Is growth visible? In Doha it is. If you walk through the city, you will soon notice, that more or less every second building site is still under construction. Everything moves. The town changes rapidly. By the end of the last century nobody would have expected such a building activity. The place was calm and quiet, just the modern style pyramid shape of the Sheraton-Hotel gave an anchor point for the eyes. There were no skyscrapers nor any skyline visible. The Sheraton has kept its role as an important landmark at the West-Bay coastline, because it reaches a little far out into the sea, more than the other buildings. But numerous skyscrapers along the Corniche have placed it into the second row. A crossover of the latest architectural designs. And new highlights attend this ensemble every month. The impression of the city changes continuously. Not in the offensive glamorous „Disney-Style“ like in Dubai, to be the tallest, loudest and most colourful. More in a sovereign natural development.
Qatar – in some languages they write it Katar – is a comparably small country. Just 250.000 native inhabitants could never manage the rapid impacts of growth. It needs about 1,5 millions of foreign people from all over the world to support and keep the economy running. This causes a lot of ethnic variety. Quataris are in the minority. But this price has to be payed for a quick journey into the future.
Qatar has lots of visions and has defined distinct priorities. One wants to be honoured, perhaps even to be needed around the world. And therefore it needs some visible projects to profile a unique identity. To show who the country is and what it stands for. It’s not enough to rely on the rich oil- and gas-reserves. Wealth is obligatory, but it does not give an identity nor any international importance or personality. It depends on how one makes use of the given commodities. Research and development, diplomacy, media, health services and – first of all – sports. These are the segments to become leading among competitives worldwide.
Being the first arabic country to host the soccer world championship in 2022, to host the handball world championship in 2015, those are the events, which carry qatar into the conciousness of the masses. To be honest: Most people would not even have given any notice to the little emirat. And if you have a look at the sporting areas, you will be deeply impressed, that the existing stadiums already define top standards in the world scale. No doubt, that successful trainers know why they announce their winter training here. You will hardly find any place with such comparable training conditions.
How can a rich little state be secured against attacks from inside or outside? Emir Hamad al-Thani has the nessecary instinct, to feel peoples and communities vibrations and to integrate sensitively. Some call him the Henry Kissinger of Arabia. Which means: He listens close enough to his people, to notice disappointments and frustration early. And he coordinates his decisions with the influential families, to care for welfare and satisfaction. Of course, this is not a democracy, but as long as the Emir takes good care for the people rarely anybody demands for it.
Obvious is the open minded diplomacy concerning international affairs. Qatar is open to talk to several opponent parties. They can connect between Israel and the Hamas. They are a homebase of the U.S. Military forces and as well for the moslem brotherhood. Quatar has supported democracy movements during the arabian revolution. To be visible and helpful for other countries is the best protection for the own survival. Becoming step by step more important, being an ambassador of the world, that’s qatars strategy for the future.