Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani (left), being interviewed for the programme.
DOHA: Qatar Foundation International (QFI) will launch Al Bayt, or “home” in Arabic, an interactive space that will serve as a hub for Arabic language and culture in the Americas.
Al Bayt will initially be launched as an online experience through an interactive website. In its next phase of development, QFI is expanding its community of partners in order to evolve Al Bayt into a physical space in the heart of Washington, DC at the soon-to-be-opened City Center DC, financed by Qatari Diar Real Estate.
Al Bayt will be a state of the art, interactive experience that will immerse students in different aspects of the culture, language, architecture, design and more. As a “home”, it will be a place where people can gather, discuss and share.
A professional crew from New York City spent six days filming across locations in Qatar and interviewing a diverse array of students, educators and professionals from the region. These short films showcase the history, language, culture and future vision of Qatar and the greater Middle East.
A Qatar Foundation-supported concept, Al Bayt will be modelled on a Qatari home, through which American students will learn about Arab and Qatari culture. The videos, featuring Qatari as well as other Arab voices, will be a vital element of this experience.
“As a Qatari, I think it is very important for us to represent Qatar and teach others around the world about this country and the Arab world,” says Sahar Al Ansari, sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University – Qatar. “I’m very proud to be an ambassador for Al Bayt and be in a position to teach others around the world about Arab culture and to show people what it is really like over here aside from what the media shows them!”
Sahar is one of four exceptional QFI students from Qatar that will be featured as “Virtual Ambassadors” to the Al Bayt space. As Qataris, the virtual ambassadors will be the voice of Al Bayt, recordings of them guiding people through the space while demonstrating their different perspectives and experiences, as well as their similarities, to an American audience. The ambassadors spoke about their language, religion, lifestyles, family and the environment of their region and homes. QFI and production company Radical Media also interviewed a diverse range of experts, professionals, and academics in order to present Qatar’s and the Arab world’s rich cultural heritage. A highlight from the six days of production was an hour-long interview with Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani and a tour of the Sheikh Faisal Museum.
The short films will also showcase the transformations taking place in the region and Qatar specifically. Featuring interviews with Qatar Foundation leadership, such as Fahad Saad Al Qahtani, Group Executive Director of Qatar Foundation Administration, and Dr Amal Al Malki, Executive Director of the Translation and Interpreting Institute as well as a Professor at Carnegie Mellon Univeristy – Qatar, the short films will highlight the work Qatar Foundation has done in this arena through initiatives such as Al Shaqab and Hamad bin Khalifa University.