THE Cultural Village Foundation (Katara) hosted more than 300 local and international cultural events and activities in different languages targeting different audiences this year. The events aimed at facilitating cultural dialogues between countries and preserving Qatar's cultural heritage on the one hand and embracing modernity and novelty on the other.
Katara also launched its new website in Arabic and English as well as a smart phone application in a new initiative to monitor the accelerating cultural, creative and artistic activity in Katara and shed the light on its different events that take place throughout the day.
The year of 2016 was particularly special for Katara as it got the ISO 27001 certificate that enhances Katara's status as one of the most prominent Qatari, regional and international cultural institutions that strives for excellence by following the principle of constant development to its services.
While Katara Art Studios, origami family workshop and Arabic calligraphy workshops reflect the diversity of its programmes, this year also saw the launch of the 'Katara Murals with the Brushes of Artists' project, in which more than 50 artists from Qatar and 18 other nationalities participated.
Throughout the year, Katara interacted with a significant segment of children through the 'Schools enrich our culture' initiative, which comprises educational and interactive tours for schoolchildren around Katara to instil curiosity in them for their history and cultural traditions.
Katara also organised several domestic, Arab and international festivals such as the Winter Festival and the Cultural Diversity Festival, which took place in cooperation with the UNESCO Office in Doha and with the participation of over 20 countries from all over the world.
Other major festivals that Katara organised include Marmi Festival, Halal Qatar Festival, Katara Ramadan Festival, which took place under the theme 'Human Creation in the Holy Quran', Katara European Jazz Festival, and Traditional Dhow Festival.
2016 also featured different art exhibition such as an exhibition of tapestry designs by Mexican artist Paloma Torres, the 'Burst of colours' exhibition by Aisha al Kaabi, 'Record' exhibition by Ali al Kuwari, a photo gallery by Italian photographer Carlo Rocchi Bilancini, the 'Seeing through my Paint Brush' exhibition, Katara Classical Car Festival, 'Peace to Aleppo' exhibition, and other domestic, regional and international exhibitions.
Besides, the Cultural Village Foundation signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Qatari Lawyers Association as part of Katara's role in community service and spreading legal culture. It also signed a memorandum of understanding with Stenden University Qatar to enhance mutual cooperation for cultural development.
In addition, Katara signed a cultural exchange agreement with Kuwait's Arab Media Forum with the aim of promoting ties and developing means of cooperation in the cultural field, knowledge exchange, as well as social, scientific and media activities.
Katara also signed an agreement with Kuwait's National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters to enhance ties and develop means of cultural cooperation, the exchange of expertise and experiences and spread books and publications in addition to facilitating the work of researchers, providing opportunities for representatives of both sides to use their cultural and scientific facilities, and holding social and scientific activities between them.
In the same regard, Katara signed a cultural cooperation agreement with Oman's Cultural Club as part of the Cultural Village Foundation's strategy to establish an integrated and ideal atmosphere that provides elements of creativity and innovation and promotes the cultural and artistic movement in the Qatari society, in addition to enhancing Katara's standing as a global institution that contributes to shaping the cultural and artistic scene in the Gulf region, the Arab region and the world.
In the context of building partnerships with Gulf, Arab and international cultural institutions, Katara signed a cooperation agreement with the Paris-based Arab World Institute.
Katara witnessed the Prophet's Poet Festival and Award in April, the first of its kind across the world, which was followed by other Arab festivals such as the second edition of the Katara Prize for Arabic Novel.
The Cultural Village Foundation organised altogether 43 festivals to celebrate Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha, Qatar's National Day, and the Sports Day. Katara also had a distinguished presence at its major festivals such as the Traditional Dhow Festival, the seventh Qatar International Falcons and Hunting Festival, Halal Qatar Festival, Al Galayel Championship, in addition to festivals of Arab and international nature such as the Cultural Diversity Festival in cooperation with UNESCO.
Katara published some documenting publications this year, winning acclaim from researchers and heritage enthusiasts thanks to the historic significance and civilisational value of the publications as well as the humanitarian heritage featured in it that the Qatari history boasts.
The publications embodied Katara's significant role in documenting Qatari history and heritage, which stems from keenness on linking the new generations of Qatari youth to their honourable history, the heritage of their ancestors and the history of their homeland so that they would relive those beautiful times and with its glory and vigour. They also fill a huge gap in this area at a time when the Arab library suffers scarcity of references and specialised studies on Qatari and Gulf heritage.