Giving a positive image of Qatar in the West is easy, all one has to do is just be honest about the country,  according to Arab World Institute (AWI) president Jack Lang.

He applauded Qatar’s phenomenal growth over the last few years that he termed as a  “mini-revolution”.

The magnificent architecture and art on display in Qatar and the opportunity it provides to people shows to the world that everyone was welcome here, Lang, a former culture minister of France,  told Gulf Times.

“I want to contribute in giving Qatar a positive image, which is not at all difficult. All I have to do is to tell the truth about this place to others,” he stated.

“My role is to show how Qatar has shown a modern way yet carried on with its remarkable, respectful traditions,” Lang maintained.

AWI is a Paris-based organisation formed in 1980 when 18 Arab countries concluded an agreement with France to form a body that would help foster a better understanding of the Arab World’s language, cultural and spiritual values in the West.

“This institution is unique in the world. It was an initiative of the French president built 30 years ago along with leaders of different Arab countries, who wanted to establish a bridge between the Arab and European worlds,” the  official said.

Lang became the head of AWI in 2013 with the help of Qatar’s support.

“I hope, as the head of this institute, I contribute to give a positive perception of Arab countries and culture to other people in France. My ambition is to present the richness of the Arabic world,” he said.

“The mission of the institute is to demonstrate through different activities the richness of the Arab world from its past and present. Today, there are many changes and transformations taking place in the Arab World, which is important to show (in the West) through exhibitions and artistic expressions,” Lang asserted.

The AWI president revealed his plans to encourage the learning of the Arabic language in Europe, especially in France through his institute.

“We have adopted a plan to encourage Arabic language in our society in France. I’ve asked different countries to help us finance this plan which is very ambitious. It is very important for the institute and for the promotion of Arabic culture,” he said.

Lang highlighted three major events of the institute that are set to take place this year.

In April, there will be a major exhibition in Paris on the  Haj with the co-operation of British Museum and Saudi Arabia. It will be inaugurated by the French president.

Second will be the revival of The Orient Express by the French rail group SNCF that will coincide in April with an exhibition at the Arab World Institute in Paris.

“Through these exhibitions, the people will discover the history of the Ottoman Empire, the rich Arab history, literature and cinema,” he said.  And in September, there will be an international symposium.

Lang, who was recently in Doha, had meetings with senior officials in Qatar, including HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani. He also met with the directors of Qatar National Library, Mathaf Museum and Qatar National Museum.

Lang, 73, had  served as a culture minister under former president Francois Mitterrand for 10 years.




Related Story