Qatar beats all odds in 2017

In 2017 Qatar showed the world that it can overcome any challenge. The country successfully defeated the siege imposed by the blockading countries. Qatar also accomplished many achievements during the year under the wise leadership of Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The country exhibited comprehensive growth and development in all sectors despite the challenging environment.

Emir’s visit to three African countries
The Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s visit to three African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa,  in mid-April 2017 moved the Qatar-Africa relations to new heights. The Emir held meetings with leaders and high-ranking officials of these countries with the focus on enhancing bilateral relations. This was the first time that the Emir visited sub-Saharan Africa, besides Sudan. 

Emir’s tour to European countries
The Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s European tour, which included Turkey, Germany and France, affirmed the success of Qatari diplomacy in the face of the siege by its neighbours — who have long been betting on isolating Qatar regionally and internationally. 

Emir participates in UN General Assembly
Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited United States of America on September 17, to take part in the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly. During his visit, the Emir also met US President Donald Trump. 

The Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, addressed the United Nations General Assembly on  September 19, 2017 at the United Nations in New York. The Emir addressed Qatar’s blockade and called “for an unconditional dialogue based on mutual respect for sovereignty”. 

Emir’s visit to Asian countries
The Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited in October 2017 several Asian countries including Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, at the invitation of leaders of these countries. During the visits, the Emir held talks with the leaders of these countries and senior officials on bilateral relations and means of developing cooperation between the Qatar and these countries, in addition to a number of issues of common concern and signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding in various fields.

Emir’s visit to six West African countries 
In December 2017 Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited six West African countries -The Republic of Senegal, the Republic of Guinea Conakry, The Republic of Mali, the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, the Republic of Burkina Faso and the Republic of Ghana. It was the first visit of its kind to West Africa.

Hacking of QNA website
Qatar News Agency (QNA) website was hacked in May by an unknown entity and a false statement was attributed to HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. QNA decided to halt its website in addition to all Agency’s accounts on social networking platforms.

Illegal siege on Qatar by blockading countries 
Saudi Arabia, UAE imposed blockade on Qatar on June 5. Qatar deplored declaration issued by the four siege countries on June 8 on the so-called terrorism list, and considered it an attempt to mix the papers and make false accusations against Qatar for political gains. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the siege imposed by Gulf states on Qatar is “unacceptable”.

Pact with US for combating terrorism
Qatar and the United States, on July 11, signed a memorandum of understanding on combating the financing of terrorism, and the US State Department confirmed that the memorandum of understanding is a good example for other countries.

Emir’s address to nation
On July 21, the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani addressed the citizens and residents of Qatar on the current situation and future directions of the State of Qatar in light of the current Gulf crisis, and affirmed Qatar’s readiness for a solution based on the principles of sovereignty.

Five arrested in Turkey for QNA hacking
On August 25, Attorney General H E Dr Ali bin Fettais Al Marri revealed that the Turkish authorities have arrested five people involved in the crime of hacking Qatar News Agency website and broadcasting false statements attributed to the Emir. 

Emir attends US-Islamic World Forum
The Emir attended the opening of US-Islamic World Forum in September, which discussed opportunities to strengthen cooperation between the Islamic world and the United States.

Emir participates in GCC Summit
In December, the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani participated in the GCC Summit in Kuwait where the declaration affirmed the pivotal role of the GCC in maintaining security and stability in the region and combating terrorist organizations and extremist ideology, in defence of Arab values and principles.

Emir takes part in OIC Summit
On December 13, the Emir took part in the extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul concerning the decision of the American administration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Laws and Regulations

Non-Qatari ownership of real estate
The Cabinet approved the draft law on regulating non-Qatari ownership and use of real estate. The regular meeting was chaired by Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. 

New public hygiene law
Law No. 18 of 2017 on Public Hygiene and Cleaning has been enacted 

Draft law on National Tourism Council
The Advisory Council discussed a draft law on the establishment of the National Tourism Council which would be under the supervision of the Prime Minister. 

Law on National Address database
Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued Law No. 24 of 2017 on the ‘National Address’. The law is effective six months after its publication in the official gazette.

Permanent residency ID to non-Qataris 
The Cabinet approved a draft law on the permanent residency identification card. According to the provisions of the bill, the minister of interior may grant a permanent residency ID to a non-Qatari if they meet the conditions specified in the law. 

New planet discovered
Qatar Exoplanet Survey (QES), a research project by Qatar National Research Fund, Qatar Foundation and Hamad Bin Khalifa University announced in December discovery of a new planet — “Qatar 6b.”  Led by Qatari astronomer, acting executive director of QEERI, Dr Khalid A. 

Healthcare 

New hospital complex of HMC opened
New hospital complex of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) was officially opened in December by Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and it marked the largest healthcare expansion in the region. The hospitals will have 500 new beds as well as 3,000 highly trained clinical and support staff. The new Medical City complex will provide patients with access to an unprecedented level of care by increasing bed capacity, improving services, and granting faster access to specialised treatment.

30 years of safe organ transplantation
The success of safe organ transplantation for 30 years at HMC was celebrated. In 1986 a surgical team at HMC performed Qatar’s first kidney transplant on a Qatari woman who received a donor kidney from her sister. Now, 30 years on, with a 98 percent success rate, HMC’s organ transplantation program is one of the most admired in the world. Also Qatar’s first allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allogeneic -HSCT) performed. 

Opening of Sidra Medicine announced
Sidra Medicine announced in October that it will start receiving inpatients from mid January 2018. During the first weeks of opening, Sidra Medicine’s inpatient services include pediatric medicine (gastroenterology, endocrinology and adolescent medicine) and elective general surgery for children and young people while its women’s service will only be doing elective caesarian deliveries.

Qatar Biobank welcomes 10,000th participant
Qatar Biobank welcomed its 10,000th participant, making a major milestone in the medical health research initiative’s history. Through these samples, Qatar Biobank enables medical researchers and healthcare professionals to gain a clearer picture of health issues facing Qatar and the region.

Boost in cancer fight
Qatar’s fight against cancer got a big boost with the launch of National Cancer Framework 2017-2022 ‘Achieving Excellence in Cancer care: A vision for 2022.’ The five year plan will cover the whole pathway of cancer care including education, prevention, early detection, rapid and definitive diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care.

First Turkish Hospital opened
The first Turkish Hospital in Qatar with advanced facilities and emergency services was opened in February. The 100-bed hospital on the C-Ring Road in Doha is expected to cater more than 1,000 patients daily.

Education 

WISE Prize
The sixth WISE Prize for Education was presented to Patrick Awuah, founder and President of Ashesi University College, a private, not-for-profit institution that has become one of Ghana’s premier universities in little over a decade. H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, presented the Prize to Awuah.

Akhlaquna initiative
H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation announced the ‘Akhlaquna’ award, aimed at recognising young people with exemplary moral character. 

New campus for NU-Q
The new campus building of Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), situated at the Education City, was officially inaugurated in May. The new campus building of NU-Q is arguably the largest and the most technologically advanced media school in the world.

Qatar National Library
Qatar National Library, a member of Qatar Foundation, opened its doors for the public in November, offering around one million books in 20 languages. It is destined to become one of the world’s preeminent centres of learning, research, and culture, and also a guardian of the region’s heritage, as an institution promoting discovery and human development.

Mamoura Family Park opened
Mamoura Family Park was opened after renovation. The park has latest equipment for physical exercise, games for children and other facilities for visitors.The park measuring 6,500 sqm is located at one of the populated residential areas and came under the spotlight of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment to meet the demand of rising population in Al Mamoura. 

16 new urban centers
Under the master development plan of the country, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment has identified areas to build about 16 new urban centers across six municipalities to speed up the development.

Permanent residential labour camps
The Ministry of Municipality and Environment allocated seven sites for permanent residential labour camps in different areas of the country. With a total area of 6,545,157sqm, the sites can accommodate up to 197,000 workers. 

Use of recycled construction wastes
Ministry of Municipality and Environment has amended the Qatar Construction Specifications (QCS) allowing use of recycled construction wastes and local and imported limestone. The amendment also aims at diversifying the source of import for building materials to meet the growing demand in local market.

Electricity and water
Mega Reservoirs

The Water Security Mega Reservoirs, an ambitious Project of Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) with one of the largest storage capacity in the world is being implemented smoothly at a total cost of QR17bn to meet the growing demand of water in the country, said Kahramaa Chief.

Kahramaa Awareness Park launched
The state-of-the-art Kahramaa Awareness Park, an ambitious initiative to promote the culture of conservation of electricity and water among children was opened in April.
The Kahramaa Awareness Park has all features needed not only to educate kids about water and electricity but also teach them about the importance of resources.
Tarsheed to cut carbon emission
The National Rationalisation and Energy Efficiency Program (Tarsheed) aims of cutting around six million tonnes of harmful carbon emissions by 2022. In the last five years, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has reduced 8.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions and contributed to reducing electricity and power emissions from about 46 percent in 2013 to 39.6 percent in 2016.

Arts and Culture
Mahaseel Festival 
In January Katara organized the inaugural Mahaseel Festival which offered consumers high quality fresh produce from 22 Qatari farms at cheap prices and saw exhibitions, lectures and workshops.

Paris Art Residency Program
The Fire Station Artist in Residence started the year expanding its residency programme with the launch of the Paris Art Residency Program which provides Qatari artists three-month residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts-Paris - the biggest and most important art residency in the world.

Qatar-Germany Year of Culture
Qatar Germany Year of Culture was inaugurated in February. The year saw major exhibitions, literary and art workshops, film screenings and discussions, concerts and performances, sport competitions and trade shows organised in Qatar and Germany.

Works of Picasso and Giacometti displayed
More than 120 works by Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti-two of the most important artists of the 20th century-were displayed at the Fire Station’s Garage Gallery for three months.

S’hail, 2017 launched
In September, the Cultural Village Foundation opened the first ever Katara International Hunting and Falcons Exhibition, S’hail, 2017, which saw the participation of over 90 local and international companies specialising in falconry and hunting-related tools and equipment.

Ajyal Youth Film Festival
Doha film Institute presented the biggest edition of Ajyal Youth Film Festival with record 103 participating films from 43 countries.

Aviation 
Qatar Airways expands
Qatar Airways launched 11 new destinations in 2017, including Auckland, New Zealand – the world’s longest commercial flight - Nice; France; Dublin, Republic of Ireland; Skopje; Sohar, Oman; Kyiv, Ukraine; Prague, Czech Republic, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Adana, Turkey; Chiang Mai, Thailand and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Qatar Airways took delivery of 19 new aircraft in 2017, taking its total fleet to 212 aircraft. The airline also recently upsized an earlier order for 50 Airbus A320neo with a firm order instead for 50 of the larger A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex configuration), in an order signed earlier last month.
In November, it announced an acquisition in fellow oneworld member Cathay Pacific, purchasing approximately 9.61 per cent of Cathay Pacific’s total issued share capital.

Awards for Qatar Airways and HIA
Qatar’s national carrier received more than 50 individual awards. Hamad International Airport (HIA) was ranked second in the Top 10 International Airports in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2017 readers’ survey. The Airport was also voted as the “Best Airport in the Middle East” at the Global Traveler’s GT Tested Reader Survey Awards in Los Angeles.

Liberal visa policies
In August, Qatar further eased its visa policies allowing citizens of 80 countries visa-free entry which makes Qatar the highest in the region in terms of number of nationalities eligible to enter visa-free, thus the most open country in the region.

Sports 
Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim named the male athlete of the year by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as well as the best athlete in Asia by the Association of National Olympic Committees.
Barshim won the gold medal at the World Athletics Championships last August in London.

Qatari weightlifter Fares Ibrahim won a 94 kg silver at the World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, California in early December.

In May, Al Dana Al Mubarak became our first female athlete to win a gold medal at the Islamic Solidarity Games as she claimed the 25m pistol shooting title.

In September, young equestrian athlete, Hamad Al Attiyah, shone at the Ashgabat 2017 Asian Martial Arts and Indoor Games as he won Qatar’s first gold in the individual show jumping.

Qatar’s star rally driver Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah, who clinched his 13th FIA Middle East Championship crown in September.

In Football, Al Duhail won the league to raise their tally to five league titles. 
Al Sadd won HH the Emir Cup after beating Al Rayyan 2-1 and won the Sheikh Jassim Cup after beating Al Duhail 4-2.

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