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The Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari with other dignitaries during the launch of Qatar UK 2013.
DOHA: Qatar UK 2013 was launched on Tuesday at Claridges Hotel in London at a reception hosted by Khalid Rashid Salem Al Homoudi Al Mansouri, Qatari Ambassador to the UK, on the occasion of Qatar National Day celebration.
In attendance were the Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, UK’s Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, Qatar Museums Authority CEO, Edward Dolman, the Director Arts at the British Council, Graham Sheffield, the Director of the British Council in Qatar, Martin Hope, and the President of Katara, Abdulrahman Al Khulaifi.
“We represent two major cultures, the Arab Islamic culture and the Anglo-Saxon culture. This makes the exchange of activities and events between us one of the means to achieve co-operation and understanding. For that reason, we look at next year’s programme as an important one and we look forward to making it a special year of cultural relations between Qatar and the United Kingdom,” said H E Dr Al Kuwari.
The programme has been developed in partnership with Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Qatar Museums Authority, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, the British Council, and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The event also includes the participation of Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Doha Film Institute and Katara Cultural Village Foundation.
The Chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority, H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, said: “We are proud of the success achieved with our international cultural exchanges, which began with Qatar Japan in 2012. We hope next year will give us the opportunity to further promote cultural dialogue and programmes that build bridges between nations. We are looking forward to a year of valuable cooperation and exchange, which will celebrate our cultures and friendship.”
Inspired by Qatar’s National Vision for 2030, Qatar UK 2013 aims to forge new partnerships in education, sport, creative industries, and science, while promoting an awareness and appreciation of each other’s culture, achievements, and heritage.
“I am honoured to be here today, witnessing the beginning of an important day for Qatar, the day that opens the celebration of our friendship with the United Kingdom through culture, art and intellectual dialogue,” said Ambassador Al Mansouri.
Ed Vaizey said: “I am very excited by this initiative and welcome the opportunity to build on the already strong relationship the UK shares with Qatar. Qatar UK 2013 will celebrate the best of our two nations, showcasing the finest we have to offer in the fields of culture, art, sport and education while looking to the exciting new opportunities for the future.”
“Qatar is a dynamic supporter of arts and culture, and I am delighted that the British Council is a partner in this exciting programme alongside the UK cultural sector and key Qatar institutions. Sharing innovative ideas and practices from both countries, building new audiences for the arts, and developing creative talent across society are at the heart of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture,” said Sheffield.
World-class events will take place in Qatar and across the UK to showcase the quality, diversity, breadth and innovation in Britain and Qatar, starting today in Katara with the opening of ‘Encounter: The Royal Academy in the Middle East’, an exhibition featuring 100 works by 25 Royal Academicians shown alongside 25 prominent artists from across the Middle East.
The Festival will also celebrate an ambitious partnership between the British Library and Qatar Foundation. Through a three year programme that aims to transform the public’s understanding of Middle Eastern history, half a million pages of archive material will be digitised.
Among the events announced for the 2013 programme are the world premiere of Globe Education’s Romeo and Juliet in February and a programme of cutting edge works by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists.
Other events will include the UK’s first major exhibition of Sudanese artist Ibrahim El Salahi,
The Pearls Exhibition, which opens at the V&A in September 2013, an exhibition of the work of Damien Hirst in October 2013; performances presented by Shakespeare’s Globe and Sadler’s Wells at Katara and a series of curatorial tours, residencies and exchanges between the two countries. The Peninsula