The Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), H E Hassan Al Thawadi, stressed yesterday that Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has the potential to bridge cultures and unite the Middle East.
Al Thawadi was speaking at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) alongside renowned academics, practitioners and policymakers, including CEO of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband, captain of Germany’s 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning team Philipp Lahm, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation Lassina Zerbo, and Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard’s John F Kennedy School of Government Nick Burns.
The panel discussion was moderated by Executive Director of the Future Diplomacy Project Cathryn Cluver Ashbrook. Al Thawadi discussed the importance of the world’s most-watched sporting event as a vehicle for uniting people and nations, driving positive change and creating a lasting legacy even prior to the tournament’s big kick-off on November 21, 2022.
“Two perfect examples are Russia 2018 and Germany 2006 the fans who attended left those two tournaments with completely different perceptions of those countries. It was a perfect example of people to people diplomacy thousands of fans coming from around the world, interacting with people from the host nation and crafting their own opinions of that country and not relying on a stereotype.
When it comes to the first World Cup in the Middle East and the Arab world, we see it as a golden opportunity to introduce our region and showcase all of its positive attributes to the rest of the world,” he said.
More than nine years after winning the hosting rights, Qatar is already witnessing the legacy benefits of hosting the World Cup, Al Thawadi noted.