Ladies and Gentlemen,
We gather today to open the new building of the National Museum of Qatar. The building of the original National Museum of Qatar was built in 1975 in the old palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassem bin Mohammed Al-Thani.
I would like to commend the initiative of His Highness the Father Amir to expand the museum and, above all, his vision and his launching a drive in which modernity interweaves with our Arab-Islamic civilization and Qatari heritage.
The new building – designed by architect Jean Nouvel, whose ingenious design is based on a natural phenomenon resulting from a sand formation known as the Desert Rose – encompasses and encloses the old palace.
The Desert Rose is called here in Qatar “Kuhoof” or “Al-Kuhoof”.
Why do we build museums? We build them not to store art collections, nor to display the past, but rather to enlighten the public in Qatar, residents or visitors, about our past, and our present and our place in this world. The museum displays our portrayal of our past, our environment and our experiences from a present-day perspective. It reflects therefore an illustration of our Arab Qatari cultural identity. Museums are not warehouses of the past, but rather our present embodied in how we look at our history and our place within humanity in general.
Our people are aware that this and other museums that we have established here are for them to visit, socialize, enjoy, reflect and debate.
Because of the country’s amazingly swift urban expansion, we are cautious in planning because we want to be part of the rapid technological progress and globalization trends prevailing today in the world, rather than resisting them, while preserving our values, morals and cultural identity that is per se open to development and progress.
The National Museum tells the story of our people. It also encourages visitors to learn about the country’s nature, archeology, economy, urban development and much more. It provides space for reflection on what Qatar has done, and what it aspires to do.
By sharing this information with the visitors, we want through the museums and other cultural institutions to cater for a milieu of dialogue with ourselves and with others, to give our people an enlightened voice in shaping our future.
The National Museum is the product of a collective work of many institutions and individuals. It represents what we are as a country characterized by open dialogue and cooperation in all areas.
Through its programs and educational exhibitions, it will provide a great addition to the growing cultural scene in Qatar, including our high education institutions, pluralistic media, the National Library containing over 1 million books in the prestigious building we opened last year, the annual book fair, Katara’s numerous festivals and art activities, the old souqs, art galleries and many other institutions and initiatives.
Our goal is to build a knowledge-based economy and human development. The economic paradigm we setup with a sporting and cultural richness that surrounds it, is in our opinion, the best indicator of the sound growth of any country. The rich cultural scene has become an important economic component of tourism as it enriches the visitors’ stay by adding culture to entertainment and relaxation.
Qatar is on schedule to host the 2022 World Cup – a celebration of sports, arts, culture and the communal spirit of solidarity and unity connecting all football fans and people of goodwill from all over the world. Today, we are laying another block in the construction of our national developmental and civilizational project, including the promise we made in 2010: to present a magnificent World Cup tournament in 2022.
The State of Qatar has achieved many accomplishments for the benefit of its citizens in terms of living standard and quality of life, as well as in education, health and environment, etc. It continues to welcome people from all over the world. Progress through diversity and tolerance remains at the core of our commitment to develop and nurture a harmonious and prosperous society that reflects our lifestyle and behavior guided by the values of humanity and decency. Qatar has become much stronger than ever since June 2017. Its citizens and residents work together for building the country, strengthening the economy, maintaining human dignity and defending the truth, while getting to know each other, exchanging experiences and, most importantly, reciprocating amity and great respect.
I now declare the National Museum of Qatar open.
May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.