Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Qatar, HE Nicholas Hopton today, Sunday 9 March 2014, launched the British Festival 2014 at the British Embassy in Doha, which will take place from 9 March to 9 April 2014.

The one-month long festival will commence with a ‘Welsh Culture Week’ from 9 to 13 March 2014 in Qatar, organised by the Welsh Government’s MENA office.

Focusing on education, commerce and culture, the festival is the first of several flagship initiatives focused on building a legacy programme of the popular Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, which engaged over 175,000 people through a programme of 80 events last year.

HE Hopton said:

We are delighted and proud to launch the British Festival 2014 in Qatar. Following the tremendous success of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, this festival is a continuing celebration of the strong ties and ongoing cultural exchange between Qatar and the UK. The British Festival provides a platform for nurturing existing partnerships and forging new ones – in art, education, commerce and science. We want to highlight how British cutting edge design, quality, innovation and style can be found in the sphere of culture and also on the high street. We look forward to continuing our work with our partners as the festival kicks off and I hope that many British residents of Qatar will get involved.’

Building on the success of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, which included individual artistic exchange as well as supporting business engagement, the British Festival reinforces the strong bilateral bond between Qatar and the UK. It will involve participation of some of Doha’s world-leading British shops and brands and major shopping malls, with in-store events and promotions. There will also be trade missions of British companies visiting Qatar, led by two leading British trade associations – British Water from 22 to 25 March 2014 and the International Visual Communications Association from 7 to 9 April 2014.

Director of British Council Qatar, Martin Hope, said:

We are thrilled to continue the strong legacy of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture through the British Festival. As the British Council celebrates its 80th anniversary, the cultural events which form part of the British Festival 2014 continue our longstanding work in creating opportunities for individuals and institutions to experience the unique cultural offering of the UK. We hope this festival will reach a wide audience, building on existing collaborations and creating new ones.’

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Some British Festival 2014 highlights include:

Study in the UK Exhibition – students interested in studying in the UK will have the opportunity to explore the wide range of courses available and meet representatives of 22 British Universities

Circle of Sound – renowned sarod player and composer Soumik Datta, a resident artist for the London based Alchemy Festival and the Rich Mix cultural foundation will be performing a live concert at the Al Rayyan Theatre on 30 March 2014. He is accompanied by Austrian drummer Bernhard Schimpelsberger, English singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan, and well-known Qatari artists. Datta has previously collaborated with Beyoncé.

The Urban Playground – the UK’s leading ‘performance parkour’ group will showcase their skills at Souq Waqif 10-12 April, along with school workshops 7-10 April

Welsh Cultural Week  – the cultural week from 9 to 12 March 2014 includes a performance by the Welsh National Opera (WNO), along with photography exhibition, an event for alumni of Welsh universities and other trade focused events in Doha.

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Director Trade & Investment at the British Embassy, Gareth O’Brien, said:

We are delighted to support British companies and iconic British brands in Qatar. The festival provides an excellent platform to celebrate the strength of Qatar/UK commercial partnerships and for forging new ones. Bilateral trade between our two countries is very healthy. It was worth more than QR30 billion in 2013, and is going from strength to strength. However we are keen to see even more British companies active here to support Qatar’s ambitious plans to deliver the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the 2030 National Vision and beyond.’

The British Embassy encourages British schools and organisations and British nationals living in Qatar to hold their own events to celebrate British Festival 2014, using this month as an opportunity to highlight the very best of British with the whole of Qatar. You may share your ideas with the British Embassy on their social media channels in order for the embassy to promote them.

The British Festival is sponsored by Qatar Shell and BAE Systems, and supported by many local partners such as Bhs, Debenhams, East India Company, Ezdan Mall, The Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt, Hackett, Hilton Hotel, Imperial Advertising, Intercontinental Doha – The City, Jo Malone, Molton Brown, LuLu Hypermarket Trading Group, Pizza Express, Renaissance Marriot Hotel and Spinneys, with others joining the British Embassy Qatar.

For the latest updates on the British Festival 2014, follow the British Council Qatar’s and the British Embassy Doha’s official social media channels and the hashtag #BritFestQA.