Encouraging essential discussions worldwide
Two decades on and the Doha Forum continues to dominate as a global platform for dialogue and discussion in the Middle East on crucial matters and challenges concerning the world.
Since its establishment in 2000, the Doha Forum has been successfully hosting and promoting exchanges of dialogue on challenges facing the world today. With an aim to become one of the leading international forums for policy innovation, the Doha Forum not only encourages discussions, but seeks to bring practical and innovative solutions forward.
Aligned with Qatar’s visionary future plans, the forum complements the role that the country has played in its history of global mediation through dialogue. Many discussions have revolved around gaining stability in the Middle East and ways to make the countries prosper in various fields.
With annual events held discussing some of the pressing issues facing our societies today, the Doha Forum encourages the sharing of ideas, discourses and policy making, while action-oriented recommendations are brought forward by leaders in policy and other sectors.
During its early years, the dominant discussion themes included democracy, development and free trade but since 2010, the conversations have expanded beyond just these topics, with dialogues on education, female empowerment, economics and other pressing world matters gaining a spotlight. Other topics of focus also include global energy struggles, stability and the global refugee crisis.
From 2018, the Doha Forum began offering its platform to the youth to discuss issues of global importance. In collaboration with QatarDebate Center — a member of Qatar Foundation and the National Debating Organisation for Qatar — the Doha Forum: Youth Edition holds multiple panel discussions that are in both Arabic and English. These discussions are led by politicians, activists and experts in various fields. The aim of the youth edition is to incorporate conversations with young people from different backgrounds about the pressing challenges they face globally. In 2019, the panel discussions of the youth edition were Climate Change: The Power and Responsibility of The Next Generation, Education Politics in Conflict Zones, and Uprooting Radicalism: Is Education the Answer?
In 2020, through virtual conferences and sessions, the Doha Forum has held discussions with esteemed leaders in policy and media sectors to understand the state of the digital economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of dialogue in conflict resolution. The forum has also partnered with the Observer Research Foundation on the CyFy 2020 Virtual Conference to further discuss the Digital Economy.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual flagship event was cancelled for this year. Instead, the Doha Forum has held various online conferences like A Global Civic Ethic, Countering Rising Nationalism, and the Future of Global in collaboration with the Stimson Center. One of the speakers for this event was the Doha Forum’s Executive Director, Her Excellency Lolwah Al Khater. Video snippets of the event can be found on the Doha Forum Twitter page.
In order to help and combat the challenges discussed during the events, the Doha Forum has formed partnerships and collaborations with international institutions and companies to further the effectiveness of the organisation. Some of these strategic partners include the International Crisis Group, European Council on Foreign Relations, the Munich Security Conference, and the UK’s Chatham House. The forum’s media partners are Al Jazeera, BuzzFeed News, Bloomberg, Doha Debates, Foreign Policy, Financial Times, Caixin, and OrientXXI, while the institutional partners are the Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Tourism Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Finance, HBKU, IPAQ, and Qatar Petroleum. The sponsors of events include Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Airways, Qatar National Bank, Qatar Financial Centre, and Ooredoo.
Qatar has taken immense pride and responsibility in its role in contributing to international efforts for a better world. At the 2019 opening ceremony of the Doha Forum event, Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani gave a speech highlighting some of Qatar’s contributions towards international relief and development projects, such as allocating $100 million to small island states to help them cope with the effects of climate change and pledging to provide education to one million young girls living in conflict areas by 2021 — which goes hand in hand with the effort of non-profit Qatari organisations that work to provide education to 10 million children in conflict areas. Qatar has also contributed around $600 million annually to relief, educational and health projects in about 59 countries while Qatar Charity has contributed $400 million on development projects in 50 states.
Qatar for years has been known as a conciliator state in many Middle East conflicts and affairs, so creating an organisation like the Doha Forum was inevitable in pushing this positive dialogue mentality. The importance of the forum’s platform is undeniable — it has led to the creation of compelling conversations that needed to happen, it has allowed regional and global audiences to build a mutual understanding as well as help one another find solutions to allow people to live in a better and fair world.
Photos: Doha Forum