Qatar

Thursday, December 01, 2022 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.

Qatar

Gulf Times

Refugees, IDPs, orphans enjoy World Cup, thanks to Qatar Charity

Thanks to the “Qatar FIFA 2022 for All” initiative, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and orphans supported by Qatar Charity (QC) are able to enjoy the World Cup atmosphere.Amidst a remarkable sporting, cultural and festive atmosphere, the beneficiaries have been watching the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches in their camps in several countries through the “Fan Zones” supervised by the QC in co-operation with its partners.The refugees and IDPs communities expressed their joy with the “Qatar FIFA 2022 for All: Celebrating Football with Refugees and Displaced people” initiative, terming it as a “brilliant gesture” from the organisers.Thanks to Qatar and the Fan Zones set up by the QC, it became possible for those in these camps to watch the World Cup matches.In Somalia’s Shabelle camp, 13,000 IDP families are able to watch the World Cup events."I did not expect that I would watch the matches so easily," said Hassan Hussein Abdul, 14."This giant screen through which we watch the World Cup matches fulfilled my desire, because I am fond of football,” said 12-year-old Abdel Fattah Ahmed Mukhtar.Until now, he had been unable to watch the matches due to poverty.In Bangladesh, the students of the QC’s two orphan care centres near the capital Dhaka, and 7,000 Rohingya refugees in the Bhasan Char Island, watch the World Cap matches at the Fan Zones.“We have never had such an opportunity before,” said Shawn Ahmed, a seven-grade student at an orphan care centre.“The joy of watching the game together with thousands of spectators is really different,” said Mohamed Shams, who has been living in the Rohingya camp for five years.“This is an atmosphere full of enjoyment. Here thousands of people are watching the game together on the big screen,” said Mohamed Fayzullah, a teenager of the refugee camp. “Everyone is celebrating the goal of their favourite team with loud applause.”In northern Syria, Fouad Obaid sl-Ali, from Al Kaiba camp, said: "There was no place to watch the World Cup matches in the camp.”“However, thanks to the efforts of Qatar and Qatar Charity, we are now watching the matches on a huge screen,” he added.

Gulf Times

Qatari trio who helped bring World Cup mascot to life

There are many firsts associated with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. It is the first edition of the tournament to be held in the Middle East and Arab world, the first compact tournament in modern history and the first to have an official soundtrack. It is also the first FIFA World Cup to have a digital mascot. La’eeb – an Arabic word meaning super-skilled player – was unveiled to the world during the final draw in April. La’eeb hails from the ‘mascot-verse’ – a world where all previous tournament mascots live – and is known for his youthful spirit; spreading joy and confidence wherever he goes. La’eeb, who is adventurous, fun and curious, has attended every previous FIFA World Cup tournament and contributed to some of the most famous moments in football history. The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) spoke to Ahmed al-Baker, Fahad al-Kuwari and Mohamed al-Ibrahim, who worked on La’eeb’s launch video, to find out more about the challenge of creating content that appeals to football fans across the globe.The visionQataris al-Baker, al-Kuwari and al-Ibrahim were excited to develop the launch video for the mascot when they received the initial concept about his character. “It was very exciting to be involved in this project and our objective was to deliver something different to every previous mascot launch,” said al-Baker, who has been working as a director and producer for 12 years. “One of our main aims was to present him in a humourous and interactive way while ensuring he appeals to as many people as possible – not just football fans.”Al-Kuwari added: “I am not a huge football lover and during the animation process, I looked at La’eeb from an outsider’s point of view. Part of the challenge was creating content that non-football fans would enjoy – and I think La’eeb ended up being liked by everyone due to his uplifting personality.”Writer and director al-Ibrahim worked as a senior content developer on the animation. He said: “I helped to build on his backstory – not only his origins but information about his home, the 'mascot-verse'. We had to think about his personality traits and motivations – it was a really interesting project.”The creative team also wanted La’eeb to resonate with people long after the tournament – which will conclude with the final at Lusail Stadium on December 18. “It’s very important to us that La’eeb stays in the minds of football fans after the World Cup,” said al-Kuwari, a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar. “This is one of the reasons we built the mascot-verse, which allows La’eeb to visit mascots from previous tournaments.”A mascot with a voiceLa’eeb’s uniqueness extends to his voice. “When we presented our work, FIFA really liked the scripts we had developed for La’eeb,” said al-Kuwari, who holds a Master’s in film and screen studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. The next challenge was deciding La’eeb’s accent and ensuring he would resonate with people in Qatar, the region and beyond. “At first, we wanted La’eeb to speak Arabic with a Qatari accent – however we also wanted him to reach international audiences. In the end, we opted for English – but spoken by a local person – to show La’eeb is Qatari and can connect with people anywhere,” said al-Baker. Al-Kuwari added: “As content creators, it is our responsibility to create narratives true to our culture and heritage, and present them to international audiences.”New technologyLa’eeb’s virtual nature meant the creative options were endless and opened the door to utilise the latest digital technology. “From holograms, digital screens and new media, there was plenty of room for creativity and we were able to experiment with different technologies,” said al-Baker. Al-Kuwari added: “Our priority was for La’eeb to entertain fans. We wanted to create uplifting and interactive content, so we approached this in the same way we look at cinematic scripts. Getting to know La’eeb is a journey everyone will go through during the tournament. The audience learned about his skills and personality during the draw – and there will be plenty more to find out during the World Cup.”The power of storytellingFor al-Ibrahim, seeing his creation come to life on a scale of such magnitude represents a dream-turned-reality. He said: “Seeing La’eeb everywhere is testament to the power of storytelling. He is a character that will be remembered by future generations and exposed to billions of people during the World Cup. “This is something every content creator dreams of – and knowing I’ve contributed is something I’ll always be proud of.”

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