Yesterday at the Doha International Book Fair, Maryam Yassin Al-Hammadi, Director of the Culture and Arts Administration at the Ministry of Culture, and novelist Jamal Fayiz participated in a discussion forum entitled The Role of Creative Writing in Promoting Cultural Diversity.
Al-Hammadi expressed the view that cultural diversity is one of the foundations of Qatar’s national strategy. She explained that culture is one of the most effective tools to reach out to other cultures and establish open dialogue across borders. For Al-Hammadi, understanding other cultures cannot take place if each community decides to live in isolation. For her, diversity can be seen in flourishing cultural minorities and openness toward other cultures.
Al-Hammadi added that “Qatar has residents from over 190 countries, most of whom share the Islamic faith despite the diversity of their national identities.” She noted that many residents in Qatar adhere to other faiths, but Qatar is committed to promoting and supporting cultural diversity and giving minorities space for self-expression and participation in public activities.
Jamal Fayiz offered the view that cultural diversity is a necessary means to maintaining coexistence with others regardless of differences in faith, national identity, or language. Cultural diversity, in his opinion, is also necessary for the development of creative writing and other art forms. He then talked about his rich personal experience in writing short stories and novels.