chapter 1 bg

A Match For Everyone

As 2022 began and the swirl of anticipation ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ intensified, Qatar Foundation’s (QF) contribution to Qatar’s National Sport Day celebrations reinforced how, in sport and beyond sport, this was to be a unique year for the nation – and one its community could, should, and would be part of.

An array of community-focused activities and events at Education City – from fitness classes and sporting competitions to exercise challenges – encouraged the people of Qatar to embrace healthy, active lifestyles and develop a love of sport, which QF supports year-round through its programs and facilities.

The day also saw David Beckham join the launch of the Women and Girls Football Initiative – established by QF, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s (SC) Generation Amazing program, and Adidas – which is designed to help develop women’s football in Qatar, promote sporting inclusivity, and contribute to the social legacy of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The initiative kicked off with a tournament in the Education City Stadium.

"We have experienced a new sporting opportunity at QF."

Kholoud Al-JassimWomen and Girls Football Initiative participant

Setting A New Standard

The public appetite for one of the greatest sporting shows on earth – and the opportunity it has created for Qatar – was whetted at an online edition of QF’s Education City Speaker Series, when Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, aired his belief that the nation would host “the best World Cup ever”.

Held to mark the one-year countdown to the tournament, the talk outlined how the World Cup would create a cultural, social, and economic legacy for Qatar and its people. And Infantino told the event’s local and global audience: “There is a population of 450 million people, and there is great passion for football among the Arab world.

“I think it is absolutely fitting to have the World Cup here for the first time in history. I believe that the World Cup, being such an amazing event, really has the power to inspire young generations and develop football at all levels.

“I have never seen a country so ready to host a World Cup as Qatar.”

"The World Cup is a gateway for piquing the interest of people from all walks of life to come to Qatar, the Middle East, and the Arab world, and for us to showcase ourselves to the world."

His Excellency Hassan Al ThawadiSecretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, speaking at the Education City Speaker Series

Almost 120,000 people watched the World Cup one-year countdown edition of the Education City Speaker Series

Meeting an Icon

14.5in high, weighing 13.5 pounds, and made of 18-karat gold, it’s one of the most coveted prizes in sport – and in May, past and present students of QF and members of the community had the chance to meet the FIFA World Cup™ trophy.

During its tour of Qatar, the world-famous trophy was displayed at Education City during the Aljam’a festival, which brought QF’s current students and alumni together and invited the public to enjoy its activities; and at Qatar National Library through a partnership between VISA and QF’s global education think tank WISE, who also organized a youth panel where students exchanged ideas on themes including equity and access, resilience, and education in a sporting context.

And QF was the stage for ‘Health Through My Lens’, an exhibition showcasing, through photography, the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices. Held at Oxygen Park in Education City, the competition is an initiative of the Sport for Health partnership between the Ministry of Public Health, the World Health Organization, FIFA, and the SC, with the exhibited images depicting what health means to those who captured them.

"Everyone who participated is already a winner because they have demonstrated an appreciation for the correlation between sport or physical activity and health."

Sheikh Dr. Mohamed Bin Hamad Al-ThaniDirector of the Public Health Department, Ministry of Public Health, at the opening of ‘Health Through My Lens’

Healthy Connections

In World Cup year, the message about the value that sport and exercise bring to people’s lives was also amplified by QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, as its Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First public health campaign unveiled ‘The Fitness Box’.

Launched with the Ministry of Municipality, the innovative concept uses upcycled shipping containers equipped with giant screens to broadcast free fitness classes in Arabic, English, and Urdu, led by top instructors, to the local community at green spaces in Qatar.

And as well as nourishing wellbeing, QF was also nurturing connections between global communities, as its Doha Debates production set up its Doha Portal at the FIFA Fan Festival during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Using the Majlis style of debate and discussion, the Portal enabled fans from Qatar and beyond to hold conversations on topics such as sports, globalization, gender equality, and climate change with people as far afield as Gaza, Erbil, Mexico City, and Cox’s Bazar.

"With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 approaching, levels of enthusiasm for physical activity are sky-high, and the Fitness Box gives people a great outlet for that energy."

Mohammed Ali Al KhouriDirector of Public Parks, Ministry of Municipality

39 Doha Portal activations were held at the FIFA Fan Festival during the World Cup

Bringing a Community Together

As well as empowering and engaging the wider community around the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, QF was also building excitement for the tournament among its own community throughout the year.

The QF family came together for a special pre-World Cup gathering in October, learning about QF’s role in the preparations for, and shaping the legacy of, the tournament, while also enjoying a series of football-themed games – and an insight into football for people with disabilities through a workshop run by QF’s Ability Friendly Program.

QF also distributed Fly Your Flag stickers for staff to show their footballing allegiances on their laptops and office doors; organized Jersey Thursdays which saw the QF community don the shirts of their favorite teams; served up food from different World Cup nations in its cafeteria; and created a World Cup element of its Microsoft Teams application, including trivia about the tournament and an opportunity for staff to share pictures of them enjoying the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ action.