DOHA, Qatar--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Members of the Washington Spirit Women’s Soccer Team played a friendly match with members of the Qatar Women’s National Soccer team on Tuesday, December 15th. The team’s visit, organized by the Embassy of the State of Qatar in the United States of America (USA), together with Qatar Museums and the U.S. Embassy in Doha, forms part of a cultural exchange that previews the “Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture.” The Year of Culture reflects a longstanding history of partnership and cultural engagement between Qatar and the United States.
The Friendly Match, with members of the Qatar National Women’s Soccer Team, was sponsored by Qatar Airways and Exxon Mobil Qatar. The “Year of Culture” will feature a year-long series of events in both countries where each will engage in a variety of cultural programming. Launched by Qatar Museums in 2012, “Year of Culture” together with a different partner country each year, highlights the richness of Qatari culture and history to an international audience, while simultaneously bringing the partner country’s diverse culture to Qatar. The “Year of Culture” is executed through various exhibitions, festivals, competitions, and events that increase mutual understanding and appreciation between the respective nations – inviting people to explore their historical similarities and differences.
Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, said: "Qatar Museums is proud to kick off the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture by welcoming the Washington Spirit Women's Soccer team to Qatar. Their visit to Doha further affirms the longstanding ties between Qatar and the United States, and we look forward to sharing Qatar's rich culture and heritage with our American friends. We are also pleased to unveil the logo for the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, which celebrates the strong relationship between both countries.”
“The Washington Spirit is not only a team at the top of its game, but an example to girls in Qatar and the U.S. of the explosive potential of empowered women,” said H.E. Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States of America. “They have so much to offer both on and off the field, and it is why I wanted to invite them to Qatar as the first Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture educational exchange group. With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar just around the corner, it is an honor to share Qatari cultural heritage and a first look of the exciting projects underway as we prepare to host an unforgettable tournament experience for global soccer fans.”
Commenting on the visit by Washington Spirit, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Greta C. Holtz stated, “We are delighted to welcome the Washington Spirit Soccer Team to Doha. This weeklong exchange demonstrates the United States and Qatar’s commitment to supporting and empowering women in sports. The Year of Culture is an exciting celebration of U.S. and Qatari culture, and I look forward to more fantastic events that will highlight our shared values, increase cultural appreciation and understanding, and further develop the crucial strategic partnership between our two countries.”
During the Washington Spirit’s stay in Qatar, the team’s itinerary includes a number of activities:
- A Tour of Qatar Foundation (QF) including a meet and greet with students from one of QF’s schools and the QF girls’ football team, and visits to Al Shaqab equine and equestrian center and Qatar National Library.
- A Tour of the Al Bayt Stadium
- A Friendly Match with members of the Qatar National Women’s Soccer Team
- The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture Logo Reveal
- A Clinic with Generation Amazing Youth Advocates
- An Aspire Tour
- Tour of the National Museum of Qatar
- beIN Sports Tour
- Tour of Katara Cultural Village
- Supreme Committee Pavilion Tour
- Museum of Islamic Art Private Tour
- Soccer Clinic with Best Buddies
- Dinner with the President of the Qatar Football Association
- Dinner with Dana al-Fardan
- Sand Duning at Sealine Beach Resort
- Final Match for the Amir Cup
- Qatar National Day Celebration
Mrs. Machaille Hassan Al-Naimi, President of Community Development, Qatar Foundation, said: “Qatar Foundation is a longstanding supporter of Qatar Museums’ Years of Culture program, which has a pivotal and impactful role in building cross-cultural connections and strengthening bonds between Qatar and other nations.
“We strongly believe that sharing cultural knowledge and experiences creates new pathways of understanding on a global level. Qatar Foundation has close and valued ties with the U.S., including our long-established partnerships with some of the country’s leading universities, and we are delighted to have participated in the launch of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture by welcoming the Washington Spirit Women’s Soccer Team to experience our Education City ecosystem. We look forward to supporting this initiative further with a range of activities and programs in 2021.”
“We are delighted to be here and to be part of this event,” said Steven Baldwin, Washington Spirit Owner. “Sports has a way of bringing people together and we are excited to be part of this cultural exchange. We thank the people of Qatar for warmly welcoming our team of fantastic female athletes to share their culture and the progress of the 2022 World Cup preparations with us.”
Due to necessary precautions and COVID-19 restrictions, just 10 members of the media were invited to the Al Ersal training facility in Doha at 3:15pm on December 15th. The friendly match between the Washington Spirit and the Qatar National Women’s Team was followed by a soccer meet and greet with Generation Amazing Youth Advocates.
During the event, the “Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture” logo, created by Sara Ahmed AlHelal was also unveiled. Sara is a third-year student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, a QF partner university, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (BFA) in Graphic Design. Now an intern at Qatar Museums, Sara combined elements of Al Wahda Arches with the Statue of Liberty to create a concept that underscores the partnership of the two countries. She was joined by VCU Dean Amir Berbic and Graphic Arts Chair Astrid Kensinger.
Entertainment was provided by Dana al-Fardan. Maias Alyamani and members of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, the United States Air Force Central Command Band, and Noor Abdelmajeed, a Junior at the American School of Doha.
About the Embassy of Qatar to the United States of America
The Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C. houses Qatar's diplomatic mission to the United States. The primary purposes of the Embassy of the State of Qatar are to highlight Qatar’s policies on regional issues, strengthen Qatar-U.S. bilateral relations and to assist Qatari citizens who travel or live in the U.S. The current Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States of America is His Excellency Sheikh Meshal Bin Hamad Al-Thani.
About Qatar Museums
Qatar Museums (QM) connects the museums, cultural institutions and heritage sites in Qatar and creates the conditions for them to thrive and flourish. It centralises resources and provides a comprehensive organisation for the development of museums and cultural projects, with a long-term ambition of creating a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure for Qatar. Under the patronage of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and led by its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, QM is consolidating Qatar’s efforts to become a vibrant centre for the arts, culture and education in the Middle East and beyond.
Since its foundation in 2005, QM has overseen the development of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Fire Station: Artists in Residence, The National Museum of Qatar and the Al Zubarah World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, among other projects. Future projects include the launch of the highly anticipated 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum and Qatar Children’s Museum.
QM is committed to instigating Qatar’s future generation of arts, heritage and museum professionals. At its core is a commitment to nurturing artistic talent, creating opportunities and developing the skills to service Qatar’s emerging art economy. By means of a multi-faceted program and public art initiatives, QM seeks to push the boundaries of the traditional museum model and create cultural experiences that spill out onto the streets and seek to involve a wide audience. Through a strong emphasis on originating art and culture from within and fostering a spirit of national participation, QM is helping Qatar find its own distinctive voice in today’s global cultural debates.
About Qatar Museums’ “Year of Culture” Initiative
Under the leadership of its Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Museums (QM) has developed the “Year of Culture” initiative — an annual international cultural exchange designed to deepen understanding between nations and their people. Though the formal programming lasts only one year, the initiative often sparks long-lasting collaboration. Culture is one of the most effective tools to bring people closer, encourage dialogue, and deepen understanding between nations.
Previous Years of Culture have included: Qatar-Japan 2012, Qatar-UK 2013, Qatar-Brazil 2014, Qatar-Turkey 2015, Qatar-China 2016, Qatar-Germany 2017, Qatar-Russia 2018, Qatar-India 2019 and Qatar-France 2020.
Qatar-United States 2021 Year of Culture is being planned in collaboration with leading institutions in Qatar and the United States, including Qatar Museums, the Embassy of Qatar in the U.S., the U.S. Embassy in Qatar, Qatar's Ministry of Culture and Sport, Qatar Foundation, The National Tourism Council, Doha Film Institute, Qatar National Library, Katara, Supreme Council for Delivery and Legacy and Qatar Football Association.
About Washington Spirit
The Washington Spirit is the professional women's soccer team based at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md. Launched in 2012, the Spirit play in the National Women's Soccer League, the premier women's soccer competition in North America. For more information about the Spirit, visit www.WashingtonSpirit.com, follow the club on Twitter @WashSpirit and on Facebook at facebook.com/washingtonspirit.
*COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions have been, and continue to be, enforced for the entire stay of the Washington Spirit’s stay in Doha, Qatar. For more information on these protocols, please contact the media spokespersons listed below.