Cultural Voice eZine

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Katara - A Model Cultural Village

It was while wondering through "Katara", Qatar's cultural city that I happened upon a concert of the Qatar Philharmonic Opera. Their music filled the air, slightly chilled by the winds from the sea just beyond the amphitheatre. I decided to indulge in the sweetness of the musical vibrations from the Orchestra consisting 101 musicians who complemented the soloists Angela Gheorghiou and Roberto Alagna.

 The Qatar Philharmonic Opera was commissioned by H.H. Sheika Mozah:

“The mission of the Qatar Philharmonic Opera is to enhance community and culture within Qatar and throughout the region, bringing a message of peace to the world via the union of Arabic and Western Music.”

“We will lead the way for children and adults to appreciate classic music and inspire those throughout the music field including composers, conductors and soloists. We share the Qatar foundation’s principle belief that a nation’s greatest resource is the potential of its people.”

In rethinking development paradigms many countries have turned to culture as a driving force for economic development.

The "Katara" Village Project reresents a US$82million investment by the Qatari's into Arts and Culture. Katara was born out of a vision of Emir H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa to position the State of Qatar as an international cultural lighthouse radiating in the Middle East through Theater, Literature, Art, Music, Conventions and Exhibitions.
The policy makers in Qatar have embraced cultural industries, and have developed this showpiece cultural village “Katara”. Katara includes an amphitheatre, heritage centres, libraries, art galleries, academic facilities, retail outlets, museum facilities and market areas and represents an area totalling 99 hectares.

An Educational Aspect is Included in the Vision

Picture from

Picture from Qatar Philharmonic's Website

Monday, 19 December 2011

Culture Under Construction: DOHA

In Doha, Qatar, one of the most constant things these days is a changing cityscape. It is rumored that 1 in 6 supercranes in the world are currently in Doha!

As the city expands, there is chalky dust, roads lined with construction workers, construction matterials and off limit zones marked by advertisments in beautiful arabic and english everywhere. With plans for a super renovated airport to be completed within he next two years; and plans to create a man-made island; also for the development of the North Beach, which is to include 10 resort hotels, golf courses, 3000 villas, 300,000 sq meters of retail shopping, 6,000,000 sq meters of commercial sace and 12,000 apartments, there is no stopping the transformation that is happening in this city centre.

But as the cityscape changes what of the cultural landscape, in a country where less that 20% of those resident are Qatari Citizens. The building boom started in the 1960s and attention is paid to integrate islamic art into the constructions in an effort at cultural preservation. Still even with these efforts, what truly signifies Qatari Culture? Is this culture now being created to fit the new cityscape?

Quick Facts Qatar
  •  A small peninsula on the western shore of the Arabian Gulf
  • Male foreign workers come without their families and there is an imbalance of males and females
  • Foreign workers generally cannot obtain citizenship abd reside in country on temporary visas
  • Foreigners are permitted to practice their religion publicly
  • Qataris are internally stratified according to factors such as tribal affiliation, religious sect and historical links to settlement patterns.
  • Ruled by an Emir
  • (quick facts from

Pro - Diversity

Friday, 16 December 2011

An Armenian's Dream for Peace!

PEACE, I strongly believe you WILL COME!!!

Contributed By: Arevik Hayrapetyan

Having been living for 18 years in a forgotten conflict zone, I have always had a dream. A dream to contribute somehow to the peace building process in the South-Caucasus region, which will be a place for mutual understanding and respect, love and tolerance, cooperation and prosperity for all, where young people will look at the map to plan their traveling, where youth synergy projects will bloom and people will enjoy their lives. Now that I am an adult I go back to 1990s and recall the sweet and pure memories of my childhood. Meanwhile I remember people whose eyes were full of pain, fear and sorrow. That time I was a child for whom it was inexplicable why people had to suffer, why instead of smile they had unhappiness on their faces. That time I was not able to understand the meaning of very frequently used words, like “war” or “violence” . I was only able to realize that the outcomes of these words made people suffer, children –become orphans. Years passed, I grew up and got to know the history of my country and become more and more proud of it. I also got acquainted with the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. A conflict which made many people from both conflict sides suffer, and their lives distorted.

And now, as a 18 year old Armenian girl, I want to say how much I long for peace, peace and again peace. Just imagine, how many good things can be done, how many innocent lives can be saved if we just put an end to the meaningless stereotypes and prejudices, and start the dialogue( a real dialogue, not a formal one). Dialogue which will break the ice and will bring people of Armenian and Azerbaijani societies close to each other. Yes, each of these two societies has its own way of interpreting the historical facts, each has its point of view and its demands. But this should not be an obstacle for us, for young people to start the dialogue, try to find all possible ways that will bring peace to our region. For me, as an Armenian very much concerned about this topic, it would be a great opportunity to discuss these issues with my counterparts from Azerbaijan, share my thoughts with them and listen to their ideas, as I believe that young people , who are open –minded, tolerant and initiative, can stand out of all kind of stereotypes and change things for the better first in their communities, afterwards in their regions and then in the entire world. I strongly believe that today’s young people should seize every single opportunity to create much better conditions for the next generations to come and live in love, peace and harmony.

First Published on

Quick Facts - Armania

  • Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe
  • Bordered By Turkey, Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Azerbaijan and Iran.
  • Currency: Dram
  • Yerevan's Vernisage (arts and crafts market), close to Republic Square, bustles with hundreds of vendors selling a variety of crafts on weekends and Wednesdays (though the selection is much reduced mid-week). The market offers woodcarving, antiques, fine lace, and the hand-knotted wool carpets and kilims that are a Caucasus specialty