A “Congress for Creatives:” Qatar America’s Inaugural Celebration of Culture and the Arts

A "Congress for Creatives:" Qatar America's Inaugural Celebration of Culture and the Arts
The 2021 IMPART Summit guest of honor, H.E. Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Ambassador to the United States from the State of Qatar, gives his remarks to the guests at the gala reception inaugurating the first IMPART Summit at the Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC) in Washington, DC.

On the weekend of November 19 and 20, 2021, the Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC) hosted its inaugural IMPART Summit at its headquarters in the nation’s capital. Coined as the “Congress for Creatives,” IMPART is a program created to celebrate the impact of QAIC’s art and cultural programs and to convene both the local and international communities that QAIC engages.

To formally open the 2021 IMPART Summit, QAIC hosted an intimate gala reception on the evening of November 19 in honor of the partners and creative talents who helped make IMPART possible. Before the start of the evening’s program, guests toured the three floors of open exhibitions, like QAIC’s Perfumery Museum and two new additions presented in partnership with the 2021 Qatar-USA Year of Culture and the al markhiya gallery in Doha.

The dinner program began with opening remarks from the evening’s guest of honor, H.E. Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Ambassador to the United States from the State of Qatar, before continuing on to the entertainment segments and a coffee-themed dinner, a nod to QAIC’s upcoming programming in 2022. In his remarks, Ambassador Al-Thani commented on the importance of cultural initiatives like the IMPART Summit and the 2021 Qatar-USA Year of Culture, saying that “through such exchanges between Qatar and the US, we hope to foster a sense of a global community. We want to remind one another of the many ways we are similar, no matter where we come from.”

Following the remarks by Ambassador Al-Thani, guests were presented with a diverse assortment of talent which represented both the United States and Qatar. The program began with a recorded rendition of the George Gershwin classic “Summertime” by musicians MAias Alyamani, Dmitri Torchinsky, and members of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.

Afterward, QAIC Executive Director Fatima Al-Dosari presented the 2021 Arab Film House Award, an initiative in partnership with the Doha Film Institute (DFI), to filmmaker Naziha Arebi in recognition of her film “Freedom Fields.” As part of the ceremony, remarks were presented by Naziha Arebi and Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, CEO of DFI, who stated that “the Arab Film House Awards provide an important platform for the meaningful exchange of cultural perspectives and the promotion of independent voices in cinema […] The Awards tonight are further testament to the resilience of the creative community and our determination to continue to develop and strengthen a vibrant film industry.”

Following the ceremony, guests witnessed poetry readings presented by Dr. Kent Davis-Packard of Women Forward International and two Afghani creatives, Yusuf Misdaq and Zuhal Feraidon, who shared personal works retelling their emotional experiences living in Afghanistan.

Next, the stage opened up to Anees Mokhiber, a rising musician better known as “Anees the rapper” who performed some of his songs accompanied by Zach Matari on guitar. Introducing the two Arab-American talents was Sylvia Zakhary, CEO and founder of the Mamag Group, an organization whose mission is to promote more diversity in the entertainment industry. “There is no better time in our recent history to celebrate and honor the creative community than now,” stated Zakhary in her remarks, “During times of social and political change, domestically and internationally, we often look to the arts to build bridges for connection or even simply to make sense of our own personal feelings as we traverse our worlds.”

Closing out the evening was a captivating performance by Khaled Al Mawlawi, a Sufi dancer who mesmerized guests with his whirling technique synced to the musical accompaniment led by oudist Muath Edriss.

On Saturday, November 20, the IMPART Summit opened to the DC community at large as almost a hundred visitors took part of the day long festival of food, film screenings, and cultural activities offered at QAIC’s Dupont Circle location. Attendees were able to view the many open exhibitions, watch a selection of “Made in Qatar” short films that recently screened at DFI’s Ajyal Film Festival, and taste various flavors of the Gulf, some of which were provided by Qatar-based Chef Shams Al-Qassabi.

As the first IMPART Summit concludes, QAIC looks forward to expanding the program at the next IMPART to include new engagements that further its mission of connecting creatives, convening communities, and celebrating cultures. For more information visit: www.qataramerica.org/impart-summit/.

The Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC) is a Washington DC-based independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that creates, curates, and executes programs and research that amplify the prominence of all forms of art and culture from the United States, Qatar, and the larger Arab and Islamic worlds.