A recent Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) Lunch Talk titled “Reflections Beyond the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture” featured guest speaker Fatima Al-Dosari, Executive Director of the Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC), who shared her personal perspectives and experiences gained as the head of the Institute’s efforts to further strengthen cultural understanding, dialogue, and appreciation between her home country, Qatar, and the United States.
“I’m here as a Qatari storyteller. I hope you find inspiration in what I say and that it can help you in your own journey,” said Al-Dosari, noting the special significance of her talk taking place in the same month as the 50th anniversary on March 19 of the start of bilateral diplomatic relations between the United States and the State of Qatar. That relationship and shared strategic interests were further cemented with the recent designation by U.S. President Joe Biden of Qatar as a major non-NATO ally of the United States, she said.
QAIC, located in Washington, DC, is open to the public, and offers tours of the artwork and exhibitions featured in their gallery as well as regular events and festivals. Their work is committed to fostering authentic friendships through developing long-term cultural synergies between the two countries, she explained. Her own cross-cultural connections and experiences with the people she has met in Washington over the years has given her an opportunity to share the many ways Qatar and the U.S. are connected in mutually beneficial ways.
For Americans interested in learning more about Qatar, Al-Dosari shares highlights of Qatar’s role in mediating regional issues, revitalizing American manufacturing through Qatar Airways and Boeing’s announcement of the largest deal for freighter aircraft in Boeing’s history, the World Cup projects in Doha built by American companies, and City Center DC, a 10-acre, mixed-use development landmark located in DC and built by the Qatari Diar Real Estate Company, established in 2005 by the Qatar Investment Authority.
She also shares Qatar’s contributions in the field of art history through museum loans, and education and humanitarian aid, noting that Qatar was one of the biggest donors to a fund that benefits the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Praising Georgetown students and alumni as important representatives of Qatar’s investments in development and higher education, Al-Dosari thanked the Office of Career Services for their efforts in helping organize mentorship programs connecting GU-Q students with high school students, internships, and engagement opportunities for Hoyas at in-person events. With the pandemic moving engagement efforts online, Al-Dosari also highlighted the benefit of virtual exhibits that bring the work of the institute to larger audiences.
The CIRS Lunch Talk Series is designed to present interested GU-Q community members, including students, faculty and staff, with a forum to engage in thoughtful discussion with scholars and experts about their academic endeavors, research agendas, and areas of interest.