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Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts & Heritage on the importance of cultural awareness
How would you describe the level of international awareness of culture and arts in Qatar? How can awareness be raised going forward?
AL KUWARI: I think what has been achieved during the last 10 years in Qatar, is a big change in the culture. I believe that 2010 was a turning point in the cultural life in Qatar and the awareness and importance of the culture of Qatar has changed a lot. Now with the interaction of Qatari culture and the other cultures, it creates a kind of awareness, not for the role of culture and internally, but also at the international level.
We realized that the government cannot concentrate only on the material side. We also have to give attention to the identity and authenticity of our country and that's why the culture in our development is very, very important. The Qatari culture now, it has very good potential to flourish because we have this infrastructure and we have this awareness from our people, and we are sure that culture is going to play the role that we think is very important for our country.
Why is the 2014 Qatar Brazil Year of Culture important?
AL KUWARI: This initiative is a 100% Qatari initiative. When we thought about it, we were convinced that culture could play a very important role between the nations, and it could be a very good base for good relations in all its aspects. That was proved during the last two years with Japan and with the UK, and now with Brazil. Brazil is a very important country with a very rich culture. Brazil is a very important country, culturally, economically, politically, geographically, and there is also a big Arabic community there. We want them to know our culture and to exchange cultural events with them. We are sure that this year is going to be a very important year, because we have cumulative knowledge and cumulative experience from before, from the two years that we had before, and that is what will make this year, a very important year.
Where do you see opportunities for collaboration and partnership with other institutions and/or organizations, both regionally and internationally?
AL KUWARI: I think the international organizations are very important in enhancing the relations between cultures in the world, especially UNESCO. UNESCO is one of the most important organizations that coordinates and also helps countries to take advantage of the potential that they have. We in Qatar are in very good relations with UNESCO and it's going to be enhanced in the near future.
Are there any ongoing or planned initiatives among GCC states to jointly promote the shared culture and heritage of the region?
AL KUWARI: The tangible heritage is very important and we have to preserve it. We cannot preserve it but to work together at the national level, at the regional level, and at the international level. And we have some joint initiatives with the Gulf countries to preserve this tangible heritage, and we work together with UNESCO and with the other organizations of the United Nations.
What efforts have you made to make art and culture a bigger part of young Qatari’s everyday lives?
AL KUWARI: I assure you that the awareness of this has become very rooted in this society and this is a very important result of the work that has been done in the last 10 years. That's why I think we work together in the private sector and in the government to enhance the role of the culture in the society, in the youth, and in the other people in the society.
Over the last few years, Qatar has established itself as a serious force in the cultural and art worlds. Where does the country go from here?
AL KUWARI: We are very ambitious and I think you cannot start something and stop in the middle. You have to go to the end of the road or to achieve your targets, and if you finish one target you start another target. I think we will continue working together to enhance the culture of our society, and also for the interaction between our culture and the other cultures in the world.