From its pearl diving roots to becoming one of the richest countries in the world per capita, Qatari entrepreneur HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani’s new book, ‘Qatar We Lived: Its History, People and Rulers’, chronicles Qatar’s phenomenal transformational journey.
According to HE Sheikh Faisal, his book describes the inception of Qatar, which went through so many hardships and harsh years that are inconceivable before it made it to the list of richest countries per capita annually, possessing the best airport and airline, plus being the largest exporter of liquified natural gas in the world at the beginning of the 21st century. Indeed, those challenges and achievements make for an inspirational journey and transformation, he said.
The book was launched yesterday as part of the activities of the Doha International Book Fair. The launch ceremony was held in the presence of HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, Minister of State and president of Qatar National Library, during a press conference at the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) headquarters.
HE Sheikh Faisal said the book demonstrates with documents, photographs, and numbers the huge scale of development and achievements happening under the leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and how His Highness the Amir had to face extraordinary circumstances that have boosted his ability to govern the State and protect its sovereignty, with the historic support from the people of Qatar around him.
“Furthermore, his leadership during such difficult period has not only been crucial for his reign, but rather was crucial in the history of Qatar and its destiny forever. His Highness came out of that challenge as a young leader defending his country in a very wise and civilised manner, with an enhanced position on the international stage.
“Thus, in a couple of years, we have accomplished what otherwise requires decades to achieve. It is said that the skill is hitting a target that others cannot hit, but brilliance is hitting a target nobody else can see, and that is what has been accomplished in the reign of His Highness Sheikh Tamim, the defender of sovereignty and the leader of development,” HE Sheikh Faisal stressed.
He continued, “The book also confirms that great achievements can only be charged by an ambition that transcends reality, and as such, Qatar has shined by the vision of His Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the founder of the modern State, as we were in a race with time to catch up with his ambitions that became reality in a brief period.”
History shall remember how he transformed Qatar’s character and positioned it as an active and respectable player on the world stage, how he developed and diversified Qatar’s economy to the point that Qatar became a leader in the field of energy, in addition to his ability to find a solution to the unsolvable questions where he found the balance between modernity and openness, while holding firmly and adhering to its origins and roots, HE Sheikh Faisal emphasised.
He said the book showcases Qatar’s distinctive character since long ago, as it understood correctly its geographical situation and scarce population, for which it dealt with by maintaining balanced relations with the outer world, and by forging strategic partnerships on bases that fortified its security and sovereignty throughout history until today.
Moreover, the book narrates the dangerous foreign meddling and conspiracies against the Founder, Sheikh Jassim bin Mohamed bin Thani, had to face supported by his people, struggling for Qatar’s independence. It also shows how the third ruler, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim al-Thani, led the country through a series of crises, including a worldwide pandemic, a recession in pearl markets, and two world wars that interrupted world trade, earning his reign, “the reign of endurance”.
The book also talks about the entry into the age of oil, with the first shipment of Qatari oil in 1949 during the reign of Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah al-Thani, and the transition from the Bedouin life to that of civility and then independence, passing by the discovery of oil in the sea during the reign of Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani, who was the first to bear the title of 'Amir of Qatar'” and the decision maker for many important decisions that drove the country’s growth and added to the development of society in sectors vital for building the State and people.
The book also discusses the discovery of natural gas, with the start of production of the North Field – the largest free gas field in the world in 1991 during the days of Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani. Sheikh Khalifa drew the features of the State in its modern sense after inaugurating a new phase of governmental and administrative organisation. After being appointed as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs, he established diplomatic relations with states of the world over, in addition to the inauguration of the first university in the country, Qatar University, in 1973.
The book is already on sale at the ongoing Doha International Book Fair, which is taking place at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre. Bachar Chebaro, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) Press executive director, said the book is the top-seller among the HBKU Press publications available at the book fair.
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