Qatar Foundation Thrives Sustainability Of Qatari Folklore
QF’s leadership in the field of sustainability and role in preserving and promoting Qatari folklore are reflected in its cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, through an agreement with its Nomas Center that has been in place since 2015. The center works to educate and train QF school students on activities related to heritage and authentic customs, through interactive lessons and activities.
Our partnership with Nomas Center is one way of instilling Qatari culture and identity in the hearts of the new generation
All of this demonstrates how sustainability is at the heart of Qatari folklore, just as it is at the heart of Qatar Foundation (QF), where sustainability and what it enables is a priority across its projects, initiatives, and mission. Heritage is a constant pillar in a world that is advancing at a tremendous speed, and that does not have the time and perhaps the will to preserve cultural idiosyncrasies as it becomes more interconnected, faster, and continues to be affected by the spread of COVID-19.
Al-Madoud is a popular Qatari game for girls aged 6-12 years old, encouraging them to create dolls that resemble themselves through their clothes, hair color, eyes, and features. What distinguishes these dolls is not their similarity with those who made them, but the materials they are made of - using remnants of fabrics and wood – and the way they imitates the details of their makers’ daily lives.
Al-Tilwah, Al-Makhla, Al-Burqa, and Al-Dass are terms that refer to falconry, which is part of Qatari cultural heritage. Falcon hunting has been preserved by the nation, which has been dedicated to the principle of sustainable hunting for nearly a decade.
“Our partnership with Nomas Center is one way of instilling Qatari culture and identity in the hearts of the new generation through events and activities carried out by the Center, such as the popular games at Oxygen Park [in QF’s Education City], which witnessed a huge turnout of visitors in the pre-pandemic period,” says Hend Al-Mousawi, Head of Arts, Culture and Heritage Programming at QF.
Parents stressed the need to continue providing such events that enhance identity, patriotism, and a sense of belonging to their children
“Parents stressed the need to continue providing such events that enhance identity, patriotism, and a sense of belonging to their children virtually during the circumstances that the world is going through.
“We have presented workshops and virtual activities that have achieved this, although these types of virtual activities are considered a new experience in the community. These workshops have aimed to strengthen the social customs that characterize the Qatari identity, whether in majlis etiquette or the etiquette of dialogue - listening, speaking, and asking permission - in addition to the etiquette of acquaintance and respect, and how to deal with others.
“Teaching our male and female students these aspects of social and life etiquette that characterize the Qatari identity is very important. It is important that they provide an example for young people to follow, and create an honorable image of Qatar and its people.”
In order to achieve the goal of this partnership, QF’s Community Development team is collaborating with its Pre-University Education (PUE) team as well. Al-Mousawi said: "We cooperate by providing cultural activities and programs in schools, together with other entities and institutions, with the aim of strengthening national identity and instilling principles and heritage values among the children of the new generation. And the students of QF look forward to these types of activities with passion.
This opens the way for dialogue among different generations, especially the value of kinship ties that we seek to establish in the educational curricula inside and outside the classroom
"One of the most important goals of this cooperation with QF’s PUE team is making our folklore sustainable, through consolidating national identity, activating interest in it, and engaging students in ancient heritage customs. We look forward to more cooperation and partnerships with the Ministry of Culture and Sports in order to continue cultural human development and connecting Qatar’s new generation even more to the Qatari cultural heritage.”
More than 500 students participated in the Nomas Center’s activities when they were held in physical form at Oxygen Park and Tariq Bin Ziad School, one of the schools under PUE. With the easing of health precautions, and outdoor activities now able to take place within set guidelines, the Center is now organizing community activities for women at Oxygen Park.
Salwa Al Kuwari, General Supervisor of Activities at the Nomas Center, says: “Our mission is to introduce its students and affiliates to the authentic Qatari customs and traditions, our ancient heritage, instilling the Qatari identity in them, and promoting the spirit of belonging and love of the homeland along with good morals and values.
"We have found through our previous experiences that male and female students who participate in our activities and workshops are able to get to know the customs and traditions in a deeper way. This opens the way for dialogue among different generations, in a way that promotes the religious and societal values from which we derive our goals, especially the value of kinship ties that we seek to establish in the educational curricula inside and outside the classroom.
"Educating our children about customs and traditions through workshops and instilling values is an extension through which we seek to spread how to apply them, as students teach their peers, especially at an early stage, in terms of the strength of memory and the desire to learn at a high level."
Haya Al Kuwari, a certified trainer at Nomas Center, says: “The joint cooperation between us and QF is a fruitful addition to the Ministry of Culture and Sports, as QF is considered one of the most advanced and successful educational institutions in Qatar for Qatari students.
“We take advantage of this to present workshops, in order to instill Qatari customs and traditions at a time when the commitment to heritage customs has begun to decline for several reasons, including globalization, and the focus of some parents on teaching their children foreign languages without paying attention to the importance of our mother tongue, which is the Arabic language. The lack of communication between generations is the reason for the decline in knowledge among children and young people of their cultural and heritage background and the values borne by many customs and traditions that are associated with words and deeds."
“We have seen a great response from QF’s students to our activities, with their eagerness and passion to learn about authentic Qatari customs and traditions. We are evaluating the outcomes of these workshops and their impact on students, and monitoring students’ interests and what they look forward to, the way they respond, the nature of their questions, and the extent to which they are attracted to what they have learned, in order to maintain these customs.”
The Nomas Center has equipped 40 students from QF as ambassadors of Qatari culture, with the aim of sustaining Qatari folklore, and spreading authentic Qatari culture and traditions to others.