governance, foreign policy, and economic development.Imad Mansour from the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies said that while the invasion was a tragic event in the region’s history, it inadvertently eliminated threats faced by Qatar.He highlighted a structural change that enabled regional states to pursue more assertive policies globally – a shift allowing Qatar to experience unprecedented economic growth. This traced back to the 1970s and culminated in the 1990s when the country's diplomatic engagement with Iran intensified.“In the 70s and the 80s, Qatar faced a series of restrictions so state building was going on, there was less resources. The war between Iran and Iraq in the 80s limited what really Qatar and other states in the region could do because their main emphasis then was on securing themselves from the outside.“In the 90s... that war which decimated Iraq, was combined with changes in the technology to produce and export LNG (liquefied natural gas), which meant more resources for Qatar,” Mansour told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the discussion.Speaking at the session, titled “The View from the Peninsula: Kuwait and Qatar”, Laleh Khalili from Exeter University underlined the direct and indirect effects of the Iraq invasion on the economies of both Kuwait and Qatar. She pointed out that the uncertainties arising from military invasions have significant implications for oil markets, leading to fluctuations in prices and subsequently impacting GDPs.She also stressed the substantial influence of US military bases on both countries. These bases, she noted, serve as economic hubs, hosting various businesses and generating a “little American town” effect, contributing significantly to the local economies.Additionally, Khalili noted that the logistical and transport sectors have experienced substantial growth – written in her book (launched in 2020) titled ‘The Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula’, which further stimulated economic development.“The indirect effect of course is that because of the uncertainties usually that such a military invasion creates, the oil markets, particularly the Futures oil market, react quite strongly, and those uncertainties and unpredictability resulting shift in the price of oil which we see again reflected in the GDPs.Mansour and Khalili were joined by other panelists, including David Roberts, chair of King’s College London; Ghanim Alnajjar and Bader Al-Saif, both from Kuwait University.The conference, organised by Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the impact of the Iraq invasion over the past two decades, It brought together experts from the US, the Middle East, and other regions.According to GU-Q, the discussions include critical themes such as the emergence of Da’esh, post-invasion Iraq's women, global governance, climate change, and natural resource management.The insights shared at the conference, which concludes on Saturday highlight the complex interplay of geopolitical events and regional economies, illustrating how unforeseen consequences can lead to unexpected opportunities for growth and development.

Dr Anat Denyingyhot conducts a demo of the Rapid Test Kit.
Thailand's Halal Science Centre showcases cutting-edge innovation at Doha seminar

A seminar, organised by the Thailand embassy in Doha yesterday (September 14), provided in-depth insights into Halal practices and technological innovation, highlighting the pioneering work of the Halal Science Centre (HSC) at Chulalongkorn University.The event, titled “Thailand's Shariah-Compliant Advancement,” shed light on the importance of science, technology, and ground-breaking developments in Halal authentication.Speaking at the event, Thai ambassador Sira Swangsilpa said the seminar carries a significant weight for both Qatar and Thailand, marking the start of a series of initiatives aimed at disseminating Thailand's exemplary practices and facilitating networking opportunities with diverse institutions and diplomatic entities in Qatar.“This initiative seeks to unlock untapped collaborative potential between Qatar and Thailand, simultaneously offering prospects for trilateral cooperation with your respective countries,” he told attendees, which include a number of ambassadors and diplomats from different embassies in the country.Beyond Thailand's renowned cultural diversity and tourist destinations, the envoy underlined the vibrant Islamic culture ingrained in Thai society with around seven million Muslims, constituting 10% of its population.He noted that this community played a vital role in Thai society for centuries, dating back to the 17th century when Arab and Persian merchants served as advisors in the Royal Court.“In contemporary times, the Royal Thai government has made significant strides to accommodate the religious values of this cherished population, fostering initiatives to ensure top-notch services and spiritual consumer protection for Muslims,” Swangsilpa said.Established in 2004 under Thailand's leading university, he added that HSC is recognised as the world's first Halal Science Institution and operates as a state-of-the-art laboratory utilising advanced scientific methodologies to detect forbidden components and ensure the production of Halal food and services.In addition, Swangsilpa said HSC offers extensive training for food technology professionals and has received recognition and awards for science and innovation, both domestically and internationally.In his presentation, Associate Prof Dr Winai Dahlan, founding director of HSC and vice chairman of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand, underlined Thailand’s strategies on Halal integrity with science and technology.Citing a scandal involving intricate Haram contamination in Halal food within a prominent Muslim nation like Indonesia, he stressed that Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Council recognised the critical role of science and technology in the production and certification of Halal food. This, he added, also extends to safeguarding the interests of Muslim consumers, a focus that had previously been advanced at the Faculty of Allied Health and Sciences, Chulalongkorn University.Following Dr Dahlan’s keynote address, Dr Anat Denyingyhot, assistant director at HSC, conducted a live demonstration of the Rapid Test Kit for contaminating non-Halal animals in Halal food products. Highlighting the key role that the Halal Forensic Laboratory plays, he explored how Halal sciences ensure consumer protection through a combination of science and Shariah principles.Dr Denyingyhot said that such innovation, which was awarded a gold medal at the 34th International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX 2023) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May this year, showcased the centre’s commitment to ensuring the highest Halal certification standards.The seminar also highlighted Thailand’s National Strategy Framework, which aims to strengthen the economy and promote sustainable investments that address food security, climate change, and demographic shifts.According to Swangsilpa, the emphasis on balanced development and environmental responsibility aligns with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, creating potential avenues for collaboration.“I firmly believe that this seminar aligns seamlessly with the Qatar National Vision 2030, which revolves around four interconnected pillars of development: Human, Social, Economic and Environmental. It sets a clear roadmap for the country’s future while addressing societal needs and maintaining a delicate balance between modernisation and tradition preservation.“This alignment is a perfect match with Thailand's national development goals and several national agendas from your respective countries. By combining our countries development objective, we can chart a promising path to collaboration and a brighter future,” the envoy said.