Under the patronage of HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Qatar, Qatar’s first National Identity Seminar kicked off today at Al Sharq Village with scores of attendees from Qatar and beyond.

Organised by the Qatar Heritage and Identity Centre (QHIC) and sponsored by Vodafone, the seminar will take place on 20 and 21 October 2014 from 9 am to 11 am and will see a prestigious line up of speakers discussing factors impacting Qatar’s national identity in an ever-globalised world in addition to major topics pertaining to the significance of conserving a country’s national identity.

At his keynote speech, Khalid Youssuf Al Mulla, Executive Director of QHIC, said:

Addressing national identity is our call to preserve a valuable asset, and an invitation to build a communication bridge between the Qatari culture and other cultures. We aim at applying a modern lifestyle without losing the shape and form of our identity and values. This two-day seminar will feature a number of Ministers, thought-leaders, and academics who will shed the light on the importance of national identity and recommendations of the seminar to preserve national identity will be publicly shared in due course. We would also like to thank Vodafone Qatar for their continued and invaluable support of this initiative and for being a very strategic partner.’

The seminar will tackle subjects such as the Qatari identity as a priority within the Qatar National Vision 2030; family and identity; demographical effect on identity and the role of population dynamics; and the media’s take on identity. In addition, the seminar will showcase successful case studies of the preservation of national identity from Japan and Oman.

Discussing national identity in light of Qatar National Vision 2030, during the first session of the seminar, HE Dr Saleh Mohammed Al Nabit, Qatar’s Minister of Development Planning and Statistics, said:

In Qatar, we aim at turning our culture into a platform to reinforce identity, citizenship and national pride, and we seek to preserve our cultural heritage, which starts at the core of the Qatari family. The family lies at the heart of the Qatari community, and one of the main goals of our National Development Plan 2011-2016 is to enable Qatari families financially, as a way to hold family ties, and hence reinforce our commitment to our identity and values.’

Giving the second keynote speech, Mohammed Al Yami, Director of External Affairs at Vodafone Qatar, said:

Our exclusive sponsorship of Qatar’s first National Identity Seminar originates in our deep realisation of the importance of the Qatari identity and the necessity that we preserve it lest it should dissolve into the multitude of other identities in the age of globalisation with the world turning into a small village. Believing in the vision of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, picturing Qatar among the world’s most developed countries by 2030, Vodafone Qatar did not hesitate for a moment to partner with Qatar Heritage and Identity Center, aspiring to introduce Qatari identity and heritage not only to Qatari younger generations who have not lived the past, but also to all residents and newcomers, and show them how proud we are of our identity which we consider the natural outset for our bright present and future alike.’

Dr Maysara Taher, Manager of Beit Al Mashoora Psychological Consultancy, spoke about family and identity and said:

The main components of identity are religion, language, and history. We strongly appreciate the efforts of the QHIC to tackle and examine the histories of other nations, as they aim to shed the light on the importance of history and its influence on identity. Understanding our history enables us to realize the philosophy behind it, where we can learn lessons that family was and still is the core of preserving identity among nations.’

Dr Kaltham Al Ghanem, Manager of the Human and Social Sciences Centre, spoke about the impact of demographics on national identity and said:

Population dynamics and demographics have a strong impact on identity. One of our goals is to reinforce identity and citizenship through strengthening cultural identity, and encouraging community engagement, especially when it comes to our younger generations.’

The seminar will continue on Tuesday 21 October 2014, and will see former Kuwaiti Minister of Information, HE Dr Saad Bin Tefla, opening the second day with a speech on the effect of traditional and modern media on identity, followed by speeches from Dr Fatima Al Suweidy, Deputy Chief of Arabic Language Department at Qatar University, on the identity and the Arabic language and Mr. Mohammed Ali Abdullah, Expert on Cultural Architecture, on identity through architecture in Qatar.