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Life after SPIEF’21: Leaving a lasting impact through Qatar’s Legacy Heritage Programme

Life after SPIEF’21: Leaving a lasting impact through Qatar’s Legacy Heritage Programme

By Diana Charmadova,
CEO, Qatar-Russian Centre for
Cooperation
Over the course of four days at the start of June 2021, close to 500 delegates representing 50 leading public and private sector entities from the State of Qatar attended the 24th edition of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where Qatar was hosted with the honorary status of Guest Country.
While the various meetings and dialogues conducted and the key cross-sectoral Memoranda of Understanding signed at SPIEF will continue to live on and create tangible, multi-faceted impact, it remained essential to us that the material components and assets of the national Qatar pavilion achieve the same goal: ‘a second life’ after the event was concluded.
Within the framework of the Heritage me around SPIEF, a legacy handover ceremony was held on the last day, June 5, where the resources of the pavilion were donated and distributed to a number of Russian channel partners and stakeholders, comprising universities, libraries and museums. This stemmed from our robust belief in the importance of creating sustainable and transformative experiences wherever we are and one which will leave a long-lasting and positive effect across all walks of our community. Our legacy handover me fell strongly in line with strategic national and international goals, such as the Qatar National Vision 2030 with its four key pillars and the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
The Qatar pavilion was inspired by the design of a typical Arab city with a central square and streets surrounding it. It was united by a large-scale suspended installation: a translucent structure made of ephemeral rattan mesh in the form of arcades, alongside volumetric walls and oriental arches created a stunning image that referred to the authentic architecture of Qatar, symbolizing the connection between the past and the present of Qatar, representing a gateway to the country and carrying a part of its culture to St. Petersburg.
The pavilion consisted of two main areas: The first zone contained the stands of the Qatari participating companies where each stand had its own unique design, reflecting their authentic features; the second zone, also known as the Doha Hall, was a discussion venue, where leading representatives of both countries shared views and insights around the economy, political relations and society as a whole.
The legacy included both a tangible and an intangible aspect. The first focused on constructions and furniture, botanical elements and culinary experiences; while the second one brought together a considerable number of volunteers as part of a literary education legacy.
The tangible components of the pavilion were handed over to educational institutions, museums and libraries such as the St. Petersburg State University, The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), Government Sport Museum and others. On the other hand, the intangible legacy involved the social development of our volunteers, and owing to our legacy , more than 200 Qatar-Russia experienced volunteers will be recommended to the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy after SPIEF. The volunteers will have the incredible lifetime opportunity of partaking in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, as well as other related sideline events.
It is true that the Forum has ended, but the cooperation and engagements between Qatar and Russia have certainly reached newer heights.
This journey commenced two years ago when the Qatari-Russian Centre for Cooperation (QRCC) began working with the organizing committee of SPIEF, the Roscongress Foundation, and a number of partners to drive the participation of the Qatari in SPIEF’21 under the theme ‘Qatar: Hub of Opportunities.’ The aim was to promote cross-sectoral bilateral relations with the help of our six key entities: Qatar-Russia Investment & Trade Advisory (QRITA), Office of Knowledge and Innovation (OKI), Cultural Creative Agency (CCA), QR Experience, QR Sports and QR Media.
Each of these entities played a distinct role in delivering the Qatari participation in SPIEF’21 with resonating success.
QRITA set out to bring together the businesses from Qatar and Russia and foster robust cross-border economic ties between the two countries, as well as the broader regions and will continue to support and facilitate proactive development of concrete deals and connections between both markets.
The Office of Knowledge and Innovation worked towards facilitating collaborations between Qatar and Russia in the fields of education, technology and social issues, while supporting the initiatives with practical knowledge of international partnerships in areas such as science and RDI.
The Cultural Creative Agency organized a holistic cultural for the residents and visitors of St. Petersburg at landmark locations across the city, including an exhibition with artefacts from the National Museum of Qatar, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum at the Russian Museum of Ethnography presenting the history of Qatar through unique relics. The exhibition will be open for visitors until August 22, 2021. The cultural around SPIEF also comprised of a film festival that showcased short and feature-length films from the MENA region, Qatar Film Days and Mawaheb, a series of multi-genre events at key venues around St. Petersburg featuring symphony and audiovisual concerts, a residence for international and local musicians, parties, a musical picnic by the water, and an educational . Furthermore, the Qatar Pavilion hosted the presentation of the cookbook and the autograph session of one of the most recognizable culinary stars of Qatar, chef Nouf Al-Marri, who created the fusion-cafe “Desert Rose” in the National Museum of Qatar, reflecting the flavor of the national cuisine.
QR Experience, a boutique travel and concierge agency, focused on inbound and outbound travel between Qatar and Russia, will continue to enrich cultural exchange and enhance the already existing travel and tourism ties between the two countries.
QR Sports, the group’s sports collaboration engine, continues to focus on developing bilateral ties through sports as a single-window for Qatari and Russian stakeholders, complementing Qatar’s unparalleled focus on the industry.
Finally, QR Media, an independent digital media platform explored the stories of SPIEF and beyond, aiming to bring two unique cultures closer together for future collaborations and deeper understanding through information and awareness.
Looking forward after an immensely successful SPIEF’21, I remain confident that these efforts will strongly support the continued growth of the bilateral landscape between the State of Qatar and the Russian Federation.

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