Sunday 09 March 2014

Doha, 9 March 2014:
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Qatar, His Excellency Nicholas Hopton today launched the British Festival 2014 at the British Embassy in Doha. The festival is the first of several flagship initiatives focused on building a legacy programme of the very popular Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, which engaged over 175,000 people through a programme of 80 events last year. This year’s British Festival will focus on education, commerce and culture to entertain and enrich audiences in Qatar.

Building on the success of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, which included individual artistic exchange as well as supporting business engagement, the British Festival reinforces the strong bilateral bond between Qatar and the UK. It will involve participation of some of Doha’s world-leading British shops and brands and major shopping malls, with in-store events and promotions. There will also be trade missions of British companies visiting Qatar, led by two leading British trade associations - British Water (from 22-25 March) and the International Visual Communications Association (from 7-9 April).

Some British Festival 2014 highlights announced today include:
Study in the UK Exhibition - students interested in studying in the UK will have the opportunity to explore the wide range of courses available and meet representatives of 22 British Universities;

Circle of Sound - renowned sarod player and composer Soumik Datta, a resident artist for the London based Alchemy Festival and the Rich Mix cultural foundation will be performing a live concert at the Al Rayyan Theatre 30 March. He is accompanied by Austrian drummer Bernhard Schimpelsberger, English singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan, and well-known Qatari artists. Datta has previously collaborated with Beyoncé;

The Urban Playground - the UK’s leading ‘performance parkour’ group will showcase their skills at Souq Waqif 10-12 April, along with school workshops 7-10 April;

Welsh Cultural Week - the cultural week (9-12 March) includes a performance by the Welsh National Opera (WNO), along with photography exhibition, an event for alumni of Welsh universities and other trade focused events in Doha.

Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Qatar, His Excellency Nicholas Hopton said: “We are delighted and proud to launch the British Festival 2014 in Qatar. Following the tremendous success of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, this festival is a continuing celebration of the strong ties and ongoing cultural exchange between Qatar and the United Kingdom. The British Festival provides a platform for nurturing existing partnerships and forging new ones - in art, education and commerce and science. We want to highlight how British cutting edge design, quality, innovation and style can be found in the sphere of culture and also on the high street. We look forward to continuing our work with our partners as the festival kicks off and I hope that many British residents of Qatar will get involved."

Martin Hope, Director of British Council Qatar, said: “We are thrilled to continue the strong legacy of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture through the British Festival. As the British Council celebrates its 80th anniversary, the cultural events which form part of the British Festival 2014 continue our longstanding work in creating opportunities for individuals and institutions to experience the unique cultural offering of the UK. We hope this festival will reach a wide and broad audience, building on existing collaborations and creating new ones.”

“Gareth O’Brien, Director Trade & Investment at the British Embassy, said “We are delighted to support British companies and iconic British brands in Qatar. The festival provides an excellent platform to celebrate the strength of Qatar/UK commercial partnerships and for forging new ones. Bilateral trade between our two countries is very healthy and was more than QAR30 billion in 2013, and going from strength to strength. However we are keen to see even more British companies active here to support Qatar’s ambitious plans to deliver the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the 2030 National Vision and beyond.”

In addition to the events announced today, the British Embassy would like to encourage British schools and organisations and British nationals living in Qatar to hold their own events to celebrate British Festival 2014 using this month as an opportunity to highlight the very best of British with the whole of Qatar. Please do share your ideas with us on our social media channels in order for us to promote them.
For the latest updates on the British Festival 2014, please follow the British Council Qatar’s and the British Embassy Doha’s official social media channels and the hashtag #BritFestQA. The British Festival is sponsored by Qatar Shell and BAE Systems, and supported by many local partners such as Bhs, Debenhams, East India Company, Ezdan Mall, Hackett, Hilton Hotel, Imperial Advertising, Jo Malone, Molton Brown, Pizza Express and Spinneys, with others joining us.

Notes to Editor

The British Council has a long-standing presence and has a strong brand in Qatar. Our work in English language teaching, the arts, education and social development has undergone enormous growth over the last three years. It is highly valued by local stakeholders who understand how it supports Qatar’s ambition to be a knowledge hub for the region.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.
We work in more than 100 countries and our 7,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.

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