On January 27, 1972, the State of Qatar became a Member State of UNESCO. By adhering to the ideals and values set forth in the Organization’s Constitutive Act, Qatar joins in the efforts of the international community to create stable conditions for peaceful coexistence among nations.
Since then, Qatar has embodied great aspirations, hopes and a continued commitment to building peace through international cooperation in education, science and culture. In the same year 1972, Qatar established its National Commission to UNESCO. Four years later, Qatar began to host the UNESCO Office for the Arab States of the Gulf based in Doha which, since 1976, has established a local action program for the implementation of UNESCO’s priorities in consultation with Member States in the Gulf region. The Republic of Yemen was later included in the geographical scope of this UNESCO Field Office.
From the beginning, Qatar has strongly supported UNESCO’s programs. In Qatar, the government and UNESCO have built a long-standing cooperation in partnership guaranteeing access to quality education, promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures, encouraging scientific research and innovation and promoting media development. Thanks to its commitment and efforts over the years, Qatar has been home to a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (Al Reem) since 2007, which offers unprecedented research opportunities for sustainable development and dryland use. . The Al Zubarah archaeological site was the first Qatari property inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2013. The country also has a UNESCO-UNEVOC Centre, which is housed within the College of the North Atlantic and aims to promote the technical and vocational education and innovation in the country and beyond. Qatari universities have created three UNESCO chairs in recent years, while two others are currently being evaluated. Qatar is a very active member of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) which promotes UNESCO’s ideal of peace and contributes to improving the quality of education. Two Qatari cities are part of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) while Doha was recognized in 2021 as a UNESCO Creative City of Design. With the development of a knowledge society at heart, Qatar has been a crucial partner in the implementation of the SDG 4-Education 2030 agenda in the GCC region and beyond.
At all times, the State of Qatar has been aware of its obligations to the various conventions and legal instruments of UNESCO, where the Organization has supported the adoption of international standards and implemented programs that promote the free flow of ideas and the exchange of knowledge.
Qatari leaders quickly grasped the essence and vision of UNESCO’s principles in investing in inclusive knowledge-based societies. Because Qatar believed from day one in the core areas of the Organization’s mandate, leading national institutions were created in line with UNESCO’s lines of action. For example, the Qatar Foundation was established as a unique ecosystem of education, science, and research and community development. In this context, the National Library of Qatar offers a great opportunity for knowledge sharing to the people of Qatar and UNESCO has been privileged to partner on many occasions, but particularly in actions aimed at the protection and preservation of documentary heritage in the Arab region. Qatar has led the organization of international events, such as WISE which has provided the world with a unique platform for knowledge exchange on education policies at the intersection between technology and innovation. In this context, the advice of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, who firmly believes that education has the power to transform lives and societies and who is our UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, have been essential in realizing UNESCO’s values.
The strength of the partnership between UNESCO and Qatar was also seen in the traveling exhibition Majlis – Cultures in Dialogue which was launched in 2018, where the collaboration between the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum and UNESCO aimed to connect peoples, beliefs and cultures by providing a platform for dialogue. In the same spirit, the partnership with Katara has enabled the creation of the first International Festival of Cultural Diversity bringing together a range of different cultural expressions from around the world highlighting the importance of celebrating the diversity of humanity and fostering mutual understanding. through culture. Synergies were sought in strategic areas such as the management of crises resulting from armed conflicts and disasters caused by natural and man-made hazards all over the world. To this end, the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) is one of the main donors of the Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) which was established at UNESCO in 2014 to support the protection of heritage in the emergency situations. Additionally, Qatar has championed the protection of education from attack by promoting in the General Assembly the creation of a day dedicated to the United Nations.
UNESCO, based in Doha, has been a privileged and grateful partner of many institutions in the country for the promotion of its fundamental values. The office has seen the remarkable results that these commitments have produced in achieving more peaceful societies. Qatar has emerged in recent years as one of the most proactive mediators in the world, thriving as a neutral peacemaker in many international and intra-national conflicts brewing in the Middle East region. Not only has the country shown leadership in peace negotiations, but it has also fought for stability and alleviated the suffering of people affected by conflict and natural disasters.
More than just a joint effort, the friendship between UNESCO and Qatar grows stronger and deeper every year. It is of paramount importance that we take this opportunity to endorse our common commitment and take it to another level. We all know that building peace in the minds of women and men is not an easy task: it is a process that involves vision, dedication, trust, patience and keeping commitments. Qatar has a special role to play in supporting and investing in UNESCO’s initiatives and promoting key values of shared interests, at a time when the whole world is facing the COVID-19 crisis and the he call to ‘build back better’ is more relevant than ever . There is great potential for such a vision, towards consolidating a solid roadmap and aspirations for a culture of peace, poverty eradication, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through the education, science, culture, communication and information.
The UNESCO team in Doha takes this opportunity to express the deep value it places on the partnership that has been built between UNESCO and Qatar over the past 50 years and is confident that the strong ties established will continue. to prevail over the next five decades, encouraging innovative ideas to advance our shared vision.