Dear Laborers, Security Guards, Stay at home moms, People in the Office; everyone. Thank you.

Over at ILQ HQ, we’re always trying to think of fun and new ways of getting our message accross to people. Yeah we can do the usual Tweet or Facebook post, but I think that people appreciate the extra effort put into creating guides, microsites, and videos.

For National Day 2013, His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani shared something with everyone. It was going to be about #onelove and making an effort to show appreciation to the expat community here in the country. After all, we’re all coming together to build the future of this nation and help achieve Qatar’s 2030 vision.

With the video, of course we couldn’t cover all segments, but we wanted to highlight the contruction worker, the security guards, the western workers and the Qataris all coming together. Together, we’re building Qatar.

I should mention that the people in the video are considered twitter and online friends, I myself have friends from all national and occupational background. The message in this video, is that we need to support each other. We need to appreciate each other.

Oh and one more thing… Thank you.

We are all White and Maroon [Guest Blog]

This is a Guest Blog by ILQer Yousef AG. You can follow him on twitter at @yousef_ag

 

Qatar Largest Flag

The 18th of December is a day of unity, pride, but above all, nationalism. This is the day national unity was achieved when Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammad Al Thani won autonomy among the many local tribes under his leadership. This is the day to recognize and celebrate Qatar’s forefathers, the heroes of hardship and endurance that worked hard to ensure the unity of their nation.
I am, without doubt, privileged to take pride in this day.And I am not alone.
This is the day that marks yet another year of progression in the realms of politics, economics and social affairs. We, as individuals who live in this country, look at the white and maroon flags that stand high above us and smile with pride. We are the heart of this country. We enrich this country’s essence with our diversity and cultural attachments. We understand this country’s stance because we are in a position to do so: we live here. This is our home. For some, home is temporary, and for others, it is permanent. But the statement still stands.
This is home.

All About Qatar National Day – A day to feel pride

Qatar is building on the number of events to celebrate National Day year on year. There are a number of huge milestones and events that have lead up to this as well. Qatar’s definitely in the spotlight thanks to mega event after event (World Cup, COP18, Arab Spring involvement, Katara expansions, etc… etc…) and Doha will continue to shine bright as long as changes keep happening.

Why are Qataris so proud? Well we haven’t had that much to be proud of for a long time. Our Emir has brought so much change and development to Qatar that it’s something to almost brag about. A typical Qatari will gladly sacrifice a lot for his country. The Emir has done so much to make our lives better, so why don’t we lift the burden off of his shoulders a bit and try to help?

So whether you’re Qatari, American, British, Indian, Philipino, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Pakistani, Chinese or any other nationality (let’s face it, Qatar is a melting pot of diversity), please celebrate National Day with us! Let happiness flow through you like a rush of energy. Think positive and have hope for a fantastic future. Think of each firework that goes off on December 18 as the sound of the country’s heartbeat. WE are Qatar.

One common question I’m asked is how is it that Qatar changed National Day’s date? It never changed. They’re thinking of Independence day, which is on the 3rd of September. Here’s some more info about National Day (from QatarNationalDay.qa):

On 18 December 1878, Sheikh Jassem bin Mohamed bin Thani succeeded his father as the ruler of Qatar. With that, Qatar became a country with a vision… a country that would find unity, grow rapidly, and reach toward ever higher heights.

National Day, also known as Founder’s Day, celebrates the rise of Sheikh Jassem as the father and founder of the State of Qatar. And yet this holiday is a mere two years old: it was founded in 2007 to give people an occasion to honour the history and identity of their country, and to commemorate those who have worked and continue to work to make Qatar a great nation.

The 18th of December is a special day – a day of unity for the people of Qatar. We want you to be a part of it!

This year, the country is making an extra effort to thank the expat community here too for all their hard work to make Qatar a better place :)

We’re working hard on www.qatarnationalday.qa again this year (5th year now?) so you can find all the events and great content for National Day.  Until then we’ve got a temporary list going, click here for Qatar National Day event list 2013

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Have an event or activity you want to make sure is listed? Drop the team an email at contact@iloveqatar.net


Why did Qatar change their National Day? (A bit of Qatar’s history and Independence)

One common question I’m asked is how is it that Qatar changed National Day’s date? It never changed. They’re thinking of Independence day, which is on the 3rd of September.

On 18 December 1878, Sheikh Jassem bin Mohamed bin Thani succeeded his father as the ruler of Qatar. With that, Qatar became a country with a vision… a country that would find unity, grow rapidly, and reach toward ever higher heights.

National Day, also known as Founder’s Day, celebrates the rise of Sheikh Jassem as the father and founder of the State of Qatar. And yet this holiday is just a few years old: it was founded in 2007 to give people an occasion to honour the history and identity of their country, and to commemorate those who have worked and continue to work to make Qatar a great nation.

The 18th of December is a special day – a day of unity for the people of Qatar.

Now let’s talk about pre-independence. Qatar was in quite a mess during the Arab revolt against the Ottomans. After the Ottoman empire collapsed, Qatar became a British protectorate on 3 November 1916. On that day, the United Kingdom, in order to bring Qatar under its Trucial System of Administration, signed a treaty with Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani. While Sheikh Abdullah agreed not to enter into any relations with any other power without prior consent of the British Government, Percy Zachariah Cox, the Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, who signed the treaty on behalf of his government, guaranteed the protection of Qatar “from all aggression by sea”.

On 5 May 1935, Sheikh Abdullah signed another treaty, which was able to obtain Britain’s agreement for the protection of Qatar from inside as well as any attacks from external forces. Oil reserves were first discovered in 1939. However, exploitation was delayed by World War II.

Now September 3rd is when Qatar officially gained its independence from the United Kingdom and became an independent sovereign state. In 1972, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani seized power in a palace coup after infighting in the ruling family.

Now you know. September 3rd and December 18 are both important dates :)

National Day is coming! Will 2013 be the year of the woman in Qatar?

Catch my monthly column in Qatar Happening magazine :) 

It’s December and everyone is either gearing up for the National Day festivities, planning for the holiday season, or excited to celebrate the new year. If you’re into fireworks and want to enjoy a time when everyone’s out in the streets with smiles from ear to ear, parades, fireworks, decorated cars (some beautiful and some that make you shudder), and more entertainment than you can handle, make sure to stick around here in Doha.

On 18 December 1878, Sheikh Jassem Bin Mohamed bin Thani succeeded his father as the ruler of Qatar. With that, Qatar became a country with a vision… a country that would find unity, grow rapidly, and reach towards extraordinary heights.  The people of Qatar have always been pushed to make their mark. Education is provided to all Qataris, the 2030 vision gives us a roadmap for our future, and role models like His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani lead by example.

I should really be focusing on the topic of National Day, but I’d like to talk about women. Oh yes. Women. Hard working. Sensitive.  Talented. Perhaps even driven by the fact they want to prove that they’re the future of Qatar.

It’s clear to me that a lot of women paid attention as Qatar grew. Thinking back to my experiences in the work place, I’ve seen women put in double the effort than many men do. They crave responsibilities, study harder, work harder, and take calculated risks. Even the best entrepreneur would envy their work ethic. Of course some would say that I’m generalizing, and I may well be, but remember that I can only talk about my experiences. Need some examples?

Well we’ve got an obvious example like Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Al Missned. An icon. Making a difference in Qatar AND the world when it comes to Education, humanitarian efforts and mixing that up with fashion trends of course. The message I take away from everything that she’s done is: life’s about leaving behind an enviable legacy of positive change.

Then there’s Aysha Al Mudhehki (and her team of course) that have done a fantastic job with Injaz. Did you know that in 5 years, they’ve reached 5,000 students by bringing together businesses, corporate volunteers, and educators to inspire young people to succeed? She then worked with Shareefa Fadhel to launch the Roudha, a women’s cener for entrepreneurship and innovation.

We also have Buthaina Al Ansari who was ranked 19th on the list of 100 most powerful Arab Women for 2012. She made a big impact for Qatarization at Al Rayan Investment AND founded Qatariat, a company that specializes in helping Qatari women advance in the workforce.

I’ve got to also mention, Maha Al Essa, who’s started her own design agency called 974 Design. An agency that, in my opinion, could compete with some of the biggest ones out there. I’d also like to add that she was my first direct report when I was on the online team at Vodafone. She went from someone with no experience, head first, into a new challenge and came out a star. I’m proud of that.

Many also know, Razan Suliman, who created Bylens Photography as a small startup that’s now turned into the biggest local stock photography company in the country.

I should also mention Ashlee Stratt from the Qatar Happening team who really has to be admired for her patience (especially when she’s following up with me on my articles; sorry!) especially since she’s an editor with a million deadlines!

I then see others like Layla Dorani (who has a fantastic start up idea by the way called RAW ME), Shabina Khatri (the female side of the masterminds behind Doha News), Shaikha Al Mudahka and her team (who are putting together the future generation of designers in Qatar with Dress to Impress), and my list goes on.  Yes not all of the people I’ve mentioned are Qataris, but they’re women. Women in Qatar. Women who are making a difference in Qatar.

I wouldn’t be able to list all of the amazing women who are making an impact (and I apologize to anyone who feels left out), but trust me when I say that I admire all your efforts. When I attended and spoke at the Women Leading Change event (organized by Rachel Petero and her team), I was awed. Oh and I promise that when I was speaking on stage, I was shivering because it was cold, not because there were so many strong women staring at me.

Did you know that the majority of top students and graduates are female?

Did you know that they’re better at multi-tasking? I pride myself on being able to focus. You know what’s better than focus? Being able to focus on everything. and STILL getting it all done.

Did you know that there is a steady rise of female managers and executives?

These ladies are stepping it up and I’m worried that many of us guys are going to be left in the dark, especially since they are that figurative light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to Qatar’s future.

Inshallah my daughters, when I have children one day, can be half the women that these amazing people are.

So what do you say ladies? Care to make my prediction come true? We’re still in 2012 and I think I’ve only just seen the beginning. 2013; The year of women in Qatar.

Thoughts?

Do YOU know Qatar’s National Anthem?

I decided to ask a question on twitter (and then included Facebook too) to both Qataris and Expats. My question to my fellow Qataris was “Do you know the full Qatar National Anthem?”. You had to know it all, 100%. The results were that around 87% of Qataris knew the full national anthem.

I then asked the expat community on iLoveQatar “Do you know what the Qatar National Anthem sounds like?”. I decided that simply humming a few bars was good enough (to make it simpler).

Out of around 150 responses, 51% of people said they did know it and 49% said they either weren’t sure or had no clue. I thought it was funny that quite a few people thought that the news jingle that’s played on QBS was the National Anthem.

So, for those people who are in Qatar, here’s the National Anthem so you’re familiar with it :)

 


Rough translation:

Swearing by God who erected the sky
Swearing by God who spread the light
Qatar will always be free Sublimed by the souls of the sinceres
Procede on the manners of the ascendants
And advance on Prophet’s guidance In my heart,

Qatar is an epic of glory and dignity
Qatar is land of the early men
Who protect us at time of distress,
Doves they can be at times of peace,
Warriors they are at times of sacrifice

A day to feel pride – National Day

Qatar is building on celebrations year on year. There are a number of huge milestones and events that have lead up to this as well. Look at the launch of the Museum of Islamic Art, The Media Expo, Qatar Media Freedom Center, the involvement in Philipines resolutions, advancement in Human Rights, the launch of other huge developments for example, winning the World Cup, and the list goes on. Qatar’s definitely in the spotlight and Doha will continue to shine bright as long as changes keep happening.

So whether you’re Qatari, American, British, Indian, Philipino, Japanese, Chinese or any other nationality, and let’s face it, Qatar is a melting pot of diversity, please celebrate National Day with us! Let happiness run through you like a rush of energy. Here’s a thought to make you smile. Think of each firework that goes off on December 18 as the sound of the country’s heartbeat.

One common question I’m asked is how is it that Qatar changed National Day’s date? It never changed. They’re thinking of Independence day, which is on the 3rd of September. Here’s some more info on National day (from QatarNationalDay.qa)

On 18 December 1878, Sheikh Jassem bin Mohamed bin Thani succeeded his father as the ruler of Qatar. With that, Qatar became a country with a vision… a country that would find unity, grow rapidly, and reach toward ever higher heights.

National Day, also known as Founder’s Day, celebrates the rise of Sheikh Jassem as the father and founder of the State of Qatar. And yet this holiday is a mere two years old: it was founded in 2007 to give people an occasion to honour the history and identity of their country, and to commemorate those who have worked and continue to work to make Qatar a great nation.

The 18th of December is a special day – a day of unity for the people of Qatar. We want you to be a part of it!


A special Qatar National Day site for 2011 and new Qatari talent!

For the past three years (well this is the third year) we’ve put together a very special National Day event site. It started in the end of 2008 (when we officially started working on iLoveQatar) and then we got the support from Vodafone to turn the experience into something prettier. I didn’t want to simply give people an events listing page and figured that with all the traffic going to the site (last year we had around 20,000 unique visitors in around 10 days) we should be doing something helpful!

So we started promoting Qatari talent. In 2009 we promoted Rayana, an amazingly talented singer. A small girl with a big voice. In 2010 we promoted Moh’d Kamal, Qatar’s first Qatari stand up comedian. This year we’re promoting a bunch of Qatari cartoonists, each with their own style! So far we’ve got @fatoomworld @wse7en @iba7r and @mana_qtr . Many of them contribute to www.qartoon.org

So if you’re looking for some quick info on what National Day is all about, a great events guide, and want to check out some great Qatari talent, then check out www.qatarnationalday.qa (yep we’ll be using that domain from now on so bookmark it!). Oh and guess what? You’ve got a chance to also win 10,000 QR from Vodafone! Head on over to the National Day and click on the competition tab to find out more :)

See also:

A day to be proud of

Qatar National Day 2010 is coming!

Planning on opening an account with QNB? Read my story.

First of all let me say that there are people in QNB that I adore. I think that they are amazing people, but I only wish that the whole organization acted the way that they do. There’s no way I’m keeping this bottled in. Qatar National Bank is a STUPID bank. Now I’ve ALREADY got an account with them, but every time I wanted to check if transfers were made, I had to drive to a branch, wait in a que, then ask for a print out. Why? Because they don’t give you internet banking by default, you have to apply for it, and at the time of joining them they didn’t TELL me that I had to apply for it.

So I finally decided that I was going to get online banking. I stepped into a bank and asked for the service. The man behind the counter told me that I could just register online at home. “Are you sure?”, I asked. “Yes of course”, he replied. So I went home and tried to register. [Please enter your atm number]. I don’t have an ATM card for my companies account… So I finally decide to go back to the bank again and explain the lovely situation I was in. The fun begins. Read the rest of this entry »

Pictures and Videos from National Day 2010

This was already on the front page of iLoveQatar.net but I just wanted to share this awesome video of fireworks going over the skyline. This is probably the BEST video I’ve seen on ND.

More pictures here http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?5,26010

Even MORE pictures on the ILQ Flickr group http://www.flickr.com/groups/926592@N20/

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.