Qatar National Library (QNL) has hosted a two-day seminar to promote the teaching of Qatari history – the first event of its kind in the country.
Held on 31 January and titled the “Inaugural Forum for Teaching and Learning Qatari History,” the event brought together academics, education experts, historians and representatives from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education for discussions on the significance of national history as a key element of Qatari identity.
The conference provided a platform for the exchange of expertise on the various aspects of educating the public – and school students in particular – on Qatari history and heritage and the role of the educational curricula in fostering a national identity.
Discussions also touched on efforts to bolster collaboration between QNL and Qatar’s various cultural institutions to advance history education from a scientific perspective.
His Excellency Dr. Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, Minister of State and President of Qatar National Library, said learning history is not only a pillar of Qatari identity but a compass that determines one’s direction and path from the past to the present and towards the future. “A person without history is unlikely to shape the present or build the future tomorrow. I extend my sincere appreciation to all experts from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Qatar Foundation and the Shura Council for attending and participating in this necessary forum that contributes to achieving our National Vision and its mission by providing citizens and residents insights into the country’s history in a way that enables them to positively contribute society while building on the achievements of our fathers and grandfathers to ensure a bright future for coming generations.”
His Excellency Mr. Khalid bin Ghanim Al-Maadheed, a member of the Shura Council, said the forum’s importance lies in the fact that it serves as an initiative to strengthen the Qatari national identity during a critical period that marks a historic turning point for the world.
“As the world goes through radical changes, the forum holds significant importance in terms of highlighting the role that our collective memory and history play in determining factor our Qatari identity,” Mr. Al-Maadheed said. “My participation in the forum sheds light on the concept of identity as well as its apparent and deep-rooted components and pillars, including the shared history of the people of Qatar, while emphasizing the need to write history relying on primary sources, such as our collective memory, or manuscripts and documents. These sources have a significant impact on the formation of our identity and social self-awareness.”
Abeer Al Kuwari, Director of Research and Learning at QNL, said the forum builds on the Library’s mission and long-standing efforts to preserve Qatar’s heritage and to further develop the educational ecosystem.
“Through this latest initiative we sought to deliver on our mission to create and sustain an exceptional environment for learning and discovery that positively influences society and strengthens our national identity,” she said.
The first day of the forum featured three workshops on the best educational strategy to adopt when it comes to teaching Qatari history and heritage in schools.
On the second day, speakers from QNL, the Ministry of Education, the Shura Council and Qatar Foundation came together with a number of experts to discuss the educational curricula and collaborative efforts to advance history education.
The forum concluded with an awards ceremony, recognizing the winners of a student poster competition on documenting Qatari history and heritage.