The US Embassy in Doha, and Qatar Museums (QM), hosted on Monday, the official VIP closing ceremony for the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture at Katara - The Cultural Village.
The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture was created to enhance cross-cultural and artistic exchange which exemplifies the renewed commitment of the two nations to foster mutual understanding and promote intercultural dialogue.
Ahmad Musa al-Namla, CEO of QM, said: “Although the official programming for the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture is drawing to a close, the legacy of this initiative will continue for many years to come. The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture extends beyond intercultural exchange—it further solidifies ties between Qatar and the US and acknowledges mutual cooperation and our shared vision for the future.”
The year-long programme involved a wide-ranging mix of exhibitions, festivals, bilateral exchanges, and events in Qatar and the US. Of note is the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Art Envoys who travelled to Qatar for the cross-cultural artistic exchange.
Qatar is currently presenting Jeff Koons: Lost in America and Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech as part of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture. The works of both renowned contemporary American artists are on view for the first time in the Gulf region and the Middle East, respectively.
Programming in the US included Jedariart, a multi-city installation of street art featuring Qatari artists; Food Sharing, where chefs from both countries were challenged to make traditional recipes with American and Qatari spin; and the Desert Drive-In, a film screening programme co-presented with the Doha Film Institute (DFI) that took place outside of Los Angeles and featured film shorts made in Qatar.
Monday marked the conclusion of the Qatar-USA Festival, held from November 24, which celebrated the official 12-month culmination of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture programming. The festival, hosted by the US Embassy in Qatar in partnership with QM, Katara, and DFI, featured a series of events including concerts by Soul Street, a Texas-based Hip-Hop breakdance company with BBoys and a DJ; a Cinema Under the Stars film screening; an American traditional Thanksgiving dinner, a Food Lab cook-off and masterclass led by Classic Culinary Diplomat Chefs Dissen and Rahman; and the renowned Charlie Porter Jazz Quintet musicians.
This year’s festival promoted intercultural exchange by bringing together the two countries’ rich and unique cultures through dance, music, culinary, art and film events and activities across Doha’s most popular landmarks. US diplomat and public diplomacy officer, Samantha Jackson represented the US Embassy in Qatar by also participating in the Qatar-USA Festival concerts at the Katara Opera House as master of ceremonies.
At the festival’s inaugural opening, Jackson walked on stage alongside a special guest mascot from, one of America’s most famed boardgames, Monopoly. Also on Monday, the Monopoly Doha edition was launched.
Commenting on the Qatar-US Year of Culture partnerships, US Embassy chargé d'affaires Natalie Baker said: “We are thankful to celebrate the Qatar-US Year of Culture with our Qatari partners and friends, your dedication to strengthening our diplomatic relations is reflected in the time, energy, and effort that you offer every day. We look forward to continuing our relations in celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties.”
Aisha al-Attiya, director of Cultural Diplomacy Department at QM, said: “It has been a tremendous year of programming in celebration of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, enabling people of both nations to immerse themselves in the cultures of the respective countries through enriching events and activities. On behalf of Qatar Museums, I extend sincerest gratitude to the official partners, sponsors and institutions whose tireless efforts and generosity ensured the immense success of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture.”
“It was a wonderful evening and great show of talent at the closing ceremony of Qatar-USA Year of Culture 2021. It’s been an incredible year and innovative showcase of Qatari culture in the US and US culture in Qatar, and ExxonMobil is so pleased to have been a part of it. I would like to thank Qatar Museums and all the partners who came together to make this initiative a huge success,” said Dominic Genetti, president and general manager for ExxonMobil Qatar.
QM established Years of Culture in 2012 under the patronage of chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to highlight and strengthen ties between Qatar and a new partner nation each year. Qatar Airways and ExxonMobil were platinum sponsors of the Qatar-USA Year of Culture 2021.