With the participation of Her Excellency, Lolwah Rashid Al-Khater, Assistant Foreign Minister of Qatar, officially inaugurated the Qatar-MENASA 2022 Year of Culture at an opening ceremony on the evening of Thursday 3 March, welcoming leaders from the nation and dignitaries representing countries from across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia to an exceptional evening of music, film, and cuisine, held in the courtyard of the Fire Station. The celebration extended into the following day, 4 March, when members of the public were also invited to attend Doha Film Institute film screenings and musical performances by renowned Qatari composer, singer and songwriter Dana Al Fardan and others.
Marking the beginning of a year of specially curated museum and art exhibitions; film, music and food festivals; and other cultural exchanges taking place between Qatar and other nations across the MENASA region, the two-day opening event was hosted by Qatar Museums.
Qatar introduced its Year of Culture initiative in 2012 under the leadership of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, partnering each year with a different nation for a series of cultural exchanges designed to bring the world to Qatar and the best of Qatar to the world. On the tenth anniversary of the initiative, in anticipation of welcoming the globe for the Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup, Qatar is partnering with countries and communities from: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bhutan, Egypt, India, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Welcoming the guests to the opening ceremony, Her Excellency, Lolwah Rashid Al-Khater, Assistant Foreign Minister of Qatar said:
"This year, our people will have the opportunity to strengthen their bonds in a deeper and more meaningful way, through a series of exhibitions, performances, festivals and cultural exchanges. I believe the Qatar-MENASA 2022 Year of Culture will showcase the culmination of a long and significant history of initiatives created by the Qatari people, while acting as the cornerstone for a new and important phase in MENASA’s cultural understanding.”
Aisha Ghanem Al Attiya, Director of Cultural Diplomacy, Qatar Museums said:
“This wonderful evening is just a sampling of what is to come in the months ahead, as everyone opens their eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to one another through a host of specially curated exhibitions, performances, festivals, and cultural exchanges. Presented in-person in Qatar and virtually throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia regions, the events of this extraordinary Year of Culture celebrate the heritage and innovations that we share throughout the MENASA region.”
The opening ceremony featured musical performances curated by Dana Al Fardan, Qatar’s renowned composer, singer and songwriter. In addition to performing her own compositions, she brought the guests the music of Tunisian vocal star Mehdi Ayiachi, the world-renowned MAqam Ensemble, master percussionist George Oro, and the students in the Arab Percussion Ensemble of the Qatar Music Academy. Throughout the evening, guests were invited to view a program of short films from Qatar and the MENASA region developed with the support of the Doha Film Institute. The cuisine for the evening commenced with an appetizer by award-winning Palestinian chef Sami Tamimi, followed by flavors from areas across the MENASA region.
Source and cover image credit: Qatar Museums
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