Qatar Foundation 2022: THE YEAR IN REVIEW


Our Heritage. Our Identity. Our Nation

With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ bringing football’s greatest tournament to the Middle East and the Arab world for the first time, an unparalleled opportunity was created to showcase Arab culture, traditions, and heritage to a global audience.

Throughout the four weeks of the World Cup, supporters from around the world were immersed in the beauty, vibrancy, and richness of Arab cultural heritage and the Arabic language – and Qatar Foundation (QF) was at the forefront of introducing them to a world many of them had never before experienced.

Its events and programs promoted and celebrated the essence of the Arab world – and, with the flag of Palestine being prominent as a symbol of Arab solidarity throughout the tournament, QF amplified the stories and the voices of Palestinians.

As the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ moved toward its dramatic conclusion, QF opened the eyes of the world to the cultural heritage and values of Qatar and the Arab world.


A Creative Adventure

“An outlet for connectedness and self-expression, bringing together many artists and talents of various abilities under one roof, while highlighting Arab culture, language, and heritage.”

That was how QF’s D’reesha Performing Arts Festival was introduced to an audience of local, regional, and international visitors as it began its seven-day span at Education City during the closing stages of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Under the theme of ‘Travel and Adventure’, and inspired by the explorer Ibn Battuta, the second edition of D’reesha unveiled unique performances – from storytelling, music, and poetry to visual arts and theater - educational workshops, and fun family activities, welcoming performers from nations such as Morocco, Senegal, Turkey, and Greece alongside artists from Qatar.

And a new addition for 2022 was D’reesha of Invention, sponsored by ConocoPhillips Qatar – one of the festival’s principal partners alongside the Social & Sport Contribution Fund – and showcasing scientists, scholars, and researchers from the Arab world, paying tribute to the proud Arab scientific tradition that continues today.

The D’reesha Performing Arts Festival is a space for cultural communication between people…allowing visitors to Qatar from different cultural backgrounds to explore Qatari heritage and culture.

Dr. Ghanem Bin Mubarak Al-Ali
Cultural Advisor at the Ministry of Culture

More than 15,000 people attended the second edition of the D’reesha Performing Arts Festival


Entering a Journey

Thousands of visitors were welcomed to D’reesha, which began with a Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra concert taking audiences on a cultural journey through Qatar’s past, present, and future, and regional actors joining students from QF schools in reliving the adventures of Ibn Battuta.

The festival showcased Qatar’s creative talent through Doha Film Institute’s (DFI) Ajyal Tunes; opened up cultural activities at Al Khater House, one of Education City’s heritage sites; presented Rumi: The Musical, inspired by the great Arab philosopher Jalal Al Din Rumi’s poetry; and saw some of the Arab world’s most famous poets share their work focusing on important regional issues.

At D’reesha of Invention, young people explored the world of science, including learning about Qatar’s history through a virtual reality simulation set on top of a flying carpet, while an art and music zone allowed visitors to try different musical instruments, painting, sculpture, and acting.

With its strategic partners being the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Social Development and Family, DFI, Torba Farmers Market, WOQOD, and Dukhan Bank, D’reesha educated a global audience about the culture and traditions of Qatar and the Arab world while, as one local visitor put it, “bringing us even closer to our identity”.

ConocoPhillips Qatar supports and motivates young people, encouraging them to unleash their creative talents.

Hamda Al-Kuwari
Events and Design Specialist, ConocoPhillips Qatar, and QF alumna

Preserving the Past for the Future

A historic house within Education City served as one of the venues for D’reesha – the first step in plans to preserve it as a space for cultural exchange for future generations.

QF is restoring Al Khater House as a location for sustainable, inclusive cultural heritage activities for people of all ages, while retaining its authenticity and its historical value, a reflection of the organization’s commitment to preserving Qatari culture, heritage, and identity.

Ahead of D’reesha beginning, an event saw members of the Al Khater family join representatives from QF’s Qur’anic Botanic Garden in planting a variety of Qatari plants at Al Khater House to symbolize its revival. As plans for its restoration move forward, Qatar National Library will document the oral history of the house and those who lived there.

Al Khater House is one of several heritage sites within Education City, all of which QF is making similar plans to preserve for future use and social benefit.

I feel very happy when I see the efforts of Qatar Foundation in preserving this house and its heritage – over the years, it has become a reflection of Qatari history.

Rashid Al Khater
a member of the Al Khater family

Flying the Flag

Stepping onto the same turf as football’s superstars in front of a packed stadium is a childhood dream for many – and Qatar’s youth had the chance to live it at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 thanks to QF and Wanda Group, the Chinese conglomerate and FIFA Partner.

Through an ongoing partnership between the two organizations, young participants in QF’s CommuniSport programs had the chance to be Wanda FIFA Flag Bearers during the tournament – carrying the FIFA flag onto the pitch before matches kicked off.

Wanda FIFA Flag Bearers were also chosen from Qatar schools who submitted their poems to the D’reesha Arabic Poetry Competition – launched by QF with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in the run-up to the 2022 edition of QF’s D’reesha Performing Arts Festival – and participants in QF and Generation Amazing’s Women’s Football Initiative, as well as Freestyle Football workshops at QF schools.

And 24 young people from QF’s sport and community programs who acted as matchday ball crew during October’s Street Child World Cup at Education City were specially chosen as Flag Bearers at a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match, as a reward for their volunteering efforts.

267 QF youth – 35 per cent of whom were Qatari - participated in the Wanda FIFA Flag Bearer program

The Wanda/QF partnership provided opportunities for young people to:

  • Be Flag Bearers
  • Join pre-game tunnel activations and meet players
  • Meet teams at training sessions

It was an honor because I knew for the rest of my life that I was part of one of the biggest events in the country.

Abdulla Mohammed Al-Sulaiti
Qatar Academy Doha student and Wanda FIFA Flag Bearer

A Warm Welcome

When the time came for football fans to head to Education City Stadium for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, among the smiling faces they saw on the way through Education City were QF students – ready to both welcome them, and educate them.

The QF Education Volunteers – comprising students from QF’s schools and universities – became a familiar sight for supporters during the tournament, as they introduced visitors from around the world to aspects of Arab culture, gave them useful information and guided them towards activities to enjoy, and also enlightened them about QF’s and Qatar’s efforts in the sphere of sustainability.

Together, they played a key role in providing a warm and memorable experience for the world’s football fans, while developing their personal skillsets, acting as ambassadors for Qatar – and enjoying a unique, once-in-a-lifetime educational experience.

More than 4,000 QF students were engaged in QF’s World Cup activities


Designed for Impact

World Cup vibes reverberated around QF’s partner universities – including Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), where fashion design students creating sports-inspired clothing reflecting the culture of Qatar and the region were paid a visit by football icon David Beckham, who also explored QF’s artworks and accessibility initiatives.

Seven of the students’ designs were selected to be made into prototypes and showcased before and after the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as part of a wider initiative to design and develop apparel that encourages more women and girls in the region to embrace sports and physical activity.

As the world’s media descended on Doha, Northwestern University in Qatar’s students and alumni gained career experience and insights, interning with organizations such as Fox Sports and CNN while supporting Al Kass Sports Channel’s coverage and Qatar’s public safety communications strategy.

And students, staff, and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar lent their time and talents to help make the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 a success, working as volunteers in fields ranging from logistics to fan experience, and contributing to the health and safety operation within the tournament’s stadiums.

Using their own personal creative vision, each student has transformed traditional clothing into a unique expression of celebration and movement for a World Cup hosted by Qatar.

Christopher Fink
Fashion Design Department Chair, VCUarts Qatar

Qatar Welcomes Palestine

In stadiums, on the streets, and on TV screens around the world, the Palestinian flag was proudly flown throughout the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, turning the spotlight on the struggle, resistance, and pride of the people of Palestine.

This spotlight shone even brighter as QF hosted a series of events showcasing Palestinian culture and voices during the tournament, including a talk by activist Muna El Kurd during QF’s GOALS exhibition, where she emphasized the importance of storytelling and “spoken heritage” in driving positive change and defending Palestinian rights.

At the D’reesha Performing Arts Festival, Palestinian singer Dalal Abu Amneh entertained crowds with songs that connected Palestinians around the world with their homeland, and teenage Palestinian rapper MC Abdul travelled outside of Gaza for the first time to perform music that reflects the situation in his home city.

And supporters of the Palestinian cause joined students from Qatar for a discussion hosted by QF’s Doha Debates which explored the future of a collective Palestinian identity – and how a national identity can be preserved and nurtured without a nation.

The important thing is that we continue talking about Palestine as Arab people, whether digitally or on the ground.

Muna El Kurd
Palestinian activist, speaking at QF

Strengthening Resilience

Away from the world of football, the world of research kept turning at QF, with Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s College of Science and Engineering receiving a grant to spearhead critical research contributing to the development of a national risk management plan for Qatar – and increasing the nation’s resilience and preparedness in the event of disasters and emergencies.

The college also collaborated with researchers from Pakistan and Hong Kong on a study that opens up the potential to advance personalized treatment, enabled by Artificial Intelligence, for lung cancer patients.

Meanwhile, QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar collaborated with Hamad Medical Corporation to identify biomarkers that can predict the survival prospects of critically ill COVID-19 patients with lung dysfunction; and made new discoveries about how resistance to insulin, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes, is triggered.

And fellow partner university Northwestern University in Qatar connected research and football, examining the links between policy and sports media piracy, media coverage of Qatar as a World Cup host, and the country’s use of Virtual Reality to promote the tournament.

This project is extremely significant toward creating a resilient emergency preparedness structure and corresponding policies for Qatar.

Dr. Mounir Hamdi
Founding Dean, College of Science and Engineering, Hamad Bin Khalifa University

A QAR16.1 million research grant by QF’s Qatar National Research Fund is funding the national risk management plan research


A Symbol of Solidarity

What started on a plane from Zurich to Doha in 2010 became a nationwide mission – led by QF - to create a symbol that would be shown to the world at the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

In the weeks before the tournament, hundreds of people from homes, schools, and hospitals across Qatar stitched their individual pieces of cloth, inscribed with personal messages, into a Qatari flag that was displayed on the Al Bayt Stadium pitch on that historic day of 20 November 2022.

At its center was the handmade flag of Qatar hastily woven together, using Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser’s maroon scarf and a white tablecloth, as the Qatari delegation flew home following the awarding of the FIFA World Cup to Qatar 12 years before.

Created at a time of history for Qatar and the Arab world, it went on to inspire something that represents Qatar, and what it stands for – a flag that speaks of pride, solidarity, and how a nation came together to celebrate a milestone chapter in its story.

More than 600 people stitched pieces of cloth into the flag displayed at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ opening ceremony