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Posted On: 3 March 2021 08:43 pm
Updated On: 3 March 2021 09:01 pm

Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture announces program for the whole year

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Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture announces program for the whole year (QM)

Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, a partnership between Qatar Museums (QM), the United States Embassy in Doha and the Embassy of Qatar in the United States, today announced a wide-ranging program of exhibitions, festivals, bilateral exchanges, and events to be held in both nations throughout the year. Established in 2012 by Qatar Museums under the patronage of its Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Years of Culture initiative works to highlight and strengthen ties between Qatar and a new partner nation each year.

The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture program will feature virtual and in-person events, including exhibitions and installations of works by Qatari and American artists; events showcasing the music, film, and fashion of both countries; sporting events; culinary experiences; entrepreneurship, innovation, STEM, and business events; and educational programs. All past, present, and future exhibitions, programs, and events will be featured on the official Years of Culture website where one can find the latest information and details about upcoming events.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa said:

“On behalf of Qatar, I take great pleasure in announcing these programs, which show so vividly how the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture will further align our two nations and strengthen the warm friendship they enjoy. Our vision nine years ago in establishing the Year of Culture program was to foster mutual understanding across borders on a humane, popular level by appreciating one another’s creative endeavours in celebrating Qatar’s win to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Now just under two years from Qatar hosting its biggest sporting event, our impressive roster of programs demonstrates the breadth and depth of the experiences to be shared throughout 2021 by the people of the United States and Qatar.”

Aisha Al Attiya, Head of Years of Culture, said:

“We announce the program for the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture with gratitude to the partners in both countries who have developed this extraordinary series of exhibitions, events, and experiences. Through their efforts, they have already demonstrated how this program can bring people together and foster meaningful cultural exchange. We look forward to inaugurating these events and activities, which will show the best of Qatar in the United States and the best of the United States in Qatar.”

His Excellency Sheikh Meshal Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States of America, said:

“Qatar and the United States have been friends and allies for almost 50 years, and it’s exciting to be able to showcase a different and more accessible side of the partnership through the 2021 Qatar-USA Year of Culture. I’m honored to be a part of the effort to share Qatari culture with audiences across the United States, and to do the same with American culture in Qatar. These endeavors are what deepen the ties between our people, and it is an honor to help facilitate that.”

Ambassador Greta C. Holtz, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Qatar, said:

“The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture builds on the friendly diplomatic relations our two nations have shared since 1972. The Year of Culture provides an extraordinary framework within which we can come together to celebrate our longstanding relationship and forge new connections through people-to-people exchanges.”

Upcoming Programs in Qatar

In Qatar, the following programs will take place throughout the country over the course of the year, with new events being added:

  • International Women’s Day (March 8): A live virtual discussion organized by the U.S. Embassy in Doha and Katara with prominent Qatari and American women on the topic of female empowerment at 6 pm in Doha / 10 am NYC.
  • The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Fashion and Art (March 24 – May 30): The exhibition, part of the Tasweer Photo Festival, draws together African and African Diaspora image-makers, many of whom are African-American, based in established creative industry centers across the globe.
  • Experimental Photography (March 24 – May 30): A series of installations by six contemporary American artists that prompt discussion and awareness of the expanded field of photography in the post-internet age. This exhibition is also part of the Tasweer Qatar Festival.
  • Seagrass Tales, Dugong Trails (March 2021): The National Museum of Qatar, in collaboration with ExxonMobil Research Qatar, will present a special exhibition on dugongs. These shy marine mammals have inhabited the waters surrounding Qatar's peninsula for more than 7,500 years. The Arabian Gulf is home to the world's second-largest population of dugongs, after Australia. Recently, the largest herds in the world, comprising between 600 to 700 dugongs, have been recorded in Qatar. Holding both a special cultural and environmental significance, the dugong was chosen as the museum’s official mascot.
  • U.S. Embassy College Fair (April 2021): The fair will comprise seminars for school counsellors, parents, students, and other audiences, and will feature U.S. colleges and universities.
  • Throughout the year, the U.S. Embassy in Qatar works with Qatari partners to identify and nominate current and emerging leaders in the fields of cybersecurity, journalism, education, art, STEM, medicine, and the justice system, among others, to participate in the 3-week International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) exchange program and the 1-9 month Fulbright program, respectively.
  • Jeff Koons: Lost in America (Fall 2021): Qatar Museums will present the first survey in the Gulf region of the work of one of the best-known contemporary American artists. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Lost in America features more than sixty artworks drawn from Koons’s four-decades-long career, with each gallery introduced by an autobiographical text, compiled from interviews, statements, and quotes by the artist, emphasizing his memories, influences and fascination with American visual culture.
  • Throughout the year, Swalif, a series of virtual programs will take place discussing the U.S. election system, entrepreneurship, mental health, media literacy, and education in the U.S., with Qatari social media influencer and comedian Hamad Al-Amari and invited American experts.
  • Cinema Under the Stars (November 2021): The Doha Film Institute and Qatar Museums will co-host a program of family-friendly film screenings that will take place outside, highlighting American films.

Programs in the United States

The following programs will take place throughout the United States over the course of 2021, with more details to follow in the coming weeks:

  • Calli-graffiti (Throughout 2021): A multi-city installation of street art that blends calligraphy and the Arabic language, as inspired by French-Tunisian artist eL Seed. The tour begins next month in Jersey City and will travel to other cities including Miami Beach during Art Basel.
  • Dessert Recipe Tradeoff (Spring 2021): Chefs from both countries will be challenged to make traditional desserts from the United States and Qatar.
  • Pearls of Wonder (Fall 2021): A pop-up exhibition featuring works by Qatari artists inspired by the history of the pearling industry in Qatar to open in New York City.
  • The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington D.C., and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha are working together to organize an exhibition of exceptional textiles from the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art to open in Washington in 2021.
  • Desert Drive-In Cultural Exchange (Fall 2021): Taking place outside of Los Angeles at Hummingbird Ranch, the film screening program is inspired by the rich history of nomadic Bedouin culture. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy films in an outdoor desert-like environment, a modern take on the American drive-in movie theater.
  • Desert Racing (Fall/Winter 2021): The unique experience will highlight the shared love of car racing in both Qatar and the United States through a series of races featuring Qatari and American drivers.
  • Made in Qatar (November 2021): The screening event will showcase works by Qatari filmmakers and accompanied talks at the Qatar America Institute for Culture in Washington, D.C.


Qatar Airways and ExxonMobil are platinum sponsors of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture.

Dominic Genetti, President and General Manager for ExxonMobil Qatar, said:

“ExxonMobil Qatar is pleased to be the platinum sponsor of Qatar-US Year of Culture 2021. As a U.S. company that traces its relationship with Qatar for more than three decades, this is a significant initiative to us because it will showcase both our countries as centers of creative and cultural opportunity. We’re also pleased that our cooperation with Qatar Museums will include a temporary dugong exhibition as part of the Qatar-USA Year of Culture 2021 program that will be on display at the National Museum of Qatar in March. The exhibition will help educate the general public about Qatar’s iconic dugongs, and what can be done to ensure they are protected.”

His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, said:

“Qatar Airways is delighted to be the Official Airline Partner of the Qatar-USA Year of Culture 2021. This year-long collaboration of programmes will empower both societies and inspire mutual paths of understanding for each other. As a global airline that brings people together, we look forward to further building the bridge between Qatar and the United States to celebrate and honour both cultures.”

About Years of Culture

Under the leadership of its Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Museums (QM) has developed the “Years of Culture” initiative — an annual international cultural exchange designed to deepen understanding between nations and their people. Though the formal programming lasts only one year, the ties of friendship that are strengthened and formed are long-lasting. Culture is one of the most effective tools to bring people closer together, encourage dialogue, and deepen understanding between nations. Previous Years of Culture have included: Qatar-Japan 2012, Qatar-UK 2013, Qatar-Brazil 2014, Qatar-Turkey 2015, Qatar-China 2016, Qatar-Germany 2017, Qatar-Russia 2018, Qatar-India 2019, and Qatar-France 2020.

The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture follows the signing of a cooperative agreement on 14 September 2020 during the 2020 Qatar-United States Strategic Dialogue in Washington, D.C between Qatari Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and His Excellency, the former Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo. This year’s program was inaugurated at the Katara Opera House on 16 January with a special concert by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and the U.S. Air Forces Central Band (AFCENT), with a special piece composed by Dana al-Fardan and performed by the AFCENT band. Led by Joo Young Oh, the recently appointed Concertmaster of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, the program, which began with the national anthems of both countries, featured a variety of Qatari and American compositions.

Qatar-United States 2021 Year of Culture is being planned in collaboration with leading institutions in Qatar and the United States, including Qatar Museums, the Embassy of Qatar in the United States, the Embassy of the United States in Qatar, Qatar's Ministry of Culture and Sport, Qatar Foundation, the National Tourism Council, Doha Film Institute, Qatar National Library, Katara, the Supreme Council for Delivery and Legacy, and Qatar Football Association.

About the U.S. Embassy in Qatar

The U.S. Embassy in Qatar houses the United States of America's diplomatic mission to Qatar. Bilateral relations are strong, with the United States and Qatar coordinating closely on a wide range of regional and global issues. Together, we promote stability and prosperity in the region. The United States welcomes hundreds of Qatari students each year, and six major U.S. universities have branch campuses in Qatar. The current Chargé d'Affaires at U.S. Embassy Doha is Ambassador Greta C. Holtz. For more information about the U.S. Embassy’s engagement during the Year of Culture, follow @USEmbassyDoha or visit

Source: Qatar Museums Press Release