The cultural sector in Qatar is characterized by the growing attention of the local Authorities, which, in last years, led to the creation of multiple venues dedicated to culture (among those museums, libraries, multifunctional hubs, and theaters) and the organization of several events and exhibitions of various kinds (e.g., in the areas of fashion and design, film and art).
Apart from the Ministry of Culture, several other bodies are charged with the promotion and implementation of Qatar’s cultural policies, among which are Qatar Museums, Qatar Foundation, Msheireb Properties, and Katara Cultural Village Foundation.
Relations between Italy and Qatar in culture rely on the activities of Italian creative industries in Doha (especially in the fashion and architecture/design sectors) and the presence of numerous Italian experts and professionals in some of the most prestigious local institutions, such as museums and foundations. Several cultural events promoted by locals and promotional activities carried out by the Embassy over the years have made Italian culture one of the most dynamic and present in the local context.
On January 28th, 2016, the first “Executive Program for Cultural Cooperation between the government of the Italian Republic and the government of the State of Qatar”, valid for the years 2016- 2018, was signed in Rome. The Program foresees cooperation actions in the field of visual arts, music, theater, publishing, cultural heritage protection, media, and sports.
Since the awarding of the FIFA World Cup 2022 to Qatar in 2010, the Qatari government’s attention has focused massively on the tournament. In this process, Italy has played a key role thanks to its contribution to security offered by the Italian Armed Forces engaged in Operation “Oryx” and to the many Italian companies involved, engaged in areas ranging from infrastructures to events, from hospitality to sports technology equipment.
Building on the success of the FIFA World Cup, Qatar is progressively becoming a global hub for major sports tournaments in a wide range of disciplines, such as tennis, padel, kite surf, motorcycle, car races and weightlifting. Among the events planned for the next years, there is the 2024 AFC Asian Cup to kick off in early 2024. Qatar is also in the bidding process to host the 2036 Summer Olympic Games.
There have been major investments for policies in the field of sports in recent years, both from an infrastructural point of view (with the construction of stadiums, sports centers, and racetracks) and from that of sports training and education. The latter was implemented specifically through the Aspire Zone Foundation, which is active since 2003 and is a government agency charged of training the athletes of the Qatar national team among other things.
Italy has largely contributed to these projects, through companies that participated in the contracts for the infrastructure works as well as through its professionals in the field, who hold prestigious positions in some of Aspire’s flagship disciplines (soccer, shooting, fencing). On some occasions, this has led to structured cooperation between sports federations, as happened in football (with the Italian Supercoppa held in Doha in 2014 and 2016) or between the Italian Fencing Federation and the Qatar Fencing Federation.