Social Responsibility of the British Embassy
The British Embassy in Doha actively promotes the principles of social responsibility through its work to strengthen ties with local communities and build solid links between UK and Qatar across a range of areas.
A key focus for the Embassy is developing economic and trade ties between our two countries. Our role is both to help UK companies develop business opportunities in Qatar and to encourage Qatari investments in UK, which has become a leading destination for global direct inward investment. The opening of the new British Chamber of Commerce illustrates the importance the British Government attaches to its trading relationship with Qatar.
While the Embassy is responsible for representing British government interests and promoting wider regional policies another important part of our role includes supporting initiatives that can have a direct impact on local society. That is why the British Embassy continues to make valued contributions to environmental, educational and sporting initiatives in Qatar.
As an example of our efforts to strengthen links we were delighted with the tremendous success of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, a celebration of the strong ties and ongoing cultural exchange between Qatar and the United Kingdom. It engaged over 175,000 people through a programme of 80 events that included individual artistic exchange and business engagement during numerous events, exhibitions and film screenings in both countries to promote culture and the arts.
The British Festival
In 2014 we followed-up the Year of Culture with the launch of the British Festival in Qatar. A platform for nurturing existing partnerships and forging new ones – in art, education, commerce and science.
The 2014 British Festival involved participation of some of Doha’s worldleading British shops and brands and major shopping malls, with in-store events and promotions. There were trade missions by British companies to Qatar, led by two leading British trade associations – British Water and the International Visual Communications Association.
Other highlights of the festivalincluded ‘Study in the UK Exhibition’, where students interested in studying in the UK had 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, who was accompanied by Austrian drummer Bernhard Schimpelsberger, English singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan, and well-known Qatari artists.
We also partnered with Sasol on its ‘Definitely Able’ initiative to host the British Paraorchestra – the world’s first professional ensemble of disabled musicians – for its first ever performance in Qatar during a joint concert with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra called, ‘Souls in Harmony’. It was an honour to be part of such a special event.
Given the success of the British festival last year I’m very pleased to announce that the 2015 British Festival will return for a month long series of events during March.
Similar to last year’s British festival the events include store promotions, inward trade missions, film, music and theatre evenings, a visual arts exhibition, sports and school events, educational and science research workshops and much more.
Looking ahead, an important focus for the Embassy will be Qatar‘s hosting of the 2022 World Cup. I visited the Brazil 2014 Fan Zone at Katara during last year’s World Cup 2014 and was impressed by the facilities and the advanced cooling technology. As the World Cup nears, the United Kingdom is working in partnership with Qatar to deliver a successful World Cup in 2022, which I’m sure will be a wonderful spectacle showcasing Qatar to a global Audie.