An exciting and packed schedule of events will mark the 125th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence, taking place Friday at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel.The festivity, organised by the Filipino community in Qatar, will offer a vibrant showcase of cultural performances, entertainment shows, a pageant, culinary delights, awards night for Filipino achievers, and traditional games, among others.Organisers said the one-of-its-kind celebration promises an immersive experience, taking attendees into the heart of Philippine culture and traditions. The programme of activities is designed to captivate and engage both Filipinos and the wider community, fostering a sense of unity and pride.The day will commence with the ‘Almusal ng Bayan’ (Community Breakfast), giving attendees the opportunity to savour a wide range of Filipino cuisine followed by the Parada ng Kalayaan (Community Parade), which will showcase the Philippines’ rich and diverse culture.Part of the programme includes a captivating dance performance, showcasing the talent and grace of Filipino dancers, in addition to the opening of regional exhibits, which will allow visitors to explore the different cultural traditions and customs from various regions of the Philippines.The afternoon session will see an array of cultural presentations and demonstrations – a rediscovery of Philippine culture, traditions, and history.The Tagisan ng Sayaw ng Fiesta Filipinas (Cultural Dance Demonstrations) is set to highlight the grace and elegance of Filipino folk dances while the Tagisan ng Bandang Pinoy (Battle of Filipino Bands) will unleash the energy and vitality of Filipino music.A vocal solo contest, known as Tagisan ng Kundiman, will allow aspiring singers to showcase their talent.One of the highlights of the evening will be the Ginoo at Mutya ng Kalayaan 2023 pageant, where the Mr and Ms Philippine Independence Day 2023 will be crowned. The pageant will feature stunning festival attire, vintage Barong Tagalog and Filipiniana outfits, and displays the wit and charm of the candidates through interviews and a question-and-answer session.A prelude to the grand celebration tomorrow witnessed iconic architectural landmarks in Doha, including The Torch Doha, Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, and Al Jaber Twin Towers, lighting up the colours of the Philippine flag on June 12.According to Philippine ambassador Lillibeth V Pono, this visually striking display symbolises an enduring friendship between the Philippines and Qatar.The embassy, along with various Filipino organisations and government agencies, also hosted a flag-raising ceremony and community breakfast on June 12 (actual date of Philippine Independence Day celebration) at the Katara Drama Theatre.The event brought together diplomatic missions from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, government ministries from Qatar, and leaders of Filipino groups to commemorate the historic milestone. Katara general manager, Professor Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, graced the event as the guest of honour.
Ethiopian Airlines is actively working to diversify its market base and attract more corporate and leisure travellers not only to Ethiopia but also to all African destinations, the carrier’s area manager Surafel Saketa Geleta said.“That’s why we're working closely with the (Ethiopian) embassy and the travel partners to help us change the perception of Ethiopian Airlines and also carry more leisure passengers,” he said on the sidelines of a recent tourism promotion event in Doha.To achieve this, Geleta said Ethiopian Airlines has been collaborating closely with embassies and travel partners: by packaging flights with African destinations and partnering with hotels and resorts across the region.The airline is well-positioned to provide convenient travel options throughout the African continent, which is increasingly eager to attract tourists as countries recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.“First thing we’re selling convenience, second thing, we're selling economies of scale... we're producing these packages in a volume so that we can get a volume advantage,” he said, noting that the airline leverages its brand strength and negotiates advantageous deals with corporate companies, hotels, and resorts. This, he added, enables the airline to offer competitive prices and secure excellent value for their customers.Geleta said that safety, security, and customer service are additional areas where Ethiopian Airlines excels. With its strong reputation as an airline, he said the company is investing in the hospitality and tourism sector, further enhancing its competitive advantage.About the possibility of offering visa on arrival for residents in Qatar – similar to systems implemented by Georgia and Armenia – Geleta said Ethiopian Airlines is keen to increase movement and expand the market.As a business, he said the airline believes that simplified visa processes and open borders are catalysts for increased movement, leading to a thriving market.Geleta explained that simplified visa procedures such as visa upon arrival would eliminate paperwork and online applications, providing travellers with a hassle-free experience. He stressed that the focus remains on boosting movement, creating a seamless travel experience, and delivering high customer satisfaction.
Simplifying the visa application process has been a priority for the Ethiopian embassy in Qatar, aimed at attracting more visitors from the Middle East, ambassador Feisel Aliyi Abrahim has said.Speaking to the media recently, the envoy explained the embassy introduced electronic visa arrangements, making it easy for tourists. While visas are available upon arrival for African citizens, citizens of other countries can apply online.The streamlined process, he noted, ensures a quick turnaround time, with visas typically processed within a couple of hours to a maximum of three days.To facilitate travel arrangements, Abrahim said the embassy is working closely with Ethiopian Airlines, which offers comprehensive holiday packages for tourists, covering ticketing, electronic visa processing, hotel accommodations, and transport arrangements, among others.“Ethiopian Airlines, with this package, is also partnering with very reliable and excellent tour operators and hotels in Ethiopia that have all facilities and logistics for the tourists,” the envoy said, stressing that promoting Ethiopia's tourism sector extends to visitors from all over the world.By showcasing Ethiopia’s tourism potential and offering convenient visa procedures, Abrahim said Ethiopia’s strategic location makes it an accessible destination for travelers seeking new experiences.About the interest of visitors from Qatar and the region in visiting Ethiopia before the pandemic, the ambassador cited a significant demand due to not only affordable holiday packages but also a wide range of tourist attractions, including nine Unesco World Heritage sites, the ancient walled city of Harar, the Axumite Kingdom's monuments, and natural wonders like the source of the Nile and the active volcano of Ertale.With Eid al-Adha holiday approaching, the Ethiopian embassy expects an increase in visitors as evidenced by the growing number of visa applications. Abrahim assured potential tourists that Ethiopia is a secure destination. He vouched for his country’s warm hospitality and the friendliness of the Ethiopian people, which contribute to a welcoming environment for visitors.“Ethiopia is a very safe country especially when it comes to tourism. Most importantly, the hospitality of the people, that is a guarantee. People are very friendly, very helpful and very receptive”, the envoy said.Recognising that Qatari tourists often overlook Ethiopia as a travel destination, Abrahim underscored the country's proximity to Qatar, with just a four-hour flight from Doha.He noted that Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways operate daily flights, making it convenient for Qatari travellers to plan short trips or weekend getaways to Ethiopia.The ambassador said that Ethiopia also has pleasant weather year-round, diverse tourist attractions, and excellent facilities, making it an appealing destination.To ensure a seamless travel experience, the embassy is actively partnering with tour operators and travel agents in Qatar. The goal, the envoy said, is to familiarise them with Ethiopia's tourism offerings, encouraging them to include the country in their travel packages.
A live Instagram session Friday underscored the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and a deeper understanding of cultures in object design, featuring renowned designers from Qatar and Indonesia who shared valuable insights and experiences.The online event, organised by the Years of Culture (YoC) initiative and Indonesian Contemporary Art & Design (ICAD), witnessed Noora al-Melhim, Hendro Hadinata, and the moderator, Dian Suri (founder and designer of Kunang Jewellery Studio), engaging in an insightful discussion about the design landscape in both Qatar and Indonesia.The two designers are taking part in YoC’s Cultukar Residency Programme, which offers Qatari and Indonesian product and fashion designers a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the traditional know-how and expertise of local craft masters in Indonesia.Al-Melhim, an interdisciplinary designer based in Qatar, underlined the profound influence of Qatar's rich culture and heritage, which inspires many designers to incorporate elements such as nature, calligraphy, and other traditional concepts into their creative works.Al-Melhim’s research and prototyping work span various analog and digital media, focusing on regional crafts and cultural experiences. She employs a multidisciplinary approach to create innovative and sustainable interventions that address current issues.Hadinata, the founder of Studio Hendro Hadinata, emphasised the importance of uniting cultural heritage with innovative practices. His studio works closely with local craftspeople, integrating contextual narratives into objects.He expressed his profound admiration for Sumba, an enchanting island located in eastern Indonesia. He described it as a place where people deeply value their traditions, showcasing a vibrant arts and crafts scene that permeates their way of life.“The island is really beautiful and the people really put effort and then believe in the tradition,” he added.The participants also explored the transformative journey of Qatar and its evolving culture.“There are a lot of things changed, like from one generation to another especially in Doha like at pre-oil era and the now but our culture, like I know, I’m used to it. So when we do the discussions, we are interested and amazed about the things that I feel I am used to,” al-Melhim said.She highlighted her research into Hadinata's country and its rich heritage while the latter expressed a reciprocal interest in delving into Qatar's history and culture.“They were really interested in the pearl-diving, and the idea and the story and I’m interested also in the same way because Indonesians also have a rich history of fishing and I think diving, we have common things,” al-Melhim said.She added that it is important to explore the idea of blending two cultures, drawing inspiration from both Sumba and Doha, in order to create a captivating masterpiece that beautifully integrates elements from both locations.Reflecting on their experiences, Hadinata stressed the significance of self-discovery through traditions and finding meaningful connections with fellow crafters and individuals. He pointed out that life gains greater meaning through such collaborative endeavours.During the talk, the two designers also examined the challenges of bridging cultures and emphasised the importance of finding common ground and remaining open to new ideas.Both designers hope for the continuation of collaborative programmes like Cultukar, a platform that has a huge potential to generate creative ideas and concepts, and see the involvement of more talented artists in future projects.Hadinata shared his vision of providing crafters with win-win solutions, empowering them to develop new and relevant creations. He stressed the importance of building confidence and incorporating new materials into their work.Suri said he hopes that programmes like Cultukar would continue to flourish, not only by focusing on the design itself but also by capturing and documenting the creative process.
The Ethiopian Tourism Promotion Forum Thursday in Doha highlighted Ethiopia’s rich heritage and diverse tourism offerings, making it an ideal “all-in-one” tourism destination.The event, organised by the Ethiopian embassy in Qatar in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines and the Ministry of Tourism of Ethiopia, showcased the huge tourism potential of this African nation – also known as "The Land of Origin".“Ethiopia is endowed with a wide variety of tourism potentials which include all-in-one tourism, that is in historical, religious, cultural, natural, and adventurous destinations,” Ethiopian ambassador Feisal Aliyi Abrahim said.He cited the significance of Al-Nejashi Mosque, describing it as a sacred place in the north of the country, where he said the Sahabah of Prophet Mohamed found refuge.Expressing a warm invitation, Abrahim encouraged collaboration between Qatar and Ethiopia aimed at promoting the country as a preferred tourist destination for visitors from the Middle East.The envoy noted that Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa as it witnessed significant developments in its tourism sector, including infrastructure improvements such as roads, hotels, resorts, and related facilities.He underlined his country’s vast array of attractions, including nine Unesco World Heritage sites, the ancient walled city of Harar, the Axumite Kingdom's monuments, and natural wonders like the source of the Nile and the active volcano of Ertale.Abrahim said that Ethiopia is where scientists found the oldest human species, noting that “Ethiopia, as a cradle of humanity, is home to a 2.2mn years old Lucy, a 3.33mn years old Selam, and a 4.4mn years old Ardi”.“Once in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, tourists have an opportunity to visit their ancestors’ fossils and getting very overwhelming history of human being at the national museum”, he added.Abrahim said the pleasant climate of Ethiopia, with temperatures ranging from 15 to 28 degrees Celsius in most highland regions, makes it an ideal destination year-round. Tourism spots and attractions, he noted, can be easily accessed via land and air travel, with Ethiopian Airlines offering domestic routes.Tewdros Derbew, Strategic Unit Coordinator of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Tourism, echoed the ambassador’s statement, saying that Ethiopia is blessed with “an incredible assortment of tourism resources, recognised by Unesco, both tangible and intangible”.He highlighted Ethiopia's cultural mosaic, its status as the seat of the African Union, and its reputation as the birthplace of coffee and world-class athletes.In his presentation, Derbew pointed out that Ethiopia is renowned for its beautiful artisanal craft products of diverse features such as jewellery, coinages, and metal works, as well as traditional leather crafts, and illuminated manuscripts. It also hosts colourful traditional festivals such as Timkey or Ethiopian Epiphany, Meskel, Gena, Ashenda, Shaday, and many more.He said that Ethiopia’s current and potential tourism products include culture, wildlife, bird watching, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions), desert expeditions, rock climbing, biking, running, trekking, and paragliding.Surafel Saketa Geleta, area manager of Ethiopian Airlines, shared the airline's commitment to promoting Ethiopian tourism, as he announced ET-Holidays’ (in-house tour operator) aim of converting 20% of all transit passengers to visit Ethiopia.He said ET-Holidays would use the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel properties to promote Ethiopian tourism and will be a catalyst leader in increasing international tourist arrivals to 10mn by 2035. In Medical tourism, it will partner with internationally accredited hospitals and introduce medical travel packages to African destinations.
Doha witnessed an enchanting evening yesterday as three renowned maestros presented a unique and engaging performance to mark the “Italian – Language of Music” at Katara – the Cultural Village.The event, organised by the Italian embassy in Qatar in collaboration with Katara and the European Delegation in Doha, forms part of the six-week European Language activities series that will conclude on June 20.David Riccardo (opera singer), Giovanni Pasini (first viola and director at Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra) and Alessio Mastrodonato (pianist) immersed the audience in a rich tapestry of notation, musical instruments and lyrics, presenting a one-of-a-kind show.The musicians’ conversations, electrifying performances, and interactive elements spanned centuries, taking spectators on a captivating journey from the Renaissance to the contemporary era.Speaking at the event, Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi highlighted the fascinating history of Italian art and creativity, saying: “Tonight we are talking about Italian, Italiano, a language that I have the pride to use and to present with my co Italians but also with my fellow friend from all over the world.”“Italian is a language that has evolved over centuries to a large degree because of poetry and music,” he continued, “and some of the most important traces of Italian as we know it today go far back, 900 years ago to the 1300s and 1400s, and they are really connected to music and poetry.”The envoy thanked Katara, the Katara Public Diplomacy Centre, his friends and colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps, as well as other guests for attending the occasion.In a press statement, Katara general manager Prof Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti said: “As a continuation of Katara’s endeavours to open dialogue with different civilisations, and to build bridges of knowledge communication between nations, it embraces the activities of the language of music in co-operation with the Italian embassy in Qatar, as part of the events of the European language in Katara.”“This certainly constitutes an important and luminous space that contributes to creating harmony and rapprochement between civilisations, and promotes dialogue and communication through culture,” he said. “We are pleased to consolidate this cultural interdependence through various activities on an ongoing basis.”
Literary works by American authors – from novels and non-fiction to reference and business books – are in high demand at the 32nd Doha International Book Fair (DIBF), which opened Monday at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.While an array of literary works from around the world are on display, the US embassy in Qatar’s booth and other exhibitors witnessed an increasing number of visitors and queueing to pay for their purchases on day one of the event, which will run until June 21.The US embassy is one of the missions in Qatar participating in the book fair, showcasing more than 4,300 books for purchase and more than 6,000 books for free. Some of the books in demand include non-fiction and literary classics such as “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, “Girl in Pieces” by Kathleen Glasgow, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, and “The Great Dune” by Frank Herbert, among others.There is also a huge interest in non-fiction books such as “Autistics On Autism” by Kerry Magro, “War Doctor” by David Nott, “Dreams From My Father” by former US President Barack Obama, and works by Robert Greene, including “The Concise Laws of Human Nature”.In a press statement yesterday, the US embassy noted that the wide variety of books it is featuring at the book fair aims to foster cultural exchange through literature, giving visitors the opportunity to explore different literary works “on diverse topics, including education, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), lifestyle, sustainability, business, and more”.“The Doha International Book Fair is an important opportunity to strengthen people-to-people connections between the United States and Qatar,” US ambassador Timmy Davis said. “Literature offers a window into different places, people, and perspectives. It can serve as a catalyst for discussions and cultural exchanges.”In line with this year's theme “With reading we rise” at the book fair, the US embassy marks the key role that literature plays in fostering connections among people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The US embassy's booth displays literary works by famous American authors and publishers, in addition to renowned Arab philosophers such as Ibn Sina and Ibn Batuta, which stresses shared cultural values between the US and the Arab world.The booth offers books in both Arabic and English aimed at facilitating English language proficiency and inspiring readers to explore a wide range of diverse literature. It also features daily book readings for children, fostering shared reading experiences and stimulating literary discussions, according to the embassy. Apart from books, the US embassy noted that EducationUSA experts also provide guidance, professional development, and academic growth in the US at its booth.As part of its commitment to sustainability, the US embassy said it will reuse its book frame for future editions of the book fair in a bid to minimise waste and environmental impact.The book fair offers free parking facilities for visitors, operating from 9am to 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on Fridays. It invites individuals and families of all age groups to take part and engage in various activities. According to the US embassy, the event presents a rich selection of books and other literary offerings for different age groups, giving them the chance to discover new stories, embark on exciting literary adventures, and embrace the joy of reading.
The embassies of Japan, Indonesia and South Korea in Qatar are showcasing their rich cultural heritage through literary works and artifacts at the 32nd Doha International Book Fair.The event, which opened Monday and runs until June 21 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, features a diverse collection of literary works and cultural exhibits from around the world.The Japanese booth has become a popular attraction at the fair, offering visitors a chance to explore Japanese language, culture, and tourism. The selection of books caters to both children and adults, focusing on Japanese language learning and various aspects of Japanese culture, including architecture, tea ceremonies, flowers, kimonos, and origami.Speaking to Gulf Times, Rika Grape Yamagata from the embassy’s Public Relations and Cultural Affairs said that visitors can enjoy calligraphy demonstrations and have their names written in Japanese characters.Besides, she said they also offer origami demonstrations, with a special focus on teaching children how to create their own paper art. These interactive activities, she added, aim to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture among visitors at the event.Yamagata said the Japanese embassy's participation in the fair also aims to expand the learning of the Japanese language in Qatar, noting that preparations are underway for this year's Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) at Qatar University (QU).The JLPT targets a relatively small audience of around 50 participants, but the long-term goal is to broaden its reach beyond Qatar, she said.Yamagata noted that QU hosted the first JLPT test in the Middle East three years ago, and despite the cancellation of last year's test due to the World Cup, the upcoming December test is highly anticipated.She said that in terms of promoting Japanese language learning, QU and Hamad Bin Khalifa University offer Japanese courses for both university students and adults, in addition to private lessons through the Japanese Teachers' Association.Citing the positive impact of the book fair, Yamagata said the embassy's efforts align with the Qataris’ growing interest in Japanese culture, fueled by the popularity of Japanese cuisine and the appeal of Japan's rich history and subcultures such as manga and anime.The Indonesian embassy underscored the importance of the cultural aspect of books at the fair, citing them as means of communication and a bridge between cultures.The embassy's booth showcases literary works from the Indonesian diaspora, featuring various genres such as literature, children's stories, culinary arts, and cultural studies. Additionally, the embassy features books authored by Indonesian diaspora members residing in Qatar, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of Indonesian culture.“Participating at Doha International Book Fair is always on the embassy's priority agenda. For us, a book is not only to communicate our idea or thought. More importantly, it's also a tool to communicate and bridge our culture. With our participation at this book fair, we hope we can enhance our cultural understanding," Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan said.“The book fair is always special because it brings books and literary industry from around the world. It is also considered as one of the oldest book fairs in the Middle East,” he added.The South Korean embassy is featuring a booth that highlights the country's vibrant culture and history. In addition to a selection of books, it also showcases musical instruments and other unique works that capture the essence of South Korea's artistic heritage.
Retail shops in Qatar see the run up to the Eid al-Adha holidays as an opportunity to attract more shoppers, launching various promotions and special discounts before the short break takes place by the end of this month, it is learnt.Numerous stores and boutiques, especially those at major malls and shopping centres in Doha, are optimistic about a rise in consumer spending as the holiday approaches.Speaking to Gulf Times, an employee of a popular apparel shop said they have been receiving a huge number of customers since the first week of June, taking advantage of the deals.“A month before the Eid al-Adha holiday would be an excellent period to offer enticing promotions. We are definitely expecting an increase in sales, but we also hope that our customers benefit from it,” he said.The Eid holidays and other popular festivities in the country contribute substantially to retail sales, enticing more people, particularly families, to visit the malls and spend more on items on promotion, he added.Some of the offers include discounts between 15-50% on different products, ranging from fashion (all ages) to home appliances and electronics, among other products.Other shops have introduced “buy two, get two” offers, bundle offers, and other freebies.An employee of a leading cosmetics chain at a major mall said that she was surprised to see customers in Qatar and from neighbouring countries, such as Saudi Arabia, buy in bulk.She noted that demand for various cosmetics, from branded skin and body care products to perfumes and hair care items, remains high.“We usually expect demand to slightly decline during and after Eid holidays, but I think the increasing number of customers from Saudi Arabia who come to our store will boost our sales,” she said, hoping for an increase in inventory (stocks) to meet the demand surge.Meanwhile, an employee of an apparel and shoe chain echoed a similar experience, saying that they had anticipated a possible drop in demand during the holidays.While the business remains optimistic, she said that they continue devising ways to further attract customers, such as utilising its online platforms to promote their products.“We deliver the orders on time and hassle-free, and we usually give additional discounts for online purchases, and it’s been effective so far,” she said. “We recorded a huge increase in online traffic and hope to attract more.”Normally, she said, many families are excited to shop for new clothes, shoes, gifts for relatives, and other accessories, before the Eid al-Adha holidays.It is learnt that malls and shopping centres in Doha have witnessed a surge in footfall in the past two weeks, providing a further boost to retailers.
While some businesses experience a slowdown during summer, many garages and car service centres in Doha are witnessing a windfall as demand for various repairs and services surge, it is learnt.A number of mechanics working at Doha’s Industrial area told Gulf Times that they have received a huge number of service requests from regular and walk-in customers daily – a trend they hope happens year-round.“Summer is really a peak season. Just outside of our garage are three vehicles waiting to be fixed by me today, and I wish it is winter so can I easily do the job. But honestly, in this temperature, it will take days before I could finish all of them. I expect more to come in the coming days and weeks,” said Filipino mechanic Richie, who was checking a car’s air-conditioning (AC) system Friday.He said many customers seek various services such as AC repairs, cleaning, compressor replacements, and engine tune-ups, overhauls and repairs, in addition to changing oil and filters, and door locks fixing, among others.According to Richie, many customers also avail of a number of services for preventive maintenance at least a month or three weeks before the sweltering summer months to ensure their vehicles are in optimal condition.“Car owners know that they need to see us before it gets hotter because vehicle systems normally get affected by extreme temperatures and they want to avoid the troubles and inconveniences while using their vehicles,” he said. “However, many drivers get to know the problems only when the temperature rises, particularly the car’s cooling systems.”He added that the summer season also provides “an opportunity for people in this industry” to get employment as the demand for mechanics and support staff increase.This was echoed by a long-time expatriate and Pakistani mechanic in Qatar, noting that they hire additional staff to attend to more customers. Otherwise, he said they tend to decline other requests from new clients due to the huge workload they already have.“We want to help more people, especially those who are on a tight budget but we only have a few options because most of the time they want us to do the work immediately,” he said. “We can only refer them to other garages here, which I think are also dealing with a lot of customers during this season.”Besides garages, several stores selling automotive parts and accessories in Doha’s Industrial area also witnessing a steady influx of customers looking for a variety of items such as engine belts and hoses, compressors and condensers, oil filters, engine oil, radiators, coolants, and batteries.An employee of a popular store in the area said they often ran out of stocks of a number of automotive parts during this period, and are prompted to seek the help of other shops.
The Qatar National Library (QNL) is hosting a unique exhibition, titled “Georgian Cultural Heritage – Arabic Manuscripts from Georgia”, to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Georgia and Qatar.The exhibition, open to the public until June 21 at the main floor of QNL, is organised in co-operation with the Embassy of Georgia in Qatar and the Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts, features an exceptional collection of Arabic manuscripts from Georgia.Georgian ambassador to Qatar Nikoloz Revazishvili and QNL executive director Tan Huism led the opening of the exhibition on June 7. QNL’s senior management, ambassadors and representatives of various diplomatic missions in Qatar, art and culture enthusiasts, as well as members of the Georgian diaspora in Qatar were present.According to the embassy, the panel exhibition puts a spotlight on Georgia's diverse and rich cultural heritage, as well as the presence of rare Arabic manuscripts in Georgia, providing a glimpse into an exceptional collection of manuscripts known for their content and historical significance.Visitors will have the opportunity to explore manuscripts pertaining to religion, science, language, and history, which offer insight into various aspects of human activity.The collection also includes 10th-century Qur'an fragments, theological commentaries and illuminated manuscripts, ancient samples of calligraphic writing, the famous astronomical work “Book of Fixed Stars” and Avicenna's Canon of Medicine, widely known not only in Muslim medical circles but also in Europe until almost the 18th century, along with other important works. The items, in their original form, are kept in the Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts.Located in Tbilisi, the Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts serves as the repository of ancient manuscripts and historical documents. It is also home to major treasures of Georgian culture and history, including foreign manuscripts kept at different times in various libraries and private collections.The centre also hosts an exceptional collection of ancient Arabic manuscripts, which occupy a prominent place in Georgia's manuscript heritage treasury. Ancient Arabic manuscripts occupy a distinct place in the Georgian manuscript heritage treasury.The enlarged reproductions of fine manuscripts dating from the 10th to the early 20th century are bringing to life Georgia’s diverse relations at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Asia while also highlighting the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Qatar's architectural landscape is undergoing a transformative phase, blending traditional knowledge and designs with advanced technologies to create a sustainable future, noted Qatari architect Ibrahim Mohamed Jaidah has said.Speaking to Gulf Times, Jaidah, also the Group CEO of Arab Engineering Bureau (AEB), shared his insights on the architectural revolution that is underway, sustainability, and the immense tourism potential in Qatar and the region.He highlighted the architectural transformation in Qatar, drawing attention to the nation's remarkable achievements. The designs of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, for which he served as a designer, stood out as shining examples of sustainability, he stressed.Jaidah said the stadiums have effectively conserved energy and reduced water consumption by 20 to 25% while recycled water is utilised for irrigation purposes as well.He pointed out that sustainability has transitioned from being a luxury to a legal obligation, particularly for government projects, with all developments in Lusail mandated to follow sustainable practices.“We're definitely making use (of it) and in our future cities because sustainability was a luxury in the past, now it's a legislation. If you’re designing a government project, it is by law you have to do it.“All the projects in Lusail are sustainable by law so I think the future of our city is happening as we speak and we see a very much more sustainable Doha or greater Qatar for our buildings and societies,” Jaidah said.About the sustainability of old buildings compared to the modern ones, he recognised the wisdom and expertise of Qatar’s ancestors who successfully adapted to Qatar’s environment long before the advent of modern amenities.Jaidah emphasised the need to revisit the basics of sustainable design without implying to replicate historical structures, but rather incorporating some elements such as orientation and appropriate sizes of openings.“I think our ancestors, they had to live in this environment before we had electricity and running water so there is a talk that I usually give to the college students, School of Architecture, that go back to basics... there is so much to learn from how our ancestors who managed to live in this harsh environment.“If we go back to basics, I'm not saying build your houses to look like Souq Waqif or... no. But there are elements... doing glass box is not sustainable in our environment, this might fit somewhere in North Europe but not here, so learning from the past, I think we can definitely make more sustainable buildings and environment in our society,” he said.Jaidah also shared his views on the future of Qatar’s tourism industry, saying that he envisions a prosperous era, especially with a surge in the number of visitors following the FIFA World Cup.He said that several hotels have already been built in the country and many more are in the design phase, in addition to the millions of travelers being flown by Qatar Airways and passing through its airports.Such a trend, Jaidah added, sets the stage for a thriving tourism sector as he underscored the economic benefits and employment opportunities generated by tourism, as well as its ability to showcase Qatar's rich culture and heritage to a global audience.“The beauty of tourism is it creates a good economy, it employs a lot of people and it invites a lot of people to come and visit, and see your culture and your country,” he added.
Industry experts underlined the need for green buildings, smart city planning, and the preservation of cultural heritage as they explored the future of urban development and its impact on the overall quality of life at the Qatar Real Estate Forum Monday. The session, titled Future Cities for a Better Life Quality, shed light on the importance of sustainable development, humanising cities, and the role of the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution in the real estate development industry.Noted Qatari architect Ibrahim Mohamed Jaidah, Group CEO of Arab Engineering Bureau (AEB), emphasised the key role of designing buildings and developing cities in an environmentally friendly manner, further improving the living conditions of its citizens.Jaidah highlighted the importance of humanising cities, prioritising infrastructures that enhance pedestrian experiences, and combining modern designs with traditional Arabian architecture. He cited the Msheireb regeneration project as a model from which valuable lessons could be learned as it showcases a combination of pedestrian-friendly design and the integration of traditional Arabian aesthetics.Jaidah underscored the marketing advantage of environment friendly and sustainable infrastructures for developers, noting that Lusail City serves as an excellent example of a sustainable and smart city that features green buildings and practices.He stressed the significance of integrating trees into urban environments, as they contribute to climate improvement and the overall humanisation of cities.As an architect, Jaidah also discussed the benefit of proper planning in designing buildings and various infrastructures, whether they are schools, residential complexes, or commercial buildings. He explained that urban development has undergone a transformation in recent years, with developers now considering energy and water usage in their designs. Having a clear design goal, he added, attracts investors as well.Jaidah also shared his views on the positive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in architecture and in the real estate sector, assuring professionals that AI is a tool to enhance their work rather than replace them. Utilising AI for data analysis, he added, enables architects to make informed decisions and obtain immediate results, revolutionising the field.Engineer Abdulmohsin M Aljammaz, an advisor to the deputy minister of Residential Supply Stimulus and Real Estate Development in Saudi Arabia, tackled the optimal use of resources in developing smart cities, which he pointed out is a joint responsibility of the government and the private sector.Digital transformation, he stressed, is inevitable and should be adopted to foster future cities. He highlighted the need for continuous innovation in the development of smart cities and the efficient operation of their systems. Engineer Ali Abdullah Ali Abdullah, former chair of the Urban Planning and Development Authority in Qatar, focused on the importance of utilising modern tools and materials in building smart cities.He cited Lusail as an exemplary modern city: built with international sustainability standards and looking at the long-term needs of the area. According to Ali Abdullah, meeting new requirements for green buildings and their maintenance, and the adoption of modern technologies in the design process of future cities is crucial.He lauded Qatar's comprehensive urban planning, which encompasses both present and future considerations. The FIFA World Cup 2022, he stressed, served as a catalyst for better infrastructure development and planning, significantly enhancing Qatar's real estate sector.Engineer Rashad Mohammad Bukhash, president of the Architectural Heritage Association in the UAE, sheds light on the connection between smart cities and the preservation of cultural heritage. He said smart cities draw inspiration from old buildings and their designs, utilising the latest materials and technologies in construction. While old buildings may not be technologically advanced, he said that they embody sustainability in their design and material usage.Recognising the value of preserving cultural identity, Bukhash urged developers to learn from and adopt elements of old designs, such as the iconic Souq Waqif, which has successfully preserved its traditional charm and authenticity. He also emphasised the pivotal role of cultural tourism in achieving sustainability, saying that preserving traditions and old designs not only attracts visitors seeking to experience the cultural identity of a destination but also contributes to the long-term sustainability of smart cities.By integrating heritage into modern developments, Bukhash said cities can create unique and immersive experiences, encouraging more tourists to explore their historical sites. He noted that the UAE has been at the forefront of adopting new technologies and building smart cities as part of its comprehensive structural plan. He praised his country's commitment to smart initiatives, ranging from landscaping and environmental protection to the development of efficient public transportation systems, such as the metro.These initiatives, Bukhash said, are designed to benefit and serve the population, ensuring that the advancements in technology enhance the lives of the people living in these smart cities. He highlighted the UAE's energy strategy, which focuses on investing in and utilising renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. By reducing reliance on traditional energy sources, the UAE aims to decrease water and electricity consumption by 40% by 2050 as part of its plan.New buildings in the UAE will use natural lighting and make waste management sustainable, Bukash added.
A talk at the Qatar Real Estate Forum 2023 Sunday highlighted the key role of technology in shaping sustainable and efficient practices in the sector, citing the latest advancements in digital innovation.Seven speakers from GCC countries, including Qatar, discussed a number of successful digital programmes and systems that facilitated faster transactions, enhanced transparency and better customer experience, among other positive impacts.Naif AlSharif al-Zeid, secretary-general of Wafi from Saudi Arabia, cited the success of the Wafi project, which revolutionised the real estate sector by introducing innovative digital solutions.Due to its innovative approach, he said Wafi received positive feedback from stakeholders, including investors, owners, and developers, as it eliminated challenges related to approvals and transactional processes that often take time.“The Wafi system is fair for all parties involved,” al-Zeid. Noting that the programme’s fair and efficient system enabled digital transactions, reducing the need for physical presence and streamlining operations.Maria Ahmed al-Dubaikhi, strategic partnerships manager at the National Housing Company of Saudi Arabia, underlined the transformative impact of the ejar platform (e-leasing platform), serving millions of beneficiaries, ensuring transparency, reducing disputes, and contributing to the country's GDP.She noted that litigation was significantly reduced from two years to two weeks via the ejar platform, which also created more transparency in transactions and supported services in the banking sector and other funding entities.Al-Dubaikhi emphasised the platform's expansion plans to offer even more services, aiming to enhance the real estate sector through smart and effective solutions.Tayseer al-Mufarrej, general manager of strategic communications and spokesperson of the Real Estate General Authority in Saudi Arabia, lauded Qatar's strong infrastructure and real estate platform, saying it serves as a model for the world.Echoing the views of other speakers, al-Mufarrej said digital governance in the real estate sector enhanced transparency and attracted many investors. The mediation process, for example, introduced innovative solutions, providing flexibility and protecting the rights of all parties involved.With a unified platform, he added that the system generated several opportunities and increased work efficiency where people can avail of all the services related to mediation.Amer Saeed al-Ghafri, director of the Real Estate Registration Department at the Ministry of Justice in Qatar, discussed the success of the Sak digital platform, which has significantly reduced the procedures involved in real estate transactions.The platform, he stressed, contributed in generating accurate and authenticated e-registrations. The system's efficiency, where one person performs the work of multiple individuals, has attracted more investors to Qatar's real estate sector. Like similar programmes, Sak can process transactions in 3o minutes or less.Al-Ghafri announced that other digital services and features will be enhanced and launched by the end of 2023 or early 2024, saying that they are looking forward to offering excellent services for interested parties.The second set of panelists continued the discussion and focused on the importance of digital technology in enhancing various services and operations in the real estate sector.Ziyad al-Shammari, strategic general manager of the Real Estate General Authority in Saudi Arabia, highlights the role of innovation in sustainability and the use of digital tools for data analysis, internal design, and market trends.He said the real estate sector still needs a lot of innovative solutions for its further development: from helping speed up procedures to using several tools that can be used to support these efforts.Faris A al-Bassam, international co-operation director of the Real Estate General Authority in Saudi Arabia, praised the Mullak programme, which enables property managers and maintenance companies to offer services to owners' associations, contributing to the realisation of Saudi Arabia's National Vision 2030.Khalifa al-Zeraim al-Suwaidi, CEO and board member of Emirates Real Estate Solutions in the UAE, underlined the importance of digital transformation in real estate regulations and updates.He said the digital platform efficiently links partners, service providers, and government agencies, aiding remote transactions and approval processes. It also helps ease of access to services such as mortgaging, registering, and leasing contracts.The system, al-Suwaidi noted, facilitates hundreds of transactions worth billions of dirhams in the real estate sector, and deals with investors efficiently.
A talk at the Qatar Real Estate Forum 2023 Sunday highlighted the key role of technology in shaping sustainable and efficient practices in the sector, citing the latest advancements in digital innovation.Seven speakers from GCC countries, including Qatar, discussed a number of successful digital programmes and systems that facilitated faster transactions, enhanced transparency and better customer experience, among other positive impacts.Naif AlSharif al-Zeid, secretary-general of Wafi from Saudi Arabia, cited the success of the Wafi project, which revolutionised the real estate sector by introducing innovative digital solutions.Due to its innovative approach, he said Wafi received positive feedback from stakeholders, including investors, owners, and developers, as it eliminated challenges related to approvals and transactional processes that often take time.“The Wafi system is fair for all parties involved,” al-Zeid. Noting that the programme’s fair and efficient system enabled digital transactions, reducing the need for physical presence and streamlining operations.Maria Ahmed al-Dubaikhi, strategic partnerships manager at the National Housing Company of Saudi Arabia, underlined the transformative impact of the ejar platform (e-leasing platform), serving millions of beneficiaries, ensuring transparency, reducing disputes, and contributing to the country's GDP.She noted that litigation was significantly reduced from two years to two weeks via the ejar platform, which also created more transparency in transactions and supported services in the banking sector and other funding entities.Al-Dubaikhi emphasised the platform's expansion plans to offer even more services, aiming to enhance the real estate sector through smart and effective solutions.Tayseer al-Mufarrej, general manager of strategic communications and spokesperson of the Real Estate General Authority in Saudi Arabia, lauded Qatar's strong infrastructure and real estate platform, saying it serves as a model for the world.Echoing the views of other speakers, al-Mufarrej said digital governance in the real estate sector enhanced transparency and attracted many investors. The mediation process, for example, introduced innovative solutions, providing flexibility and protecting the rights of all parties involved.With a unified platform, he added that the system generated several opportunities and increased work efficiency where people can avail of all the services related to mediation.Amer Saeed al-Ghafri, director of the Real Estate Registration Department at the Ministry of Justice in Qatar, discussed the success of the Sak digital platform, which has significantly reduced the procedures involved in real estate transactions.The platform, he stressed, contributed in generating accurate and authenticated e-registrations. The system's efficiency, where one person performs the work of multiple individuals, has attracted more investors to Qatar's real estate sector. Like similar programmes, Sak can process transactions in 3o minutes or less.Al-Ghafri announced that other digital services and features will be enhanced and launched by the end of 2023 or early 2024, saying that they are looking forward to offering excellent services for interested parties.The second set of panelists continued the discussion and focused on the importance of digital technology in enhancing various services and operations in the real estate sector.Ziyad al-Shammari, strategic general manager of the Real Estate General Authority in Saudi Arabia, highlights the role of innovation in sustainability and the use of digital tools for data analysis, internal design, and market trends.He said the real estate sector still needs a lot of innovative solutions for its further development: from helping speed up procedures to using several tools that can be used to support these efforts.Faris A al-Bassam, international co-operation director of the Real Estate General Authority in Saudi Arabia, praised the Mullak programme, which enables property managers and maintenance companies to offer services to owners' associations, contributing to the realisation of Saudi Arabia's National Vision 2030.Khalifa al-Zeraim al-Suwaidi, CEO and board member of Emirates Real Estate Solutions in the UAE, underlined the importance of digital transformation in real estate regulations and updates.He said the digital platform efficiently links partners, service providers, and government agencies, aiding remote transactions and approval processes. It also helps ease of access to services such as mortgaging, registering, and leasing contracts.The system, al-Suwaidi noted, facilitates hundreds of transactions worth billions of dirhams in the real estate sector, and deals with investors efficiently
Qatar is currently abuzz with a captivating display of art, history and culture as Qatar Museums (QM) presents a wide range of awe-inspiring exhibitions across various galleries and museums.The eclectic lineup of exhibitions – from groundbreaking contemporary artworks to immersive historical reviews – cater to diverse interests, capturing the imagination of local enthusiasts and international visitors.Qatar residents and visitors will have the opportunity to explore the exceptional artworks of renowned Panamanian artist Eduardo Navarro, displayed at the “Free Spirits of Wild Horses” exhibition until June 17 at the Fire Station: Artists in Residence.In collaboration with the Embassy of Panama, QM noted that this unique show highlights the artist’s “rebellious work, featuring paintings that showcase his unique approach using multiple media to express his dynamic energy on canvas.”According to QM, Navarro's pieces capture the untamed essence of wild horses through “implied movements” and vibrant colours, attracting viewers with its fierce and captivating personalities and taking them back to the 20th-century work of Francis Bacon.A visit to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Education City provides a deeper understanding of an important chapter in Beirut’s modern history with a one-of-its-kind exhibition, titled ‘Beirut and the Golden Sixties: A Manifesto of Fragility’.The show, running until August 5, showcases a diverse array of paintings, sculptures, multimedia works, and archival materials of 37 artists and offers a compelling glimpse into the development of modernism in the city.Tracing “a brief but rich period of artistic and political ferment”, QM noted that the exhibition delves into “a romanticised era of global influence in Lebanon’s capital to highlight how collisions between art, culture and polarised political ideologies turned the Beirut art scene into a microcosm of larger regional tensions”.The exhibition explores the impact of the Lebanese banking secrecy law of 1956, which saw the influx of foreign capital into the city. This led to the flourishing of commercial galleries, independent art spaces, and museums, making Beirut a thriving hub of artistic expression. However, underneath the surface of prosperity, simmering tensions eventually erupted into a 15-year civil war, QM added.Also running at Mathaf until August 5 is the "I Am The Traveler And Also The Road" exhibition, which puts together the perspectives of 12 extraordinary photographers working in West Asia and North Africa (Wana) region.Each of the photographers featured in the exhibition was a recipient of the prestigious Sheikh Saoud Al-Thani Project Award in 2021 and 2022. This annual grant, created by Tasweer Photo Festival Qatar, empowers photographers living in the Wana region to develop or complete their photographic projects.Another thought-provoking QM exhibition includes the “Olafur Eliasson: The Curious Desert”, in two locations: the National Museum of Qatar (until August 15) and the desert near the Al Thakhira Mangrove in Northern Qatar serving as an open-air artistic laboratory.Twelve temporary pavilions present site-specific installations that seamlessly integrate the forces of nature. Harnessing the power of wind, water, and sunlight, these captivating artworks embark on a perpetual journey of transformation, continuously evolving throughout the day and the duration of the exhibition.A unique QM programme, Zwara, has been attracting design enthusiasts as it welcomes visitors to navigate a series of ongoing exhibitions, archives, and collections at M7, Msheireb Downtown Doha.Running until September 10, this initiative provides a unique opportunity to witness the vibrant and innovative creative landscape of Qatar firsthand.
Project Qatar 2023 has garnered global interest as influential representatives from diverse Chambers of Commerce unite to create a dynamic platform for the exchange of knowledge and industry insights, it is learnt.The significance of sharing expertise and market knowledge among organisers and participants, in addition to highlighting the importance of collaboration among key players during this critical period of Qatar's development, has been highlighted at the event.A panel discussion on *New Trends In Qatar Construction Sector, organised by the Italian Chamber of Commerce, the Italian Trade Agency, the German Business Council Qatar (GBCQ), the Turkish Business Association (TBA), the German Industry and Commerce Office (AHK), and the American, French, and Spanish Chambers of Commerce in Qatar, in collaboration with IFP Qatar, brought together experts who introduced the latest trends in the sector, including sustainable practices and 3D printing.Industry leaders also shared insights and perspectives at the talk, guiding participants toward emerging opportunities.Prior to the talk, attendees had the opportunity to network with industry experts, fostering connections and promoting innovation.The event also attracted selected international companies exhibiting at Project Qatar, offering them the chance to gain valuable market knowledge and explore potential collaborations in the construction industry.Palma Libotte, the president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, told reporters on the sidelines of the talk that Project Qatar, which has been a cornerstone exhibition in Qatar for the past 15 years, has undergone improvements to enhance sector focus, enabling attendees to navigate the exhibition with ease.She noted that the addition of panel discussions and conferences has further enriched the event, providing an additional platform for knowledge sharing and engagement.Libotte emphasised the active role of international business associations in facilitating connections and providing invaluable support to visiting companies, as well as underlining the positive impact of exchanging information and fostering bilateral relationships between countries.According to the organisers, Project Qatar serves as a testament to the importance of proactive market engagement, as companies explore Qatar's burgeoning construction sector.With a concerted effort to stay informed and capitalise on ongoing projects, international businesses can position themselves strategically in this dynamic market.Recognising Qatar's rapid development in recent years and its potential to shift directions swiftly was also underscored at the talk, stressing the need for a comprehensive understanding of the market to seize opportunities effectively.
City Center Doha Sunday unveiled 'Beyond The Threads & Knots', a unique exhibition showcasing more than 40 rare carpets, each with its own fascinating tale and historical significance.Chairman of Board of Trustees of Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Museums, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani led the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the mall’s 3rd floor (Arabian Court) and expressed his delight in sharing his passion for art, history, and culture.The exhibition, running until June 28, promises an immersive experience with exquisite carpets on display, brought directly from The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Carpet Museum, described as a testament to Qatar's rich cultural heritage.What sets this show apart is its diverse collection: from various carpets and rugs to saddle textiles for camels and horses from various regions such as China, Iran, Turkey, the Caucasus, and Europe during the Ottoman era.The exhibition also puts a spotlight on the intricacy of carpet-making techniques and the geographical origins of the rugs. With the carpets categorised by themes, it makes it easier for viewers to appreciate the carpets' aesthetics and symbolism, as natural motifs such as the tree of life and animals, are woven into the carpets' fabric.Some pieces were adorned with Quranic inscriptions of Ayat al-Kursi and stunning depictions of lush gardens, complete with a central hanging lamp, blooming plant motifs, delicate roses, and an array of enchanting birds.An Anatolian Ottoman rug, a 19th-century woolen masterpiece crafted with the traditional Gyurdis knot, provides a captivating glimpse into the Sultan's council of the past. It offers a rare opportunity to witness the power dynamics and the intimate moments within the palace walls.City Center Doha has also prepared a variety of children's activities adjacent to the exhibition. These include arts and crafts-themed fun during the weekends until the exhibition concludes.City Center Doha recently welcomed a host of high-end brands, including Boarders and Plaza Hollandi, with many more renowned brands preparing to open their doors soon. Homes R Us has also opened its branch, offering a wide range of household needs and furniture.