Thursday, February 02, 2023 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 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 leads the Tumpeng cutting ceremony at the embassy. Supplied picture
Indonesians in Qatar celebrate 77th Independence Day

Flag-hoisting, Tumpeng cutting, and awarding of sports competition winners marked the 77th Indonesian Independence Day at the embassy in Qatar Wednesday. Led by ambassador Ridwan Hassan, the event was attended by members of the Indonesian community in Qatar, as well as Indonesian students who took part as flag hoisting troops. Indonesian students in Qatar took part in the celebration as flag hoisting troops. The celebration showcased Tumpeng, a popular Indonesian cone-shaped rice dish symbolising the gratitude of the Indonesian people for the blessing of independence. The envoy also awarded community members who won the embassy-organised competitions such as bowling, badminton, and table tennis as part of the Independence Day festivity. Hassan highlighted the strong bilateral relations between Qatar and Indonesia, which began in 1976. Qatar opened its embassy in Jakarta in November 1997 while Indonesia opened its embassy in Doha on June 22, 1999. Over the years, he noted that the two countries enjoyed cordial relations in various fields: Co-operation in the political field, for instance, has been manifested, among others, through co-operation on defence, as well as in the peacemaking process for Afghanistan. Embassy officials and members of the Indonesian community in Qatar attend the celebration at the embassy Wednesday (supplied pictures). Qatar and Indonesia share a mutual partnership in the area of economy and trade with total bilateral trade reaching $893mn in 2021, according to the embassy. Indonesia's non-oil and gas exports were recorded at $217.2mn and imports amounted to $189.2mn, with Indonesia having a surplus of $28mn. Indonesia's oil and gas products from Qatar amounted to $486.5mn. From January to May 2022, total trade increased by 27.14% to $514.5mn compared to the same period in 2021. Indonesia's non-oil and gas exports were recorded at $100.6mn, up by 51.20%, and its imports also increased by 60.04% to $123.4mn compared to the same period in 2021. Overall, Indonesia experienced a trade deficit of $22.7mn. In the socio-culture field, Qatar and Indonesia entered a new phase with the selection of Indonesia as a partner country for the Qatar Year of Culture in 2023. Indonesia is the first Southeast Asian country to be selected as the partner country for this prestigious event. “In the coming months, Qatar will host the most-awaiting and one of the biggest sports events in the world – FIFA World Cup 2022. While Indonesia, in a different field, this year resumes its presidency of the G20. Next year, Indonesia and Qatar together will celebrate and appreciate their cultural relations through a year-long programme “Qatar – Indonesia Year of Culture. So, it’s time to collaborate stronger,” Hassan said.  

The site is located an hour and 20 minutes north of Doha by road, and 1.5km south-east of Fuwairit Village. PICTURES: Qatar Tourism
Fuwairit Kite Beach resort to open soon

Fuwairit Kite Beach, a state-of-the-art resort and new tourism destination in the northern part of the country, is set to open later this year, Qatar Tourism has announced. “Qatar is exceptionally well-placed to offer everything a kitesurfer seeks - stable and consistent winds for nine months of the year, calm and shallow lagoons, warm water, a favourable climate - and it’s globally accessible,” Qatar Tourism posted on its social media pages. The site, located an hour and 20 minutes north of Doha by road, and 1.5km south-east of Fuwairit Village, is supported by Qatar Tourism, Discover Qatar, and Qatar Airways. According to Qatar Tourism, Fuwairit is a coastal village with excellent kitesurfing conditions, consistent winds, ideal ocean water and powder-soft sands. Qatar’s geography also “offers optimal conditions that create the perfect opportunity to join the already well-established and successful global ‘surf tourism’ market.” “Qatar is exceptionally well-placed to offer everything a kitesurfer seeks - stable and consistent winds for nine months of the year, calm and shallow lagoons, warm water, a favourable climate - and it’s globally accessible. “The upcoming state-of-the-art resort is designed around the kitesurfer’s lifestyle. There will be a yoga studio, fully equipped gym, restaurants, pool, and much more,” Qatar Tourism tweeted. Qatar Tourism noted that water sports like kitesurfing continue to become increasingly popular in Qatar, making the country one of the favourite ‘go-to destinations’ for water sports enthusiasts from various parts of the globe. With a “combination of calm, shallow waters and consistently good wind,” Qatar serves as a safe place for beginners to practice and gain experience in kitesurfing. While there are several spots to choose from, Qatar Tourism noted that Fuwairit beach features “a powder-soft sandy beach and open water ideal for both beginners and experienced kiters”. “Apart from the weather, good wind, and great spots to practice at, Qatar is an optimal choice for kitesurfers from all over the world thanks to its strategic location. Being an international hub for travellers from either Europe or Asia, it’s often just a few hours’ flight to arrive at kitesurfing paradise,” Qatar Tourism said. Kitesurf expert Sarah Lord shares online (Visit Qatar website) what she described as “a fantastic experience” in Qatar, saying “it feeds the soul, as you feel truly connected to mother nature. You can experience both the adrenaline of the sport and the tranquility of the sea at the same time; it is a truly unique feeling.”

Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan.
Qatar-Indonesia ties going from strength to strength: envoy

 Indonesia’s ambassador to Qatar has underlined the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, on the occasion of Indonesia’s 77th Independence Day on Wednesday. “Indonesia and Qatar have enjoyed excellent relations based on common faith and mutual interests,” ambassador Ridwan Hassan said. “Under the guidance of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and our President Joko Widodo, the relations have been strengthened and nurtured from time to time.” “The contact and exchange visits from various levels of leadership have cemented the solid bilateral relations in political, economic and social-cultural spheres,” the envoy said in a statement. Hassan stressed that the Indonesian embassy in Qatar will continue to promote and facilitate any effort to strengthen and deepen “our brotherly countries’ relations, including in people-to-people relationship”. He said that 2022 will be exciting for both countries: Qatar will host one of biggest – and the most-anticipated – sports event in the world, the 2022 FIFA World Cup, while Indonesia resumes its presidency of the G20 this year. The 17th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit will take place in Bali on November 15-16 under the theme *Recover Together, Recover Stronger. Highlighting the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the different sectors of society and understanding the challenges and the need for collective action, Indonesia is set to focus on three main pillars for its G20 2022 presidency: Global Health Architecture, Sustainable Energy Transition, and Digital Transformation. Hassan said that 2022 is an essential milestone in the plan to relocate Indonesia’s capital from Jakarta to Nusantara, which is situated between two regencies – Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara – in East Kalimantan province. This area of around 56,000 hectares, with a total development area of 256,000 hectares, is four times larger than Jakarta. About 75% of the site will be green space, meaning that Nusantara will become a forest city with the potential to absorb substantial carbon emissions. The envoy said that next year the two countries will celebrate and appreciate their cultural relations through a year-long “Qatar – Indonesia Year of Culture” programme. In a statement, the Indonesian Community in Qatar’s Cultural Art chief and Sanggar Seni Mesaieed (Mesaieed Cultural Club) head, Ika Ristiani, said: “As we commemorate the 77th Independence Day of the Republic Indonesia, we hope that we can share and contribute more to encourage our children to move on and to not hesitate when showing the beauty of Indonesia to the world.” “Indonesia has many ethnic groups with different languages, traditions, religions and beliefs,” he said. “We are rich in art and culture. However, we are one – one nation, one land and united by one language, Bahasa Indonesia.” Sanggar Seni Mesaieed was established in 2015 as Sanggar Tari Mesaieed (or Mesaieed Dance Club) and made its first performance in the internal Community of Qafco (Qatar Fertiliser Company) Indonesia (KOMIQ) events, and only comprised the children of Qafco employees. “We were doing our dance practice in Al Banush Club House, Mesaieed, under the management of Qafco, so it was not possible for us to accept children from other companies,” Ristiani said. “After receiving full support from Mesaieed International School, the club opened its membership to Indonesian children in Mesaieed.” In 2017, the club began offering traditional music, Angklung, one of Indonesia's traditional musical instruments for girls and boys. The club then changed its name to Sanggar Seni Mesaieed.    

The concert, which will take place on August 27 at the Katara Opera House from 7.30pm to 8.30pm, aims to enhance and preserve Gulf folk music by intertwining traditional Gulf folk styles with a Western orchestra for the first time.
Gulf folk music concert by QPO

A unique musical performance by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) will put a spotlight on the country’s rich maritime history with influences from the art of ‘Fijiri’ – a traditional form of music associated with pearl divers and the sea. The concert, which will take place on August 27 at the Katara Opera House from 7.30pm to 8.30pm, aims to enhance and preserve Gulf folk music by intertwining traditional Gulf folk styles with a Western orchestra for the first time. QPO deputy executive director Nasser Sahim has composed the music for the event, along with Dr Amer Jaffar and Mansour al-Mohanadi, a Qatari singer providing vocals for the performance. Sahim, as a vocalist-composer, has recorded more than 30 single songs in the Gulf region as well as an album of a dozen songs. He has produced musical projects, television programmes, sound effects, commercial music serials and classical music for all of Qatar’s national media. He has also composed orchestral music. Sahim’s Four Seasons symphony has been performed domestically and internationally from 2015 to 2017. Dr Amer Jaafer is an award-winning composer, life-long pianist, oud performer, orchestra expert, and talented music director. He has worked hard to build a strong cultural exchange between Uzbekistan and Kuwait, along with other GCC countries. The QPO performance, to be conducted by Kamoliddin Urinbaev, will include a traditional Gulf percussion group led by Dr Faisal Ibrahim al-Tamimi, composer, Qatari director, and researcher in arts and Qatari folklore. Urinbaev, who is the founder, artistic director and chief conductor of The State Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan, has worked with renowned orchestras and soloists around the globe.    

Each of Al Najadahu2019s houses has unique architectural details and qualities.
Local creatives to benefit from QM's Al Najadah

Emerging and established local creatives stand to significantly benefit from Qatar Museums’ (QM) Al Najadah initiative, which provides an array of opportunities for growth, collaboration and sharing of expertise. As a community, QM said Al Najadah can support creatives in attracting a bigger audience and in engaging with local and international partners for further cooperation and knowledge sharing. Al Najadah team is also ready to assist in marketing and communications, in addition to giving access to relevant events and programmes in the district. “We are looking for both emerging and established creative individuals and enterprises to join the community. We are ready to create a fertile ecosystem by providing the right incentives and support structures in order to enable this district to become a beacon for future-oriented artists, artisans, designers, makers, and chefs,” QM posted on the Al Najadah website. QM chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani recently urged local creatives to be part of Al Najadah’s transformation and apply for the open call. Emerging creatives include “individuals or micro-studios at the early stages of their business looking for a space to work and showcase their talent, and partners to work with and learn from. Benefits include rent subsidy (discounted rent fees), which will be provided based on each applicant’s project proposal and ability to pay; an opportunity to showcase marketing assets such as posters, banners, booklets, and stickers in the Majlis building (welcome point) as well benefiting from wayfinding and dedicated spatial interventions; free event hosting at House B15 along with other emerging members twice a year; opportunities to talk about their pieces or displaying them at bespoke programmes offered by the community to the general public; and a temporary free space at pop-up activations. Established creatives, meanwhile, include “select industry-leading enterprises with an existing audience and brand presence, looking for people to collaborate with and expand globally.” Al Najadah is ready to provide them with a seat at the Community Circle, an opportunity to display their portfolio and success stories, as well as marketing assets; and event hosting at House B15. Comprising 17 houses, QM noted that Al Najadah is one of Doha’s few remaining neighbourhoods that still features traditional architecture whilst retaining its original historical structure. QM, which is at the forefront of reviving Doha’s heritage districts, said Al Najadah’s cluster of houses used to belong to modest Qatari families and dates back to the 1930s. “Each of Al Najadah’s houses has unique architectural details and qualities. You can activate a unit or an entire building with temporary or permanent interventions. All permanent construction work will have to comply with heritage site regulations,” QM said. The Al Najadah Curation Committee, which will select future community members, encouraged local creatives to submit their business or project proposals not later than August 31.   Activation Strategy Three key pedestrian streets and three significant public squares constitute the main areas where the public can pass by, which were used to delimit Al Najadah’s three main clusters. Each cluster offers different types of experiences to community members who occupy these houses. Entry points, accessibility to the site and public circulation were taken into consideration when assigning each building’s specific functions. With the exception of House B01 and House B15 (reserved for the community and public programming), all remaining buildings are planned to be rented out to future community members. Project proposals for the activities to be undertaken must fit under one or a few of the main working modes: make, sell, show and connect. House typologies offer options for diversity and inclusion. Each of Al Najadah’s houses has unique architectural details and qualities. People can activate a unit or an entire building with temporary or permanent interventions. All permanent construction work will have to comply with heritage site regulations. (Source:    

Visuals from the activations at Place Vendome in Lusail Friday. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam.
100 days to go countdown to conclude Saturday

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s (SC) football activations at three major malls in Qatar will conclude Saturday after attracting a large number of enthusiasts as the country marked 'the 100 days to go' countdown to the 2022 FIFA World Cup over three days. Football fans queued up to participate in a competition that will give winners FIFA World Cup (category 1) tickets to the opening match between Qatar v Ecuador at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium on November 20. “I find the games very exciting and challenging but it is worth spending my weekend here at Place Vendome with friends. I hope one of us will win a ticket to the event on November 20,” said Indian expatriate Shakir M. He lauded SC’s activations saying the country is in a festive mood in the lead up to the prestigious football tournament, scheduled from November 20 to December 18 – which also marks Qatar’s National Day celebration. According to SC, the tournament will feature eight state-of-the-art stadiums, which will host 64 matches throughout the event – taking place for the first time in the Middle East and the Arab world. Filipino expatriate Arnel S, who mulls participating in SC’s mall activities, said excitement further builds up in Qatar as the much-anticipated sport competition draws near. Apart from the activations, he said he also hopes to witness some of the side events such as sports competitions, cultural performances, exhibitions, and the upcoming public artworks in the coming months before the tournament. “These various activations give us a glimpse of the kind of atmosphere during the month-long FIFA World Cup, and I am sure that it will be an unforgettable experience for me and my family. I also plan to explore the museums and the cultural centres here this year,” he added. Qatar Museums plans to transform the country into a vast outdoor art museum experience in the coming weeks with more than 100 installations, including 40 new and commissioned public artworks by celebrated Qatari, regional and international artists. The SC activations at Doha Festival City, Mall of Qatar, and Place Vendome witnessed many families and children enjoying the different activities, which include e-gaming and other football games. Football fans will also have the opportunity to watch the Lusail Super Cup at the 80,000-capacity Lusail stadium on September 9, featuring the champions of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the event’s organising committee announced. Tickets will go on sale from August 18.

DHFC hosts an SC activation, which kicked off Thursday and attracted a large number of participants. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
SC launches 100 days World Cup countdown activations in malls World Cup

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) launched Thursday a series of activations at two major malls in Qatar, marking the 100 days countdown to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the country. A large number of football fans thronged the activations and competitions at Doha Festival City (DHFC) and Place Vendome from 12noon to 10pm. Mall of Qatar (MoQ) is set to kick off a two-day activation from Friday (August 12) – the start of SC’s 'the 100 days to go' countdown for the tournament. It will also be the venue for the grand finale event Saturday (August 13). SC noted that participants can win a FIFA World Cup (category 1) ticket to the opening match between Qatar v Ecuador at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium on November 20 by getting the highest score on each day. Filipino expatriate John B, who was among the first five mall-goers to participate, lauded SC’s activations, saying it provided residents and visitors a chance to be part of the World Cup countdown, besides possibly winning a ticket. “Kicking the ball towards a particular target was really challenging, but nonetheless, I enjoyed all the activities here at the mall,” he said, showing his 21st ranking after completing the challenges. According to SC, those who want to participate in the competition must register first via a QR code, which is posted at the malls’ activation areas. SC’s mall activations also serve as special bonding moments for many parents and their children who are spending their weekend indoors – an opportunity to play together as they test their football and agility skills. The activations offer a feel of the prestigious tournament, taking place for the first time in the Middle East and the Arab world from November 20 to December 18. MoQ’s Oasis area will be hosting a number of competitions and exciting games, in addition to a flash mob performance at 4pm and at 8.30pm, before announcing a winner for the day. Mall-goers get to enjoy some entertainment shows and community performances, apart from the activations’ football activities, e-gaming, and special giveaways. Football fans taking part in these SC activities at the three major malls in Qatar are advised to strictly follow Covid-19 health and safety protocols. It is learnt that several sports competitions, cultural events and activities, conferences, and exhibitions across the country, including the Street Child World Cup Doha 2022 from October 5 to 15, are expected to take place in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Mubarak al-Malik's Figure of a Woman Wearing a Batoola and Offering a Plant at the Fire Station. PICTURES: Qatar Museums
QM initiatives nurture Doha-based artists

An array of Qatar Museums (QM) initiatives continue to provide Doha-based artists an opportunity to nurture their talents, and help make the country’s art scene more vibrant, according to Fire Station exhibitions co-ordinator Amal Zeyad Ali. She told Gulf Times that there are many QM open calls such as the Jedariart initiative where artists can apply and take part to grow and develop themselves. QM, Ali pointed out, also believes “in the fact that if you give an opportunity to an artist they will cherish it and they will grow out of that.” Abdulaziz Yousef Ahmed's Woman Side Profile in Abaya at Al Tarfa Al Khor Interchange. A public art programme by QM, Jedariart gathers artists to create murals and street art, adding vibrancy and meaning to the walls across Doha. It forms part of QM’s aim of supporting local artists and promoting public art. “I think the impact of it (Jedariart) is when you go abroad, oftentimes you see art everywhere whether it's graffiti or commissioned and I think to have it commissioned makes it local, very site specific. “It also brought in a lot of people (who) might not want to come to museums but they will see it in the roads like for example you go to Doha Festival City and as you're leaving you see Michael Perone’s mural, and maybe you're not very keen about art but you start being like ‘oh who's that where did that come from’ and you want to learn more,” said Ali, who is also the curator of ‘Abstraction: Subverting Reality’ exhibition and organiser of the ‘Abeer Al-Tamimi: Beyond the Rules’ exhibition at the Fire Station. Mural by Michael Perrone (assisted by Salma Awad, Teslim Sanni, Amna Al Muftah, Maha Nasr, Alice Aslem, Parthivan K) titled 'Home and Away' at Doha Festival City Interchange. Besides Jedariart, she added that other programmes such as the Fire Station’s Paris and New York international residency also provided artists the needed exposure abroad to enhance their skills and broaden their horizon and perspective. About challenges, Ali noted that the Covid-19 pandemic motivated people to look inwards and find their own identity as an artist. “I think the more and more that we see art and people practicing art, the more people will look inwards, the more you will look at a painting (and) be like ‘oh that's that artist’ and you'll see their personal take on it, and they will have a personal identity. “I think that will really shape Qatar not only as an international player in the art scene, not only an importer of art, but also an exporter of art and they've already started to do that but they will continue to do so,” added Ali.

Dadu is designed to nurture, challenge and inspire children and families.
Dadu, Children's Museum a platform for learning

Qatar Museums (QM) chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has put a spotlight on the key role of ‘Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar’ as a platform for learning, giving children the opportunity to develop and fulfil their potential. “What we learn through play from childhood, stays with us for life. It strengthens our bonds with family and friends and brings us much joy and laughter," HE Sheikha Al Mayassa posted on her social media pages Tuesday. “This is the driving force behind our future Children’s museum, Dadu, which will enrich the lives of children and their families by providing an unparalleled space for learning through open-ended play, exploration and experimentation,” she added. According to QM, families will have the chance to play and learn together at Dadu (meaning “pla”" in Arabic) through a wide range of “stimulating, interactive and accessible indoor and outdoor experiences”. While the museum has yet to open, QM said it is already engaging the community in the country such as family events with its partner organisations, as well as Museums in Residence programmes in schools around Doha. Dadu will also support all children and those with special education needs and disabilities to learn through play, family bonding and other funfilled activities. “As the plans for the museum develop, I have enjoyed participating in this special project with @daduqatar and @inq_giftshop for this uniquely sustainable toy – the Dal Blocks – inspired by the unique designs for the building to create a toy that will bring people together, regardless of age, gender and interests,” HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said, as she thanked participating Dadu Founding Families: Shell Qatar, Baladna, and Exxonmobil, “who share our belief in the value of play”. Echoing HE Sheikha Al Mayassa’s statement, Dadu director Essa al-Mannai highlighted the importance of the museum’s mission of nurturing children's creativity, imagination, and love of learning. “We feel we are needed at this time to support families, and to connect people and ideas despite being physically apart,” al-Mannai posted on QM’s website. Dadu has an ongoing interactive experiment titled ‘Light Atelier’, which began on July 1 and runs until September 11 at the Museum: Arab Museum of Modern Art. This educational space gives participants the opportunity “to take the lead and freely discover concepts about light and shadow, colour mixing, reflections and more”, allowing them “to play, explore and experiment”. “We take a broadly constructivist approach to learning, starting from the position that each learner is unique. Learning outcomes are developed and delivered while taking into account different learning styles and differing developmental stages. Children are encouraged to go on a learning journey that is both challenging and within reach. “Our playful approach creates a sense of delight and uses all types of play – pretend, dramatic, constructive, multisensory and social play to support children's learning,” QM said.

Part of Qatar Museums' mission is to revive Dohau2019s heritage districts, including Al Najadah.
Local creatives to be part of Al Najadah’s transformation

Qatar Museums (QM) chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has urged local creatives to be part of Al Najadah’s transformation and apply for the open call. New members will then be joining “the growing community of creatives, partners and collaborators in this historic space”. Placed at the heart of Doha, the history of this cluster of houses which used to belong to modest Qatari families dates back to the 1930s. The open call focuses on reaching local and global audiences – finding the right members, partners, and collaborators – aimed at creating an inclusive and diverse community. The deadline is on August 31. “Once a humble neighbourhood, Al Najadah is now seeing a new lease of life as we work to transform it into a space for a new multidisciplinary community of emerging and established creatives focused on Qatar’s burgeoning new crafts: Contemporary Heritage, Culinary Arts and Digital Experiences,” HE Sheikha Al Mayassa posted on her social media pages. She also encouraged local creatives to visit Al Najadah’s open house on August 10. The event is set to present its vision, in addition to a tour through the district, which is just a walking distance from Souq Waqif and Mshereib. The culture of the past is represented by each design decision in this idyllic neighbourhood, which is now being prepared to host a creative community for the future. PICTURES: Qatar Museums and Al Najadah website Al Najadah is one of the city’s few remaining neighbourhoods that still features traditional architecture whilst retaining its original historical structure. It is comprised of 17 houses, one of which is a majlis (“sitting places”) where people used to gather to discuss collective needs and socialise). This cluster of courtyard homes that were once owned by modest Qatari households were later occupied by artisans who sold traditional goods and regional produce (source: Three key pedestrian streets and three significant public squares constitute the main areas where the public can pass by, which were used to delimit Al Najadah’s three main clusters. “Cultural heritage shapes values, beliefs and aspirations, defining a nation’s identity and representing a record of its human achievement. That is why we are committed to reviving Qatar’s heritage sites, such as Al Najadah, a cluster of beautiful, historic houses in the heart of Doha that date back to the 1930s,” HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said. Set to host a creative community of the future to preserve its artisan culture, Al Najadah aims “to become a crafts district that strives to blend social, economic and cultural elements in order to create an area that can empower creative businesses’ growth all while preserving the authenticity of the neighborhood environment and heritage structures. The district is just a walking distance from Souq Waqif and Mshereib. To achieve this goal, Al Najadah will offer an environment for collaboration and research between traditional artisans and contemporary artists, designers, and makers — all for the purpose of knowledge and cultural exchange. Al Najadah brings people together “to produce locally made, beautifully designed goods and to establish local brands in Qatar”. This regeneration project offers indoor spaces for potential tenants who want to establish their businesses. It is still renovating public spaces – designed as venues “to eat, rest, get inspired or just come together”. As part of the Al Najadah community, members can learn from others and share their knowledge or expertise, as well as forge partnerships and collaborations. Al Najadah seeks “to bring together those who have a shared desire to become pioneers in their industries and aim to flourish their businesses in a collaborative way”.

A gondola ride for QR20 at Villaggio mall. PICTURES: Visit Qatar
'QR100 can take you places in Doha in a day'

Qatar residents and visitors who want to explore a number of popular places in Doha 'can do so much in one day with QR100' this summer or even beyond, Visit Qatar suggests. The official social media tourism account of Qatar Tourism posted a video of a resident who shared her experience, spending less than QR100 to visit and enjoy a number of destinations in the city. The trip started by purchasing a QR6 day-pass of the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram, taking her to different metro-accessible locations and cultural centres. Enjoying the gondola ride First stop is the Al Thuraya Planetarium at the Katara – the Cultural Village via the Katara or Al Qassar metro stations. It has become a major attraction at Katara, providing visitors with a unique ‘edutainment’ experience. Katara noted that the 2,240sqm and full-dome digital system facility features a 22m screen – equipped with state-of-the-art digital projectors showing 2D and 3D tutorial shows. “The Planetarium features information on Earth Science which contains more than 200 unique data sets in five categories: astronomy, atmosphere, geology, and the oceans. This includes more than 25 terrestrial weather data, solar data sets, and a number of awareness presentations by professional trainers,” Katara said on its website. “The planetarium takes visitors on a journey around the galaxies of the universe in a simplified manner that fits children and adults in two languages, English and Arabic.” A QR6 day-pass of the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram can lead passengers to many destinations in the city. Katara, dubbed as “the largest and the most multidimensional cultural project of Qatar”, is also home to an array of exhibition galleries, concert halls, theatres, mosques, and state-of-the-art facilities, in addition to eateries and restaurants, including Chapati and Karak café – where anyone can have a meal for QR10. From Katara, the trip moves to the Villaggio mall via the Doha Metro’s Red and Gold Line. Visitors can enjoy a gondola boat ride for QR20 and lunch at its food court, which offers an array of tasty but affordable dishes such as a QR5 meal at Tea Time. A wide range of spices on offer at Souq Waqif. With a day-pass ticket, metro passengers can visit other malls such as Mall of Qatar (Green Line), Place Vendome (Red Line), and City Center Doha (Red Line) while Doha Festival City can be accessed via Metrolink No 145 at the Lusail metro station. The journey continued to Souq Waqif for other activities such as feeding the birds and buying some spices and souvenirs. Visitors can also buy a box of fresh dates for QR5 at the Local Dates Festival, which concludes on August 10. The planetarium takes visitors on a journey around the galaxies of the universe in a simplified manner. She had dinner at some eateries and outlets, spending less than QR10 for a kebab sandwich before buying some spices for QR14 and concluding her experience at the Doha Corniche to see the city’s scenic skyline and the dhows. For visitors who plan to take a similar tour to the traditional market, many residents suggest going to the Souq Waqif Art Centre, which has become a popular hangout for artists and enthusiasts. It also displays the work of local and visiting artists, in addition to hosting art workshops and classes or simply watching artists create their pieces. Visitors get to see cultural performances, parades, and exhibitions during festivals and other celebrations at Souq Waqif, held mostly in the cold months. Souq Waqif Art Centre has become a popular hangout for artists and enthusiasts.  PICTURES: Visit Qatar

Gulf Times
DFI launches fund for Qatari filmmakers

The Doha Film Institute (DFI) has announced the return of its Qatari Film Fund, an initiative designed to support short and feature filmmaking by Qataris. In a recent tweet, DFI noted that applications will be accepted until September 1. The Qatari Film Fund, offers support for the furtherance of the skills and accomplishments of Qatari filmmakers. “The fund is committed to the development of up to four feature films, and the development, production and post-production of up to eight short films annually. “Feature films developed through the fund are eligible for financial support for production, and one film will be selected for production funding in the following year. Projects are selected through two funding cycles per year,” DFI said. Short films are eligible for funding valued at up to QR182,500, that includes development, production and post-production funds, mentorship, equipment and production support from DFI which will be working closely with successful applicants throughout these stages. It will also work with each filmmaker to develop and finalise scripts, establish budgets and schedules, secure creative and technical teams and provide mentorship opportunities with industry specialists as required. Feature film treatments and screenplays at any level of progress are also eligible for development funding valued at up to QR182,500, including development services, mentorship, equipment and other support from the Institute. DFI will also work with each filmmaker to provide bespoke development services, including research, script notes and feedback, script editors, writers’ fees, legal services, location scouting, budgeting, scheduling and casting, among others. “Further, the Institute will continue to provide creative and technical training and mentoring through its Learning Initiatives. Qatari screenwriters, writer-directors and producers are encouraged to approach the Institute with film ideas currently in the early stages of development. “The Institute will assist with the development, production, and post-production of projects through filmmaking workshops and in-house development, and help prepare applications for funding from the Qatari Fund as appropriate,” DFI noted. The Institute also issued some general guidelines, as well as the requirements to be submitted, for Short and Feature film funding on its website:

A variety of local dates are available at the festival. Ripening bunches of dates are seen on a palm in Doha's Al Hilal area Friday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Innovation pushes demand for dates

Innovation has pushed the demand for dates and its products, significantly helping businesses grow and boosting the country’s food and beverage sector, it is learnt. Apart from fresh, dried and preserved soft dates offered at the ongoing 7th Local Dates Festival at Souq Waqif, a wide variety of dates products such as cakes, milkshakes, tarts, jams, ice cream and pickles, have also become appealing to a large number of visitors. Speaking to Gulf times on the sidelines of the event, Memos Factory operations manager Faisal Mohamed said they witnessed a huge demand for dates products since day one of the event, which opened on July 27 and runs until August 10. Memos Factory operations manager Faisal Mohamed showcases some of their dates products at the event. PICTURE Joey Aguilar Besides walk-ins at their stores, he said they also saw a demand surge for online orders of various products across Doha and beyond, further enhancing their overall sales. According to Mohamed, several dates products have also become increasingly popular not only among citizens and residents but also visitors from other GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. A wide variety of dates offered at the festival. PICTURE: Thajudheen Such demand, he said, also drives a company like Memos – owned and managed by Qatari entrepreneur Lolwa al-Mansouri – to expand and open new stores in other location in Qatar and overseas in the future. With innovation, creativity and passion for healthy foods, Mohamed pointed out that an array of high-quality products can be produced from dates – and offered at reasonable prices. The festival at Souq Waqif continues to attract a large number of shoppers.  PICTURE: Thajudeen He lauded the Local Dates Festival for supporting local farmers, as well as local companies, saying the event serves as an excellent platform to promote and market their products. The event, organised by the Ministry of Municipality in association with Souq Waqif management, has brought together more than 80 local farms that offer an array of fresh dates, as well as dates products at affordable prices. The event serves as an excellent platform for local farms to promote and market their produce.  PICTURE: Thajudeen The festival has been attracting a large number of residents and visitors, including those from outside Doha, and abroad. With the success of this year’s edition, organisers are planning to hold a separate event showcasing dried and preserved soft dates in the future. Participating farmers received some 100 dates drying rooms, which could be used to improve the quality of dried dates for the upcoming festivals and events. The festival’s organising committee highlighted the importance of following preventive and precautionary Covid-19 measures at the event aimed at keeping everyone safe.

Indoor sports events and tournaments such as volleyball bring together enthusiasts in the country every weekend.
Indoor sports increasingly popular in Qatar

Indoor sports and recreational activities in Qatar have become increasingly popular among residents as the FIFA World Cup 2022 in the country draws near, according to Bench Perlas men’s volleyball team founder Jonar R Paz. While indoor sports can be played year-round, Paz told Gulf Times that the football fever - due to hosting such a prestigious tournament this year - has enticed many enthusiasts to become active. He said an increasing number of nationals from various expatriate communities have engaged in indoor physical activities such as volleyball, sepak takraw, badminton, basketball, bowling, and table tennis. “We witnessed many residents participating in various local competitions in Doha and we hope to see more tournaments taking place in the lead-up to the World Cup and beyond,” Paz said, as he lauded the country’s state-of-the-art facilities such as the Qatar Sports Club, Aspire Zone, and the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena, among other locations. The group was established in 2018 to build camaraderie among members while raising awareness on the importance of sports in achieving work-life balance. Bench Perlas is now one of the most active teams in the Filipino volleyball community in Doha, attracting other nationalities to participate as well. With the growing popularity of indoor sports in Qatar, Paz expressed optimism that more inter-community competitions in Qatar will be organised in the near future. This, he added, will further attract more people to join and be physically fit, in addition to inspiring others to live a healthy lifestyle. He said these sports events and tournaments bring together enthusiasts in the country every weekend, allowing them to play with compatriots and other nationalities. According to Paz, the recently concluded Season 13 of Pinoy Volleyball of Qatar witnessed more than 40 teams (men and women) participating. He looks forward to seeing more teams in Season 14, set to start on August 12. Like volleyball, it is learnt that venues of other indoor sports across Qatar have become busy with the influx of players, particularly in the afternoon and the weekends. According to Pinoy Basketball of Qatar, it is witnessing a surge in the number of players and enthusiasts who want to join the leagues not only since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions but also due to the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Doha Dreams Inspired by Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at Msheireb Downtown Dohau2019s M7. PICTURE: M7
E-Sports players set to converge for AAMeghessib's Back-2-Back

E-Sports players are set to converge from August 5 to 26 for the third edition of AAMeghessib's Back-2-Back – dubbed as “a unique e-Sport platform for FIFA 22 on PlayStation 5 in Qatar.” The competition – an initiative and named after Ahmed al-Meghessib, known as one of the region’s top e-sport FIFA players – has become a major event in the country and has been attracting a huge number of participants. AAMeghessib's Back-2-Back is an initiative and named after Ahmed al-Meghessib, known as one of the region’s top e-sport FIFA players. PICTURE: Red Bull The tournament’s format creates a team of two players who compete in offline qualifiers leading to the national final. The sportive angle is that teams need to score two consecutive goals to win in 11v11 Kick Off Mode. The first place winner will get QR45,000, provided by Qatar Tourism in redeemable vouchers from Virgin Megastores, and QR30,000 will be given to the second placer. The third-place winner will receive QR15,000. Paintings on display at the Abstraction: Subverting Reality at the Doha Fire Station. PICTURE: Thajudheen Ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, several other events, exhibitions, workshops, and summer camps are being held across Qatar this month and beyond. These include the Local Dates Festival, which concludes on August 10 at Souq Waqif; Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You by internationally renowned Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist at the National Museum of Qatar; A Sneak Peek at Qatar Auto Museum, also at NMoQ; Doha Dreams Inspired by Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at Msheireb Downtown Doha’s M7; Al Shaqab’s Summer Equestrian Programme at Al Shaqab; Abeer Al-Tamimi: Beyond the Rules and Abstraction: Subverting Reality at the Doha Fire Station; Creative Space Summer Camp at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and Paint Palette: Abstract Art for Children at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, among others. Visit Qatar, the official social media tourism account of Qatar Tourism, posted a schedule of sports competitions, festivals, cultural performances, art exhibitions, and conferences set to take place in Qatar before the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Young visitors exploring 3-2-1's interactive galleries. PICTURES: 3-2-1 QOSM
Aspire summer camp participants enjoy 3-2-1 museum visit

The Aspire Zone Summer Camp 2022’s recent visit to the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum (QOSM) provided participants the opportunity to learn more about “the world’s most sophisticated museum dedicated to sport”. In a post on its Facebook page, 3-2-1 noted that the students enjoyed exploring the different galleries, particularly the Activation Zone (Gallery 7) as they engage in a series of fun interactive challenges. Students taking part of Aspire Zone Summer Camp 2022 at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum. The museum notes that the Activation Zone promotes physical activity and healthy living as it features inspirational stories of residents who decided to adopt such a lifestyle. A digital installation that reflects parks, markets, desert, beaches, and the Khalifa Arena allows visitors to immerse themselves in Qatar’s environment. “Our galleries reveal the cultural impact of sports through multiple perspectives: the history and contemporary significance of the Olympic Games, the inspiring journeys of global sports heroes, and the development of sports in Qatar. “Interactive experiences in our Activation Zone promote healthy and active lifestyles. 3-2-1 comprises seven gallery spaces housing objects from around the globe, from the origins of sports to the present day,” 3-2-1 stated. 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum is “the world’s most sophisticated museum dedicated to sport”. PICTURES: 3-2-1 QOSM It is learnt that 3-2-1’s fun games and recreational activities, which form part of its education programmes designed to enhance understanding and awareness of the history of sport, have enticed many students to visit the museum even during the summer season. The museum’s guided tours for schools both in English and Arabic, which are available during the academic year, allow participants to discover its seven galleries and “can be tailoured to schools’ needs, based on specific subjects or desired learning outcomes”. According to 3-2-1, its programmes offer educational and sports activities from pre-K to grade 12 for all Qatar-based government and international schools: in line with the standards of the physical education curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Students enjoying the interactive games at 3-2-1 QOSM. The museum noted that it also collaborates with local and international universities to develop educational programmes – aimed at raising students’ awareness of Olympic and sports culture. Besides school programmes, 3-2-1 offers “family-focused activities that encourage participants to learn about different sports through age-appropriate physical, cultural and art events.” According to 3-2-1, its Library is also the first public library in the region dedicated to sports and houses more than 5,000 books and scientific research journals specialising in sports and Olympic history, sports law, health and nutrition, physical fitness and other sports-related subjects. These also include modern training and teaching methods for physical education in both Arabic and English. It is open from Sunday to Thursday between 9am and 7pm, and from 1.30pm to 7pm on Fridays. In addition to 3-2-1’s extensive catalogue, the museum also provides spaces for student activities. It plans to invite writers, authors and specialists from inside and outside Qatar for a number of educational activities such as symposia, lectures and forums, as well as study days on modern sports.

Whale sharks excursions have become increasingly popular in Qatar.  PICTURES VisitQatar
Whale sharks excursions extended

Discover Qatar whale sharks excursions have been extended until the end of August, giving marine and wildlife enthusiasts a month more to see these magnificent sea creatures in the northern coasts, Visit Qatar has posted on Twitter. “Get up close to explore these majestic sea-dwellers in a comfortable cruise with all-inclusive amenities, food, beverages and great views,” the official social media tourism account of Qatar Tourism said. Wooden dhows were used for pearl diving and deep sea fishing in the past. Discover Qatar’s ‘Daily Explorer’ and ‘Private Charter’ itineraries, which allow guests to view the whale sharks for 2.5 hours from the vessel or via kayaks, offer an unforgettable experience without disrupting their natural habitat. Discover Qatar stressed, however, that these tours “are subject to favourable weather conditions” but guests are usually notified 48 hours before departure. A dhow boat ride offers a unique experience for visitors who want to “find the best views of Doha's iconic skyline.” The itinerary for ‘Private Charter’ starts at 5pm from the hotel and drives the guest to Fuwairit Kite Beach Resort. Yacht boarding is at 6.30am for a captain’s welcome, along with an overview of the yacht and its facilities before having breakfast.  What you can expect on your trip to Qatar •    Blue water beaches & golden sand dunes •    Exciting city breaks •    Decadent dining options •    Inclusive shopping malls •    Contemporary architecture •    Five-star hospitality According to Discover Qatar, sailing takes about 2.5 hours to reach the Whale Shark’s location. At 8.15am, guests will also be briefed about whale sharks via a presentation before the actual experience. “Regardless of the riveting moniker, whale sharks impose no threat to humans, whether spectators or divers. They meander in warm and shallow sea waters of the Northern coasts of Qatar, located about 145 kilometres afar the shores of the capital city, Doha. Whale sharks appear in schools of over 100-150 fishes at a time,” VisitQatar noted. Apart from the whale sharks excursions and other marine activities, Qatar also offers stopover packages for visitors who want to experience the country’s ‘golden desert’. These include desert safaris, camel riding, dune-bashing, camping at night with the family, and a visit to the inland sea and the rock formations at Zekreet, among other destinations and heritage sites. Desert activities and tours have become increasingly popular for stopover visitors, which further boosts the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors, it is learnt. For those who want to explore the city, VisitQatar suggests a dhow boat ride in order to “find the best views of Doha's iconic skyline.” Picturesque view of the dhows from Qatar's landmarks.  PICTURES VisitQatar “Historically used for pearl diving and deep sea fishing, wooden dhows are now enjoyed by locals and visitors as a popular tourist attraction. This is definitely a must-visit activity when in Doha - you can book a dhow ride from Corniche and also indulge in a delicious traditional dinner to catch the skyline's sparkling lights,” VisitQatar noted.

Kayaking at Al Thakira is a popular activity. PICTURE: VisitQatar
Exquisite summer getaway destinations beckon visitors

Visit Qatar, the official social media tourism account of Qatar Tourism, puts a spotlight on a number of underrated yet exquisite destinations outside Doha perfect for a summer getaway. “A pristine natural treasure close to Al Maroona, Fuwairit beach is a stunning location. Located two hours from Doha; with powdery white sand and crystal clear blue waters – it is ideal for a relaxing escape,” VisitQatar posted on its social media pages. Al Maroona beach. PICTURE: Regency Holidays Apart from swimming, Fuwairit also offers other exciting activities such as kitesurfing and beach volleyball, in addition to relaxing and enjoying the ambience with families and friends. The beach, which is about an hour and a half drive, serves as a hatching site for Hawksbill sea turtles from April to July, according to VisitQatar. Umm Bab is a great camping destination. PICTURE: VisitQatar Close to Fuwairit is the Al Maroona beach, dubbed as one of Qatar’s most visited places due to its golden sand and clear waters. It is about an hour and 10 minutes away from Doha by car. Regency Holidays describes Al Maroona beach as “a small cozy place, with a touch of wildness and serenity”. For those who love camping, the Umm Bab beach, located on the western coast of the country, is an ideal destination and has been highly recommended by many. Al Jassasiya is a heritage site featuring 874 carvings known as ‘petroglyphs’. PICTURE: VisitQatar “Umm Bab, also known as the "Palm Tree Beach", has taken its name from the small clusters of palm trees scattered around the sand by the beach…it is a great camping destination to enjoy a day swimming and a night stargazing.” Just 40km from Doha is the Simaisma beach, described as “a serene paradise,” featuring “soft sand and shallow waters” and offering “a safe environment for families with children to enjoy leisure time by the water”. Many beachgoers visit this pristine beach for long walks and relaxation. However, VisitQatar noted that many of Qatar's public beaches undergo renovation but can be accessed by visitors, who are advised to bring along necessities such as beach parasols or cold water. Off-road vehicles should be used in going to some of these beaches. VisitQatar also highlighted the Al Thakira Mangrove Forest – known as one of ‘Qatar’s natural wonders’ and ‘a favourite resting spot for migratory birds – to mark the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem on July 26. The place, located on the North-Eastern coast of Qatar, receives many visitors year-round, offering activities like kayaking, sunbathing, and picnicking. Besides the beaches, another must-visit place in the North-East of the country is the Al Jassasiya Rock Carving Site – discovered around 1957. It is described as “the most impressive of Qatar’s dozen rock-carving sites, stretching across an area 700m wide. According to VisitQatar, Al Jassasiya is a heritage site featuring 874 carvings known as ‘petroglyphs’ – the earliest ones are thought to date from Neolithic times. “What may appear to be a deserted sandstone quarry is a heritage site packed with mystery… The Al Jassasiya rock carvings feature various shapes, including rosettes, fish, ostriches, and cup marks. Carvings of dhow boats, which remain in use to this day, offer a direct link to a long-ago past. “The cup marks are believed to represent vessels used to store pearls or play ancient board games known as Al Haloosa or Al Huwaila”.